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Guest Contributor Physical Health

C-Section Scars – Problems and Solutions

by Guest Contributor Allan Guenther LMT

One of the main goals of my practice is to help women to avoid C-sections. In most situations, this means giving the pelvis more mobility. You see, if the pelvis can move properly, the baby can make his way through the birth canal with relative ease. The sacrum (tail-bone) can pivot, the ilium (hip bones) can widen, the pubic symphysis can open up, tearing is reduced (or eliminated) and mom’s recovery can take place naturally. 

But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes a C-section is the best option. What are some of the common effects that accompany a C-section and what can be done about it? 

The scar is one of the most significant side effects of the C-section. I don’t mean the outward scar. Usually the scar on the outside is a small, white or red line that is easily covered up by a swimsuit. No, I mean the scar that is on the inside. This is where the real problems can occur. 

The most obvious trouble with a C-section scar is the pain in the area of the scar. Of course there is going to be pain right after the surgery but I am referring to pain that is still there long after the healing should have completed. This can be evident when mom tries to use her lower abs when she is sitting up. It can be present itself when a child wants to sit on her lap. It can lead to discomfort during intercourse, it may cause her monthly cycle to be more painful, or it can mean significant discomfort during subsequent pregnancies.  

Photo Credit Anatomy Trains

In addition to the more obvious trouble, there are a number of more distant issues that are not quite so readily associated with the surgery. The first is neck pain. At first, this might seem quite improbable but there is a significant connection here. You see, when the scar forms, it is intended to lock down and stabilize the area of the injury. This means less mobility in the muscles and fascia that surround the scar. In this case, the abdominal muscles have a constant pull on them. The effect is that the chest is pulled closer to the pubic bone and the head is pulled forward. Our body doesn’t like this. If everything else stayed the same, we would be walking with our head slightly tilted toward the ground. But we can’t do that so we compensate. The compensation is done by the neck. It tightens up in order to bring the head back to level and to bear the extra weight placed on it by the head-forward posture. 

Another area often affected by a C-section is the bladder. Of course, the bladder is designed to expand and contract as necessary but the scarring in the area can mean more frequent urination, or it can be one of the contributing factors of stress incontinence. 

So what can we do about this? What options are available to minimize the effects of the C-section? There are a few things that I have found that help quite significantly. They include castor oil packs, neurostim, and manual therapy. 

The castor oil packs help because they physically soften the scar tissue. When the castor oil is applied with a heating pad, the scar tissue is softened and is much easier to work with. When we go to do the manual work, we find the scar to be more pliable, less tender, and generally easier and more comfortable to work with. 

Origin of photo unknown

The neurostim therapy also adds a significant benefit to the work. This unit uses direct microcurrent to make physical changes to the scar tissue on a cellular level. Because your body already produces and uses its own microcurrent, this therapy can be particularly helpful because it is augmenting something that your body already recognizes as good and helpful and natural. 

As with all of the therapy, it is important that we do this work with the body and not to the body. This means that both the client and I will work simultaneously to attain functionality and full range of motion of the tissue. We want the scar tissue to be strong but we also want it to be organized. We want the scar to enhance and strengthen the area of the incision and not simply lock the area down. 

Even when a C-section was the best option, there will be side effects but those side effects don’t have to be just simply accepted and dealt with. There are significant and often permanent results that can be enjoyed by a woman who is willing to be proactive in her health. 

Once we have softened the scar with the castor oil and done some neurostim work to change the scar at a cellular level, it is time to do some manual therapy. This involves working physically with the scar tissue and with the surrounding tissue. As the scar tissue develops, it will tend to affect the muscles and other organs in the pelvis. We want to make sure that the scar tissue stays more local to the original incision rather than generally tightening everything up in the pelvis. 

About the writer:

Allan is the owner of Motility Bodywork in Tulsa, OK. A bit about Allan’s approach from his website: “We are not simply a composition of many parts but we are a whole being that needs to be treated as such. We have a history that includes our birth, the type of work that we do, accidents, emotional trauma, abuse, stress, and even our eating habits. We cannot simply look at a small part of the body and say that this part works in isolation from the others. When a wholistic approach is used, I am able to better perceive the core issues. When the core issues are addressed, this work is usually significant and permanent.”

