resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
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.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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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