Everything you didn’t know about Essential Oils

Do you ever wonder where medicine comes from? I mean before the drug aisle in the pharmacy, how do we know which chemical combinations help what? Sometimes we forget that the basis of medicine today comes from natural plant and herbal treatments that have been around for thousands of years.

A good quality essential oil is one that can be used aromatically, topically and ingested to its specifications, with no chemical fillers or compounds. The 2 most common ways of collecting these oils is through extraction or expression. Extraction uses a low-heat steam distillation process, passing pressurized steam is through plant material releasing the essential oil from the plant and carried away by the steam. When the steam cools, the water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected. Expression, aka cold-pressed, is when oil is extracted from the product under mechanical pressure, usually citrus oils expressed from the rind.

Medical use of essential oils was developed by accident in 1928 when a French chemist working for a cosmetics firm was injured in an explosion. Afterwards he dipped his hand in a vat of lavender oil, and discovered his hand healed in record time without scarring. Lavender oil remains the best treatment for burns. A drop of lavender applied directly to the wound will relieve the pain. At the same time lavender can also be beneficial in treating insomnia. This demonstrates the primary advantage to essential oils over store-bought products is that one can obtain the benefit in a number of different ways. Essential oils are good for the environment, too. Essential oils may appear expensive, but since they are used a drop at a time, a single bottle replaces several products, resulting in less packaging. As natural substances they are easily assimilated back into the ecosystem without harming it. Here a few other common replacements for things you might have in your home.
Rosemary and camphor oils contain the medicinal ingredients found in many sinus remedies and are also antiseptic and antibacterial.

Tea tree is antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral. Added to a bucket of cleaning solution, tea tree can destroy cold and flu viruses on household surfaces, while at the same time safe enough to use topically for skin irritation or rashes.
Peppermint has been used for digestive and respiratory issues for hundreds of years, but can also be used as a natural bug repellent.

These are just a few examples of the multiple uses for these oils. If you’d like more information on different oils and there uses feel free to visit www.mydoterra.com/jewellchiro or sign up for:

Essential Oils Workshop: Germ Fighting!
This Thursday, June 16th at 12:30pm
Fifth floor of The Spalding Building
Dr. Lisa Jewell and Kris Valdez, LMT discuss ways to bolster immunity,
promote relaxation and sanitize in healthful and eco-friendly ways.
Admission is $5 and includes amazing samples!
Sign up by calling us at 503-224-5010 or email info@cityfitchiro.com
to book your spot. Hurry, as space is limited.

Movement Monday’s with Dr Jewell: Flexibility vs Mobility

This month’s Movement Monday is all about Movement! Or more specifically the movement of your muscles and joints as separate entities. You’ve probably heard these words thrown around interchangeably, for the sake of clarity (and our sanity) I’m going to give some general definitions to help you understand these better and be able to differentiate between the two. Both flexibility and mobility fall under the bigger term range of motion, with flexibility describing the range of motion your muscles have and mobility describing the range of motion your joints have. Now obviously one cannot function without the other, in order for your muscle to get into its maximal range of motion (stretch) the joint it is attached to must be moving fully, and in order for a joint to be able to move through its full range the muscles must be able to move fully with it. There are many different types of joints throughout the body with varying degrees of mobility. Your shoulder, for example, is a ball and socket joint allowing much greater range of motion than your knee, which is a hinge joint and designed to move with less motion.

Mobility is a more specific measure for each particular point which we have normal ranges for, so while your trainer may be telling you to stretch more to reach that maximal range, the problem may actually be with your joint mobility. But how do I know if it’s my muscle or my joint that isn’t moving, you may ask!? Sometimes it can be tricky to distinguish, but sometimes it’s not. For example, if you fully flexed (bent) your knee but were only able to get to 110 degrees of flexion, vs the normal 140 degrees of maximal knee flexion, because you felt an intense stretch and pain in the quad muscle, it is more than likely a flexibility problem. If you were unable to bend the knee more than 110 degrees and didn’t feel any pull in the surrounding muscles but more like that joint was stuck at that point, that’s more likely a mobility problem. Once you distinguish what you need to work on, you can then focus on fixing the cause of the problem.