Visit Allan’s website here to learn more or schedule a consultation: Prenatal Massage Tulsa | 918-641-4410 | Motility Bodywork Tulsa

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Cassandra McCoy Physical Health Uncategorized

Incontinence Happens: Here’s What You Need to Know & What You Can Do

by Cassandra McCoy MAT, LAT, ATC, RYT

Why do I pee myself when I sneeze, cough, run, stand up or can’t make it to the bathroom in time?

Have you Googled a question like one of these before?

Maybe you were chasing your toddler around the living room and you felt something strange. Maybe you were out for your first run postpartum and you couldn’t make it around the block without needing to swing back by the house. Maybe you weren’t even trying to run, you just were walking and all of the sudden (maybe without even realizing it), your panties were wet.

You might have thought “What in the world is wrong with me?” or “I must be broken”. Maybe you think that this is your new normal so you start wearing pads while you are out “just in case”.

I am here to tell you that you are NOT BROKEN and this is NOT YOUR NEW NORMAL.

This involuntary leaking of urine is called incontinence.

don t panic text on toilet paper
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Incontinence Happens.

You are not weird.  You are not broken. We have kept this conversation taboo and hush hush for too long. You do not have to suffer alone and you DO NOT need to wear Depends for the rest of your life.

woman in white underwear holding red rose in a menstrual cup
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

If you are experiencing symptoms, it is your body’s way of telling you there is a bit of work to do to reoptimize your pelvic floor and ovary system. You can get back to the activities you love.

It is COMMON to have incontinence. Not NORMAL. But when it does happen to you, don’t feel lesser, like a failure, or that something is WRONG with you. It is information that you can take and know. It does not equate to your worth or value as a woman. You aren’t broken, you are powerful and you are able to start taking the opportunity to understand what is going on in your body. 

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There are different types.

Did you know that there are different types of incontinence?

It’s true!

Here is a page straight out of my book “The Starting Line Postpartum”:

When you speak with your women’s health practitioner (of any profession) about your symptoms, make sure they are asking questions that will help ID your type of incontinence.  This ensures you are getting the appropriate care, guidance and solutions.

These questions might include:

When do you notice the leaking occur?

Do you leak when you run, laugh or cough?

Do you leak when you can’t make it to the bathroom in time?

How often do you feel the urge to go?

Has there been any change in your diet recently?

If your health professional is asking these questions,  it will lead to you getting the solutions you need.

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Why does it happen?

It can be one factor or several components combined. Pregnancy, labor, injury, prolapse or weak/tight pelvic floor muscles can all cause incontinence. Also, we need to be aware of diet and environmental irritants that can aggravate the bladder and lead to incontinence symptoms.

Age doesn’t matter.

Incontinence doesn’t discriminate. No one gets a pass.

You can be in your 20s, no kids, super active and get incontinence. You can be in your 40s, no kids and have incontinence. You can be 32, with 3 kids and have incontinence.

New studies are currently in the works that I am watching very closely. They look at young women’s risk factors that influence her incontinence, as well as, results of sticking to a rehab program put in place by the researchers. The results could tell us a lot more about the physiology and the psychological behind incontinence.

Current systematic reviews and meta analysis show that many women suffer from incontinence in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and the statistical differences between the age groups are not significant. This tells us that this problem we once thought was just common in older women, is actually common across the lifespan. Only now, we know it is not NORMAL and that there is something we can do to fix it!

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The Fittest Don’t Get a Pass.

Something no one wants to talk about. Athletes, the ones who are the fittest of the fit, experience incontinence. It doesn’t mean they are weak. It means we have one more piece of their training puzzle to optimize in order to enhance their performance.

woman in white tank top standing on concrete surface
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Cassandra discusses incontinence in active women a bit more here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=759949624792414

Incontinence is a message. 

We usually don’t think of it this way.

smiling ethnic woman with blank poster in empty flat
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

We think of it as an annoyance. A bother. Embarrassing. I’m right there with you, so I get it.

However, what if we started thinking of it as a message about our training and our bodies? Just like if a specific body part was sore or hurting after a workout, we would say we needed to strengthen those muscles or find out if there was an injury there.

