Women's Health -- Women's Health 

 

I added this page to the site because of my concern about Women’s Health. There is much that we take for granted, but upon further study discover that things are not as they seem. 

This page is to bring some concerns to the attention of women of all ages, and to also offer some suggestions about good Self-Care. My Medicine Wheel page notes that there are four realms of human existence. Mental (North); Spiritual (South); Emotional (West); Physical (East). 

The journey, for women as we walk our earth walks, is to try and balance these four realms so that they can lead to healthy, harmonized lives. This is not so easy in a world that is very fast and does not tolerate or give time for Reflection and Contemplation, which are critical LIFE and BUSINESS SKILLS!

THE CREE HAVE A HANDLE ON HEALING Illness or any form of adversity is a predator. The bigger the predator (adversity), the greater the reward.  Face the challenge and in so doing, reap the reward. Heya ho.

 

MICROWAVING

Johns Hopkins published the following.

No water bottles in freezer. No plastic wrap in microwave ovens

Dioxin Carcinogens cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with water as this releases dioxins in the plastic.

Dr. Edward Fujimoto from Castle hospital on a TV program explained this health hazard. (He is the manager of the Wellness Program at the hospital.) He was talking about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers.

This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxins into the food and ultimately ultimately to the cells of the body. Dioxins are carcinogens and highly toxic to the cells of our bodies. Instead, he recommends using glass, Corning Ware, or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, without the dioxins.

Such things as TV dinners, instant frozen foods and soups should be removed from their containers and heated in something else such as tempered glass, corning ware, etc.  Do not use Paper, because the contents of the paper are unknown.

To add to this, Saran wrap placed over foods as they are nuked, with the high heat actually drips poisonous toxins into the food, use paper towels.

MENOPAUSE

Among Indigenous people post-menopausal women attained positions of power and status in tribal communities and moved fully into their Wise Women status and healing powers. The female Elders, in other words, were no longer distracted by the responsibilities that came with child-rearing and looking after the tribe. 

In many cultures, menstrual blood was thought to have special power: the power to create life in the womb. When women reached the age of retaining what is called their "wise blood" they crossed the threshold into ‘wise-womanhood’. Holding their ‘wise blood’ within, they become priestesses, healers, and keepers of the gates of women's sacred knowledge.

A rite of passage celebrates and supports a major life transition that changes both the individual’s relationship to the sacred and her role in the community. Any rite of passage consists of three stages -- 

  • Severance: Liminality (Latin word ‘limen’ means thresholds). A women is on the threshold to a new, exciting part of her life.

  • Leaving Home Wild Time. The change to our new world can sometimes cause distress, until we fully embraces our femininity and authentic self. 

  • Coming home. When we first start experiencing menopausal symptoms, we are at the beginning of leaving to go to a new home. This means coming home to the second half of our lives. 

Grief, disorientation and anxiety are hallmarks of this severance. A woman has much to grieve: her biological fertility, her youthful good looks (historically the currency of woman’s power in modern cultures), her children’s childhoods, her own youth; even in some cases, her marriage. 

Hot flashes, fatigue, and other ‘ordeals’ of menopause serve the same function in a menopausal rite of passage. "If women really knew that all these symptoms and pains of menopause were instrumental in birthing a new self, it would give them the hope to keep going."

When we have reached what Indigenous people call "the fourteenth moon", that is the fourteenth month without a menstrual period, we move into the final stage of this rite of passage. The incorporation of everything we are, or "coming home stage". It means we have arrived at a richer, deeper, and more soulful state than the one we left before entering the peaceful oasis of menopause.  

This is the abode of the wise women, the women who have experienced not just the death of our biological fertility but the birth of a deeper, wilder, unencumbered more physically beautiful self. Freed from both internal constrictions and the external binds of modern culture’s definition of women as sex objects and baby-makers, the wise woman is now free to be idiosyncratic and deeply herself - a creative risk-taker.  It is a wondrous and the best of times!

Margaret Mead says that the highest creative force in the universe is the post-menopausal woman as they have the power to make history, halt environmental degradation, tame technology for peace and humanity. In other words, heal the world.

WHO ARE YOU? All Women have this potential; it is finding the courage to execute and the wisdom to know how.


RITUALS 
Do the following three rituals, preferably in one day in the order indicated.

SEVERANCE: 

1. Prepare the ritual space with smudge, candles, flowers and/or smudge or incense. 

2. While smudging yourself with the smoke of Cedar, Sage and Sweet grass, invoke the presence of your ancestors, or, that which is greater than yourself or, the sacred through words, music, the lighting of candles, or, the ringing of a bell, or the pounding of a drum(s).

