resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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?."
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05
What about Varicose Veins?
By Kate Jordan, NCTMB
As I travel throughout the United States teaching pregnancy massage programs, I hear a myriad of conflicting opinions about the appropriate way to address varicose veins in our clients.Some therapists have been taught to avoid the legs entirely in the presence of varicose veins; others to work "above" them, "below" them, or "once over lightly." Can we safely massage clients with varicose veins, and is there any benefit to them in doing so?
Varicose veins are quite common in the general population; in fact, they are estimated to affect as many as 50% of middle-aged adults living in the United States. You are far more likely to develop varicose veins if you are a woman, if you've been pregnant, and if your occupation requires constant standing (like massage therapy!) Other factors that can predispose an individual to varicose veins are heredity and structural weakness of vein walls, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Still another contributor is our low-fiber diet -- varicose veins are rarely seen in parts of the world where high-fiber unrefined foods are eaten.
Besides the legs, varicose veins can be found in the perineum, rectum (hemorrhoids), vulva and esophagus. I'll be discussing the suitability of massage to the legs when varicose veins are present.
Varicose veins can develop in superficial or deep veins. Superficial varicose veins can be seen through the skin -- they are dilated, lengthened and tortuous or "ropy."
Why do such veins develop? We know that in normal vascular mechanics the muscles of the calves (especially the soleus) act as powerful auxiliary hearts to pump returning blood through the deep leg veins, This pressure is not transmitted to the superficial veins, because of valves in the communicating veins. If these deep vein walls become dilated (from mechanical stress, inherent weakness or hormonal influence), the valves stop functioning effectively. When these valves become incompetent, the pressure pushes the blood into superficial veins, causing them to dilate and lengthen. This condition progresses, further lengthening and dilating the superficial veins. Continued constriction of upward blood flow caused by constant standing or sitting, or tight garments, causes blood to pool in the legs, further aggravating the varicose veins and contributing to poor health in the surrounding tissues. The veins gradually lose their elasticity and the condition worsens.
Some clients with varicose veins may consider them to be only a cosmetic issue. For others, there can be considerable pain, aching and fatigue in the legs, particularly when walking. Their calf muscles may cramp especially at night. The soleus/gastrocnemius complex may lose muscle strength, further decreasing pumping action and muscular support for the veins.
In severe cases, areas of a client's legs may become pigmented, hardened, or ulcerated. It is common to develop congestion and edema in the ankles as a result of the dilated veins and the abnormally high pressure in the capillaries, leading to increased exudation of lymph.
Blood clots are more likely to develop in varicose veins, and veins may rupture, leading to hemorrhage. One of my clients, a 50-year-old woman, experienced such a rupture one night as she stood in front of the developing tray in the lab of her photography class. In such severe situations, your clients may need to wear compression stockings at all times to increase venous flow to the heart.
Bodywork can be an effective supportive modality for clients with varicose veins, applied judiciously in relation to the severity of the condition. In addition to hands on work, clients will benefit from lifestyle changes, exercise, support stockings and nutritional and herbal remedies.
As a result of venous stasis, venous blood has a low level of oxygen and a high level of carbon dioxide, and other metabolic products, impairing the nutrition of venous tissue and the surrounding skin and subcutaneous tissue. If bruising or ulceration occur around the area, healing may be impeded. Massage techniques such as lymphatic drainage and circulatory massage that increase general circulation and improve tissue nutrition are especially beneficial in addressing varicose veins. Circulatory technique should include short (three-inch-long) effleurage strokes to move the blood from valve to valve in the vein, and longer strokes to increase flow throughout the length of the vein. Lymphatic drainage strokes are superficial strokes that effect lymphatic circulation by moving lymph from areas of pooling and congestion in the intercellular spaces into lymph vessels and eventually general circulation. These very light strokes are directed to the subdermal area and the superficial fascia. All massage techniques that address venous insufficiency should proceed toward the heart. Use gentle full-palm pressure or flat fingertip pressure when massaging over varicose veins and avoid digital pressure, cross-fiber friction, stripping, wringing, and percussion movements. To aid in venous return, the legs can be optimally elevated to 45 degrees during the session. They may also be treated in sidelying position with the uppermost leg massaged.
Only the presence of broken skin, ulceration, or phlebitis precludes the therapist from stroking directly over varicose veins. In the case of ulceration, lymphatic drainage and circulatory strokes can be initiated proximal to the lesion. Myofascial release techniques applied at the margin of venous ulceration can help to soften and release areas of hardening, leading to free movement of the skin and underlying tissue.
Connective tissue massage (Bindegewebsmassage ) is utilized in Europe to increase peripheral circulation and speed healing of tissue affected by venous stasis. Bindegebsmassage is especially suited for safe treatment of varicose veins because its application is focused primarily on the lower margins of the latissimus dorsi, pelvis, sacrum, greater trochanter and iliotibial tract, and not at the site of the varicose veins.
Since it is better to limit friction when massaging varicose veins, lubricants are essential. Oils rather than creams or lotions are recommended. I most often use a 50/50 mixture of heated olive oil and tincture of myrrh over varicose veins, as recommended in the Edgar Cayce readings. In sessions in which the client's varicose veins are not an area of primary concern, I use peanut oil. Cold witch hazel can be rubbed gently on the legs to relieve itching and irritation.
All clients who have developed varicose veins should be encouraged to move! Standing for long periods should be discouraged. If you're a massage therapist, consider using a footstool to shift your weight during a session from one leg to the other, and changing your position from standing to sitting throughout the session to minimize continued static stress on your legs. Clients who are sedentary should be encouraged to dorsiflex/plantar flex the ankles at least twenty times per hour in a seated or supine position, and, if able, to walk or ride an exercise bicycle 1-2 miles daily. Anyone with symptomatic varicose veins will benefit from resting for 15-20 minutes after work while elevating the ankles at least 45 degrees, and sleeping with the foot of the bed elevated 5-10 degrees. Moderate compression stockings are now available commercially and can contribute significantly to limiting the progression of varicose veins if worn regularly.
Many herbal remedies are recommended for varicose veins. Horse chestnut seed extract taken in a dosage of 100-150 mg daily appears in a number of double-blind studies to be among the most effective. This herbal treatment is contraindicated in pregnancy.
When we work on a client who has varicose veins, her legs should not be avoided, but addressed with appropriate techniques intended to support venous return to the heart, improve the condition of surrounding tissue, and reduce contributory restrictions in other parts of the body.
Click here for previous articles by Kate Jordan, NCTMB.
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