Medicalised Menopause – what is the real effect on women and their lives?

by Kate Greenaway, Physiotherapist, Goonellabah

In my younger years I saw my mother going through a phase of anxiety, agitation and unrest and eventually she started taking hormone replacement therapy. Hearing the doctors around me (I had a lot of doctors in my family) give their medical opinion as to what was occurring didn’t really support me to understand what was going on and what was actually happening to her.

What was happening to her?

It was simply menopause. But the way it was discussed was as if it was an ill health condition that needed to be managed medically, rather than something normal and natural that can actually be a very beautiful process in a woman’s life. 

There are many instances when medical intervention can be necessary during menopause and this is not a criticism of medicine, or anyone that needs medical support during menopause. Nor is it a criticism of doctors – I work closely with many medical practitioners for the greatest support of our mutual clients.

The problem is that menopause, is often by default viewed as ‘an issue’ for women, in both medicine and the general population. It is often seen as something that has to be braced for, something women have to ‘get through’.

Discussing this topic with a group of women recently, I realised the extent of the harm that is done to both women and men when we are fed and swallow lies about this time in a woman’s life. Continue reading “Medicalised Menopause – what is the real effect on women and their lives?”

A walking vagina? We are so much more.

by Jane Torvaney, Physiotherapist, Scotland 

Within my work as a physiotherapist, I assess and treat women who have what is termed ‘urinary dysfunction’. Most often this means that the women have either stress incontinence (leakage of urine when the body is under stress e.g. coughing, sneezing or running), urge incontinence (a sudden and strong need to urinate) or a mixture of both.

As part of the training to more fully support women who have urinary dysfunction, physiotherapists can attend a course to be taught how to perform a vaginal examination. This allows us to measure the strength, tone, laxity, coordination and connective tissues of the pelvic floor muscles and gives women a reference point to feel the contraction of their pelvic floor muscles from within.

Knowing that on this course I would be trained in vaginal examination and then taking it back to carry out with women, sent me in a spin and raised the following questions for me to consider. Continue reading “A walking vagina? We are so much more.”

True Physiotherapy – Part Two

by Kate Greenaway-Twist, Goonellabah NSW

Following on from True Physiotherapy – Part One:

Over the last 16 years I have transformed from a person driven by the goals of how things should be, how a patient should move or feel after a treatment, to a person far more at ease in myself, with a body that is far less tense. I am lighter and more fluid in all my movements and I am able to truly support my patients in their own natural healing process.

A big part of this transformation was due to me reconnecting to my natural gentleness, a quality within me that I had been disconnected from for a long time.

Gentleness

I have also learned over the last 16 years how important it is to reconnect to the natural gentle quality in me, that is in us all. I was inspired to give gentleness a go from the constant reflection of gentleness, love and true caring for others from Serge Benhayon, of Universal Medicine.

Gradually I became more gentle in my approach to myself and with everything I do, especially in how I am with my patients – how I touch them and treat them. Continue reading “True Physiotherapy – Part Two”

True Physiotherapy – Part One

 by Kate Greenaway, Goonellabah NSW

I have been working in Physiotherapy for over 30 years. I graduated from Sydney University in 1984 and worked in teaching hospitals for the next 2 years. For the following 6 years I worked in private practice, learning as much as I could from more experienced physios, but I found there was a hardness to the way physiotherapy was practised and so I went overseas in search of a more gentle way to treat the whole body.

In Boston, USA, I did courses introducing me to the importance of the connective tissue in the body. I experimented with more gentle ways of releasing this tissue for my many clients that had complex chronic spinal pain.

