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Building Kidney Yang and Jing
Kidney yang, if we include mingmen fire, is the energy and heat source for the whole body. Jing is the essence of yang, and is stored in the kidney, extraordinary channels, and in the bone marrow, which in TCM also includes the brain.
A Very New Year: It's Time to Track
As we enter 2017, we find "affordable care" is not so affordable for many individuals. They are discovering what employers learned long ago: Health care is expensive – and keeps getting more expensive.
Change on the Horizon? New White House Spells Shift in Health Care Policy
On the morning after Election Day, many in our country were surprised to learn that not only did the Republican nominee win the White House, but also that the House of Representatives and the Senate remain under GOP control.
The Key to Recovery
Starting in the 1970s and developing over a decade of assessment and improvement, the South Bronx's Lincoln Recovery Center staff refined the method of using five basic ear-points, which became the NADA protocol for the treatment of addiction.
Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion.
What Are Prebiotics – and Why Should You Care? (Part 1)
In previous articles, I spoke about the different kinds of fiber and their effects, and the potential risks of taking probiotics without also consuming prebiotic soluble fiber (PSF) in foods and/or supplements [see August & October 2016 issues].
Case Study of Benign Hand Tremors
Patients without degenerative diseases causing tremors are often given the diagnosis of essential tremors, for which treatment options are limited to lifestyle changes and medications.
Increase Your Practice Income With Retail Products
With only so many hours in a day, there is a cap on the revenue an acupuncturist can generate by way of appointments. Once your appointment book is filled, you can't really add more without burning yourself out.
The Mysterious Divergent Channels
The divergent channels are among the most mysterious entities in all of Chinese medicine. They are rarely mentioned, lacking reference in modern TCM study, and rarely used within popular Chinese medical treatment.
Losing Your Mind? Try Coconut Oil
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is currently the 6th leading cause of death in America according to the CDC. It affects over 5 million Americans and 50 percent of nursing home residents (2014), and is projected to spike to 16 million by 2050.
Top 2017 Health & Fitness Trends
We really did sign up for a career of learning and development. Now that you have built a strong foundation of your manipulation skills, nutrition base, movement assessments and business knowledge, it's time to keep up with the American College of Sports Medicine's 2017 worldwide health and fitness trends.
MD-DC Affiliations Under Fire
I am George P. McAndrews, lawyer for the chiropractors in the Wilk, et al., v AMA, et al., antitrust suit that resulted in an injunction against the AMA and others, banning them from interfering in lawful professional relationships between medical physicians and doctors of chiropractic.
Your Patients With Cancer Need You
It was a chilly Minnesota morning in March 1999 when she asked to speak to me alone. My then-busy chiropractic practice wasn't built for much privacy, but I quickly scooted the 60-some-year-old, white-haired patient to my exam room, as the open adjusting area was buzzing with excitement.
An Education in Stroke Risk and Chiropractic
Dr. Steven Shoshany's ninth appearance on "The Dr. Oz Show" may prove to be his most significant, as he addressed questions related to the death of Katie May, who suffered two strokes in February 2016, hours after her third visit to a chiropractor for what she described in a Twitter post as a pinched nerve in her neck experienced during a photo shoot days earlier.
Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Time for Change?
The University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic Student Government Association sponsored a panel discussion on Oct. 25, 2016.
Acute Locked-Back Syndrome: Cause and Correction
As we all know, occasionally a patient will present with acute-onset low back pain with or without a precipitating incident. A distinguishing feature of the presentation is visible lateral antalgia, both standing and walking.
Scar Reduction With Acupuncture & Microneedling (Part 1)
Applied correctly, modern skin needling techniques can form part of a holistic treatment and incorporate the principles of Chinese medicine.
Clinical Outcomes & Safety for TCHM
The practice of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (TCHM) may appear archaic to those who misunderstand the theories and principals that guide it. In fact, TCHM continues to evolve and new systems are consistently being discovered and applied within the tradition.
December, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 12
Menopause, Part II
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
Editor's note: Part I of this article appeared in the October 2004 issue and can be accessed online at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/10/13.html.
