resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
The Large Intestine Official
The large intestine (AKA colon) is the great eliminator, or as J.R. Worsley called it, "The Drainer of the Dregs." Dregs are defined as the remnants of liquid with its sediment left in a container, or the basest, least valuable portion of anything.
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
News in Brief
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) board members recently met with the Korean Customs Service, which is similar to the FDA, to discuss herbal safety and importation issues.
TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
Correcting Rib Dysfunction: Improve Patients' Pain, Posture and Breathing
As chiropractors, we tend to focus on the spine, and rightly so. Many problems our patients face can be corrected by manipulating the correct spinal level.
Chiropractic in Texas Is Under Attack
The profession of chiropractic faces an unprecedented challenge in Texas, an attack that is more aggressive, sustained and dangerous than anything previously seen. The medical lobby has launched a coordinated, multi-front assault.
Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
April, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 04
The Five Elements of Depression, Part I
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
In the last two issues of Massage Today, I have talked about headaches and other physical complaints. Pain relief may be the most common reason clients seek shiatsu and other Asian bodywork therapies, but it certainly is not the only benefit they can receive.A physical problem will bring a client in, like the woman's headaches in the example I use later on in this article. But we need to look beyond the physical manifestation at our client's emotional and spiritual climate, to explore and treat the person, not just the symptoms.
When we do any form of Asian bodywork therapy (ABT), we are working with Qi -- the vital force that moves us through the dance of life. Qi is not only involved in every emotional and physiological process of our bodies; it also binds us together as individuals and connects us spiritually, reverberating through every being on this earth. This awareness of the interconnectedness of all, along being present and compassionate, are more essential than ego-based, "clever" techniques.
Keeping this in mind, we are looking beyond any Western diagnosis our clients may have come to us with, to see the energetic relationships within themselves and to the world. An excellent paradigm for doing this is the Five Elements. The five elements are a poetic but scientific way of using natural phenomenon, like the changing of the seasons, to explore and treat our psyche, spiritual state, anatomy, physiology, and the dynamics of the disease process as a whole.
Often, clients come to us with the Western diagnosis of depression. A major depressive episode implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least two weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least five of the following nine symptoms:
So what do we do with a diagnosis of depression? Is there a magic point that cures depression? Wouldn't that make it easy! The beauty of shiatsu and Asian bodywork therapy is that we have the tools to see people as a vortex of natural forces, as great works of art, with their life force as an integral part of that picture. We have to see the symptom of depression as part of a whole being, manifesting differently in everyone. The five elements allow us to look at the person's individual "climate." Depression could lie in any of the five elements; often, it's a combination of the dynamic relationship between two or more elements.
The Wood Element closely relates to the season of spring. The energy of the flowers pushing through the still frozen ground upward resembles the force of wood. It's a powerful, yang force within our bodies, responsible for moving the Qi upward. It has an energy that can flare up quickly and move rapidly, often like wind.
The wood organs, Liver and Gall Bladder, are related to the ease and flow of Qi and the emotions, particularly anger. Wood also gives us the ability to make decisions. Wood gives us flexibility in our tendons and sinews, which manifests on an emotional level as well. Someone who is very "woody" may be rigid, inflexible and have issues about being in control. Their anger will flare upward easily; they will hold themselves and others to a high standard of perfection. The eyes relate to the wood element -- not just physically, but in having a life vision and plan. When thwarted, their energy can get stuck or stagnate, causing resentment, repressed anger and, over a long period of time, depression.
Let me give you an example of a typical dark, moody, wood-type of depression. I had a client who was a single mother in her 40's. For years, she worked in a job that she didn't like, with a demanding boss. She got angry, but she always stifled it because she was afraid to lose her job. Her kids had a lot of behavior problems that caused her even more stress. She often spoke of how frustrated she was and how she felt like she had no control in her life. She felt as if she had no options. She would ineffectually explode at her kids and then get mad at herself for doing so. Her physical symptoms included menstrual cramps, PMS and temporal migraines. (Do you remember shaoyang headaches?) Her pulse was wiry and the sides of her tongue were red. Her doctor diagnosed her with mild depression and suggested that she try Prozac, but she wanted to wait a bit longer, trying shiatsu as a last resort recommendation from a friend.
Don't you hate it when you are a last resort? I'd much rather have seen her years before she got into such a desperate state! Luckily, she responded very quickly to shiatsu. Not only was that due to the wood element's easily changeable nature, she also realized that she was spiraling downward and she was committed to making changes in her life.
I focused treatments on the wood meridians, Lv and GB, and the shaoyang meridians, which are Gall Bladder and Triple Heater. I also supplemented the treatments with the Water or Earth meridians intermittently as a precaution. Point combinations that I used were Lv 3 and GB 34. I also held both GB 20s with one hand as I thumb pressed down the TH meridian, stopping and holding TH 6, then TH 5 on one side with Pc 6 on the other. I worked on the TH and GB meridians on the temples, around the ears, occiput and shoulders. In the side position, I worked on the ribs, hips, the outside and the inside of the legs, ending with work on the feet including GB 41 and Lv 3. I also included many meridian stretches.
I recommended that she take a yoga class, which she did. Stretching literally "cools you out" by opening up the meridians, allowing heat to be released. A wood depression due to stagnant liver Qi often starts to generate heat, which can cause irritability, restlessness and insomnia. The stretching not only helped her become calmer, but also more flexible at all levels.
I suggested that she cut out fatty, greasy and spicy foods. Due to her schedule, she relied far too heavily on fast food. She also cut back on coffee and alcohol, which previously had just added fuel to her fire.
She didn't quit her job, but she got better at not letting her boss get to her. She started communicating with her kids more effectively, and they responded by acting out less. Her moods improved, and her headaches and PMS symptoms became less frequent.
This woman's particular case was a straightforward, classic wood case with little complications from other elements. This is unusual. More often than not two or more elements are involved. Deficient water can cause a wood imbalance in the shen-growth cycle. Wood can overact in the ko-control cycle, causing the earth element to be affected and dampness to accumulate.
In future articles, I will give examples of how depression manifests in the other elements. I am hoping that this series will spark your interest in further study. Are you getting tired of hearing this yet? This is just a taste - it in no way takes the place of actual training!
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.