- Real Talk About Women’s Health
A group of moms sip their coffee or tea as their children play. One mom jokes about how she hasn't jumped on a trampoline since she had 7-year old Molly, who flips in the air and lands on her feet. “Oh, how I miss those days; being able to jump without soaking my underwear. I’ve learned the hard way to just put a pad on if I’m going to do any jumping.” They all laugh, but Amy who’s second child is just 10 months has been trying to get back to running, but it always results in bladder pressure and leaking. She feels gross when she runs, and this activity that once provided stress relief has now become a source of anxiety for her. She had been trying to find the courage to open up to her friends about it, but now hearing the laughter decides to stay quiet. On the other side of her Janeen forces a chuckle but has to excuse herself because ever since she had her youngest who is 2, she has felt an unusual sensation of heaviness in her vagina. It has brought her great anguish, and while she can fake a laugh for a moment, she feels herself getting choked up and needs a moment alone to compose herself. She has been silently suffering and has only mentioned it to her doctor who did a pelvic exam and told her everything looked fine Beth is sitting across the room nursing her first who is only 6 months. The tone of the room changes as she asks, “How long does intercourse continue to hurt after giving birth?”. Beth had a 3-degree tear during her vaginal delivery. The other women look at each other speechless. None of them knew this could be a complication from childbirth, and they are not sure how to answer her question, or where to send her for help. These stories are way too common but seldom talked about. What none of these moms realize is that there are solutions for the women’s health issues they are experiencing. While bladder leakage may be common in the postpartum and menopause years, it is something that can be treated. A feeling of vaginal heaviness is typically indicative of some descent of the pelvic organs, and while it may not be a true pelvic organ prolapse where the organ bulges out of the vaginal opening, it certainly can cause symptoms and impair quality of life. Painful intercourse affects many women not only postpartum but even women who have not had children. These are just a few conditions commonly treated with women’s health physical therapy. Taking the time to seek help for women’s issues can be life-changing. So the next time you sit with your girlfriends bravely share if need to, find support, and seek help through women’s health physical therapy or other women’s health specialists. ~Leslie Kremer, DPT, LLC
- Lessons Learned as A Cancer Caregiver
I remember the exact moment we learned that my husband of 18 months had incurable cancer. Finding each other later in life was an incredible blessing, so how could this be happening to us? I say “us” intentionally because when a family member receives a cancer diagnosis, the whole family is impacted. My husband is the strong, silent type who deals with any crisis head on, so it was hard to know exactly what he was feeling. I, on the other hand, was a mixed bag of emotions from anger, disbelief, fear, grief, and hope. That diagnosis came 12 years ago and many lessons have been learned through our years of living together with cancer. Believe the diagnosis, but not the prognosis. When diagnosed with cancer one of our first questions is “what’s the prognosis” and I, too, asked this question of the Oncologist. The answer was that people live anywhere from 1 ½ years to 20 years with this type of cancer. We looked at each other and said, “OK, we’re going for 20 or more”! There are hundreds of stories of people who have lived well beyond their prognosis by taking a proactive approach to their health and healing. Educate yourself. We knew nothing about Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or CCL, so we started researching. This takes courage, but it is better to be armed with knowledge than to live in fear of the unknown. We researched different holistic approaches to treatment, environmental factors and lifestyle choices that could supplement the chemotherapy. This included nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and meditation, nutritional supplements, yoga, spirituality, laughter, and attitude. We chose to focus on high quality nutrition, abundant laughter and positivity. Go to appointments and ask questions. I learned early on that my husband is one of those guys that does not ask the doctor questions and if he does, he may not recall the answers by the time he gets home. This caused frustration, so I started going to most appointments with him and reluctantly got his approval to ask questions. These appointments are always emotional, not knowing whether you will learn that things are holding steady or if the cancer has become aggressive. Write your questions down, be persistent about answers and keep good notes and records. Don’t put your own needs on the back burner. A cancer diagnosis can become all-consuming, physically and emotionally. It is easy to put your personal needs on hold to give your total attention to your loved one. This can quickly lead to compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout. It is not selfish to nurture yourself while caregiving, in fact, self-care is critical to maintaining your balance and your own health. As the flight attendants tell you, put on your own oxygen mask first! Seek out trusted friends or professionals to share your feelings and get much needed support. Laughter is great medicine. It can feel insensitive to laugh, play and experience joy during a loved one’s illness. Cancer is serious, but especially during times of illness, fear and uncertainty, laughter and joy can be an incredibly healing force. One of my goals since we started living with cancer is to give my husband at least one good belly laugh every day. We watch movies and TV shows that are uplifting and that bring joy to our spirits. Even during the darkest hours of life, there is something to be grateful for and joy to be experienced. Be a good listener. As much as we want to understand what it means and how it feels to be