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The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
December, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 12
Depression and the Stress Response System, Part III
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
In the first part of this series, I introduced the concept of depression and its relationship to touch deprivation and a sluggish stress response system. Last time, I looked at different types of depression and the consequences of living with this disorder.This month, I will discuss treatment options, including, of course, massage.
Most types of depression can be treated successfully: Up to 90 percent of all depression patients eventually find a treatment that significantly improves their quality of life. A combination of medical intervention and psychotherapy appears to be the most effective way of treating most types of depression.
Antidepressants - Medications used for depression usually fall into one of three categories: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or tricyclics. These classes of medication aim to make neurotransmitters more easily accessible in the mood-determining areas of the brain. SSRIs, such as Prozac and Zoloft, work by preventing the recycling of secreted serotonin into axon terminals. In other words, serotonin lingers in synapses for longer than it normally would, which reinforces its power to work. Tricyclic antidepressants, including amytriptaline, essentially do the same, although they do not focus specifically on serotonin. MAOIs, such as Nardil and Parate, limit the action of an enzyme that would normally break down and clear away secretions of neurotransmitters. Lithium is used specifically to treat bipolar depression. Rather than altering levels of neurotransmitter reuptake or recycling, lithium works simply to "smooth out" mood swings.
Antidepressants are effective for most people, but they have two major disadvantages: They take several weeks to establish any noticeable mood changes, and they tend to produce unpleasant side-effects during the initial adjustment period, including dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, skin rashes, sleepiness or sleeplessness, and restlessness. Side effects usually subside within four to six weeks - about the same time the medication starts to work.
St. John's Wort - This herbal extract has received a lot of attention as a mood enhancer without the side-effects that other antidepressants carry. Early experiments indicate that it might work like SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants by preventing the reabsorption of neurotransmitters at the synapses. The National Institutes of Health recently began a three-year study of St. John's wort in comparison to amytriptaline for the treatment of mild dysthymia.
Psychotherapy - Psychologists and psychiatrists may also employ various types of "talk therapy" to help patients improve coping skills and reduce the effects and recurrence of depressive episodes. Three major approaches are useful, depending on the personality and needs of the affected individual. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on the patient's skills at managing life and making positive choices. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how relationships color a person's life, for better or worse. Psychodynamic therapy examines how unresolved inner conflicts can affect the way a person makes choices and lives with those choices. Psychotherapy, combined with medication, often works better than medication alone, because it can help the patient take control of a situation - a feeling many depressive people do not often have.
Light therapy: Individuals living with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) do not need medication or therapy; they need sunlight. Exposure to broad-spectrum lights can help to reduce symptoms.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Some depression patients do not respond to medication, but the symptoms persist and make their lives miserable. ECT or "shock" therapy may be the best choice for these patients. While this may bring up disturbing memories of the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," modern ECT is conducted under light anesthesia, and with muscle relaxants to limit uncontrolled contractions. It is not entirely clear why it works, but it can be a highly effective intervention for people who do not get relief from other options.
Massage: Most people suffering from depression will reap several benefits from bodywork. Touch improves the efficiency of the pituitary-adrenal axis. Receiving non sexual, nurturing, non threatening touch is one of the most important ways humans and other mammals have to keep a healthy stress response. Massage moves people from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state. This brings about several physiological and chemical changes in the body, including an increase in serotonin secretion and a decrease in cortisol. Research about how massage affects mood indicates a shift in electroencephalogram (EEG) activation from the right frontal lobe (usually associated with sad affect) to the left frontal lobe (usually associated with happy affect), or at least to a symmetrical reading.1 Massage is one of the few distinctively pleasurable things people can do that is also really good for them. The act of receiving a massage is a step toward self-determination that depressed people can take with little risk of having it backfire.
Be cautious when working with depressed patients. Some clients who receive massage and enjoy its benefits may wish to stop taking their medication; well-meaning massage therapists may view this as a successful outcome and encourage their clients to try it, but balancing medication for depressive people is a difficult business. Only the patient and his or her doctor should be involved in this decision.
Depression often accompanies complex emotional issues that a client may have trouble sorting out. Client-therapist relationships run the risk, in some cases, of becoming distorted when boundaries are not carefully respected. If a massage therapist has a client who is depressive in connection with other problems (for instance, recovering from emotional, physical or sexual abuse), the relationship can be precarious, especially if the client is not getting adequate support outside the massage clinic. In these cases, therapists are obliged to refer clients for other kinds of help, and to prevent the client-therapist relationship from becoming more central to the client's life than it should be.
I will be taking a short break from my column until next May. Until then, many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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