3. Bring to your heart the three biggest losses connected with your menopausal rite of passage. Write them down and draw symbols for them, on three slips of paper, or use photographs.

4. Set fire to each paper or picture and place in a fireproof bowl or fireplace. Stay with your body, your feelings, your soul as the paper turns to ashes - afterwards scatter the ashes back to Mother Earth as a symbol of your rebirth as a wise woman.

5. Thank your ancestors with the scatting of tobacco.

6. Mark the end of the ritual by scattering tobacco on the earth in thanks; saying a prayer, extinguishing candles, singing.


WILDERNESS

1.  Fine a quiet spot out in Nature.

2.  Do 1 and 2 of severance

3. Sit with several broad, dried beans (lima, kidney) and ask yourself "What qualities, strengths or gifts do I wish to birth in myself as a result of this rite of passage?" Write each on a separate bean with indelible ink.

4. Sit quietly with the beans in your hands. Envision and feel in your body and soul, how your life will be different with these gifts.

5. Plant the beans in a small pot. As you push them into the soil, feel the darkness of the soil, its quiet womblike qualities. Know that the same process is happening in your own life, even if it seems hidden from your conscious awareness, as the beans are now hidden from your sight.

6. Thank your ancestors with the scattering of tobacco.

7. Mark the end of the ritual by drumming singing, praying, extinguishing candles.


COMING HOME

1.  Do 1, 2 above.

2. Sit in the middle of a circle of close friends and family. Tell them what wisdom, power and new dreams you have gained as a result of this rite of passage. Stand and let each one touch you and give you a blessing for your new life.

3. Thank your Ancestors with the scattering of tobacco.

4. Mark the end of the ritual by drumming, singing, praying, extinguishing candles.

5. Celebrate with a feast.

 

 

 Gorging on high fat-based food, which is a North American staple, is probably not the best thing we can do, particularly as we start to age. We know a lot of it is yummy, but, as the old adage says, everything in moderation, nothing to excess.



               

  Stretch, Run, Walk - Bones and Muscles need work, the Mind needs rest 

 

 

ANGER

As women, we often believe that external forces are the things that make us happy; that something or someone will provide the stimulus, the magic solution we need to make us happy and "whole humans". The problem with this view is we become victims to the vagaries of an ever-changing outside world.  Whatever is "in" on any given day, may be "out" the next day. Trying to follow the "bouncing ball" of a fickle world, keeps our psyche's in a constant state of flux, it is no wonder that anger and frustration become the mantras of life. 

We need to embrace the fact that opening the door to our special gifts flows THROUGH US NOT SEPARATE FROM US. Connection and happiness comes from our own internal self, after all, as the Ancient Ones say, "humans are souls with bodies, not bodies with souls." By opening ourselves to allow outside influences to dictate who we are, we make ourselves vulnerable to the harsh judgments of the outside world. It is better to learn to trust how we feel inside and not rely on a world that invariably disappoints.

Suppressing our feelings is something that we are good at. Avoiding feelings whether consciously or unconsciously is because we lack the knowledge and sometimes the courage to confront life directly. We often do not experience life fully, and we are trapped in old patterns of fear – it is safe there, it is what we know; we forcefully try to exclude pain from our awareness by any number of evasive or self-destructive techniques - drugs, alcohol, abuse, rage, avoidance, distancing. Pain is part of being human and when we reject the pain we reject ourselves.

When anger is suppressed by external stimulants, all it does is go into the unconscious mind. It is still there, as fresh and as raw as when it was first felt. It festers there and builds and builds until one day, like Mount St. Helen’s it simply explodes. It is kind of creepy actually, because suppressed feelings are ruling women's everyday lives, but we are not consciously aware of it. These feelings are stopping the natural flow of energy from your Ancestors. All we know is that some days are worse than others and our trapped feelings become overwhelming and uncontrollable. Our lives are controlled by these creepy unseen forces - the Eastern Indians call it KARMA.

As a result, we become even further confused and the next step to suppression is Repression. What is the difference? With repressed feelings there is no sense of awareness of avoidance of feelings. The pace of the world is so fast right now that everyday life has become anxiety-driven and we lose sight of what our real feelings, either negative or positive.

If the events on September 11, 2001 taught the world anything, it is to slow down and take a look at what really matters in life. Re-connect to the heart, mind, spirit and body and see how they are faring. Serious self-care is the order of the day. 

FORMING YOUR INTENTION
Develop a conscious desire to see the gifts given to you from your Ancestors, or that which is greater than you. Consider believing that they were given to you for a reason and, therefore, are deserved. Consider accepting that your soul (also a huge gift) is a peaceful and nurturing sanctuary.  As aloud, "Alright, Ancestors, what would you have me do?"