Same rules with incontinence. Are we experiencing symptoms?  That must mean we need to check out our system and optimize so that we can improve our performance and function.

You are not broken. You are strong. You are tuning into your body and the messages it proves. Don’t suffer in silence, be seen and BE HEaRd.

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Good afternoon ladies! Are you ready for our next challenge?

This one’s going to be a ran a little bit differently!

Here are the details:

Begins November 1st.🎁 Any woman can participate. Mamas, teens, single ladies, retired, etc you get the idea, join in on the fun! I will make an EXCLUSIVE group just for us where all of your fellow challenge members will be connecting, supporting and motivating each other!🎁$20 buy in that keeps you keyed in AND goes towards the Winners Pot (more about that in a sec). Paid via Paypal or CashApp.🎁You will have a score card that will be based on the honors system. 1 points per activity/workout/video participated in.🎁Weekly activities include: ❄ 1 15 to 30 min workout accessible to all levels ❄ 1 healthy eating recipe 🎁 Weekly check ins are not required, however, they are preferred to keep you motivated as well as motivate your follow participants! Cassandra. They help to serve as a tie breaker just in case.🎁 Now for the good stuff: PRIZES ($200+ value!) Winner will be the person will the most points and if there’s a tie, the most check ins! 🎀 75% OF THE POT (money taken in via signups) 🎀 Free tank top ($15 value) 🎀 Free New Year 45 minute consult with Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT ($80 value) 🎀 Free ticket into our yearly 8 week mini course Back to Basics where we talk about the different health dimensions and how you can implement them into your life in easy ways in the new year 2021! ($100 dollar value)

HOW FUN IS THAT!?! ARE YOU IN?! Sign up via form here: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5f90922c359e8b26ffb760f0.

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Cassandra McCoy Jackie Badger Mental Health Physical Health

Positively Balanced Conversations: Postpartum Care For Moms During COVID & Beyond

With Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT & Guest Julia Jones of Newborn Mothers

In this conversation, Cassandra talks with Julia Jones, founder and owner of Newborn Mothers, about care for new moms during COVID. Also, we discuss a bit about the notorious “Mommy Brain/Baby Brain” and how it is a necessary part of motherhood!

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Where to find Julia:

https://www.facebook.com/NewbornMothers

https://newbornmothers.com/

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Cassandra McCoy Jessica Wilkerson Physical Health Rachel Warner

Positively Balanced Conversations: Sleep & Hormones Across a Women’s Life

by Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT; Jessica Wilkerson PN-1, CPT; Rachel Warner MAT, ATC, LAT

In this conversation, join Jessica Wilkerson, Rachel Warner, and Cassandra McCoy as they discuss the importance and influence of sleep and hormones across a women’s lifespan, as well as, the things YOU need to consider!

We tackle subjects including:

  • Postpartum hormone and sleep
  • Midlife transitions towards menopause
  • and so much more!

Look for another few conversations with other specialized health professionals talking about midlife and menopausal transitions, as well as, teenage hormone, sleep and recovery coming soon.

Check out this great conversation!

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Cassandra McCoy Jessica Wilkerson Keli Kirwin Physical Health Uncategorized

Let’s Talk about Poop & Hemorrhoids Shall We

by Jessica Wilkerson CPT, PN1; Cassandra McCoy MAT, LAT, ATC, RYT; Keli Kirwin PIDC

In this conversation, the Be HEaRd Contributors chat about poop & hemorrhoids. We give you our tips and tricks to help with constipation postpartum, healing and more! Plus just some honest, early morning, coffee drinking, and real girl talk. Enjoy!

Some the tips and tricks lasted in this conversation:

Magnesium Calm Drink:

Squatty Potty:

Breathing & Relaxation:

Connect with Jessica here:

Connect with Keli here:

Connect with Cassandra here:

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Mental Health Rachel Warner

The Question Every Mom’s Been Asked…

by Rachel Warner MAT, ATC, LAT

Every mother experienced it at least once, and I don’t typically make absolute statements. Whether it was said by a health care provider, a friend, coworker, or a family member, every mom has heard it. 

“An insult disguised as a clinically relevant question.”

