resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
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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