Today’s post is about the manual therapies that I myself have also benefited from. It might a bit lengthy, but hold on, useful information is coming up 🙂
A while ago, I’ve signed up for a 400-hour course, Herbal Medicine for Women, taught by world-renowned midwife, herbalist and Yale MD, Aviva Romm. It is a very comprehensive training program on herbal treatment methods of health conditions faced by women through all the stages of womanhood from menarche to menopause (including fertility, childbirth and postpartum period). Beyond the approach of “oh, just drink this herbal tea, it will be good for your health”, this training teaches us to approach the aforesaid issues from a holistic perspective and also support the recovery period in all aspects of healing, and encourages us to include it into our practice. (Tools such as stress management, nutrition and manual therapies are also included in the training program.)
A series of trainings in which I’ve combined two important topics that I benefited so much from, yoga and herbal medicine, has started and continue with joy. (A little announcement: The first of the series was Workshop on Prenatal Yoga and Herbal Medicine. Following this, the series will continue with the workshops, “Yoga and Herbal Medicine for Menstrual Health” and “Yoga and Herbal Medicine for Premenopausal Period and Menopause” first in Ankara, then in İstanbul and İzmir in the autumn. If you are interested in these topics here is my contact information.) Apart from these, another healing method from which I’ve benefited so much is manual therapies. Four years ago, when my husband and I moved to Thailand, we took courses on traditional Chinese and Thai medicine. The first of these included the massages, Chi Nei Tsang and Karsai Nei Tsang. After practicing these two massages once or twice, a few months later I was pregnant with Flora. In fact, before that we were trying for a baby for three years.)
Chi Nei Tsang is an abdominal massage. It releases the blocked energy, knots and toxins embedded in the internal organs and thus help cure physiological problems as well as mental and emotional ones. According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine, all problems originate from the abdomen and the blockages in the body account for the health conditions. Blockages are caused by aging process, emotional and physical traumas, toxins, heavy metals, air pollution, malnutrition, chemicals in foods and excessive stress. There are different types of blockages such as blockages in the circulatory system that affect the flow of blood and lymph, blockages that obstruct the organs to function properly (especially kidneys, bladder, spleen, pancreas, lungs, prostate gland, testes, uterus and vagina), energy blocks, blockages in the muscles, tendons and fascia.
Chi Nei Tsang is useful in treating the symptoms of numerous health conditions, from discomforts regarding the internal organs to back and neck pains, from depression and anxiety to sleep problems, and from digestive disorders to respiratory problems. (Other examples include hip pains, headaches, sciatica, fibroids, menstrual pains, constipation, etc). Additionally, by stimulating the lymphatic and circulatory systems, it helps the body eliminate toxins.
Karsai Nei Tsang, which is a massage for the genital area, is performed together with Chi Nei Tsang. It works on the problems concerning the genital area. Some of these issues are frequent urination, difficulty in urinating, painful menstruation, painful intercourse, low libido, erectile difficulties, infertility, etc. Karsai Nei Tsang is also effective in alleviating low back pain and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Karsai Nei Tsang especially focuses on the blockages in the genital area that create sedimentation in the veins. In order to have healthy genitals that function properly, a good blood flow is needed. When the blood flow is disturbed and blocked with crystal-like sedimentation and fatty deposits, sexual arousal is adversely affected as well. A poor blood flow to the genital area causes men to have difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection. Likewise, as women’s sexual arousal requires a good blood flow, any disturbance in this respect leads to problems in the production of sexual fluids and in the swelling of labia and clitoris. Releasing the blockages and sedimentation that cause poor blood flow, Karsai Nei Tsang enables women and men to regain sexual function and health.
We’ve neglected our sexual organs for a very long time, however our sexual organs need attention and care just like the rest of our body. With gentle but deep, circular movements, the Karsai Nei Tsang practitioner breaks up and dissolves the sedimentation in the circulatory system both helping the organs eliminate toxins and aiding in the release of emotional blockages in this area.
The technique that I want to share with you today is the uterine massage that Mayan healers have performed for centuries.