on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis, we can’t. We want to help, but we don’t always know how. Listening deeply and just being fully present can be the greatest gift you can give your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What do you need most from me?” For my husband it was to not be coddled, pitied or treated as a cancer patient. Look for the blessings. It may be hard to imagine any blessing coming from a cancer diagnosis, but it can lead to greater emotional intimacy and greater sense of purpose. There is so much we take for granted, including people, time and even life itself. When we face the possibility of losing those things, they become more precious to us. Illness can force us to slow down and listen to our body, our heart and our spirit. Get busy living… Although we all know we have limited time here on earth, there is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to bring that reality into focus. One of my favorite quotes from the movie The Shawshank Redemption is “we have the choice to get busy living or get busy dying.” I remember my husband saying, “I am not going to sit in a chair and wait to die.” He got busy living and I believe that is why we are celebrating 12 years of living with cancer. ~By Dr Linda Peterson, PhD, NCC, CLC, CHC
- End the Diet Mentality
di·et /ˈdīət/ noun the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. verb restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight. Depending on your relationship with food and your body, this four-letter word may evoke a myriad of thoughts and emotions. We live in a diet culture—a belief system that focuses on and values weight, shape, and size over well-being. We are promised that if we only follow this set of rules or use this product, we will lose weight quickly, easily, and forever. According to Boston Medical Center, “An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products.” You may be saying to yourself, “But I’m just trying to eat healthy.” Variations of the diet culture also include rigid eating patterns that on the surface are in the name of health, but in reality are about weight, shape or size. This is how the diet culture is tricky, working to keep us stuck in a diet mentality. Diet mentality is a false belief that diets for weight loss create health and happiness. Diet mentality erodes body trust and replaces it with external rules, encouraging us to ignore the natural body cues we have as infants and toddlers and question our ability to know how to feed ourselves. Diet mentality is that negative voice we hear that chastises us for not following the rules well, for not being enough. Research on the short-term and long-term effects of dieting reveals damaging effects mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s time to refuse to believe the lies of our diet culture, end the diet mentality and focus on true health and wellness mind, body and spirit. To break free, consider the principles of bio-individuality and intuitive eating. 1. Bio-individuality. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. The principle of bio-individuality is based on the belief that each person is a unique individual with highly individualized nutritional needs, and that these needs change over time. Giving ourselves permission to listen to our physical bodies and bringing awareness to what makes us feel good and what doesn’t is a big part of identifying our own unique dietary needs. 2. Intuitive Eating. Forget about counting calories, fat grams, and carbs. Evelyn Tribole defines intuitive eating as “a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs…Ultimately, you are the expert of your body. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feels like. Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.” Learn more about the 10 principles of intuitive eating here: https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/ Bio-individuality and intuitive eating may seem like very foreign concepts considering you most likely have years, if not decades of experience in a world of diet culture and diet mentality. Making changes to eating patterns can be frustrating and overwhelming. It’s important to remember that each and every food choice is an opportunity to move toward a healthier way of eating. Small changes in food choices—one meal at a time—can make a big difference in the long-term. Remember to offer yourself grace & self-compassion. It’s all about progress, not perfection. ~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach
- I want to go to the gym and workout, but is it safe to do so with COVID-19?
No doubt COVID-19 has been a challenge for people worldwide. Many experts are beginning to recommend that people start to treat their daily routine as they would during the influenza season, depending on their relative risk of infection and complications should they become sick. If you are at low risk, ie. healthy, not of advanced age, no advanced heart disease, diabetes, or morbid obesity, then focus on regular hand washing, staying home if you're ill, getting plenty of sleep, adequate hydration, excellent nutrition and personalized supplementation. If your choice for exercise is to go to the gym, follow normal precautions including wiping down equipment before and after use and more frequent hand washing. It is not recommended to exercise with a mask on as it can inhibit breathing and oxygenation and exhalation of CO2. If you choose to exercise in a group setting, do not join in a group class if you are feeling ill in any way. If you have no symptoms, the likelihood of you already being infected with coronavirus is low, but always use normal sanitation precautions. The health benefits of regular exercise, social interaction and good nutrition seem to far outweigh the risk of being exposed to coronavirus and the risk of complications in healthy individuals. We will continue to offer classes at Statera and for the safety of everyone, we will ask all ill patients to refrain from participating. We have increased our sterilization practices and we will run at 50% capacity to allow for adequate social distancing. We look forward to seeing you soon. Dr. Lawrence Hutchison, MD Statera Medical Director
- What is Yoga?
