Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Top Nutrition Tips for Successful Surgical Recovery

We all know to prepare foods ahead of time or have friends drop off meals since meal prep after surgery is difficult. But did you know that there are certain foods that can actually help you recover faster and have less post-surgical side effects?

Tips:

  1. Use a google calendar or care calendar like lotsahelpinghands to make a plan for friends to bring you meals, check on you, clean your house, walk your dogs, and help you with any personal hygiene tasks you can’t perform yourself. If you are traveling for surgery you can have friends sign up to order you meal delivery from apps like doordash or magickitchen. Extend your care calendar one week longer than you think you’ll need it. It’s easier to cancel than try to organize more help while you’re recovering. Have some canned soups and freezer meals on hand too just in case you find yourself stuck waiting a few hours for your next delivery.
  2. If you are traveling for surgery check out recovery centers in the area, like Trans Heartline in the Bay Area. They can provide meal prep for you during your stay!
  3. Use acupuncture to improve any preexisting issues (back pain, sciatica, constipation, prior scar tissue, pain from compression garments) that could be aggravated by the surgery, to improve surgical outcomes and the healing process. Plus, acupuncture boosts your immune system, improves your sleep, and helps you feel relaxed before surgery. Schedule an appointment now for $30 off when you mention this post!
  4. If you can’t eat, drink, and/or urinate, or have a fever, chills, an infection, trouble breathing, unusual bleeding, redness or hot feeling in the surgical site, or feel unwell call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Ask your surgeon what signs you should look for of post-surgical complications.

Recovery Foods:

  1. To prevent nausea, stick to broths, homemade sugarless jello, soups, overcooked soft veggies, vegetable juices, coconut water, fruits, and plenty of water. Avoid processed hospital food and sugar if possible. Bring water, ginger tea, and crackers or another easy snack to the hospital to eat right after your surgery.
  2. Avoid dried foods, jerky, chips, processed foods, dairy products, red meat, starchy foods, and sugar which can cause constipation.
  3. For urethra surgeries, avoid bladder irritants like tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, carbonation, spicy foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, onions, and cranberry (can cause frequent urination), and drink exactly 8 glasses of water a day and avoid water before bedtime.
  4. For colon surgery, avoid colorectal irritants like seeds, whole grains, and stick to a soft food diet with plenty of fiber.
  5. If you are experiencing nausea stick to a liquid/soft food diet and drink ginger tea. For a low appetite, drink lemon balm tea.
  6. Eat plenty of lean protein (skinless chicken, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds), whole grains (quinoa, rye, whole wheat, oats, wild rice), vitamin C and fiber (berries, citrus, mango, papaya, tomatoes, peaches, melons, apricots, apples, dark leafy greens), magnesium and iron (pumpkin seeds), and glutamine and arginine (in bone broth).
  7. Drink 1+ cup bone broth daily for 2+ weeks post-surgery to speed skin and wound healing, especially for bottom surgeries.
  8. Avoid sugar 1+ week before as it depletes the immune system and prevents healing.
  9. Avoid large amounts of salt 7+ days before surgery to reduce post-surgical swelling.
  10. Avoid caffeine 48-72 hours before surgery as it impacts how your body processes the anesthesia.
  11. Avoid alcohol 1+ week before surgery as it impacts how your liver processes the anesthesia.

Get acupuncture home visits to improve your recovery: www.prismacupuncture.com/appointments

This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements or herbs and always follow your surgeon’s advice.

Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

10 Tips to Help You Better Prepare for Surgery

There’s nothing worse than getting home from surgery and realizing you don’t have your prescribed painkillers or pre-prepared food that’s easy on the stomach. There are many things you can do in advance of your surgery to help yourself have an easier recovery afterwards. Here are some simple tasks to help you prepare.