Progesterone ranks second to estrogen in its importance as a female hormone.It is made in the ovaries and, to a smaller degree, the adrenal glands. It stimulates the growth of the lining of the uterus to support the fertilized egg, helps in the production of breast milk, and maintains pregnancy. Progesterone is beneficial in decreasing the risks of endometrial cancer and has many metabolic influences. It enhances mood elevation and acts as a calmative, helps reduce premenstrual syndrome and menopausal hot flashes, regulates fluid balance, encourages thyroid hormone activity and normalizes blood sugar levels. Progesterone also plays a role in restoring and maintaining libido, and helps build bone mass. Together, estrogen and progesterone regulate a woman's monthly cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
The severity of menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman, but it is safe to say that almost 75 percent of women experience at least some of the symptoms, with hot flashes and vaginal atrophy the most reported. Hot flashes, also known as "power surges," are the classic sign of menopause. Often unannounced, these sudden feelings of intense heat, flushing and copious perspiration, spread all over the body; these symptoms may be followed by chills. In addition to the decreased levels of estrogen, other factors that contribute to hot flashes are hot and humid weather, enclosed spaces, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods.
Women who have undergone hysterectomies are more apt to have hot flashes. This internal fire lasts from a few seconds to several minutes and can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing. Some women experience hot flashes for just a year or two, while others continue to have them even decades after menopause.
One of the most helpful herbs known to reduce the severity of hot flashes (and memory loss) is black cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa). Native to Eastern North America, this herb is widely used for female reproductive problems from dysmenorrhea (difficult menstruation) to labor stimulation and menopause. There is much research documenting the effectiveness of black cohosh in balancing a woman's glandular system. In a study of estrogen-dependent cancer, black cohosh was given along with Tamoxifen. The herb worked along with the cancer drug to help block the growth of breast cancer cells; it appeared that the combination was more effective than the drug alone (Nesselhut, et.al.1998).
Dong Quai, another powerful emmenagogue (pertaining to women's reproductive health), is used pervasively in China to address women's reproductive problems. It is a natural form of estrogen and proves to be a hormone balancer beneficial to the treatment of hot flashes. Wild yam is another popular herb used to support female reproductive health and treat hot flashes, irritability, depression, insomnia and other menopausal symptoms. And some women get relief from menopausal symptoms with licorice root.
Other ways to address hot flashes are to keep as cool as possible, avoid alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods, and wear natural fibers. Drink plenty of water and cool liquids. A full body massage can help regulate body temperature, and stimulation of Spleen 3, the hormone balancer, along with Liver 3 for water balance is very helpful.
Vaginal thinning can be very uncomfortable, even painful for some women. Since estrogen has a major role in maintaining the health and function of the vagina and surrounding tissues (uterus, urinary bladder and urethra), low levels of the hormone may cause these organs to weaken and shrink. When the bladder is affected, urinary incontinence, infection or painful urination may occur. The thinning of the vagina may result in painful intercourse, dryness and itching. It is estimated that at least 50 percent of women over 60 have some degree of vaginal dryness. The good news is that regular sexual intercourse actually helps keep the vagina moist and toned. Black cohosh can help by improving the thickness and elasticity of vaginal tissues.
Women should be aware of some of the serious consequences of menopause, as well. Bone thinning, or osteoporosis, which occurs naturally in both men and women after the age of 40, is particularly aggressive after menopause. Skeletal bones thin out and become brittle and more prone to fracture, with the bones of the spine, wrists and hips the most susceptible. Hormonal supplementation, especially those rich in estradiol, can help maintain bone mass. A proper diet rich in calcium is also essential to maintaining bone health. Calcium should be consumed from a wide variety of foods to be most beneficial. Weight-bearing exercises not only help to maintain bone health but also are vital to increase bone mass at any age.
The risk for heart disease increases in women after menopause; in fact, it is the leading cause of death among women. Originally, it was believed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) reduced the risk of heart disease in menopausal women. Since then, we have learned the opposite is more accurate: HRT contributes to higher rates of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer.
To lower elevated cholesterol levels and contribute to overall health, a diet rich in phytoestrogens (plant nutrients that mimic estrogen in the body) can be helpful. The major phytonutrients that promote estrogen-like activity are isoflavonoids (genistein and daidzien from soybeans) and lignans (from nuts and flax seeds). This means including soy products, whole-grain cereals, seeds (particularly flax), nuts (walnuts), and many herbs as a regular part of the diet. Soy is not for everyone, however. A connection between soy products and breast cancer is still being investigated, and the results are inconclusive. Cardiovascular exercise is also vital for a healthy heart, elevated mood and general well-being. Exercising, eating well and embracing a wholesome lifestyle will help minimize the discomforts of menopause and promote optimum health.
Menopause is an unavoidable fact of life, but one of the most pleasurable and effective ways to treat many of the discomforts of menopause is massage therapy. A full body treatment can help balance a woman's hormones, encourage the elimination of excess fluid, elevate her mood and make her feel more accepting about the inevitable changes in her body, mind and life.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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