resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.