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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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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!
February, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 02
Essential Oils for Pain Relief
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
It is safe to say that a great number of clients come to massage seeking relief from muscle and joint pain. Many will also be suffering from stress and need to relax. Others may be athletic or high-powered performers who want pain relief without becoming tired or drowsy.Essential oils can address all of these areas and add a pleasing fragrant dimension to your therapeutic work.
The most famous essential oil for pain relief and relaxation is lavender (Lavandula officinalis, L angustifolia, L vera.) Distilled from the flowering tops, the best lavender oil comes from Bulgaria, France, England, Yugoslavia and Tasmania, though it can be grown all over the world. Lavender Vera is grown in higher altitudes, which produces more esters and a finer scent. Lavender has a long list of applications for skin; because of its anti-inflammatory and cell regenerating properties, it is one of the only essential oils that can be applied neat, or undiluted, to the skin.
Lavender is also antimicrobial, anti-infectious and antiseptic, making it effective in the treatment of wounds and as a frontline defense against respiratory infection. It is tonic to the cardiovascular and digestive systems, lowers blood pressure and helps thin the blood due to the presence of coumarins. Lavender is indicated for muscle spasm, sprain, strain, cramp, contracture and rheumatic pain. It is sedative to the central nervous system and relieves headache, nervous tension, and insomnia; it can also help balance mood swings. Spiritually, lavender is said to balance the physical, astral and etheric planes.
Because of lavender's many therapeutic properties, if aromatherapists were stranded on a desert island with only one essential oil, many would hope it was lavender (it also takes the itch out of insect bites and helps heal sunburn!) But what other essential oils can be called in to use here in civilization? What should you use if your client does not want the deep relaxation or sleep-inducing effect of lavender, or if they have a tendency toward lowered metabolism or low blood pressure? What if they need to relax because they are about to take an exam, give a presentation or walk down the aisle? It's a good idea to ask the client who indicates a need to relax what their stress is about and what life circumstances may be contributing to their pain cycle. This will help you select an essence that is most appropriate for their needs. Also keep in mind that when too much lavender is used it takes on the stimulating effect of a cup of espresso, so it is good for both you and your client to vary the relaxing, pain-relieving blend.
We'll begin with an exploration of aromatherapy for pain and stress, and profile some other sedative oils. Space allows for a partial list of the properties; consult The Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Vols. I and II by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Mojay, and others for more information on each essence.
When you want slightly less sedation but powerful pain relief, there is another type of lavender, Lavandula latifolia, L. spica, or Spike Lavender. A hybrid of lavender officinalis and latifolia, Lavandin, Lavandula-super is less expensive and often used to adulterate true lavender but is still a powerful antispasmodic well-suited for muscular, respiratory and circulatory problems, and not as a sedative for the mind.
Moving away from the lavenders altogether, other pain relieving sedative oils are chamomile (Roman, Anthemis nobilis and German, Marticaria recutita), Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), helichrysum (H. angustifolium), sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana), sandalwood (Santalum album) and vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides).
Chamomile is a highly effective anti-inflammatory. It eases headache, neuralgia, dull muscle and low back pain, and TMJ syndrome. It relieves dysmenorrhea, PMS and stress that manifests as digestive symptoms.
Clary sage (not to be confused with sage, Salvia officinalis) is considered mildly intoxicating and euphoric, and should be used in small quantities and preferably not before an evening of cocktails, as it augments the effects of alcohol. Apart from this, the ability of Clary sage to relieve spasm, muscle ache and cramping makes it extremely useful in massage. It is a digestive aid and can be blended effectively with chamomile for tension and discomfort due to PMS and dysmennorhea.
Along with lavender, Clary sage is one of the essences chosen to ease labor. It is also associated with dreams and increased inner vision.
Helichrysum has a long history as anointing oil, but well deserves an honored place in therapeutic massage. With many of the properties of lavender, helichrysum is also indicated for bruising and burns, depression, shock and phobia, and is helpful in detoxification from drugs and nicotine. Helichrysum is said to improve the flow along the meridians and to increase spiritual awareness.
Sweet marjoram is highly sedative. It relieves pain, stiffness, sprain, spasm, neuromuscular contractions and is indicated for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, dysmenorrhea and migraine. It has a powerful effect on the mind and emotions, relieving deep trauma, grief and heartache.
Sandalwood, well known in Ayurvedic treatment and as incense, also relieves muscle spasm and is helpful in treating sciatica and lymph congestion. It is tonic in the cardiovascular and digestive systems and relieves depression, insomnia, obsession, grief and aggression. Sandalwood opens the mind to spiritual connection and grounds this awareness in the material world.
Vetiver is interesting because it relieves arthritis, muscle ache, pain, sprain and stiffness, but increases venous circulation to help detoxification of tissues. It is said to balance the central nervous system and is grounding and revitalizing, while relieving insomnia, tension and depression.
Apart from lavender, all of the sedative essences listed are pretty potent and require few drops in a blend. The flower essences: rose, jasmine, neroli and ylang ylang, relieve anxiety and have properties that induce relaxation and pain relief.
The citrus oils: sweet orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, tangerine and Mandarin, reduce tension and instill courage and optimism. Flower and citrus oils blend well with the other sedative oils and add their own dimensions to the therapeutic experience.
If you have a great pain relief or relaxing blend and want to share it, please contact me. In the next Aromatic Message, we'll look at some of the less sedative and stimulating oils for pain relief.
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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