  1. Pick up your prescriptions before surgery and take them with you to the hospital in case you need them on the way home. Bring some Dramamine natural (extra strength ginger) or surgeon prescribed anti-nausea med, water bottle, and an easy-on-the-stomach snack like crackers or applesauce to the hospital too. If you’re staying in the hospital, pack earplugs and an eyemask.
  2. Get a haircut that’s easy to maintain. Get your eyelashes tinted if that’s your thing and you won’t be able to easily put on makeup for a week or two (ex. breast augmentation or top surgery). Make sure all of your toiletries, easy to prepare food, medications, and other essentials are within easy reach for the range of motion you’ll have after surgery.
  3. Assign someone or multiple people to take you to surgery, stay in the hospital during surgery in case they have to speak with the surgeon, be there when you wake up, (visit you daily if you’re there for an extended stay), take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours after arriving home. Have a backup person in case your caregiver falls through, even if that person is your partner. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for breakups to happen around surgery time. If you are traveling for surgery check out recovery centers in the area, like Trans Heartline in the Bay Area.
  4. Use a google calendar or care calendar like lotsahelpinghands to make a plan for friends to bring you meals, check on you, clean your house, walk your dogs, and help you with any personal hygiene tasks you can’t perform yourself. If you are traveling for surgery you can have friends sign up to order you meal delivery from apps like doordash or magickitchen. Extend your care calendar one week longer than you think you’ll need it. It’s easier to cancel than try to organize more help while you’re recovering. Have some canned soups and freezer meals on hand too just in case you find yourself stuck waiting a few hours for your next delivery.
  5. For gender affirming surgeries, picture what you’ll look like afterwards and feel how that feels. Ask your surgeon for their outcome statistics and for photos of their patients pre and post surgery. Talk to multiple surgeons about their techniques if you can. I see patients who do this be much more satisfied with their results, rather than wishing they’d gone with a different technique or a different surgery altogether.
  6. Get your exercise in since you won’t be able to be as active for a while. Use a foam roller daily the week before surgery to work out any tight muscles. Do core work, work on your posture, stretch everything out since you won’t be able to move much for a while. Strengthen your pelvic floor exercises before bottom surgery (imagine picking up a marble or closing a drawstring purse with your perineum–and let it go–to strengthen and relax your pelvic floor); work with a pelvic physical therapist if you have any preexisting pain or urination issues.
  7. Avoid large amounts of salt 7+ days before surgery to reduce post-surgical swelling. Avoid caffeine 48-72 hours before surgery. Avoid smoking 6+ weeks before surgery (6 months minimum if grafts are involved), including no nicotine of any kind 1 month before and no marijuana 2-3 weeks before to promote healing. Avoid alcohol 1+ week before surgery. Avoid sugar 1+ week before as it depletes the immune system and prevents healing.
  8. Get a wedge pillow or other support pillows, heating pad, icepack, plenty of comfy loose clothes. Get a Tushy travel bidet to reduce wiping after bottom surgery. Set up a healing spot for yourself with easy access to a bathroom and all of your supplies handy.
  9. Wear loose easy pull on pants/skirt and a loose button-down shirt and slip on shoes. Bring headphones or a book to distract yourself in case you’re waiting a while for your surgery. Bring a small pillow for the car ride to cushion your surgical site from the seatbelt. Don’t bring valuables to the hospitals. Put your things in a small bag to have your buddy hang on to while you’re in surgery.
  10. Use acupuncture to improve any preexisting issues (back pain, sciatica, constipation, prior scar tissue, pain from compression garments) that could be aggravated by the surgery, to improve surgical outcomes and the healing process. Plus, acupuncture boosts your immune system, improves your sleep, and helps you feel relaxed before surgery. Schedule an appointment now for $30 off when you mention this post!

Get acupuncture home visits to improve your recovery: www.prismacupuncture.com/appointments

This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements or herbs and always follow your surgeon’s advice.

An image of an acupuncturist giving a transgender patient therapeutic massage for chest pain from binding.
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Six

