This week on our blog Dr Cindy Laudan-Ho shares how Acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, can be beneficial to moms suffering from peaches through pregnancy. Dr Cindy heads up our Placenta Encapsulation team here at Tender Touches, and regularly sees patients for Acupuncture at Body in Balance Acupuncture, in NW Calgary. She is extremely knowledgeable on all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum related; and we delighted to bring you this valuable info.
~ Doula In The Wild
Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman's life, but let's face It, we have enough symptoms going on to add headaches and migraines! Calgary (and the rest of southern Alberta) is a very windy city. This season especially. Wind in TCM is a very common diagnosis in headaches and migraines. Most of you probably recognize this by our common western diagnosis of “Chinook migraines”. Obviously our diet, stress levels and emotions come into play here as well, which we all know is a comical if not infuriating during this time! In TCM, wind is one of the 6 external factors that can affect our body. The manifestation of it is often caused by standing outside without a scarf and when the wind is blowing in your face, what do you do? You turn your back to it. On the back of your head and neck are multiple TCM meridians that pass through here and are directly being affected by the environment. I personally have a scarf for every season living in this city! Going to bed with wet hair or sitting in front of a fan or AC can also cause external pathogens in TCM that we diagnose as “wind-cold” or “wind-heat”. These show up as a common cold or flu like symptoms which are also commonly treated with acupuncture and herbs.
Stress and our emotions are culprits here as well.
These two factors affect our Liver Meridian, which in turn affects our flow of Qi. When the flow of Qi is disrupted, stagnation occurs causing pain. This can be resolved by removing the stress factors in our life or downplaying them. What is your priority? If the stress factor is not able to be removed from your life, how can you approach it differently? Not only will this help lower the levels of cortisol running through your body, you will experience a better and smoother pregnancy with less pain. By practicing deep belly breathing, removing our obstacles (or changing them) and calming the mind, you can help resolve stress related headaches. My first taste of acupuncture was curing my migraines! So your acupuncturist is also able to help by selecting a treatment plan specific to you using local as well as distal points to help calm your mind and move the flow of Qi to stop pain. If they are seasonal, go see an acupuncturist prior to the symptoms starting to get a head start on them. If they are a challenge and you cannot commit to acupuncture treatments, herbal medicine is also very effective, you can take it at home on your own time and it can be made pregnancy safe.
So what can you do to avoid, or treat, your headaches without having to take pain medications?
First you have to figure out what the cause is. If it is external, do what you can to change it. If it is seasonal, see an acupuncturist to prevent them. If you are already well into the season or do not know why you get them, see your acupuncturist for a treatment (it really helps to regularly see an acupuncturist throughout your pregnancy anyways!) Each person can come in with the same symptoms but have a different diagnosis. What works for one person, may not work for you. Acupuncture and herbs are tailored to you specifically. Eat less spicy and greasy foods. Drink lots of water, rest as much as you can (I know this one is easier said than done but will make a huge difference... if you put that time aside for yourself and your growing babe). Lastly try grounding yourself as described below.
Take 30 seconds to reconnect to the Earth...
Try a mental grounding technique for being in the present when you are feeling “frazzled” or overwhelmed. I try to remember to do this every morning before I get out of bed to start my day and set my intentions for the day. Close your eyes. Imagine you are a tree. Trees are strong, proud, tall, but also flexible. Now imagine your toes are turning into roots and spreading down into Mother Earth. Feel your body reaching down and grabbing on. You are strong. You are grounded. Take a deep breath and remain here for at least 30 seconds. Feel your body holding you in place. Take another deep breath and open your eyes. What you see in front of you will appear different, calmer, softer. Allow yourself to practice this technique, for most of us it doesn’t happen overnight, but it is only 30 seconds to a minute of your time!
Take the time for yourself and visit your local acupuncturist to find out your true diagnosis so you don't have to live with headaches or migraines.
Looking to connect with Dr Cindy? Email her today.
By: Doula Sonja
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