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Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
August, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 08
Depression and the Stress Response System: Part I of III
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Last time, we talked about adhesive capsulitis, and some of you shared wonderful information about this disorder. Conventional wisdom suggests that this disorder is lengthy, painful and debilitating, but that doesn't mean every person will suffer.Many massage therapists are having great success with their clients' "intractable" shoulder pain and restrictions!
My next three columns will focus on depression. This first piece will focus on the definition and etiology of this disorder, with emphasis on the Stress Response System and its influence on mood. The second section will address five common types of depression, including major depressive disorder; dysthymia; bipolar disease; seasonal affective disorder; and post-partum depression. I will conclude the series with a discussion of treatment options, and a look at the interaction between massage, the disease process and the medications commonly prescribed for it.
What is Depression?
Depression is a term used to classify a group of disorders that causes debilitating changes to one's emotional state. I found a wonderful description of depression in one of my favorite books about stress and disease, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, by Robert Sapolsky. He classifies depression as "a genetic-neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets."1
Depression is a central nervous system (CNS) disorder that involves a genetic predisposition, chemical changes, and often a triggering event, that results in a person losing the ability to enjoy life. It is more than a temporary spell of "the blues"; it can be a long-lasting, self-propagating and debilitating disease. Statistics on the incidence of depression are hard to gather. Most estimates suggest that between 10 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population experiences an episode of depression every year, amounting to 11 to 19 million people. Women seem to be more susceptible to depression, as well as more likely to seek help. Incidences of diagnosed depression among women are twice as frequent as they are among men.
Etiology of Depression: What Happens?
No one really knows how depression starts. Several distinctive features have been noted in the brains and endocrine systems of depressed individuals, but whether these features cause the problem or are caused by the problem, is still a mystery. Nonetheless, as we learn more about the chemical changes associated with depression, we also learn new ways to treat it:
Many contributing factors collide to initiate a depressive episode. Some of them are controllable; many are not. Whether or not someone will end up feeling depressed depends on his or her own personal chemistry, genetics, and something much harder to quantify: personality.
Depression and the Stress Response System
The Stress Response System (SRS) is the link between the CNS and the endocrine system that allows humans to respond to short-term and long-term stressors. It is controlled by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA): the communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. A healthy SRS allows reactions that are appropriately gauged to the circumstances: big reactions to big threats; small reactions to small threats.
When the SRS works well, the chemical changes it brings about are transitory and quickly neutralized, once the threat has passed. A person with a healthy SRS will have a rapidly beating heart; dilated pupils; dry-mouth; heightened blood sugar; and increased blood pressure when he or she narrowly dodges a drifting car on the highway, but won't blow a gasket when his or her 10-year-old leaves the bike in the driveway again.
Sometimes the SRS doesn't work well. The chemical messages issued first from the hypothalamus, then by the pituitary gland, are slow to leave the brain and reach the adrenals. This takes longer to have an effect on the body, which slows reactions and decreases the ability to respond quickly to threat. The stress reaction is tenacious, and its after effects can linger longer than for someone with a healthy SRS.
Furthermore, people who have a sluggish SRS also tend to have more stress responses, more often, to less threatening stimuli; those responses have longer lasting effects on the body. This type of person fumes in a long checkout line, frets in heavy traffic and explodes when the dog gets into the garbage. This person may have a sluggish, but overreactive stress response and a tendency to develop depression.
What Determines the Health of the SRS?
Studies on animals reveal one reason for a sluggish stress response: lack of tactile stimulation, or touch. Under stimulated animals have consistently slower, longer lasting and more frequent stress responses than animals that have been regularly handled. Consider what this means for the average under-touched person in our society. Touch deprivation and depression might especially affect those who live in isolation, away from the tactile and emotional stimulation of a partner or extended community. Ironically, depression tends to cause people to isolate themselves even further from their communities, which can exacerbate and elongate their problems.
There is some good news: The health of the SRS can be improved with an abundance of healthy, nurturing touch. Next time, we'll look at different types of depression, along with their distinctive signs and symptoms.
If you work with depressive clients, I'd like to hear from you about: the type of depression your clients have; if they take medication; the type of bodywork you do with them; the length of time you have worked together; and the results you are seeing. I will take your input and incorporate it into the next two articles, so get busy!
Many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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