As the new intention slowly forms, familiar feelings of old negative thoughts will arise - fear, anxiety, anger, a belief that you do not matter, that you are undeserving. Remind yourself that you are deserving of the gifts, the abundance of joy - Remember it is your right to feel joy. You were born with joy - remember the things you loved once are who you are today. Self-loathing is a bleeding from within, a mortgaging of the soul. Selling off bits of yourself and dropping them into the "pit of nobody cares".

Forming your intention is about creating a statement or a prayer through which you can ask to be more open and aware of your positive experiences. This does not have to be a deep and heavy intention, because you are trying to lift the burdens from your soul not weigh it down with "grass is always greener wishes". Make it light and hopeful; play with words, colour, music, touch. You will know when it is the right one.

Say the word "WISH" aloud; note how harsh it sounds. There is nothing beyond it except unfulfilled desires. Now say the word "HOPE" aloud. Say it several times. Note how your breath permeates the word. Breath is life, breath is spirit, breath is soul - feel your breath and know that there is life beyond Hope.  

Do not forget to say "thank you" aloud to your Ancestors; put down tobacco any time of the day, whenever positive things happen. Giving thanks out loud opens you to positive energy and provides evidence that good things really do happen in the course of a day, and that "nice girls really do finish first."  Remember, slow and easy, keep it simple.

You go, Sisters!!!!

 


In Ontario, two remarkable  victories for freedom of choice in health care have been achieved:

The Kwinter Bill was passed on December 14, 2000 by the Ontario legislature effectively decriminalizing alternative medicine, and putting the freedom of choice back into the hands of the patient. The Bill has freed up doctors to use alternative and new methods without fear of losing their medical licenses.

A national victory came on September 5, 2000 in an Ottawa Federal court when it was ruled that Health Canada had no business placing a gag order on two of its chief scientists, Dr. Shiv Chopra and Dr. Margret Hadon. As a result, Health Canada no longer has any legal means by which to prevent its own scientists from informing the public directly if they believe they are being pressured by industry or government to approve a food or drug that they deem to be unsafe.  

 

 

                        

"SOUL FOOD" - Beading, Singing , Basketweaving

 

 

HEALING WITH WATER

On any given hour of the day, there are only two things we are reasonably sure of: (a) where we are (physical location); (b) Who we are (our name). There are many days when women are pulled in many different directions, wearing many different hats, being all things to all people. It can result in a downward spiral of depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy because of the inability "to get things done". All of a sudden women have become failures as human beings becausee we are not perfect. 

Time to re-ground, remind and re-establish the belief that we are here in the world because we are needed, and that each us matters and entitled to the space that we occupy. 

I've been known to literally stop in the middle of a street and say, "Where am I?" I answer the question, with, "I am at the corner of King and Bay streets in downtown Toronto." Question: "Who are you." Answer: "My name is Shannon Thunderbird, Proud Coast Tsimshian First Nations Woman."  I then takes a deep breath and moves on. 

Here is a little Self-Care homework called Healing With Water that I often give to the sisterhood.

EXERCISE
Advise your family, OR whoever lives with you, that for the next seven straight days, at the same time each day you will be occupied in the bathroom for an extended period. Do the following:

  • Fill the bathtub with scented water, bubble bath. Make the water fairly warm.

  • Turn out the bathroom light; light a scented candle(s). You can never have to many!

  • Slip into the water; sink down until it is up to your chin

  • Close your eyes, and feel the water soak into your body

  • Ask out loud, "Where are you?"  Answer with a description of your physical surroundings.  Speak in a quiet, even voice.

  • Ask out loud: "Who are you?"  Answer with your full name and where you were born. Remember, for now you are not someone's Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Daughter, Niece, Aunt, Employee, etc.  You are just who you are.

  • Ask out loud: "How are you feeling right now?" Remember whenever you ask a question, always answer it.  If you had a stressful day, answer the question with as much self-love as you can muster. Keep all shaming and blaming statements out of your answer, such as, "I behaved stupidly."  "Why can't I get it together? I am worthless, what is the matter with me!".  Instead, try: "I wasn't at my best, but tomorrow I will be." or "I've had quite the busy day and accomplished a number of things." Then list them, out loud. or "I did not do what I set out to do, but, that is okay, I did the things I was meant to do today, and I feel good about it." or "I spent the whole day in bed reading! Wow, good for me!" 

  • Do not think or speak about the things you did not accomplish for they will be done another time.

  • Breath deeply, allow your conscious mind to rest. Try not to think deep thoughts, give the Ancestors time to find and speak to you. Take all the time you need.

  • When you emerge from the bathtub, drink a full glass (at least 10 oz) of bottled water.  Very warm water dehydrates, drinking water will re-hydrate your body. (You should be drinking at least a litre of water a day anyway).