Another entirely separate issue that can occur is hypermobility, or hyperlaxity, which is when the ligaments surrounding a joint become slack and are no longer stabilizing that joint, allowing it to move through excess ranges of motion beyond what it was ever designed to do. Being hypermobile does not mean that your muscles are flexible. In this case your ligaments over stretch to make up for the lack of stretch in the muscle. Ligaments are not made up of the same tissue as muscles and they do not have elasticity like a muscle. Think of your muscles like a brand new rubber band with lots of spring, and your ligaments as silly putty, once you stretch the putty out it loses all tone and starts to sag down the middle doesn’t it. Now your hip can “stretch” up to your nose while still having extremely tight hamstrings. Things like yoga were you are folding forward 20 times in an hour were your pelvis doesn’t move an inch and the ligaments (aka support) of your lumbar spine are being slowly stretched out like that silly putty makes me cringe, and it gives a bad name to yoga because you’re not doing it correctly. This looks natural right?!

forward fold hypermobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an example of a person with shoulder hypermobility. In the first picture we see her excessively flexing the shoulders and extending the elbows and she probably still isn’t feeling a stretch. In the second picture of correct alignment we see the shoulder and elbows in their correct maximal ranges of motion and she would be experiencing an actual muscle stretch while still supporting her joints!

shoulder hypermobility

 

 

 

 

 

This blog was inspired by Nutritious Movement blog by Katy Bowman.

Movement Monday’s with Dr Jewell: Are you a sitoholic??

This month’s Movement Mondays we’re taking a little more of a global look at our bodies through the Posterior chain.

If you have ever heard phrases like anatomy trains, myofascial lines, or lower cross syndrome and wondered what the heck people were talking about this blog is for you! Now there are dozens of movement chains in the body, today I am choosing to focus on the posterior chain because I believe this is an area that is affecting the majority of us out there today as a major culprit of chronic low back pain as well as hip and core instability.

posterior chainSo let’s start with what is a posterior chain? The simple answer is that it is a set of muscles that work together to perform a basic body movement, and in this chain it is made up of our occipitofrontalis, erector spinae and thoracolumbar fascia, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, calves and plantar fascia. Want to know where all of these are? Here’s a great picture showing the superficial (or topmost layer) as well as our deeper layers of muscles.

 

 

 

Now what are all these muscle supposed to be doing? As you can probably imagine at the most basic level they are important for things like walking and bending. In this chain of command the gluteal muscles are designed to be our primary hip stabilizers and provide the support for our legs and torso to move from. I don’t know if you knew but we are currently in an epidemic! A sitting epidemic, “hello my name is Lisa and I’m a sitoholic.” The phrase sitting is the new smoking is no joke people. Now most of us know that sitting all day isn’t good for us, but I’m not sure everyone knows exactly why… Research is showing us that after 20 mins of stagnant sitting our glut muscles turn off, i.e. stop engaging and turn into a cushion between our sit bones and the chair. I know what you’re saying 20 minutes? That’s nothing, that’s not even my morning commute! I know, so imagine 10 hours a day sitting our poor glutes don’t stand a chance. After this becomes a chronic state our body decides it must adapt and so the glutes stay turned off and our quads take over the job. We now have a quad dominant posture, to further adapt to this new state our low back erectors and hamstrings tighten up to meet the resistance of our anterior quad muscles and keep us from falling forward. The tightening of these posterior muscles in turn causes our pelvis to tilt anteriorly increasing the lordotic curve of the lumbar spine.

hyperlordosis

 

I’ve added a picture here to show those lumbar vertebrae being pulled forward by these unbalanced muscles, and do you see the abdominal muscles now? They are no longer aligned and functioning properly and so they now in turn become weak.

lower cross syndrome

 

 

 

Here is a picture showing what lower cross syndrome looks like: tight muscles groups in the hip flexors (quads) and low back muscles, with weak and ‘turned off’ muscle groups in the glutes and abdominals. Now when we’re doing things like walking and bending we’re doing it all with a faulty system. As you can imagine this does not help us to feel our best and can be a root cause of that chronic pain you’re having. How can we fix this you may ask? Well the solutions are not hard, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. It’s about becoming and staying more attentive to your posture and habits, moving in correct motion patterns, and most importantly stretching and strengthening where it’s specifically needed. Talk with your Chiropractor today about what your body needs to address these issues, and as always keep moving.

