resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
Herpes Simplex Demystified
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Author's note: I would like to thank Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins for the use of the pictures in this article. These photographs appear in A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology, 2nd ed., Ruth Werner, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2002.
The original citations for these photos are: 1) Herpes [reprinted with permission from Rassner G.Atlas of Dermatology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger: 1994:42.] 2) Herpes Whitlow [reprinted with permission from Goodheart HP. A Photoguide of Common Skin Disorders: Diagnosis and Management. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1999:90.
As a person who has been involved in massage education for 20 years, I know that one of the things students and therapists fear most is the threat of contagious skin diseases; however, as with all things fearful, the best defense is knowledge. In that spirit, I offer this month's topic: herpes simplex. The good news about herpes is you probably already have it; the bad news is it's possible to get it in new places. My hope is that by reading this material you will feel better prepared to protect yourself and your clients from this tough, sturdy virus.
Definition of Herpes Simplex - The word herpes comes from the Greek root herpein, meaning "creeping thing," or serpent. It is an interesting description for this family of viruses that, once introduced into the body, are never fully expelled. They can become inactive, but infections may recur at any time, often when the immune system is sluggish or overtaxed. Herpes viruses include: herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr virus (associated with mononucleosis), varicella zoster (chickenpox and shingles), cytomegalovirus, which typically becomes active when people are immune-suppressed, and others.
Herpes simplex is occasionally discussed as Type I and Type II viruses: Type I has traditionally been associated with oral lesions (the euphemisms for these are "cold sores" or "fever blisters," probably because they tend to occur when the immune system is overtaxed), while Type II virus has been associated with genital herpes.
Examinations of oral and genital lesions show significant crossover between Type I and Type II virus; both have the same treatment options, so the delineation between them has little significance.
Etiology - Herpes simplex is spread through mucous secretions. A person's first outbreak, which usually occurs two to 20 days after exposure, is called primary herpes. All subsequent outbreaks are called recurrent herpes. Recurrent herpes usually occurs in the same place as the primary lesion, because the virus has taken up residence in the affected nerve root. A primary herpes outbreak is often unnoticed.
Most cases of oral herpes are picked up during infancy or early childhood, and the new carrier may never be aware of his or her infection. In rare cases, however, the primary infection may be very extreme, accompanied by fever, swollen glands and many painful sores that may last from two to six weeks.
Signs and Symptoms - Herpes simplex has a fairly predictable presentation: the affected area may experience some pain or tingling a few days before an outbreak (the "prodromic" stage), then a blister or cluster of blisters appears on a red base. The painful, itchy blisters erupt and ooze virus-rich liquid all around the area. The blisters scab over after a week or 10 days, ending the most contagious phase of the disease. Altogether the outbreak lasts about two to three weeks.
Many of us are familiar with oral herpes; these lesions are typically on the lips, but may be elsewhere on the face or even inside the mouth. (Most sores that occur inside the mouth are not herpes, however.)
Genital herpes is not limited to appearing only on the genitals; these lesions may appear virtually anywhere between the knees and the waist, affecting the sacrum, the buttocks and the thighs - all places massage therapists may work.
Two other herpes simplex patterns are worth noting: herpes Whitlow and herpes gladitorium. Herpes Whitlow appears on the hands, especially the nail beds. Herpes gladitorium is named for its habit of appearing virtually anywhere on the bodies of wrestlers: friction burns and contaminated wrestling mats are probably the mode of transmission for this group.
Communicability - The herpes virus is famous for its communicability. Unlike many pathogens, it can remain dormant and healthy outside of a host body for hours at a time. Exactly how long is a matter of some debate. This means that the face pad that an infected client used may now pass the virus to another client. Used face cloths and towels may also harbor the virus. Even leaving aside the possibility of infecting other people, herpes is notorious for spreading to other parts of the body.
While it doesn't happen often, touching a cold sore and then touching the eye can result in a painful and dangerous herpetic infection of the cornea (herpes keratitis). One of the most dangerous aspects of a herpes infection is that a patient could be shedding the virus during the prodromic stage, with no visible lesion. This means that all it takes to catch herpes from another person is skin-to-skin contact with live virus. No sore or break in the skin is necessary.
While exposure to herpes is almost a given for adults in this country, herpes antibodies provide only limited protection against the establishment of new sites of infection. This is why massage therapists, even those who know they have been exposed, must work to prevent contracting herpes simplex at a new portal of entry.
Treatment - Herpes is a viral infection, which means there's little to do for it but wait for it to be over. Antiviral drugs may shorten the duration of an infection, but they don't prevent future outbreaks. Prevention is the main thrust for treatment of this condition; this means isolating towels, bedding and clothing, and avoiding sexual contact while lesions are present. Keeping as healthy as possible between outbreaks is an important way to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes episodes.
The good news about herpes is that the social stigma that used to be attached to this infection has been largely lifted. Many people no longer feel a need to hide this part of their medical history. If a client has a history of herpes, it's important to explain why it's a bad idea to receive a massage during an outbreak, and to request that he or she reschedule if prodromic symptoms or blisters are present. Even after a lesion has scabbed over, herpes is at very least a local contraindication. Because this virus can survive outside of a host, consider the sheets of any client with herpes as "hot": isolate them in a closed container and either have them professionally laundered or add extra bleach to their wash cycle.
Sometimes it is impossible to avoid working with a client who has an active cold sore. This might be a good time, however, to avoid not only this person's face, but also his or her hands. Those of us who get occasional outbreaks of herpes know how hard it is not to touch the blisters, even when we try to be conscientious about good hygiene.
For next time: What's it to be, readers? Right now warts are at the top of my list, but flu season is upon us, and last year's outbreak of avian flu around the globe may create an interesting season. Or do you have something else you want to find out about? Let me know: What's on your table?
Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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