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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05
Depression and the Five Elements, Part II
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
Last month in Massage Today, we started exploring the Western diagnosis of depression through the Five Elements. The five-element paradigm is particularly useful in looking beyond the physical manifestation, at our client's emotional and spiritual climate.
Even though we always focus on treating the whole person on all levels - not just the symptoms - sometimes it is helpful to give clients "homework" for symptomatic relief.It may not deal with the underlying cause of their problem as effective treatments would, but it could help them cope between sessions.
One type of homework you can give your clients to help ease their depression is self-moxa, if moxa use was included in your training. First, make sure the client doesn't have any obvious symptoms of heat invasion or empty heat, e.g., a red tongue and face, feeling of being too warm, or a rapid pulse. In those instances, moxa is contraindicated. Demonstrate on the client how to use moxa on bafeng/eight winds, located between the webbing of each toe, proximal to the margins of the webs (see illustration below). You can use a moxa pole, but a tiger warmer is better. It should take only about 5-10 minutes. Tell the client to use the moxa every morning, warming each point until just before it is too hot, then moving onto the next point, repeating two-to-three times. By the way, I have been advised by people knowledgeable in legal matters not to give my clients moxa because if they burn themselves, they can sue. It's best to have them purchase their own sticks at an Asian medical supply store.
Another caution that I need to repeat is that shiatsu or any other form of bodywork should not be used in lieu of professional medical treatment or psychotherapy. It works very well in conjunction with other therapies, but be very clear on what you can and cannot treat within your scope of practice.
In my last column, I gave a detailed case study of a client with a typical wood element depression. She was angry, frustrated and suffered with temporal headaches. I can't spend a whole article on each kind of depression but I can give you a basic idea of what to look for in each type so you know where to start working. Keep in mind that usually people will manifest as a combination of a few elements.
The meridians associated with the fire element are primarily the heart and small intestine. A person who has a fire element depression usually attributes "funks" to a broken heart or to relationship problems. This person invests a lot into relationships, losing the importance of the sense of self. When two hearts beat as one, usually it means one of the two people is dead! The "dead one" usually ends up being a woman. I have seen all of the other four types of depression in my male clients, but never a fire element depression. There must be a certain amount of acculturation that supports a woman who "sacrifices" -- whether she is involved with a man or in a same-sex relationship.
The season of the fire element is Summer, and the climate of this person is hot, passionate and joyful - when she is up! This person is optimistic and bubbly when she is in love. She has a lot of energy and focuses much of it on her partner. Every thought and dream is about being with the one she loves. She lives in her heart, finding pleasure in sublimating her own desires to make the one she loves "happy."
Unfortunately, the cost of this temporary bliss is dear. When she wakes up from the dream and finds herself alone, she is devastated, and often falls into a deep depression, until the next relationship that lifts her up again. She needs to eventually find herself worthy of the love that she lavishes on others.
The climate of an earth element depression is characterized by a sticky, cloying dampness. You can feel it in the muscles, which are weak and sometimes puffy filled with a soggy, muddy quality. When earth is weak, the water element backs up along the ko cycle, causing a debilitating swamp in the spleen and stomach meridians. This person obviously is going to have trouble moving through this kind of environment! Such a person may complain of being often tired with a heavy feeling in the limbs.
An earth element person will also have issues involving food, including binging and purging. This person will sometimes have uncontrollable sweet cravings, which are easily controlled by working spleen points. I had a client who would eat candy bars before her sessions because she knew she wouldn't feel like eating them afterward!
This illustrates the challenge of treating an earth element-type of person. Earth-element types are often stuck and are uncomfortable with transition and change. They sometimes have many excuses why they are depressed, and feel little gratitude for the blessings in their lives.
The metal element meridians are lung and large intestine. These meridians not only help us to let go of waste that we don't need anymore on a physical level; they also assist in that process on an emotional level. The climate that you see in a metal element depression is one of long-term grief and sadness. There is a deep and desperate inability to let go, causing disabling depression.
The physical symptoms that may accompany a metal element depression are asthma and allergies. You may notice, many children develop asthma after their parents divorce.
The last and most dangerous form of depression relates to the water element: the bladder and kidney meridians. Not only does the water element house our deep-seated fears -- it is also responsible for our genetic makeup. Therefore, often these are the types of depressions that run in the family.
This is the deepest and darkest of all depressions, and the one for which medication is most helpful (and often essential). People suffering with this type of depression are sometimes suicidal. One client of mine describes shiatsu as helping her "keep her head above water" through difficult times, juggling suicide attempts, ECT (shock) treatments, and ineffective medications with many side effects. Any off-the-cuff mention of "checking out" must be noted in your client's chart and reported to her/his therapist.
So you can see, depression is not something you want to work with without experienced professional support and a considerable amount of training yourself. Although it may be difficult at times, there is nothing more satisfying than helping people make significant and lasting changes in their lives!
For a list of schools that offers programs in ABT, go to www.aobta.org.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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