resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
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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