For me I was sitting in L&D for the 3rd time at 36 weeks pregnant in so much pain I swore I was going into labor this time. Literally fetal position, stabbing pain, couldn’t make it down the stairs, called 911, the whole nine yards. In walks the resident. She briefly glances at the strip, and tells me I’m not in labor followed by that condescending look. That’s when she says it, “this is your first one, isn’t it?” An insult disguised as a clinically relevant question. She could have seen that in my chart, had she bothered to look, at this point I’m convinced she hadn’t. 

“This is just ONE of my stories, and I’d be willing to bet every mother has at least one.”

She was right, it was my first child and first pregnancy. However, that fact did not eliminate my gallstones she had missed because she failed to order diagnostic imaging or the intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) that nearly cost me my son and resulted in an emergency cesarean birth 2 weeks late. My inexperience did not negate my concerns for mine or my child’s health. This is just ONE of my stories, and I’d be willing to bet every mother has at least one. 

I am talking about those comments made by friends and family, medical providers, acquaintances, or even perfect strangers. The comments that plant that seed of doubt. Whether you are a first time mom or a battle test pro, it happens. It is always accompanied by a smug tone that makes you doubt all your instincts as a woman and mom-to-be. Occasionally there’s an “oh just wait” tacked on the end, or maybe a “when I had my kids”, or my absolute favorite, “oh you’ll change your mind.” 

The comments are typically well intending, but come off like a punch to the gut. Moms from the very beginning are sold some contradicting advice, “trust your gut, oh, but not about this.” But maybe, if we took steps to educate moms instead of embarrassing them, understanding them instead of questioning them and assisting them instead of opposing them, we’d have fewer women walking away with birth related trauma. 

Yes, the hormone fluctuations can send anxiety into overdrive during the antenatal and postnatal periods. Moms can at times be a bit tough to reason with, we go on the defensive. Can you blame us? America is the only developed nation with an increasing maternal mortality rate, it has more than doubled since 1987. Oh, and if you’re an African American woman, your mortality rate is 3.26 times greater than white women, according to the CDC.  

A small study of 40 mothers, by Beck, found that birth trauma is truly in the eye of the beholder. “Mothers perceived that their traumatic births often were viewed as routine by clinicians.” Other studies have gone on to confirm this finding and recommend implementing assessment and counseling strategies to determine a mothers risk of developing PTSD or other trauma related effects.  

See it isn’t just an off handed comment or necessary clinical question. It is a systematic tendency to negate a mother’s needs or concerns. Practitioners all over the world are simply doing their jobs while women are bringing life into the world. What is an emotional, sensitive, and irreplaceable moment in a woman’s life, is just another day in the office for the birth attendant. This disconnect, in my very humble opinion, leads to anxiety and discontent for mothers surrounding their antenatal, delivery, and postnatal periods. 

So what’s the solution? Ideally it would be a system to screen women to determine the most vulnerable and provide them the support they need to cope with trauma and anxiety surrounding fertility, pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood. Not just a quick questionnaire at a newborn appointment, but regular check-ins for mom by mental health professionals. It would be medical professionals that ask questions and actively listen for concerns.

So what do you do while we wait for those things to be put in place, for the broken system to improve? 

  1. Enlist your partner or another safe person to help. If you become overwhelmed by your anxiety, and moved to tears when bringing up your concerns, that’s normal. Consider discussing your concerns with a safe person prior to the appointment. They can be prepared to speak for your, or the rehearsal will make expressing your concerns easier. 
  2. Request a second opinion. This is always your right. If your health care professional is not providing the care you need, seek a second opinion from another qualified health care provider (not just your favorite mom group). 
  3. Write down your questions. If you tend to feel rushed, or suddenly forget all your questions during your appointment, write them down. Keep a running list during the weeks between appointments and bring them up when you are with your healthcare provider. If you feel rush consider sending the questions via the message system or through a nurse in the office. 
  4. Ask your OB-GYN or Midwife about local resources. Most hospitals have community groups and lactation consultants available. WIC can be a fantastic resource for those that qualify. Churches could be another source of community or support. This is a wonderful question to put out to a local online mom group.
  5. Lastly, find a village. Reach out when you are feeling anxious, alone, or just off. We all need a little help sometimes. 

