Women's Health Awareness
Women’s Health: Healthy and Strong
Through Prevention and a Holistic Approach
Today’s woman is much different from the woman of the past, which can be both good, and bad. The woman of today has much more social freedom, responsibility, and often occupies many jobs that were traditionally held by men. Yes, today it’s natural to see a woman leading a work meeting, taking the kids to soccer practice, and cooking up a homemade meal. Women have become true jacks of all trades, and balance can be tough to strike with so many demands. With more and more women entering the workforce and living more demanding lifestyles, stress management, sleep, exercise, and other disease preventing lifestyle factors become much more important to cope with increased responsibility at work and at home. A woman’s health should always be at the forefront of her mind. In this article, we will go over women’s health issues, prevention strategies, and how women can balance all of their responsibilities in stride.
Health: What is it?
Health is defined by the World Health Organization as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Women have health issues all their own, which deserve special consideration.
Women's lives have definitely changed over the years. In the past, life could be quite difficult. Danger, disease, and motherhood could all would have contributed to many different conditions afflicting women. Childbirth, risky even today, was even more so historically. Most women of yesterday did not even live to make it to menopause.
The average woman’s lifespan was incredibly short in the past, being around 50 years just one hundred years ago. Huge advances in technology and our continuing knowledge of the human body have coincided with the average lifespan making a huge leap, to around 82 years today.
It’s true, women are living longer, but this also creates the need for more education on various health issues as women age. Women should be empowered to to take control of their health care, and seek support from their male counterparts.
Eastern and Western Medicine in Women’s Health
When we look at Western medicine, the main branch associated with women’s health is gynecology.
The term is derived from “gyneco” and “logic”, meaning women’s knowledge. This type of medicine is concerned with diagnoses and treatment of conditions pertaining to women.
Eastern medicine tends to look at the holistic whole of the woman and aims at minimizing disease through prevention. There are also several herbal remedies that can benefit women, but first let’s talk about some common issues that women face.
Issues Affecting Women
Women face many of the same problems associated with men, including heart disease, cancer (but of course cancer of the breast or uterus is unique to women), high blood pressure, common infections (including sexually transmitted infections), eating disorders, stress related illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, depression, osteoporosis, and joint health concerns.
In addition to these, women also struggle with gynecological issues (conditions of the uterus, urinary tract, and reproductive tract), childbirth, birth control, and child-rearing issues, and women-only conditions such as Turner syndrome, and Rett Syndrome.
Remember: It is of great importance that you should first seek natural and organic methods of treatment looking to prevent disease, or when the issue is in its formative or beginning stages. This includes managing lifestyle factors, some that we will get into below. Only when these mild and less invasive therapies haven’t worked or when the situation is critical or life-threatening should the "big gun" treatments of Western medicine be used in your health arsenal.
Eastern Medicine in Women’s Health:
an Eye Towards Prevention Diet: The Importance of Quality Foods
Diet is one of the most important aspects of a woman’s health, and we can use diet to work in our favor.
Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and lean dairy can help us get a good balance of nutrients and help us stay energized.
It is also important to stay away from processed food, as it is full of fat, salt, sugar, and preservatives which can exacerbate certain health conditions and even cause new ones.
Exercise: The Prescription for Movement
Eastern medicine, with its roots grounded in prevention, promotes the philosophy that physical exercise is necessary to maintain one's health and prevent disease.
Cardiovascular exercise, as well as regular weight training, increases blood circulation and body temperature, and aids digestion, appetite, mood, energy and sleep, and helps keep the lymphatic system healthy. It is also great for weight management and burning excess calories.
Exercise is one of the best prevention methods around, and it should be done by every woman and at every age.
Proper Rest, and Stress Reduction
Sleep is one of the most important factors in our overall health. Look to get about 7-9 hours a night, and get to bed and wake up at the same times every day to keep your circadian rhythm normal.
Stress reduction, including taking time off, staying in the present moment, adopting a slower pace, doing away with unrealistic expectations, and taking time off from work can help us recharge and de-stress, and give our adrenal glands a break.
Meditation and acupuncture can help heal your body and mind, while zapping stress and calming you.
Limiting or doing away with “uppers”, such as caffeine and amphetamine like compounds can lower cortisol levels and leave you feeling more relaxed.
Last but not least, certain herbs and herbal remedies can help you control stress and increase well-being (more on this below).
Using Herbs to Promote Health
One of Eastern medicine's most important therapies is herbal medicine.
There are over 5,000 medicinal substances taken from plants, minerals and animal by-products. The ingredients are combined into unique formulas comprised of from proprietary ingredients in which they work synergistically to effect the bodies systems.
The most popular route of ingestion of herbs is through a tea. Pills, powders, liquid and dried extracts and syrups can also be used.
Herbs, when taken correctly, are almost always free from producing side effects. Medical professionals in the holistic field are constantly finding new ways to treat diseases.
When compared with the cost of most Western drugs and medical procedures, the net cost of Chinese medicine is relatively cheap.
Most herbs will work to balance hormones, reduce stress and anxiety, and restore a healthy mood and feelings. Other herbs can boost the immune system and support the menstrual cycle.
Some good herbal therapies for women include:
Maca Root: Maca root is native to the Andes, and is abundant is several trace minerals that support women’s health, and also fosters a sense of well-being.
Turmeric: Turmeric can help reduce pain as it has anti-inflammatory properties. This wonder root has potent anti-bacterial qualities, as well as a potent antioxidant.
Asian Ginseng: A true jack of all trades, Asian Ginseng can help regulate menstruation cycle and calm PMS symptoms.
Echinacea: Supports the body's natural defenses, boosting the immune system and helping you fight off infections.
Rhodiola Rosea: An adaptogenic herb used to control stress and support a healthy mood.
L-Theanine: Usually found in tea, but it can also be taken as a supplement. Relieves stress and calms the mind.
Bacopa Monnieri: Touted as a nootropic (smart herb), Bacopa can relieve anxiety, enhance cognitive functioning, and improve memory.
If you'd like more information, check out Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness found here.
When looking at good health and prosperity, women have issues all their own to consider. There are several strategies that can be used to help today’s busy woman juggle all of her responsibilities. Whether Eastern or Western medicine or an integration of both, the most important factor is being proactive. Don’t let the stressors of modern life affect your health! Take control and be healthy! Thanks for reading and leave comments!
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