 

This blog was inspired by By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA article in Dynamic Chiropractic volume 34.

The Bunion Blog! Movement Mondays with Dr. Jewell

Welcome to our second month of Movement Mondays and the “Bunion Blog!” with Dr. Jewell

I have had a flurry of discussion on bunions, toe surgery and foot pain lately so thought I would take this time to address an issue that has people getting out their punch card for the podiatric surgery ward. I have so many patients telling me that their bunions are “just genetic” or they don’t know how to undo the damage it’s caused.

Cue the trumpets! We are here to help!

There are generally 2 ways a bunion can form, from improper loading of your first Metatarsal Phalangeal Joint aka MTP Joint, or the lateral displacement of the big toe, aka Hallux Valgus. This sounds like a lot of medical jargon so let’s break those terms down.

The MTP Joint is that area that makes up the ball of the foot, think of it as the knuckle of your big toe. With every step you take you at one point put a significant amount of body weight and force on this joint. Now think of a foot that has a flat arch or is put into a fashionable high heel shoe and double or even triple the force put onto this relatively small joint. This increase in force sends signals to the body to increase bone density by creating a bone spur to support this bigger force. Ta-da! Bunion!

The other possible cause, Hallux Valgus, is basically when the big toe starts to point and curve over towards the little toes. Now imagine, not only how uncomfortable this is to walk on, but how much torque and pressure this puts on the medial border of that MTP joint. The most common culprits of this toe drift is improper gait patterns and footwear. Oh, how we suffer for fashion! Below is a picture showing what our natural toe space looks like over an average (narrow) toe box. Can you see the problem here? The natural amount of space the front of our foot and toes take up is greater than the area in the front of our shoes. Naturally we squeeze our toes into this shoe, pushing our big toe in towards our other toes and again we see, instant bunion maker!

toes vs shoe

I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t throw all my shoes out and roam the streets barefoot! This is a cold and damp climate we live in!” This is true, and unfortunately it is very difficult (and usually unfashionable) to find such shoes that allow the space we need. So instead let’s look at what we can do to undo this damage. The easiest starting point is to start with toe stretches, this can be as low tech as using your fingers to stretch the space between your toes (see photo below) or as high tech as wearing toe spreaders to bed at night and stretch while you sleep! (I would recommend not wearing these while weight-bearing and possibly even slowly introducing them by wearing them for a few hours each night and slowly working your way up to the whole night.)

toes vs fingers

There are also strengthening exercises we can do for the intrinsic muscles of the foot, don’t worry no gym gear required. With your feet flat on the floor try lifting your big toe up off the floor while keeping your little toes flat on the ground. Can you do it? About 50% of people find this impossible, if you’re one of them keep practicing and you will build up the muscle strength to do this no problem!

big toe vs little toes

More information like this can be found on Katy Bowman’s website or here in the office. If you’re struggling with anything involving the feet, give us a call, drop us a line, or book online!

Movement Monday: With Dr. Jewell

Welcome to our first installment of Movement Mondays, a monthly blurb with some quick tips to help you with alignment, stability, strength and most importantly, movement!

Today we’re working from the bottom up, talking about our foot alignment and how it affects the rest of the body. Imagine wearing a 1 inch heel on one foot and walking barefoot on the other, not only would this affect the way each foot hit the ground and moved but the effect would translate up through the knee, hip, pelvis and low back, giving you that awkward swagger. Just like the height of your foot going up and down can throw your body out of whack, so can the angle of your foot.