Lastly, just know, whatever you’re feeling is valid. There is help out there, it is just a shame you have to look so hard for it.

 

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Guest Contributor Physical Health

My Cesarean Experience & Why It Matters

by Kimberly Obanion

On June 2018, 2017 at 39 weeks pregnant I was admitted into our hospital to be induced. My OB-GYN as well as my High-Risk OB-GYN both agreed that being induced at 39 weeks was best for both baby and I due to complications caused from my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Due to the complications I endured throughout the entire pregnancy I agreed to be induced as I believed this is what was best for both baby and me. Little did I know I was WRONG. After checking into the hospital, being hooked up to what felt like a never-ending line of wires, having an IV placed, and monitors everywhere they inserted the Cervidil to begin thinning my cervix.

After 12 hours of laying in bed, not able to get up, or move unless it was to go to the restroom, the nurse then came in, took the Cervidil out and began the Pitocin drip.  Once starting the Pitocin, my contractions began getting stronger and stronger, and I was being checked every 2-3 hours to see if I had dilated any more. Once I was dilated to a 4, my doctor came in and broke my water to try and speed up dilating and progress labor on faster, little did we know that would be the beginning of a very long, very painful labor. After being in active labor for 26 hours and dilated to a 5 I was then given the opportunity to get my epidural and I took it.

After getting my epidural, an exceptionally long 2 hours passed, and it wore off on my entire left side of my body. I was in excruciating pain, while battling contractions, only to be told I was still only dilated to a 5! During this time I had also become very tachycardic, my heartrate skyrocketing up to as high as 200, and I also developed a fever, as well as baby’s heart rate dropping down between 30 bpm to 40 bpm the nurse and I became very concerned for both my baby and myself.

After consulting with my doctor, he decided that an emergency C-Section was the best option for both myself and baby, due to the high fever, tachycardia, being able to feel everything on one side of my body, and the fear of infection trying to set in.  At this point, myself, my mother and my grandmother began calling family, friends, co-workers, church family and whomever else we could think of to start a prayer chain for both myself and baby, that God would put his hands around us and bring us both out alive. Before I was prepped and taken back to the OR I was able to see my oldest daughter, dad, mom, brother, Mimi and Pawpaw.

I will never forget my Pawpaw standing by my bedside, holding my hand, telling me everything was going to be ok and praying. My life at that point changed forever. I was then taken back to the operating room with my mom, where 15 minutes later my 7 lb. 15 oz baby girl was brought into this world. Due to her being stuck in the birth canal for so long, me becoming tachycardic and spiking a fever and her heart rate nearly disappearing she came out blue, not crying and was rushed out to be cared for.

Little did I know this would be the first battle on a long road to recovery.

Trying to care for a newborn while just being sliced open right above your pelvis with a 3-inch incision and trying to care for yourself is not an easy task. I would refuse my pain medication so I could always keep her in my room with me, only to regret that decision a couple days later. What they do not tell you is that it will hurt to sit down, lay down, stand up, walk, go to the restroom, or even cough. Heaven forbid you must cough; it feels as though you are being shot a million times with little tiny shards of glass. To be discharged from the hospital after having a child whether it be by C-Section or vaginal they require you to have a bowel movement, what they do not tell you is that you will feel as though you are giving birth all over again and will want to scream, cry, curse, yell, and throw something while trying. I have an exceedingly high pain tolerance but recovering from a C-Section is one of the worst pains I have ever felt.

Then you go home, where you have little to no help. There are midnight feedings, changing diapers, showering, and did I mention, having to bend over with a 3 inch incision, God only knows how deep, and Lord only knows how many stitches keeping all of your insides intact, talk about PAINFUL! Some people say that having a C-Section is the “easy way out” and that you “aren’t really a mom if you have a C-Section” but I think C-Section mommas deserve a medal! As a mom who has had both a vaginal birth and a C-Section, I would take a vaginal birth 100 times over, recovery from it wasn’t the grandest, but it was by far faster, less painful and more rewarding because I was able to spend more quality time with baby.