“What is yoga?” I am asked this question often as a yoga teacher and it is so hard to come up with a short, easy answer. Many people think of stretching, others of strengthening, chanting, or “om” ing, and sure, it can be a mix of all those things. My easy answer is that it is a mind, body, and spirit practice. But what does that mean? My first visit to a yoga practice was all about my body. I wanted to look like those fit and bendy yogis I saw in pictures everywhere. I soon found out that yoga was so much more. It started with how it affected my mind. It made my mind quiet; that nagging anxiety that was a constant in my brain began to disappear. It started with a breath, then another. Soon I held a pose for eight breaths. Eventually I was able to quiet my mind from the beginning of class integration all the way through Savasana to the final Namaste. I spent some time working on cultivating the mind and then the magic happened! The spirit came flooding in (and here is my preaching moment) Yoga is LIFE CHANGING, that is what yoga is! Yoga changed everything about how I see the world and it saved my life by making it whole, alive, and authentic. When I found yoga, I was in a tailspin, unable to recover from traumas of childhood, my teenage years, and onward. I was unable to forgive myself for mistakes I made in the past and unable move forward. I lacked the confidence to love myself for who I was and not who I thought everyone else wanted me to be. Most of all, I was missing out on loving myself wholeheartedly for all these things, because that is what makes me who I am. Learning to love myself helped me to become a more compassionate person to others. When I did my interview for Yoga Teacher training, we discussed at length the personal transformation format they chose for 200 training and about how it would help us find our “ness”. Through yoga I have gotten back the “Meghan-ness” I was born with. I have peeled away layers, upon layers that I have been covering up with trying to be what family, friends, other parents and society wanted me to be. Finding my inner strength, flexibility, openness, love, kindness, patience, compassion for myself and all things I share this universe with, that is what Yoga is to me. Namaste. ~Meghan Hermsen, Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master
- When Healthy Food May Not Be Good for Your Health
You have undoubtedly heard the old adage, “you are what you eat". Perhaps a better way of thinking about it might be, “what you eat makes you feel how you do”. If you are allergic or sensitive to what you are eating, even if it is a perfectly healthy food, it may be causing a breakdown of the gut lining, systemic inflammation, poor nutrient absorption and immune system dysfunction. Food allergies can be frustrating for both the patient and their medical providers. Patients have often sought relief from multiple providers and had extensive work ups, but just cannot find the source of their suffering with such issues as chronic abdominal pain and bloating, poor digestion and persistent GI distress. Often the problem is not even gastrointestinal. Food allergies can also manifest in chronic headaches and chronic infections. A patient may not respond to treatments for anxiety and/or depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or unexplained joint pains and muscle aches. Still others report a persistent brain fog or struggle to get restful sleep. There are two main types of antibodies that are tested usually in a panel of 75-100 different common foods using a standard blood draw. The first antibody, IgE may cause a more classic allergic reaction and result in sudden and often noticeable symptoms like trouble swallowing or breathing, but often cause only more mild issues like nausea, vomiting, hives, upset stomach, bloating or diarrhea. The second type of antibody, IgG, is considered to be more of a food sensitivity, is often subtle and may present over hours to even days. IgG reactions can manifest as headaches, digestive issues, skin issues, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains and stiffness, brain fog, depression, anxiety, or immune system compromise. Food sensitivity and allergy testing have improved tremendously over the last several years. Scientists are learning more about how the body reacts to different antigens. We don't yet fully understand why some people react to certain foods and others don't. We are learning how to interpret new types of testing to discover what foods an individual person may react to and how that reaction can manifest in many different and unusual ways. Food allergies and sensitivities can lead to a multitude of symptoms that you may not automatically connect with the foods you are eating. If you are suffering and have had trouble rooting out the cause, consider meeting with a provider who is comfortable with testing for, interpreting and treating complex food allergies and sensitivities. It is possible that “healthy food” you are eating could actually be negatively impacting your health. ~Dr. Lawrence Hutchison, MD To schedule an appointment, call 563-207-8932.