Stand up look down at those tootsies, there’s 3 basic position the foot can be in on this plane, toed in (pigeon toed), neutral (toes pointing straight out in front of you) and toed out (duck-footed). What do yours look like?! Most people, myself included, tend to be more duck footed, with standing and walking. When we look up the kinetic chain of the leg, pelvis and back we can see how this external rotation of the foot affects not only our gait pattern, but puts torsion on the knee, shortens and tightens our external hip rotators, pulls our pelvis posterior, and causes rounding of the low back. Who knew your toes could be so influential!

A quick and easy exercise to help restore natural movement pattern and decrease the stress on all these joints is a neutral toe walk. Find an open area with a straight edge you can follow, like the edge of a rug or a yoga mat laid out on the floor and line up the outside edge of your foot along it. Your foot is straight! This may feel awkward at first, maybe even as if your toes are pointing in, that’s ok. Try walking a few steps this way matching your opposite foot to the first one. Your muscles may argue with you a little, but the more you do this the easier it will become.

I happened to be at the beach not too long ago, and noticed another great way to see what your feet are really doing is to look back at your footprints in the sand, so long people watching, hello footprint watching! Here’s what I found…

 

I noticed that my toes turn out pretty far from the mid-line!

I noticed that my toes turn out pretty far from the mid-line!

Here are my footprints after some conscious correction.

Here are my footprints after some conscious correction.

 

 

 

Look at that toe out! After some conscious correction, beautiful straight toes and feet!

So there you have it, you need to go on vacation, for your health.

*Inspiration for this post came from Katy Bowman’s blog.

The Wonders of Medical Massage

Most of us know that massage therapy is good for us because it feels good! But there are many other reasons that massage is beneficial to your overall health.

Massage, particularly medical massage therapy operates on a whole-body systems understanding of imbalance and injury, compensation, and compliment. This may be part of the reason why Brittany or Kris work on an area which isn’t exactly the precise location of your primary complaint. Because the whole body is connected, there are often patterns of imbalance which play out throughout the entire body.

So, when your low back is hurting, we may need to do some work on your chest area to improve your whole posture and prevent worsening low back pain, while also paying attention to your hamstrings, since they tug on your pelvis and may be part of an alignment issue contributing to that same low back pain!

With techniques including compression, pressure, cross-fiber friction or trigger point release, our massage therapists pump fresh blood flow and oxygen to areas which have been contracted for too long, as well as areas which may have been cut off from that flow due to other areas being hyper-contracted or chronically contracted.
Your muscles will also be in a somewhat contracted position if joints, bones, ligaments or tendons are pulled out of alignment, which can cause the sort of chronic achiness associated with poor posture or less active periods.

Aside from the more obvious benefits of mobilization, the effect of touch is also profound. From reducing emotional tension, lowering blood pressure, decreasing severity of depression and anxiety, to enhancing sleep quality, improving immunity, and increase concentration, there are very few reasons not to look into massage therapy!

A few more benefits of massage include:

  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
  • Ease medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
  • Relieve migraine pain.

Open Enrollment, Alternative Care, and Health Plans, Oh My!

T’is the season for new healthcare benefit plans!

If you haven’t heard already, open enrollment began on November 1 and runs through Jan 31. In response to requests for some guidance about things to look for in a healthcare plan for coverage in our office, we have put together some tips and helpful information for you! But first, Some basics:

Important dates for 2016 enrollment

  • November 1, 2015: Open Enrollment started — first day you can enroll in a 2016 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2016.
  • December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016
  • January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

If you don’t enroll in a 2016 health insurance plan by January 31, 2016, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

See if you qualify for savings right now

Before you apply, you can quickly see if you’ll qualify for savings based on your income. Most people who apply do qualify — this year, about 8 in 10 of the uninsured eligible for Marketplace coverage qualify for savings that lower the cost of their monthly premiums.