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

6. Power up your core

  • I’m not talking about getting six-pack abs or doing endless crunches.
    • When your deep postural core muscles are activated, your neck, back, and shoulders have to work less hard to hold you up.
    • Two of the best and most accessible exercises are core bracing and the dead bug.
  • Core bracing:
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
    • Find a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck your tailbone under to flatten your low back, versus arching your low back and having a big space between the floor and your low back).
    • It should feel like your pubic bone and your ribs are reaching for each other, even though your head and torso are relaxed on the ground.
    • Pull your belly button in towards your spine as if it could root ten feet down into the earth underneath you.
    • Now exhale fully while emphasizing this bracing.
    • Inhale and relax everything, allowing your belly to expand fully.
    • Exhale as you find the bracing again.
    • Repeat several times until you are comfortable finding this bracing.
    • This is the foundational movement to the dead bug.
  • Dead bug:
  • Lie on your back and bring your knees up to tabletop position (knees bent to 90, and shins parallel to floor).
  • Find a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck your tailbone under to flatten your low back, versus arching your low back and having a big space between the floor and your low back).
  • Slowly extend your right arm and left leg, and then return to the starting point.
  • Repeat on the other side for a total of 2×20.
  • If this movement is painful or challenging for you and you feel your low back pop up off the mat:
    • Return to a strong posterior pelvic tilt
    • Then shorten the lever arm of this movement by tapping your heel down to the floor instead of extending your whole leg out.

Check out previous blog posts for tips #1-5!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic providing queer inclusive LGBT chiropractic care for trans patients
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Five

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

5. Get adjusted

  • Tight or compressed muscles over time can:
    • Pull on joints
    • Create “stuck” spots in the spine
  • Even after you release the muscular tension:
    • These sticky fixations of the joints can remain
    • They limit range of motion
    • They cause pain
    • They cause sensations of tightness
  • Chiropractic adjustments are the only way to correct these fixations.
    • They can go a long way in terms of:
      • Relieving pain
      • Restoring motion

Look out for next week’s post for tip #6!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic providing queer inclusive LGBT chiropractic care for trans patients
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Four

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

4. Self-muscle work

  • Stress, tension, and anxiety can all manifest in muscular tightness.
    • There isn’t anything you can do to un-compress tissues that have been compressed all day, but there are some home-care exercises you can do to boost your resilience so you will best be able to handle the compression from a binder.
  • Foam roll your back muscles.
    • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
    • Place a foam roller horizontally across your mid-back and lean back against it.
    • Either cross your arms like you are hugging yourself, or clasp your hands behind your neck, and then use your heels to push into the floor to raise your hips.
    • Your head and torso will naturally lower as the foam roller moves upwards along your spine.
    • Find a rocking motion where your hips go up as your head and torso lower.
    • You can shift your weight to the muscles on one side of your spine at a time, or just keep things centered and get pressure on both sides at once.
    • After you have rolled out some of the tension in your back muscles, return your hips to the ground.
    • Reset the roller approximately at the level of your shoulder blades, and then inhale as you slowly extend your upper back over it.
    • Your head can drop back and down.
    • Exhale as you come back to the starting position.
    • This will create more general mobility through your thoracic spine (upper and mid-back).
  • Find a softball or tennis-ball-sized massage ball and some wall space.
    • Facing the wall, place the ball into the outer corner of your pec muscles (near the outside of your collarbone but before you get to your arm.
    • Roll through these chronically tight tissues until you find the tightest spot.
    • Hold pressure on that spot for about thirty seconds, remembering to breathe.
    • If you need more space for your face or your chest, you can move this exercise near a doorway and poke your head through the doorway.
    • If there is no doorway available, just place a yoga block between the ball and the wall to allow you some more space.

Look out for next week’s post for tip #5!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic providing queer inclusive LGBT chiropractic care of trans patients
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Three

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

3. Deep breathing and coughing

  • Before pulling on your binder for the day, build resilience in your lungs and rib muscles by taking three deep breaths.
    • If your mobility allows it, sweep your arms up overhead on your inhale, and gently lower your arms on your exhale.
    • During binding it may feel challenging to take very full breaths.
  • A centering meditation focused on connecting with your normal breathing pattern can be helpful in alleviating some of the anxiety that can come from feeling like you can’t get a deep breath.
    • You can create your own or download one of the many free meditation apps that are available to you.
  • After binding, take three deep breaths, then do three big coughs to clear any fluid that may be building up in the lungs.
    • This fires up the intercostal muscles, those little in-between-the-ribs muscles that don’t see a lot of activation due to being squished down under a binder.
  • Follow with another round of three more deep breaths and then three more coughs.

