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Spinal Manipulation, also known as ‘High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust’ or ‘Spinal Manipulative Therapy’, is an ancient art and science tracing its origins to the earliest of medical practitioners. Practiced principally by physical therapists and chiropractors, it is also utilized to a lesser degree by medical and osteopathic physicians. Spinal manipulation is unique compared with other manual therapy techniques in that the clinician applies a rapid impulse, or thrust, in order to achieve a gapping and subsequent cavitation of the target joint.




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Holistic Health

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What Is A Doula? Why Pregnant Women Love Doulas!

So, what is this doula thing that so many pregnant women speak of? The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. A doula (also known as a birth attendant) believes in ‘mothering the mother’. She enables a woman and her partner to have the most satisfying birth experience possible, from pregnancy and into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience too. DONA (Doulas of North America) explains how doulas fit into the birth team: “Women have complex needs during childbirth. In addition to the safety of modern obstetrical care, and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualised care based on their circumstances and preferences. The role of the birth doula encompasses the non-clinical aspects of care during childbirth.” Doulas have been actively supporting women in labour for a very long time, well before it was the formalised role that it is today. As a result of positive word of mouth (and the need for increased support), doulas are fast growing in popularity.

Who Are Doulas?

Doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and are usually mothers themselves. While they have good knowledge and awareness of the birth process, a doula does not support the mother in a medical role. That is the job of the midwife or doctor. A doula helps to keep birth normal (if that is the wishes of the birthing mother), and is a valuable addition to the birth team. Should a birth become complicated and require medical assistance, a doula will still remain by your side and help in any way she can. She will not make decisions for those she supports, but she will assist them through the decision making process. A doula provides balanced information so the couple can make their own choices. Many women consider doulas to be an absolute must, especially for those giving birth in a hospital. Due to the over-medicalisation of birth, inductions of labour have skyrocketed, and are partly to blame for the 30% (that’s one out of every three!) Australian and American babies now born via c-section. Some hospitals sport c-section rates of 50% and higher. This is a shocking statistic, well above the World Health Organisation recommendations of 10-15% — after this amount, it doesn’t save any further lives, which is what the c-section was intended for. Given the long term emotional and physical effects that medical births can have on the mother, her partner and baby, a doula is a valuable asset to your birth team. By amping up your support team with experienced, continuous care from a doula, you’re giving yourself an increased chance at a better experience. Your support team are the people you will rely on to get you through your toughest, most intense moments. How well they hold the space and support you can impact on the outcome of your birth. With a doula, you know that someone is always on YOUR team, holding the space for you and your family. She works for you (and your partner) and has your best interests at heart.

What Does A Doula Do?

A doula may provide some or all of the following services, dependent on her training and skills. Often doulas are also qualified in other therapies too, so it always helps to ask!

  • Birth education and preparation
  • Birth planning (including creating a written birth plan/birth preferences document)
  • De-briefing previous births
  • Massage and other comfort measures
  • Optimal fetal positioning
  • Suggest positions and changes to help ease pain and facilitate a smoother, more effective labour
  • Provide reassurance and encouragement
  • Talking through emotional blockages which may come up during pregnancy and in labour
  • Keep your ‘environment’ going – aromatherapy, music, candles etc
  • Assisting you with negotiation of your preferences
  • Photography and/or video of the birth itself, as well as those precious first moments as a family
  • So much more!.

One of the the biggest bonuses of hiring a doula is that fact that she is a professional birth support person. Doulas are trained in the art of birth support, and have a keen eye and intuition on what a labouring mother needs. Things which a hospital midwife unfortunately does not always have time for (as much as she may want to). Things which your partner may not pick up on, or situations he may not know how to deal with. A doula has a heart that is caring and nurturing, yet is able to remain calm and focused if things go off the rails — something that can be very difficult for family members and partners. Because family and friends tend to have an emotional connection, in the event of a problem or at the peak intensity moments, they can buckle, not knowing what to do, say or think.

A doula can think clearly, see pros and cons of any situation and relay them to the couple to make their own decision. When we’re stressed, we don’t make the best decisions, and in hospital, that may make your partner, mother or other, completely agreeable to what’s being put on the table. They may feel out of their depth, uncertain or scared. A doula can help explain what’s happening with compassion and without judgment or medical jargon, so its easier for everyone to understand.

Two Types Of Doulas

There are two types of doulas, birth doulas and postnatal doulas, with many doulas performing both roles. The major difference is that the role of the post-natal doula is to nurture the mother after childbirth. This may include breastfeeding support, baby wearing assistance, light home duties, massage, emotional and physical support for the mother and so on. Postnatal doulas are particularly in demand as support for new mothers has reduced in modern society. Needless to say, studies have shown that postnatal doulas make a huge impact on the wellbeing of mothers.

Where Do Doulas Work?

A doula works in birth centres, private and public hospitals and at homebirth in conjunction with midwives – but never as the sole carer at birth. Birthing without a midwife or doctor present is known as free-birthing however BellyBelly recommends birth with at least a qualified midwife or doctor..