- Creating Your Healthy Space
It has long been known that interior design—the spaces in which we spend our time— have a direct correlation to our physical, mental, and emotional health. The basic principles of feng shui, originating from ancient China, strive to create balance with the natural world in our interior spaces. It uses energy forces to create harmony between an individual and their environment. Because everyone is unique, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating your healthy space. There are some basic, foundational principles that can help you get started in the right direction, though. Consider how we can use ideas from feng shui combined with our human senses to create a space that will be healthy, inviting, and productive. What you see. Clearing the clutter in your space can be the most important thing you do. ’The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ is a #1 New York Times Best Seller, and is cited by CNN as, “one of the most influential books of the decade.” Clutter drains your energy. Identify your clutter, and honestly sort those items that bring you joy (and those that don’t!). Also, consider color. Color on your walls and in your decor is one of the easiest ways you can shift the energy in your space. In feng shui, color is considered to be an expression of one of the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element invokes a different mood, creating a customized space that's beneficial for your personality and goals. Fire element, passion and high energy: use red, orange, purple, pink and strong yellow Earth element, nourishment and stability: use light yellow, light brown, earthy/sandy colors Metal element, clarity and preciseness: use gray and white Water element, ease and abundance: use blue and black Wood element, growth and vitality: use brown and green What you smell. Aromatherapy uses aromatic pure essential oils dispersed through diffusers or spritzers to enhance health and wellness mind and body. Specific essential oils bring a certain quality of energy. For example, to create an energized, vibrant space consider peppermint, lemongrass, or bergamot. To create a more tranquil energy space, use soothing, relaxing scents such as lavender, chamomile, and rose. Experiment with different essential oils and blends to find what works well for you. What you hear. For each feng shui element, there is a corresponding musical element. Once exclusively indigenous to China, feng shui bands, music, musicians, and philosophies have spread across the planet bestowing a greater understanding of their feng shui value and significance. The purpose of the music is to help improve the lives of the listeners by initiating energy through the release of sound. To explore feng shui music, search online or using music streaming services. What you feel. Consider how soft, plush, or velvety textures may bring you a feeling of calm and comfort. These would be textures you would want to use in your bedroom, for example, to encourage a restful night’s sleep. Experiment with different shapes and textures, as well as lighting to learn how each makes you feel. Creating your healthy space can be a very important step to reaching your health and wellness goals mind, body and spirit. ~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach
- Workplace Ergonomic Assessments Can Benefit Employers and Employees
Many industries and work environments, often unintentionally, expose workers to hazardous conditions and constant physical stress resulting in accidents, injuries, and chronic conditions. Some high-risk groups include assembly line workers, manufacturing employees, healthcare workers and office workers. Jobs requiring continual heavy lifting or constant repetition of the same motion can be especially stressful. Office work—especially that involving constant computer use—can lead to various physical problems. These include eye strain from artificial lighting and computer screens, back problems related to incorrect posture and ill-fitting chairs or workstations and hand, wrist, or shoulder injuries due to excessive or incorrect keyboard use. Assessments are an extremely valuable tool in preventing workplace injuries or returning an employee to work following a workplace injury. The desired outcomes of ergonomic assessment and intervention are a quicker return to work of injured employees, a safer and more efficient work environment, prevention of future injuries, and increased understanding of safe work and postural practices. By reducing injuries, Workers' Compensation claims, and employee absenteeism, adjustments made to the work environment and related activities can lead to reductions in cost to the employer. An ergonomic assessment is a simple 30-60 minute process designed to assess each person’s unique postural tendencies and offer recommendations to limit strain associated with particular positions. A Physical Therapist (PT) is trained in optimal positioning and movement to limit stresses on muscles, tendons, and joints and can identify potential problem areas for each person. A problem may already be present such as shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and back injuries. Or a problem may be avoided if a repetitive movement is able to be minimized and/or corrected by an assessment from a PT. Assessments can be performed with any type of job and are not limited to desk jobs. Truck drivers, construction sites, office jobs, etc. would all benefit from an ergonomic assessment. The optimal height of chairs will vary based on the person’s tendency to be in posterior, neutral, or anterior pelvic alignment so it is not a one size fits all approach. It may also change whether you’re shifting in a truck or seated at a computer. Lifting mechanics are extremely important with construction type work or UPS drivers, etc. Ergonomic assessment and intervention includes the "Five E's" of correction and injury prevention: Ergonomic-engineering, exposure reduction, exercise, enforcement of preventative procedures or policies and education. Ergonomic evaluations should be a part of every workplace environment, benefitting both the employee and the employer, since no one benefits from a workplace injury. ~Dr. Lindsey Topping, DPT Call Statera at 563-207-8932 to schedule your ergonomic evaluation.