Look out for next week’s post for tip #4!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Two nonbinary queer patients of color kissing
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part Two

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

2. Balance push and pull movements

  • Many trans-masculine folks hit the weight room to build up their pectoral muscles (chest muscles) in order to sculpt a more masculine physique.
  • But often during this quest to build a more muscular chest with pushing-type movements like the bench press or pushups, we neglect to strength-train our upper and mid-back muscles with pulling-type movements like:
    • rows
    • pull-ups
    • lat-pulldowns
  • This can lead to postural imbalances between the front and back of the body, which can add layers of pain and tension to a torso already taxed from the compression of a binder.
  • Not only is it important to balance upper-body pushing and pulling in the weight room, but also adding specific strengthening exercises such as:
    • The I-Y-T exercise
    • Rotator cuff external rotations with a band or a cable machine
  • These can greatly improve shoulder and back health and decrease postural strain.

Look out for next week’s post for tip #3!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Four queer patients of color, including masculine of center nonbinary transgender patients and trans men
Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part One of Six

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic


According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

  1. Practice daily movement and stretching

Increasing circulation and stretching key muscles in your body can help release some of the tightness that builds up from the daily postural stress associated with binding.

One possible routine would start with five minutes of movement of your choice (walking, dancing, jumping jacks, etc) to increase general blood flow to your muscles.

Then spend 30-60 seconds performing each of the following stretches:

  • Trapezius muscles:
    • From a seated or standing position, tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder, imagining your neck growing long towards the sky before settling into the tilt.
    • This should bring a stretching sensation into your left neck muscles and trap muscles (the chronically tight muscle between your head and your shoulder.
    • If you want more of a stretch, you can reach up with your right hand and gently apply a bit of overpressure, being careful not to crunch your head down, but instead allowing more length in your neck.
  • Pectoralis minor muscle:
    • Find a doorway you can walk through.
    • Bring your right arm up and out to your side like a goalpost
    • Then place your right elbow and right wrist against the doorframe.
    • Your elbow should be level with your shoulder.
    • Slowly lean your torso forward into the door opening while keeping your elbow and wrist in contact with the doorframe.
    • If this stretch creates any pinching sensation in your shoulder, you can alternatively lie atop a foam roller placed vertically along your spine (head and hips supported) and drop your arms out to the sides.
  • Side stretch:
    • Reach your arms overhead if that is available to you, or plant your hands on your hips.
    • On your inhale, reach and lean upwards and over to your left side.
    • If your arms are overhead you may want to grasp your right wrist with your left hand.
    • You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body through your ribcage.
  • Cobra stretch:
    • lying face-down, place your hands under your shoulders with your palms down and fingers pointing forwards.
    • Draw your elbows back and in towards your sides so your shoulders won’t hunch up by your ears.
    • Then press up gently until you feel a generalized stretch through the front of your chest and abdomen.

Look out for next week’s post for tip #2!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at www.engineeringyourbody.com. And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at www.riverstonechiropractic.com.

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird

 


Bio:
I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.


References:
Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2016.1191675

 


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Supplements to support trans men while taking testosterone, including liver and cardiovascular heart health
Endometriosis, For Providers, Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Supplements for Surgery

Supplements and Surgery:

You most likely know already that there are certain supplements and medications that you should avoid before surgery. Mostly these are supplements and medications that can cause excess bleeding, as well as those that can interfere with the anesthesia.

Surgeons’ opinions vary on which medications and supplements are okay and when to stop taking them. You should follow your surgeon’s recommendations to the letter. These suggestions will likely be more conservative than the ones you receive from your surgeon, because in holistic healthcare, we are interested in helping you achieve optimal health, not just the absence of disease. You can choose to follow these recommendations only if they fit with your surgeon’s recommendations as well. Do not take any supplements or herbs which you know you are allergic or sensitive to or which your doctor or surgeon has told you to avoid.

What to Avoid Before Surgery:

It is most important to avoid potential blood thinners for at least 7 days before and 3 days after surgery. Your surgeon may tell you to avoid them for even longer, depending on the type of surgery you are having. This includes any prescription blood thinners as well as garlic, ginkgo, vitamin E, fish oil/omega 3, and aspirin, ibuprofen, aleve, and other NSAIDs.

Some surgeons may also recommend that you avoid St. John’s Wort, dong quai/dang gui/angelica, feverfew, goldenseal, ginseng, ginger supplements, saw palmetto, reishi, echinacea, ephedra/ma huang, kava, licorice, and valerian for 7 days before and 3 days after surgery, as these can cause excess bleeding.