Both Karsai Nei Tsang and Maya Uterine Massage put emphasis on the position of the uterus. Midwives and healers agree that most gynecological problems are caused by a uterus that is not in place. Normally, the uterus leans slightly over the bladder in the center of the pelvis, about 3.5-4 cm above the pubic bone. The uterus is held in this position by muscles, the vaginal wall and ligaments that attach it to the front, back and the sides of the pelvis. Uterine ligaments are able to stretch to accommodate a growing fetus inside and move freely when the bladder or the bowel is full. The ligaments and muscles can weaken and loosen causing the uterus to fall downward, forward, backward or to either side. A uterus in any of these positions is called as “prolapsed” or “tipped” uterus.
Naturally, the uterus moves slightly forward and backward as the bladder and rectum fill, but when the uterus remains stuck in any of these positions, it affects the surrounding blood vessels and organs (the bladder and rectum) as well as the health of the uterus and ovaries. Retroversion/retroflexion of the uterus may make it difficult for the follicle to burst through the ovarian wall resulting in ovarian cysts. It has been theorized that a retroflexion may also cause retrograde blood to flow into the abdominal cavity leading to endometriosis. As for the ovulation pain, the ovaries lie very close to the psoas muscles, and especially when the uterus is tipped back and the psoas is already tight, it can affect the genitofemoral nerve causing pain in the front of the thigh and the knee.
Tilted uteri are quite common. So, what if your uterus is tipped? Think of it this way: your uterus weighs about 110-115 grams and can swell up to 225-280 grams right before and during menstruation; that’s a lot of potential extra weight on your rectum, bladder, blood vessels, or nerves. The uterus lies between the bladder and the rectum, so when it is tipped forward, you may experience frequent urination. When your uterus is tipped back, it may lean against the rectum that could cause thin stools, foul smelling menses, and/or constipation. (Imagine you are trying to conceive a baby and toxins from the rectum seep into your uterus!) Your uterus may also lean to the left or right. Other problems caused by a uterus that is not in place are painful/irregular menstruation, fertility challenges, headaches, ovarian cysts, low back pain, difficult pregnancy, PMS and fibroids.
The rest of the post is from Arvigo Rosita’s book “Rainforest Home Remedies” (Arvigo is a traditional healer and doctor of naprapathy that worked with Mayan healers for so many years)
“75% of women have a wandering womb that obstructs the free flow of fluids through this part of the body. This means that that the uterus, ovaries, bladder, and bowel are not receiving sufficient blood or life energy. Untold numbers of hysterectomies could be prevented with this simple, easy-to-learn, and safe massage technique. When done properly, external, noninvasive massage strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may take a few minutes or a few months for the uterus to slide back into place and stay there. In some women the damage to the ligaments has been so severe that correction is no longer possible by this method. Women who have had hysterectomies benefit greatly from Maya uterine massage as well. The technique improves circulation in and around the area of the scar.
Some causes of a prolapsed uterus are these:
- Falls that had an impact on the lower back • Car accidents • Weakening of ligaments due to overstretching during pregnancy and labor • Bad professional care during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and afterward • Carrying heavy loads during the period, pregnancy, or too soon after delivery • Running on concrete surfaces • Chronic constipation • High-impact dancing, aerobics, horseback riding, gymnastics, or other sports activity
Whether the uterus falls backward, forward, downward, or to the sides, the signs and symptoms are the same. There can be
- Painful periods • Irregular periods • Dark, thick fluids at the beginning and end of the period • Blood clots • No menstruation at all • Headaches • Dizziness • Varicose veins • Tired legs, numb feet, and sore heels • Lower backache • Infertility • Endometritis • Endometriosis • Polyps • Painful intercourse • PMS • Uterine infections • Frequent urination • Ovarian cysts • Vaginitis • Hormonal imbalances • Difficult pregnancy and delivery • Difficult menopause • Cancer of the cervix, uterus, colon, or bladder
Do not perform the Maya uterine massage on yourself if
- You have had abdominal surgery within the last six months • You are under medical treatment for cancer or pelvic abdominal infection • You are pregnant • You experience intense pain or discomfort during the self-care massage that does not decrease with each successive treatment • You are taking painkillers or any medication that may mask discomfort during treatment • You begin to have intense emotional upheavals during or after the massage treatment (you need to be with someone who can help you with emotional healing) • Your period is due within five days • You are experiencing sudden onset of abdominal pain and have not yet been evaluated by a physician • You have an IUD (intra-uterine device for birth control)”
For the massage there are courses in different countries and cities around the world. There are also some youtube videos with some instructions. I also prepared a video which you can check here but it is in Turkish. Apart from these I will also be sharing these techniques during my Workshop on Healthy Menstruation which you can check the details here.