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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.
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.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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