Recovering from a C-Section is like living a nightmare over and over again, you feel the constant pain of your incision with every step you take, every twist, every turn, every time you shake a bottle to mix it, every time you bend over to change baby’s diaper or pick baby up, not to mention you can only lift 10 pounds at a time and what happens if baby is over 10 pounds, you can’t carry their car seat, or lift them to put them in the car, you have to rely on someone else to be there with you. I say all that to say this, C-Section mommas are warriors, and are not “taking the easy way out” and they are most certainly MOTHERS!! Mothers who may have fought for their life, or their baby’s life, and mothers who have given their all to bring a precious life into this world and sacrificed their body to make!

The next time you hear someone say that “C-Section moms just want the easy way out so they don’t have to go through labor” simply educate them, and let them know that it is most certainly not taking the easy way out because they give up so much bonding time with baby and they may not have had a choice, they may have been forced to have a C-Section to save their life, or the baby’s life. Do not undermine the person saying these things, simply educate them and guide them through what having a C-Section genuinely entails. 

-Kimberly O’Banion 4/27/2020

Categories
Keli Kirwin Mental Health Physical Health

Letter to my best friend: Postpartum series

By Keli Kirwin

Dear friend,

      Please believe that you deserve rest and care. Know that you are best able to care for others whenever your body and mind are rested 

       Allow your support team to help. Communicate your needs and expectations with your husband before the baby comes. Sit down together with pen and paper to decide who will be responsible for which tasks, consider every responsibility that will need to be covered. Agree on the length of this arrangement, remembering flexibility and the freedom to communicate and make adjustments that fit your family as the need arises. 

         Stay in touch with your care providers and communicate with them openly about your concerns. I mean it. 

         It is okay to let your husband parent while you rest or step away to take a breath. It is okay to call friends or family to ask for help (it doesn’t mean admitting incompetence). 

          You need to eat and you need to drink water. Keep water and snacks nearby. This is a good way your husband can support your recovery. 

           Please send me all the pictures you want. I promise to love them all and I promise not to get offended whenever you are too busy. I promise to love you and your family, to support you in whichever way best serves you; and to do so without judgment.

Much love, to my best friend.

P.S. Use sticky notes to remember things like- drink water!

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Cassandra McCoy Jessica Wilkerson Keli Kirwin Melanie VanBeber Mental Health Physical Health

Interviews and Discussion of Women’s Health and Sex Postpartum

by Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT, RYT with Guests Dr Corey Babb; OBGYM, Rachel Warner MAT, ATC, LAT; Jessica Wilkerson CPT, PN1; Keli Kirwin Postpartum Doula.


Sex postpartum is an area of concern for many women. With the process of labor, challenges postpartum such as injury or lack of sleep, and the added layer of the emotional/mental unknown, sex can be intimidating. Sex, among other women’s health concerns, is exactly what this interview with Dr Corey Babb OBGYN is about. Join in that conversation here:

After this interveiw, a few of the Be HEaRd Contributors discuss a variety of labor/postpartum experiences. Join us as we discuss our personal experiences, professional knowledge and just have a down to earth chat about the real things that help postpartum. Join us here:

If you would like to join in the conversation, we would love to have to join us over on Facebook in our private women’s groups:

Women’s Health: https://www.facebook.com/groups/514687002787259/

Postpartum Women’s Health: https://www.facebook.com/groups/514687002787259/

Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Positivelybalancedmmh/

Our Instagram: @Positivelybalancedllc

We can’t wait to get to know you and health you bridge the gap to our own health!

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Cassandra McCoy Keli Kirwin Mental Health Physical Health

Birth and Postpartum During COVID-19

Video and article by Keli Kirwin and Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT


Birth during COVID-19, much like many other things right, now looks completely different than we are used to.

In these two conversations, Keli Kirwin a postpartum doula and Cassandra McCoy, talk about those differences, the options and resources available during this time.

Birth During COVID-19


Topics discussed:

  • Current requirements
  • Birth options

Postpartum during COVID-19

Topics discussed:

  • Services possibly provided virtually
  • Food Services
  • Connecting with your providers
  • Physical/ mental self care tips
  • Ways support can still be provided to a postpartum woman

www.sacredspacepostpartum.com