Medicaid & CHIP – apply any time

City Fit Tips:

  1. The first thing you want to do is consider what kind of healthcare consumer you are: You’ll want to keep in mind the type of providers you see most regularly (Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, Osteopathic Doctor, Medical Doctor, Counselor etc.), as well as how frequently you have appointments barring emergencies or unexpected injuries. This information will provide you with a basis for the kind of coverage you’re looking for beyond catastrophic coverage.
  2. As you are comparing plans, make sure you take note if your deductible applies to the services you use most frequently: for our office, make sure you check your chiropractic benefit, physical therapy benefit (massage is often covered under this benefit in the absence of a specific massage benefit) and massage therapy (if available).
  3. Many plans impose annual limits for chiropractic coverage. Sometimes this is in the form of visits per year, and sometimes it will be a dollar amount per year. Dollar benefit limits refer to the amount the plan will pay for those services. Typical routine visits are between $35-120, depending on the services you receive. 1-Hour massage visits run between $75-135. *These are estimate only, and will vary depending on your treatment history and the specifics of each visit; please contact the office for personalized information.
  4. Some plans also require authorizations for certain services, which  means that the benefit will be listed, and may list a visit limit, but will be subject to authorization. This means that while your plan provides coverage for up to, say, 60 physical therapy visits, you will need approval from your insurance carrier and they may deny authorization after 18 visits based on their medical necessity criteria.
  5. This form may help in comparing benefit plan options!

In addition to premium costs, you’ll want to understand which services are applied to your deductible and factor in co-payments and co-insurance costs. For a visual explanation of how these costs accumulate, see the short video below:

If you would like more details on insurance companies or specific treatment history information, please contact Sophia here!

Autumn: Tips for Staying Healthy

While we may be a little sad to see the summer go, I think many of us here in Portland are also glad to welcome back our Pacific Northwest Autumn.

With shorter days, cooler (and wetter) weather, and harvest time upon us, Autumn can be a great time to practice some introspection, cozy nesting, and re-setting goals.

Borrowing from Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) and Herbal traditions, here are a few tips for a happy and healthy Fall season:

Rejuvenate yourself

Fall is a time for rejuvenating body, mind and spirit. Before the pressures of New Year resolutions and holiday stress, we can set the intention now to get a jump-start on the goals we want to pursue. Treat yourself with exercise, meditation, massage therapy, or an art class! Take advantage of the 30-day rule before Thanksgiving and hunker down for a productive, healthy, happy and cozy fall season!

 

Prioritize

According to TCM, Fall is associated with the Metal element, and is the time when we may feel inclined to embrace some of those qualities: strong, definitive, focused, discerning. Now can be a great time to get down to gain clarity about what really matters to us.

As satisfying as this can be, it also can be overwhelming. We all know the feeling of having split-loyalties, or a lack of time to devote to all the things we care about. Now is the time to not be afraid to chose an area of your life to dedicate yourself to for the time-being.

Make a list of which priorities deserve your attention for now. Write them down and glance at the list periodically throughout the season.

Sara Calabro, from AcuTake says that “Fall heightens our innate ability to get stuff done. Take advantage of it by reminding yourself where to focus.”

Wear a scarf

Acupuncturists are always going on about wearing scarves. It’s for good reason.

T’is the season for sniffles and coughs, and it is at the turn of the season and throughout Fall that we are so vulnerable to colds, flus, and other bugs that migrate through schools and offices.

TCM considers the Lung to be the first line of defense against external influences that make us sick, and as the weather turns cold and the wind picks up, the Lung organ is extra vulnerable.

Acupuncture theory holds that there is a particular point where those external factors can enter the body to make us sick. This point is called Feng Fu and is located at the back of your neck: the perfect place for a scarf to protect you! Plus, who doesn’t look great wrapped up in scarves?

Protect your feng fu, and your lungs this fall by covering your neck with a scarf!

Protect your feng fu, and your lungs this fall by covering your neck with a scarf!

 

Stay hydrated

Even though it will be wet as the dickens around here, most of us are familiar with the dry skin and scratchy throat that comes along with fall and winter. Drink a lot of water and keep your skin hydrated with non-alcoholic (alcohol will dry you out more) moisturizer, like the UnFiltered body creme we have at the clinic.