- Cleaning with Essential Oils
Springtime is the perfect time to freshen up your home and bring the outdoors inside with the aromas that you enjoy and love. The aroma of first cut grass, and the soft scent of magnolia trees blooming has a positive effect on our emotions. How can we bottle these amazing scents of the great outdoors and enjoy them indoors, all year long?! Well, it is easy! Have you tried essential oils? Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, roots, stems, flowers and other parts of the plant and have been used throughout history in many cultures for their healing properties. What was used centuries ago was a much more rudimentary raw form resin of the plant. Advancements in technology have allowed for easier methods of extracting the oils and can provide a very therapeutic oil when done correctly. Many oils have a multitude of uses and some essential oil companies have researched their oils safe for aromatic diffusion, internally, and topical use. Be sure to check the oil you purchase and use according to its label. When seeking the best essential oil for your house cleaning needs, verify that the company’s product does not contain fillers, artificial ingredients, or dilutions. They should be free of contaminants or other chemical residues. When oils are impure or contaminated or altered, like many oils on the market, the essential oils are weakened and are less likely to have a strong effect for specific needs. To ensure safety and efficacy involves, a preferred third party to test the products for purity and composition potency should be done with each batch. Look for companies that provide this valuable information on their websites to give you the added assurance you need to use it in your home. Adding a few drops of essential oils that you like, helps to freshen up the environment and only cost pennies per drop. Essential oils are very potent. Many items already in your household are inexpensive and make good cleaners, such as vinegar and water, and baking soda. Add essential oils to reduce the vinegar smell and boosts the cleaning power. So what oils might be good for cleaning? 1) Lemon oil is great for removing sticky adhesives, gum, and greasy residues in fabric. Use lemon and water to clean your kitchen counters and stainless steel appliances. Also try a little lemon oil, baking soda and white vinegar on the stove top and use a sponge to remove charred food. 2) Wild Orange is a powerful cleaning and purifying agent. Cold pressed from the peel, Wild Orange releases a citrus aroma that is sure to energize your senses. Need to run a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher? Try Wild Orange in the rinse cycle. While you have the oil handy, try a little wild orange in the garbage disposal drain too! 3) Toilets need some extra attention and are never fun to clean. But with a ½ cup baking soda, 10 drops of Melaleuca and ¼ to ½ cup white vinegar and a good toilet brush, it will be clean and refreshing in no time! 4) If dusting the house isn’t your favorite chore, (and it is certainly not mine!) maybe some essential oils that you love will make the job seem easier! If you are polishing wood, try a woodsy oil like 15 drops of Arborvitae, Siberian Fir or Cedarwood to 1 cup olive or coconut oil and 1 cup distilled white vinegar add to a spray bottle, shake and polish away! 5) Room freshener- try a diffuser with a blend of 2 drops Lime, 2 drops Tangerine, and 2 drops Ylang Ylang. A diffuser may have different settings anywhere from 1 hour run time to intermittent spritzing to keep the scent around. I like to have a diffuser in the main areas of the house that give an intermittent spritzing now and again and last most of the day! ~Julie Haufe, Massage Therapist & Reiki Master More tips and recipes can be found @ The Massage Room Dubuque, on Facebook. Contact StateraIntegrated.com for more information on setting up an essential oils consult or for more information.
- How do I know if your Aging Well 10-week program is right for me?
This signature Statera program is designed for those age 45 and beyond who are ready to develop a prevention lifestyle or who are already dealing with moderate chronic illness such as pre-diabetes, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure or inflammation. These illnesses are not inevitable as we age and, in many cases, can be reversed with a few lifestyle changes. This program goes deeper than sharing exercise and nutrition tips by helping you develop a personalized plan to improve how you move, how you eat, how you connected with your world and how you think about your health and wellness. The program includes educational sessions, fitness classes, health and life coaching, biometric testing, food journal reviews, weekly support and many other benefits. The class size is intentionally small to provide deeper personal connections and so fitness classes meet the needs and/or physical limitations of individual participants. Your program facilitators, Dr. Linda Peterson, Kathy Brown-Miner and Nicole Hutchison, are highly trained professionals who will provide you with the latest in health information, share proven success strategies and motivate you to activate your new lifestyle to optimize your health and wellness. If you have tried other programs and were unsuccessful or have been fearful of starting a program, we want to ease your fear and hesitation. If you have never taken a fitness class or have not exercised for a long time, that’s OK. If you feel that it is too late for you to start getting healthier, it is not! Our goal is to provide for you a non-judgmental, safe and fun space to learn more about yourself and develop your own unique plan for a healthier, happier future. Due to state and local social distancing restrictions, we will be offering the upcoming 10-week class virtually. Group class sessions will be held live via Zoom and will allow for group sharing. Individual sessions can be held in person at Statera, virtually via Zoom or by phone based on the desires of the participant. If you are ready to take charge of your health and wellness and give yourself the best opportunity for a long, active life, register for our Aging Well program that begins Tuesday, September 8th at 4pm. Space is limited so register now! For more information go to www.stateraintegrated.com or contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you in September! ~Linda Peterson, PhD, NCC, CLC, CHC Statera Life and Wellness Coach