I tend to err on the side of caution, stopping all herbs and supplements (and any medications your surgeon tells you to avoid) 7 days before surgery.

Most surgeons say that tylenol is okay to take before surgery as needed, but don’t take it if you can avoid it since tylenol can be hard on the liver and your liver is already going to be stressed by the anesthesia. Check with your surgeon when deciding what to take.

Ideally, avoid alcohol, tylenol, and anything else that is hard on your liver 1 month before and after surgery to allow your body to safely process the anesthesia. This obviously does not apply if your surgeon prescribes or recommends tylenol before or after surgery.

Get plenty of sleep, exercise, stay hydrated, and avoid sugar (to keep your immune system healthy) in the month before surgery, and always!

Before Surgery Supplements:

There are certain supplements that can help you recover faster from surgery and risk less side effects. It is helpful to start taking these at least one month before surgery. Do not take any supplements that your surgeon does not approve and remember to stop your supplements one week before surgery.

Starting one month before surgery:
A multivitamin with 25-50mg of B vitamin complex
50 mg CoQ10/day: reduces stress of surgery on heart, improves recovery
500-1000mg/day vitamin C: necessary for wound healing, helps your body produce collagen
Milk thistle: detoxes the liver to prepare for successful anesthesia
2000-5000 IU vitamin D/day with food if not already included in your multivitamin

Starting 2 weeks before surgery, add:
30-50mg zinc picolinate/day with food: necessary for wound healing
Probiotic blend with acidophilis and bifida: reduces risk of post-surgical infection

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After Surgery

After surgery, start off with broths, including bone broth, fresh juices, soups, and other easy to digest foods like oatmeal. Green drinks and whole food based protein shakes are also great when you’re not up for eating real foods yet. Stay away from sugary drinks like gatorade and pedialyte, starches, breads, and crackers, as they can deplete your immune system and cause constipation.

After Surgery Supplements

As long as your surgeon says it’s okay, take 1000mg vitamin C as soon as you get home from the hospital and continue daily. Vitamin C is necessary for wound healing, helps your body produce collagen, and helps your liver break down the anesthetic.

Some surgeons will recommend waiting a few days before restarting supplements and herbs. As long as your surgeon says it’s okay, the day after surgery, start taking Resinall E from Health Concerns (three tablets three times per day, available by prescription from Prism) or 1000-1500 mg standardized bromelain 3x/day on an empty stomach. This helps speed recovery and reduce swelling and bruising. It is mandatory to take it on an empty stomach, otherwise it will just help digest your food but not have any effect on swelling and bruising.

Starting 3 days after surgery, add:
250mg B6 2x/day (or substitute your multivitamin if it contains B6): reduces swelling
100-200mg CoQ10/day: reduces stress of surgery on heart, improves recovery
Milk thistle: detoxes anesthesia from the liver
30-50mg zinc picolinate/day with food: necessary for wound healing
Probiotic blend with acidophilis and bifida: reduces risk of post-surgical infection
2000-3000mg omega 3 per day: reduces inflammation and improves circulation
Arnica 30C 4-5x/day: reduces pain, bruising, and swelling
2000-5000 IU vitamin D/day with food

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After one week post-surgery:
You can stop the B6/multivitamin, unless this is part of your regular supplement regimen

After two weeks post-surgery, you can stop taking:
Vitamin C or return to your usual dose
Zinc
Arnica
Bromelain
Lower your fish oil/omega 3 dose to 500-1000mg/day

One month post-surgery:
You are done with this supplement plan! Return to you regular supplements and herbs as recommended by your acupuncturist and doctors.

Happy healing :)


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

 

An older woman touching her stomach
Endometriosis, Fertility and Pregnancy, Menopause and Beyond, PCOS, Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Take Charge of Your Hormones E-Course, Transgender Wellness

Fiber Fiber Fiber!

 

Everyone knows fiber is important, but do you know why?

You’ve probably heard that fiber is a good way to maintain regular bowel movements. Maybe you’ve even heard about its possible role in preventing colon cancer or that fiber is beneficial for immunity. You may not know that fiber can balance your hormones too!