Note:  If you miss a day, you must start all over again. Do this for yourself every three months or so, or more often as necessary.

 

 

PROBLEMS WITH FALLING ASLEEP

Cold Feet: have a warm footbath just before going to bed.

Hot Feet: Soak one pair of long tube socks in cold water and pull on. Put another slightly longer dry pair on top – remove when you wake up.

Cold Lower Body Washing - Just before going to bed use a folded kitchen towel and wash the lower body. Without drying, put on your pajamas and go to bed.

 

 

HEART DISEASE

 Heart Disease is the Number One cause of death for women in North America. Yet, according to studies, in most cases it is preventable. Most researchers now believe that free radical damage to the arteries is the major factor contributing to arterial blockages. The body’s attempts to ‘patch up free radical injuries causes the build up of what are called arterial plaques. If left unchecked, plaque eventually partially blocks off circulation causing angina or completely obstruct certain arteries resulting in a heart attack or stroke, Many nutrients and herbs support the heart and circulatory system. Used in combination with a healthy die and lifestyle, they can significantly affect cardiovascular wellness for the better.

Coenzyme Q-10 is one of the most well known supplements for heart health. Extensive research shows that it significantly reduces the risk of heart attack by aiding respiration of the heart muscle, preventing cardiac arrhythmias. CoQ-10 also stimulates the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Dose: 60mg per day with food

 



 

              

MORE "SOUL FOOD" - Spinning, Pottery, Weaving

 

 

CANOLA OIL 

Here are just a few facts everyone should know before buying anything containing canola. Canola is not the name of a natural plant but a made-up word, from the words "Canada" and "oil". Canola is a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada from the Rapeseed Plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants. According to Agri-Alternatives, The Online Innovation, and Technology Magazine for Farmers, "By nature, these rapeseed oils, which have long been used to produce oils for industrial purposes, are... toxic to humans and other animals". Rape is an oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base and as a illuminate for colour pages in magazines. It is an industrial oil. It is not a food. Rape oil, it seems, causes emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability, and blindness in animals and humans.

The canola-supporting websites say that canola is safe to use. They admit it was developed from the rapeseed, but insist that through genetic engineering it is no longer rapeseed, but "canola" instead. Except canola means "Canadian oil"; and the plant is still a rape plant, albeit genetically modified. The new name provides perfect cover for commercial interests wanting to make millions. Look at the ingredients list on labels. Apparently peanut oil is being replaced with rape oil. You'll find it in an alarming number of processed foods.

There's more, but to conclude: rape oil was the source of the chemical warfare agent mustard gas, which was banned after blistering the lungs and skins of hundred of thousands of soldiers and civilians during W.W.I. Recent French reports indicate that it was again in use during the Gulf War.

CHECK FOOD LABELS BEFORE YOU BUY THE PRODUCT.

 

 

AGE SPOTS ON HANDS, FACE AND NECK

Age spots usually appear on the face, neck and hands of people as they age.  They are called Lentigines and are often caused by years of exposure to the sun. Twice daily application of lotions or creams with Proretinol, Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), essential vitamins and SPF protection helps prevent further damage.

 

 

LIMP HAIR

No matter how expensive your shampoo, conditioner and other hair products are, they leave behind a small amount of residue that can build up over time. Choose an anti-residue shampoo and use it regularly (at least once a week).  For the rest of the week use your regular products. If you use a heavy amount of styling products, you may need to use the anti-residue shampoo twice a week.

 

 

BLADDER INFECTIONS

Did you know that the second leading cause of bladder infections is failing to go to the bathroom when you have to?  We all lead very busy lives, and more often than not when we have to urinate, we delay, delay, delay until we have to rush to the bathroom, and we are in such a rush that we force the urine from our bladders. Bacteria builds up in the body and an infection is the inevitable result. As we age, infections of this kind become much more serious and can lead to serious incontinence, incurable infections and some cancers.  Here is what to do.

  • I have a friend who keeps a timer on her desk, and when it chimes every 90-minutes, she gets up and goes to the bathroom. Even if she feels that she doesn't have to go, she goes anyway.

  • Her doctor advised her not to force it, but to sit on the toilet and relax and let the waste leave the body at its own rate. In the long-run forcing it does not save any significant time anyway! Forcing it also leads to incontinence later on because by "exercising" the bladder when it is not necessary earlier in life, makes it doubly hard to "hold it" later in life.  

What is the moral of this story?  Pee when nature calls, and do not wait.   

By the way the leading cause of bladder infections is sexual intercourse -  I have no moral story to offer here. This one's on you, although you can never go wrong with practicing safe sex with condoms, particularly if there are multiple partners involved!

 

 

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