Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:30
By Kristie Snyder,
Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste are all too familiar with the predominant image of Haiti in the US media: poverty, destruction, and desperation. But that's not how the owners of beauty-product company Kreyòl Essence see it. Their Haiti is a land of beautiful mountains and beaches, a culturally vibrant Caribbean nation with vast untapped potential. Their company aims to connect eco-conscious consumers in the US with traditional Haitian products that have fabulous health and beauty benefits, to create jobs and markets, and to empower Haitian communities along the way.
Kreyòl Essence was born following a "hair catastrophe." While straightening Yve-Car's hair, a stylist applied too much heat, causing permanent damage. Yve-Car and Stéphane, both Haitian-American, remembered that their families used to turn to Haitian black castor oil as an all-purpose, traditional remedy for hair and skin troubles and a host of other ailments. Living in Philadelphia at the time, Yve-Car sought out the product to strengthen her hair as it grew back, and came up lacking, even in the Haitian neighborhoods. She expanded her search to New York and Boston, but still found nothing like what they both remembered — high quality, hand-pressed, additive-free, and unrefined castor oil. She called on her mom in Haiti to ship her an emergency bottle, and the ensuing conversation led to a decision to bring the product to America. From that beginning, Kreyòl Essence now manufactures hair pomades and milks, body soufflés, soaps, and candles using the black castor oil along with other high-quality and responsibly sourced ingredients.
The couple relocated to Ithaca around two years ago when Yve-Car was offered a job as Cornell's Director of Diversity Alumni Programs. They brought the fledgling business with them, and have since left their jobs (Stéphane worked in Ithaca College's School of Business) to run the business full-time. With combined backgrounds in marketing, communications, activism, business consulting, development, and non-profit management, they have sought to create a new kind of business — commercially viable, but with core social tenets. Rather than donate profits back to Haiti, Yve-Car and Stéphane followed a different path. They sought out Haitian farmers to grow the castor beans and hired local people to process them into oil and manufacture beauty products.
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 16:03
By Deanna Hope Berman, ND, CM
I don't have a high number of clients who come to me solely because of pain. However, pain is often a secondary symptom of the many chronic conditions my clients present with. Therefore, out of necessity, I find myself helping people overcome chronic pain. That's no surprise. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.
The most common types of chronic pain are back pain, migraine or headache pain, and joint pain. Although some pain stems directly from current or past injuries, this is not where I want to focus this article. Here, I'm discussing the chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Lyme disease, and other chronic conditions. Because pain can affect the simplest of daily tasks (walking the dog, doing the dishes, getting dressed), it can make living a fulfilling life nearly impossible. For this reason, I am dedicated to helping my clients find lasting relief, and better overall health in the process.
As you may have experienced, the cycle of pain itself exacerbates the problem. Chronic pain makes it harder to exercise or to get a good night's sleep. A lack of exercise can lead to both depression and weight gain. Weight gain can often exacerbate chronic pain especially in the back and joints. The lack of sleep leads to an increase of stress hormones. Stress hormones and the related anxiety and depression can exacerbate inflammation, thus further increasing the pain. My goal is to help people break these negative cycles by getting at the underlying causes.
Friday, 02 May 2014 15:42
By Sandra Londino, MS, CNM, LM
Home birth is common among women in many countries, but in the US it's rare and poorly understood. This wasn't always the case. During colonial times, women gave birth in their homes, attended by women, with male physicians allowed into the birthing room only when labor deviated from the norm.
During the second half of the eighteenth century, male physicians began taking a more prominent role in childbirth, especially for members of the upper and middle class, who saw being attended by physicians as a status symbol. Commonly held sexist beliefs about the intellectual and emotional inferiority of women contributed to this shift. By the turn of the century, doctors were attending half of all births, though midwives still served the poor and rural folks.
In the early 1900s, medical leaders began calling for the abolition of midwifery entirely. Prominent obstetricians of the time believed that pregnancy and childbirth were dangerous, pathological conditions that could be best managed in hospitals with drugs, specialized procedures, and surgery. Thus, women began to believe that hospitals offered them the safest and most satisfying birthing experience. This happened in spite of the favorable outcomes that midwives experienced, such as lower rates of maternal death and neonatal injury and death, and more comprehensive postpartum care. By the early twentieth century, thousands of American women still died from postpartum infection every year. Serious perineal lacerations, head injuries to the fetus, and breathing disorders resulted because of inappropriate and careless use of forceps and chloroform. As midwifery declined during the first half of the century, maternal and infant mortality rates steadily increased. By 1935, the percentage of births attended by midwives in the US had decreased to 12.5 percent.
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