Fiber moves our digestion along at a healthy pace, allowing us to properly eliminate waste products -including excess hormones- rather than reabsorbing them. It is beneficial to properly eliminate both naturally produced hormones and prescription hormones, such as those used for menopause or medical transition.

PMS, mood swings, headaches, acne, heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting between periods, fibroids, endometriosis, hot flashes, breast, thyroid, and prostate cancers can all be caused by an imbalance in hormones.

If you’re not having (at least) daily bowel movements, you’re not eliminating excess hormones as often as you should be and are more likely to suffer from these conditions.

Cisgender “women are more likely affected by constipation by threefold compared with men. The female colon is longer and has more twists and turns, like a rollercoaster… We’re more likely to overuse laxatives, leading to weaker bowel muscles. We’re more likely to have painful hemorrhoids, which occur in 40 percent of pregnancies, and to restrain from pooping in public places.” Sara Gottfried MD.

How does it work?

Every time we eat, our liver produces bile, a substance full of digestive enzymes and other ingredients that help us break down fats and other nutrients into smaller particles. Some of these smaller particles are toxins (from medications, preservatives, etc) and metabolic waste products (including excess hormones like estrogen) which are then soaked up into the bile. When you have adequate fiber in your diet, this toxin-filled bile binds to fiber and together they are excreted from the body through a bowel movement, taking those toxins and waste products with it.

If you don’t have adequate fiber, bile and the associated waste products have nothing to bind to, and they don’t move through your intestines as quickly. This allows those toxins and excess hormones to be reabsorbed into the blood stream and repeatedly recirculated through your system.

That’s not all! Fiber also:

What does this mean for our hormones?

If you don’t eliminate bile fast enough, the estrogen it holds is reabsorbed and your blood estrogen levels rise. “Those estrogens can stimulate the growth of abnormal cells” including cancer cells (Wisconsin-based nutritionist Karen Hurd), as well as increase the liklihood of endometriosis, PMS, and many other issues. The same holds true for other hormones in our bloodstream and the accumulation of these hormones can cause many different hormone imbalances.

How can I prevent this cycle and balance my hormones?

“A special kind of dietary fiber called lignin, present in flax seeds, beans and lentils, binds to estrogen in the digestive tract to ensure it is eliminated and not reabsorbed into our system. Dietary fiber also feeds the beneficial probiotic bacteria living in our gut and keeps them healthy. These probiotic bacteria are important because they can also prevent estrogen being reabsorbed from our colon back into circulation” (Dr. Amanda Tracy, ND).

Are you on board yet? Great! Let’s get started.

Tips for taking fiber:

Nerd out about fiber:

“There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is found in the cell walls of plants and cannot be dissolved in water. This is beneficial as it adds bulk to stools by binding with water and acting as a stool softener to assist in moving it out of the digestive tract. Soluble fiber on the other hand dissolves in water and helps to slow the passage of food through the digestive tract, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are essential to a good diet” Brandy Augustine PhD. Soluble fiber also protects the intestinal barrier and contributes to a healthy microbiome.

The following foods contain soluble fiber (to support a healthy microbiome and steady blood sugar levels):

  • Oatmeal and oat bran
  • Rice bran
  • Barley
  • Apples
  • Oranges and other citrus
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Flax seeds
  • Berries
  • Chia seeds

The following foods contain insoluble fiber (to promote regular bowel movements and secretion of hormones and toxins):

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Turnips, beets, carrots
  • Apple skin

BONUS: The following contain prebiotic fiber (to support a healthy gut microbiome):

  • Legumes
  • Wheat, barley,
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Bananas
  • Artichokes
  • Onions, garlic

Resources:

More tips for avoiding constipation and maintaining a healthy gut

http://dramandatracynd.blogspot.com/2013/02/fixing-your-hormone-problems-with-fiber.html

https://bodyunburdened.com/health-benefits-of-fiber/

https://experiencelife.com/article/fiber-why-it-matters-more-than-you-think/

http://www.brandyaugustine.com/journal/2014/7/7/3-ways-dietary-fiber-helps-maintain-hormone-balance


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

Acupuncture, Endometriosis, Neuropathy, PCOS, Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Opening The Four Gates

One of the most common balancing and stress-relieving treatments is called “The Four Gates” and it’s just four points: two by your thumbs and two by your big toes.  It seems so simple, but it feels powerful! The 4 gates circulate energy throughout your body, improving your circulation, and releasing pain and stress out of the body. It works beautifully alone, or in combination with other points.

