Treating Women’s Health at the Source Integrative Manual Therapy and Nutrition
Treating Women’s Health at the Source - Integrative Manual Therapy and Nutrition
Rise of Women’s Health Issues
Women’s lives in the United States are very different than they were one or two generations ago. The health issues women deal with today are complex…maybe not more complex than they were for prior generations, but complex in different ways. For example, on average, girls today begin their menses earlier than they did in the early 1900s. But the complexities don’t stop there.
In addition to the decrease in the average age of menarche, infertility is on the rise. A study done by the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth reported an increase in infertility over seven years that affected all reproductive age groups, with the largest increase being in women under 25 years.1
Some speculate that women’s bodies are changing due to environmental exposure to estrogen, while others claim that the rise in obesity is a contributing factor. There has also been a significant rise in use of hormonal contraceptives in young girls. Hormonal forms of birth control are prescribed to young girls today for many different reasons including menstrual irregularities, acne, headaches and more. Whatever the cause for the changes in women’s bodies, it is hard to ignore a possible correlation between a rise in infertility rates, earlier menarche and other increased women’s health issues.2 ,3, 4
With these potential determinants of change in our culture, where does that lead us?
There are many arguments for making lifestyle and environmental changes to benefit health. There are also myriad natural solutions to treat women’s health issues.
One natural solution is an approach called Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT). IMT is a hands-on approach that treats pain, disability and disease that was developed by Dr. Sharon (Weiselfish) Giammatteo, PhD over the past 30 years. IMT practitioners identify and address the underlying causes of dysfunction using a comprehensive and holistic approach. While IMT diagnostics and treatment modalities are predominately hands-on, IMT also integrates diagnostic and treatment technologies along with nutritional programs—it’s customized for each individual’s needs.
IMT is based on the premise that the body has the potential to heal itself under the right circumstances. Tissue repair at the cellular level is a normal process (the healing of a cut or a broken bone, for example). Pain and dysfunction, however, are an indication that the body can’t restore health on its own and that intervention is required.
IMT treatment generally involves gentle hands-on manipulative techniques to promote tissue repair, normalize structure and restore function. When utilizing IMT for women’s health issues, typically multiple systems are involved. For example, urinary frequency could be caused by biomechanical dysfunction (the pelvis and sacrum are out of alignment and putting pressure on the bladder), inflammation of the kidneys, a high toxic load in the kidneys and bladder or other possibilities. Evaluation of this health issue requires determination of which body tissues are in a state of dysfunction. Once the specific tissues are identified, tissue specific IMT techniques are applied to help reduce tissue tension, decrease inflammation, improve circulation and improve overall function of the involved body parts.
When IMT is combined with nutritional wellness, including dietary intervention and supplements, recovery from women’s health dysfunctions can be accelerated. A great way to begin is with an anti-inflammatory diet. Such a diet can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is often the underlying cause of symptoms. Weight loss can be a secondary benefit. One of the best anti-inflammatory diets is a gluten elimination diet. Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and oat. Gluten is considered to induce greater inflammation in the body. Typically, this inflammation affects the weakest system. For example, if a woman is suffering from endometriosis, gluten can induce more inflammation around the uterus and contribute to an exacerbation of associated symptoms. People often think that gluten intolerance is the same as celiac disease, but it’s not. Because gluten is pro-inflammatory, gluten intolerance is very common today. A gluten-free diet could benefit many people.
There are additional nutritional elements that can be considered in a treatment plan for women’s health issues. Ultimately, a combined approach of Integrative Manual Therapy and nutritional wellness can be highly beneficial.
Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C practices Integrative Manual Therapy and Physical Therapy at Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy in Bloomfield. 860-519-1916. IntegrativeWellnessAndPT.com.
1. Chandra A, and Stephen E. 1998. Impaired fecundity in the United States: 1982-1995. Family Planning Perspectives 30(1):34-42.
2. Williams RJ, Johnson AC, Smith JJ, Kanda R. 2003. "Steroid estrogens profiles along river stretches arising from sewage treatment works discharges." Environ Sci Technol 37 (9): 1744–50. doi:10.1021/es0202107. PMID 12775044.
3. AT. "Not Quite Worry-Free." Environment 45 (1): 6–7.
4. Batts, S. "Pouring Drugs Down the Drain." Herizons 18 (4): 12–3.