Another reason to stay hydrated is to regulate digestion, which can also have flare-ups in the fall as we transition to eating different foods and as our circadian rhythms adjust to the darker days.

Use a neti pot

If you’ve never tried this one, I encourage you to try it for at least one week this season!

Fall is the most common time of year for the onset of nasal infections and post-nasal drip, both of which plague many people well into winter. Keeping a neti pot in the shower or at the bathroom sink and using it regularly throughout the season will help keep your nasal passages clear. *Just remember to use filtered or pre-boiled water and a saline packet to prevent infections!

kids neti

Eat warm foods

Calabro also reminds us that “the cool, raw, refreshing salads of summer will not do you any favors come fall. Just as we need to start keeping our bodies warmer on the outside, we need to stay warm on the inside as well.”

Steel-cut oats,and  oven-roasted veggies are great replacements for the granola and salads from summertime. Onions, ginger, garlic, mustard or other pungent foods are also good to boost your body into a seasonal alignment this fall.

Root vegetables such as beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash are seasonal and nutritious. To quench a fruit craving, reach for something seasonal such as apples, pears, grapes, figs or persimmons.

Be an active TV watcher

If you’re like me, one of your favorite parts of fall (besides pumpkin spice everything) is the beginning of the television season. Enjoy your show! But try to incorporate some activity into your cozy tv-night.

Standing lunges, tricep dips off the couch, lifting weights, or even just practicing balancing on one leg are great options to keep your body strong under your thick sweaters. During commercials, try doing a set of push-ups or sit-ups. In a one-hour show, you probably have close to 20 minutes worth of commercial interruption.

tv squat

What are your goals and priorities this season? How will you rejuvinate?

sources: http://acutakehealth.com/7-acupuncture-tips-for-a-healthy-fall
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/10-tips-fall-fitness?page=4

A Brief History of American Moms

We know the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” but we often forget that this isn’t just about a child’s education, it is also about giving mom a break!

Just a few hundred years ago, Americans observed the “lying in” period of 3-4 weeks after the birth of a new baby, where mom would rest, regain her strength, sip fatty soups and bond with baby while relatives and neighbors looked after her house, other children or other duties. None of these helping women were paid, and they all anticipated the same care and help when they delivered children of their own. This was not begrudgingly allowed, but socially accepted and encouraged.

Medicalization is the phenomenon of  normal human problems becoming defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus becoming the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment.

This can lead to medical breakthroughs, or it can lead to a sort of cultural hypochondria.

Birth and women’s health in general has become more highly medicalized here in the States in the last two hundred years or so; more births have medical interventions than births without them; menstruation has more prescriptions than ever before; and menopause is considered by some medical researchers and drug companies as a hormone ‘deficiency’ condition due to ovarian ‘failure,’ rather than part of a natural life cycle. And yet, the postpartum period has been wantonly ignored as a time where moms need care.

Improvements in medicine have had incredible impacts on women’s health here and around the world just in the last 50 years, and it goes without saying that much has changed for women since colonial times allowing us to lead in the workforce, to fight for our rights and access to healthcare at all, and, heck! even to own land! Though there may be some over-protective paternalism in the strict adherence to a ‘lying in’ period after labor and delivery, and while women’s bodies are indeed strong and capable, it is and always has been a physical and emotional ordeal to bring a child into the world. With the highest (and rising) maternal mortality rate of any developed nation, and as the only industrialized nation without mandated paid maternity leave, postpartum care must be considered in our cultural context.

Some version of the lie-in is still prevalent in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries as well as certain parts of Europe and many immigrant communities in the US. The Daily Beast’s Hillary Brenhouse writes, “The Chinese traditionally adhere to 30 days of restful confinement-another week for a C-section- during which time moms are meant to consume lactation-inducing soups and herbal tonics… In Mexico, the ritualized interlude, or the cuarentena, goes on for 40 days…Balinese women are not allowed to enter the kitchen until the baby’s cord stump has fallen. Dutch maternity nurses make postpartum visits every day for the eight days after childbirth, and in France, as elsewhere, new moms spend nearly a week in hospital.”