Together, these points are a great treatment for pain and stress, especially pain caused or aggravated by stress (think tight shoulders). We use it a lot for preventing menstrual cramps, releasing stress and anxiety, and easing headaches, tight muscles, and stress.

hi-2292499_1920Individually, the points by your thumbs enhance your immune system, reduce inflammation, ease pain, and treat anything to do with the face (headaches, facial pain, TMJ, allergies, colds, toothaches, acne, etc.) They are found at the place where your thumb rests on the opposite hand when you shake hands.

 

leg-1505033_1920The points by your big toes ease pain, calm the nervous system (for anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues), treat menstrual disorders, and assist your liver in detoxification. They are found in the depression between your big toe and second toe.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

For more herbal estrogens, ideas, and resources see my previous posts: Feminizing Herbs and “The Basics.”

A transgender woman with long hair
Acupuncture, Endometriosis, Fertility and Pregnancy, For Providers, Menopause and Beyond, Prism Blog, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Treating Post-Surgical Constipation

photo credit: Practical Cures on flickr CC

Constipation is extremely common post-surgery, especially in combination with constipating pain killers, less physical activity, and irregular fluid and food intake. Often a bowel movement is required before a hospital will let a patient go home, so encouraging this process is especially beneficial to get you home sooner.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is extremely useful for alleviating postoperative constipation. Studies have shown that patients receiving regular acupuncture post-surgery actually perform better (have more frequent, easier,  less painful, more complete bowel movements) than those taking laxatives or stool softeners.

Points on your arms, legs, and abdomen are most frequently chosen for this purpose, especially points on either side of your navel and points on the stomach and large intestine ‘meridians’ (lines along the body in Chinese Medicine, sort of like dermatomes).

Acupressure

Several of these points can also be used at home as acupressure points for constipation. Press each point lightly (no more than an inch deep for abdominal points, about the pressure of holding hands for arm and leg points) for about 30 seconds at a time:

Massage

Belly massage is also helpful. You can find a Chi-Nei-Tsang practitioner near you, or watch this video demo to perform a similar belly massage yourself. You can also refer to the illustrated steps available here. There are many methods of breathing exercises for constipation as well that massage your belly from the inside!

Herbs

Acupuncture can be complemented with some herbs that stimulate bowel motility like:

Nutrition

Hydration is key. Drink plenty of water and incorporate more warm foods and beverages to wake up your digestive system gently. Try ginger tea, hot water with lemon, and bone broth. If you urinate more frequently than every 2 hours you may be drinking too much or too fast. If you urinate less frequently than every 5 hours you are dehydrated!

Eat warm, easy-to-digest foods like rice porridge, oatmeal, and mashed sweet potato or yams. When you’re ready, try lamb or vegetable and mushroom soup. Give your family and friends recipes to make for you during your recovery, such as: Magical Mineral Broth, Congee, and Almond flour ginger cookies.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

For more herbal estrogens, ideas, and resources see my previous posts: Feminizing Herbs and “The Basics.”


Further study:

  Acupuncture at ST25 and BL25   Acupuncture at LI11 and ST37   Acupuncture at ST25, BL25, LI11 and ST37   Medicine:oral use of mosapride citrate: 4-week oral use, 5mg, three times daily 0.5 hour before meal   Total
SBMs [1]
[units: times per week]
Mean (Standard Deviation)
  2.7  (1.9)   2.5  (1.7)   2.9  (2.0)   2.9  (2.8)   2.8  (2.1)
Bristol scale [2]
[units: units on a scale]
Mean (Standard Deviation)
  2.8  (1.3)   2.9  (1.4)   3.0  (1.5)   2.7  (1.4)   2.9  (1.8)
Degree of straining during defecation [3]
[units: participants]
0   5   8   9   5   27
1   63   60   68   59   250
2   68   69   58   72   267
3   30   35   28   31   124
no defecation   2   0   2   3   7

