Archive for the ‘women’s health’ Category

Out of Practice

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks completely avoiding my yoga practice. Right now, I’m on my ladies’ holiday and it’s the full moon today, so maybe I’ll get back into things on Wednesday. With my husband out of town, I just haven’t felt like doing yoga, PLUS I’ve just felt run down and icky for a couple weeks. Definitely reached a head late last week with a truly nasty bout of PMS.

I’m feeling better today. Went back to the weight room, even though I did things a little differently. I’m thinking of shifting my weight routine to doing 3 sets instead of 5 and trying to use heavier weights in the second two sets. Maybe use one set for warm-up, then one set at a heavier weight, and if I still feel like I have it in me increase again for the third set, so that I’m pretty wiped after the third set.

Today I actually had a guy “come to my rescue” after my third set of squats. I hadn’t bothered to change the height of the rack so it was ever-so-slightly too high for me. No worries, I could get the bar back up there, but when I bumped it on my first try, this guy felt the need to leap to my rescue AND point out that it was set too high. Yes, thanks, please go away. I’m not a damsel in distress.

Tonight is the full moon.  I’ll probably do a meditation, maybe a tarot reading.

I’ve still been cooking.  Keep an eye on my Tumblr for some pics later on.  Dunno if anything I’ve cooked is posted-recipe-worthy.  But it’s still yummy.  Husband got back on Saturday night and has said that all he wants right now is home cooking and snuggling, both of which I’m more than happy to provide.


On Jewelry and Pain Support

Earlier this week and last, The Nourishing Gourmet had a giveaway of two gift certificates to a store that sells hazelwood and amber jewelry for health purposes. The idea is that the hazelwood releases compounds that help cure skin disorders and amber jewelry can release compounds that help with pain relief.

Amber bracelets

Intrigued by this idea, I shopped around and found myself some Baltic amber chips to make my own jewelry. Since I started doing yoga more regularly, specifically Ashtanga, I’ve had some trouble with pain in my right wrist. I’ve been modifying my practice and taking other lifestyle steps to heal and support my aching wrist, and I thought amber bracelets would be a good addition to this.

I had my first practice with amber this morning, after sleeping in my new bracelets last night, and I have to say that I noticed a difference. Rather than feeling like an injury, my wrist pain felt like it was due to a healing injury.

As a runner, yogi, and martial artist, I’ve had my fair share of injuries, so I’ve noticed some interesting patterns to my healing process. First, I ache. I rarely back off at this point, so eventually I end up hurting, the pain so bad it forces me to make a change to my routine. When I start to rest and take healing steps, the pain lessens, but never quite goes away. In fact, the pain never completely goes away until I start using the muscle/joint again. I have to re-introduce the exercise that hurt it in the first place in order to strengthen my body and eliminate the pain. So when I think of the healing process, I think of it as pain support, rather than pain relief, as pain is an important part of healing.

As a natural wellness practitioner and herbalist, I appreciate the importance of a holistic view of pain and injury, as well as healing.  The idea that a simple piece of jewelry, which I can make myself, could help heal and prevent pain appeals to me.  Even if the effect is a placebo, some of my pain is mental, so placebo is legitimate medicine in those cases.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.

Primary Sunday, Ladies’ Holiday

I got through most of my normal practice on Sunday.  I’m still sticking with only Surya A to warm up, then standing poses, then Primary to Navasana.  And no jumping, still.  But it felt good, adding back the vinyasas.  And Navasana, traditionally a pose that I’ve found tough, is really strong.  I feel strong and calm at the end of my practice.

Moon beads

But today, I’ve taken a step back.  It’s my ladies’ holiday right now which is a fantastic phrase, I think, though a little reminiscent of men not being sure to handle women bleeding.  Moon time.  Ladies’ holiday.  On the rag.  So many slangs and euphemisms.  Either way, I haven’t been meditating and I think this “holiday” would be a perfect time to start up again.  I’ve finally remembered my red beads.

I’m getting supplies to remake my moon time beads tomorrow, along with some Baltic amber to make other jewelry.  Other than bracelets, for my ailing and unhappy right wrist, I’m also getting bloodstone, moonstone, and carnelian.  The moonstone and amber, in particular, will make a lovely piece of jewelry.  I think for my moon beads, I’ll just restring the ones I have with a real clasp, but I’ll have bloodstone, moonstone, and more carnelian if I feel like updating it a bit.  It’s all a work in progress.

I’ve had a request for my soaked zucchini-walnut muffins, so I’ll post that recipe tomorrow.  They were massively delicious and moist even a day or two old.

Book Review: Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives

I haven’t done a book review on my blog before, but I just finished reading Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women’s Health, by Wenda Trevathan, and I thought I’d give some of my impressions. My overall review of this book is that it’s a great read. Just as I think all women should read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I think this book should be up there, too. It gives insight into the evolutionary basis of certain things unique to women’s health.

The book focuses on reproduction as a woman’s function, which is reasonable. Really, the function of any organism is to reproduce. But it goes into detail, talking about maturation of a young girl, menstruation and puberty, and conception. It discusses pregnancy and childbirth, as well as lactation and early child-rearing. But one of the most interesting things I found was that the book focuses two chapters on the post-reproductive phase (menopause and beyond). While other mammalian females decline in fertility or may even stop ovulating late in life, human females are the only mammal that spends a large portion of her life in a healthy, post-reproductive phase.
Of course, as a young woman, I found the earlier chapters more interesting. Tidbits about the menstrual cycle, such as the fact that the hormones secreted during the luteal phase (after ovulation but before menstruation) of the menstrual cycle can increase energy. The sudden withdrawal of these hormones at menstruation may be one explanation for some PMS symptoms. But post-ovulation, a woman’s immune system is suppressed to keep the immune system from attacking a potential fetus, which is, after all, 50% foreign material.
The last chapter gets a mixed reception from me. After a book that talks about how women in “health-rich” countries have higher hormone levels and how eating more fat can alter hormone-levels to be closer to those in health-rich women, the book’s final admonition for leading a healthy life is a parroting of conventional health wisdom: eat lots of whole grains and veggies and fruits, not too much fat or meat, and wear sunscreen. Kind of disappointing that an author with obvious evolutionary cred hasn’t done much looking at the evolution of human nutrition. Also, a minor complaint, she pays little heed to the practice of women charting ovulation. She seems to think that commercial ovulation kits are a sign that fertility signs are hard to read, when my opinion is that it’s a sign that there isn’t enough education of women about their own fertility cycles.
All in all, however, it is an insightful look into women’s health. The main message is that most of the “problems” that women face are in fact natural, healthy stages in a woman’s life. The best thing that medicine can do is to stop treating women like they are broken in some way, as established medicine tends to treat things like menopause or even miscarriage (yes, miscarriage has an evolutionary basis), and instead treat only the things that really are problems. Also, good nutrition seems to always be good, though we may disagree on what that means, exactly.