She continues,

…the thing to focus on here is the idea of a culturally recognized and accepted postpartum rest period. With these rituals comes an acknowledgement, familial and federal, that the woman needs relief more at this time than at any other- especially if she has a career to return to- and that it takes weeks, sometimes months, to properly heal from childbirth. An acknowledgement that overexertion after labor could lead to depression, infection, increased uterine bleeding, or prolapse. An acknowledgement  that the postpartum stretch shouldn’t feel, as it did for so many of the American women who took part in my informal survey, like one long sleepless night.

Rather, what we are given as a cultural standard for this period is one of “bouncing back,” to full-time work and pre-pregnancy clothing- expectations that are, for most women, unreasonable.

What we see, instead, is women berating themselves for having difficulty during this transition time, feeling like failures for their exhaustion and pushing themselves to ‘act normal’ almost immediately after delivery. Perhaps sitting in bed for a month or more isn’t quite what we need (or want!), but neither can we ignore the importance of what we can do to make the postpartum period safe, comfortable, and suitable for each mom.

 Here at City Fit, mom is our first priority. We’re here to make your pregnancy and your postpartum period as comfortable as possible, whether you’re ‘lying-in,’ or hanging out!

Adventures with Dr. Jewell

If you’ve ever met Dr. Jewell, you know immediately that she’s got a wanderlust heart! Here’s her most recent adventure story:

Before completing my Chiropractic education at Palmer West I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hyderabad, India on a Clinic Abroad Program. This was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, combining my love of travel with my passion for chiropractic. While at times challenging and heartbreaking, the gratitude we received and the care we were able to provide for children and adults alike was worth every moment. Some of our patients had never had the opportunity to see a doctor in their young lives, while others where living with serious conditions and looking for some pain relief.

One of the hardest issues we faced was the language and cultural barrier. We were lucky enough to have translators present with us, however most of them only had a rudimentary understanding of English  and since most of our patients had never seen a Chiropractor before, our history-taking, the exam, and explaining what an adjustment really is became an engaging task to say the least! We learned to get creative with our explanations! Learning about a new culture first-hand is always a joy. Most of our patients were observant Muslims, which gave me a unique and privileged opportunity to see garbed women take off their black head- and face-wraps, revealing beautifully colored garments, jewelry and henna tattooing on their hands and feet- What an amazing position to be shown what is usually only seen by their families at home!

It was so humbling to be shown such gratitude and respect for the treatments we gave. In India each individual is in charge of their healthcare. What this means is that every person is responsible for their own health history, records, and imaging. These are prized positions taken home and carried with you to every doctor’s appointment in a plastic shopping bag. The healthcare system in India is similar to that of some European countries as I understand it, in that everyone is given state public health care unless they can afford private health care. There are separate hospitals, doctors and pharmacies for these two categories. And even if you do have private health care, because of the sheer size of the population, you may still be required to go to the public hospital in an emergency situation if the private hospital is full.

While the food was amazing, and the sights certainly impressive, what I’ll remember most are the people I was able to help.

A little girl who traveled 9 hours on a train with her family to come and get treated for chronic migraine headaches that where keeping her out of school too frequently; a women who could no longer clean her house and cook properly because of pain in her ankle and foot which we were able to completely alleviate after just one adjustment; a mother who brought her 14 year old daughter in for a second opinion about a risky spinal surgery for a fracture that could potentially leave her paralyzed or be fatal due to spinal cord compression; the 40 year old mother who had been run over by a donkey cart as a teenager and never received treatment, leaving her with a bowed and deformed left leg which she had coped with since. These experiences are the real gifts.

Traveling is always such a gift, but then so is coming home. I’m so pleased to be making my home here in Portland, and making new memories with new patients here at City Fit!

Here are a few photos from her trip: