By Lara Evans Bracciante
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, October/November 2004.
A new edition of The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health was released last spring with some significant changes than the original, published ten years ago. These rewrites underscore some of the principles holistic healthcare practitioners have been recommending for years. Some of the highlights:
Hormone replacement therapy isn’t what they thought. The publisher has completely reversed its position on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), originally prescribed to menopausal women to improve, among other things, cardiovascular health. In recent years, studies have revealed an alarming correlation between heart disease and HRT. Breast cancer risk also appeared to jump with HRT.
Easing stress and muscle tension is key to good health. The book now includes a significant mention of meditation and massage, citing several benefits such as increased immunity and relief from migraines, arthritis, backaches, high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes.
You are what you eat. The cliché is tired but the truth behind it isn’t. Harvard’s 10-year-old recommendation to eat a no-fat or low-fat diet has a new emphasis: Replace highly processed foods like white bread and pasta with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Viagra has opened the door. Female sexual dysfunction has its own chapter in The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health. Authors note that a 1999 survey published in The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed 43 percent of women experience sexual problems compared to 31 percent of men, yet the medical community has focused on treating the male side of this issue. Times they are a’changin’.