 

Scar reduction therapy
Acupuncture, Endometriosis, Fertility and Pregnancy, For Providers, Menopause and Beyond, Neuropathy, Prism Blog, Scar Reduction, Surgical Recovery, Transgender Wellness

Acupuncture for Scar Treatment

Why Should We Treat Scars?
Scars may not only be cosmetically undesirable, but may also have an impact on the health of the individual. This is especially true for very large scars; scars with abnormal coloration, lumpiness, numbness, tingling, itchiness, heat or cold sensations, achiness or pain, tenderness to touch, and muscle restriction.
Such scars and associated adhesions can indicate or lead to nerve and blood vessel damage, decreased range of motion and muscle strength, increased likelihood of future injury, and chronic pain (especially pins and needles, tingling, and numbness). Scars are especially notable on the torso, where underlying adhesions can impair bowel function, chronic pelvic pain or infertility, depending on the site of the scar.
In Chinese medicine, significant scars are considered to block the flow of the meridians, (similar to the nerve and blood vessel damage pointed to by Western medicine) causing not only pain and decreased circulation, but also potentially impaired internal organ function depending on the meridian affected.

Scar Treatment with Acupuncture and Herbs
Scars that are at least two weeks old can be treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine.
A 2014 study used local acupuncture (“surrounding the dragon“: using needles directly around and through the scar) with distal points (4 gates and ST36). After eight treatments in 5 weeks the scar pain had reduced from a 7/10 to a 1-2/10. Such treatments can not only reduce scar pain, but also help to break up scar tissue and adhesions, increase local circulation, and aid healing. This leads to flatter, smaller, less noticeable scars and a reduction of keloiding.
Moxibustion (a gentle warming treatment achieved by burning dried mugwort), may also be used. Small amounts of moxa may be burned directly on the skin -with a sesame oil cream as a medium to prevent burns- around the scar, or a stick of rolled moxa may be burned above the site to warm the area. Both methods are pleasant and effective.
Topical herbs can also be very beneficial for scar healing. It is generally best to apply your liniment of choice over the affected area before bed and cover with a tshirt (or other clean soft article of clothing depending on the site of the scar), so that it has plenty of time to soak in without washing or sweating which would interfere with product absorption during the day.

Which Topical Should You Choose?
  • Prism’s Scar Oil has frankincense and other essential oils that break up scar tissue in a tamanu oil base, a great oil for reducing the appearance of scars, including keloids.
  • Zheng Gu Shui is beneficial for deep scars that may have adhesions to underlying tissues (for example surgical scars). They can improve local circulation, healing of the scar and the area that was injured, and reduce associated pain. It is better for healing and restoring health to the area than for cosmetic scar reduction.
  • Wan Hua Oil prevents scarring, increases blood circulation, reduces swelling, and helps regenerate damaged tissues. Once the wound closes, massage the oil directly over the scar daily to prevent scarring and promote healing. This option is best to prevent cosmetic scars from surgery. It is also effective for scars from burns.
  • Aloe aids scar healing and reduces infection and swelling. If used during the healing process it can reduce the formation of scars. Be sure to use 100% aloe (fresh is best), not aloe with alcohol or other additives that can dry and irritate the area.
  • Ching Wan Hung oil promotes healing and new tissue growth, reduces scarring, and prevents infection. It is especially effective for scars from burns.
  • You can also use castor oil compresses, to break up deeper scar tissue and adhesions, but I don’t recommend this for new scars that are still healing (or any open wounds).

Note: Many people recommend the usage of Vitamin E on scars, but newer research shows that Vitamin E does not help reduce the appearance of scars, and in the case of surgical scars can actually make scars more visible due to the development of irritation or contact dermatitis.


Providers: read more about acupuncture scar treatments from Skya Abbate, DOM.

Additionally, my colleague, Dena Gold LAc, suggests a Japanese style version of surrounding the dragon that involved needling slightly outside the scar, towards and under under the scar superficially enough that the needle falls rather than roots. Dena also suggests checking the fire points of the channel the scar intersects and if they are tender, needle the metal and water points of that channel before treating the scar directly.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

For more herbal estrogens, ideas, and resources see my previous posts: Feminizing Herbs and “The Basics.”