I came back to Australia in 1997 and moved to the Northern Rivers region of NSW, working in Community Health for 4 years full time and then 4 years part time. I treated the full range of ages and conditions, from babies to the elderly. Since 2002 I have been self-employed, working in a wonderful complementary healing clinic called Universal Medicine in Goonellabah and for 2 years until December 2016 I also worked in a family medical practice nearby. Over the years, I have undergone such a transformation in myself and my work that the way I am with patients, and how I approach my treatments with them now is a world away from even 15 years ago. Continue reading “True Physiotherapy – Part One”

The Power of Physiotherapy and Universal Medicine in Palliative Care

by Gill Randall, Physiotherapist, Grad Dip Phys, Banbury, UK

I work as a physiotherapist in palliative care. Now, physiotherapy and palliative care are not always words that we might put together. I have often received perplexed looks when telling people where I work initially, and the response often comes with ‘how sad and dreary that must be’, but no, on the contrary, that is not true. However, I do understand their confusion. Physiotherapy is associated with healing, recovering, getting better, or rehabilitation. Palliative care can imply coming towards the end of life, giving up or giving in at the end of the journey. But I consider that we all have the opportunity to learn or to feel a difference in life, right until our last breath, and in the hospice environment, we aim to keep people as well as possible, even in the last days of life.

Life is the journey that we are all on to learn and to evolve. This isn’t a ladder going upwards, it’s often a reflection back for us to observe. Continue reading “The Power of Physiotherapy and Universal Medicine in Palliative Care”

Learning the meaning of osteoporosis

by Gill Randall, Physiotherapist Grad Dip Phys, Banbury, UK

A few years ago, the local gym I attended did a simple heel prick test and I was diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects bone density and strength, so the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue. In osteopenia, the protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced, but less severely than in osteoporosis.

Bone is alive and constantly changing. A healthy diet and lifestyle from an early age help us to maximize bone strength by ‘banking’ bone when we are young. A poor diet as children, eating disorders, and erratic diets can all affect the laying down of healthy bone. And as we age, particularly after menopause in women, there is a tendency to bone loss. Osteoporosis can tend to run in families, but whether this is due to dietary and lifestyle factors or ‘genetic’ tendencies is open to question.

I was surprised at my diagnosis, as I had had a healthy diet as a child. I did a bit of yo-yo dieting through my teenage years, but I’ve had a tendency to be overweight, not underweight, and have always been relatively active. Upon diagnosis I was prescribed calcium tablets with Vitamin D and told to do more weight bearing exercise, so I did some line dancing and an exercise class in the gym. I do have a family connection, as my mother had severe osteoporosis and had a lot of pain from it in her later years. It’s not a life threatening condition, but it can be life changing. When she lost bone density and 5 inches in height, she had constant pain, easily broke bones when she fell, and postural changes caused digestive problems.

Having witnessed my mother go through these progressive changes, I do not want this for my future, and so I want to learn what I can do to support the health of my bones. Continue reading “Learning the meaning of osteoporosis”

Exercise: Gentle and Flowing or Pounding and Pushing?

by Kate Greenaway, BAppSc(PT), Physiotherapist, Australia

Recently I had a fascinating experience that highlighted to me the difference between moving and exercising in a gentle flowing way or pounding and pushing the body. I was packing my car after a lovely time exercising in the local pool when I noticed two middle aged men running down a steep cement driveway near me – they were literally pounding and jarring their bodies. They were red and puffy in their faces and they looked miserable. It felt like they were punishing themselves in pushing their bodies for some sort of outcome. I was feeling really fluid and content in my body from the gentle moving and swimming that I had just completed and I could really feel the contrast with what these men were doing as they slammed their bodies with each step.

I remembered it was only a few years ago that I was pelting up and down the local pools to do my ’40 laps’ or pushing myself up the gazillion steps to the Byron Bay Lighthouse to feel good about doing something ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ for my body. Part of my drive came from the ideal that  ‘I should have a healthy body’ as I was a physiotherapist and ‘how could I tell my clients to look after their bodies and exercise if I wasn’t ?’ Continue reading “Exercise: Gentle and Flowing or Pounding and Pushing?”

The Body’s True Intelligence

by Kate Greenaway BAppSc(PT), Physiotherapist, Australia

In the early days of my work in Physiotherapy, I had a sense that the human body had its own natural intelligence. It was sensitive and responded clearly to any internal or external strain. I experimented a lot with my own body: I tested all the physio modes of treatment on myself first before I ever touched a client. I learned that if any technique was done in a pushing, forceful way, my body tightened in protection. It seemed like my body had its own sensor system to any sensation that was not gentle. Continue reading “The Body’s True Intelligence”