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Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
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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