resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Author's note: There is a movement in the health sciences away from using the possessive form of a disease name. This makes some sense, since it's not really Parkinson's disease; it's the disease of those who live with it.Sometimes this change takes the form of turning a descriptive term into a noun (e.g., from Parkinson's to parkinsonism) and sometimes the apostrophe simply disappears (e.g., Alzheimer disease). Since my column "What's on Your Table" always strives to stay on the cutting edge of both grammar and science, I will do my best to incorporate this new adjustment to the language.
The consensus is clear: Parkinson's disease, also called parkinsonism, is the issue on the table for today. Parkinsonism is a fairly common progressive degenerative central nervous system (CNS) disorder that leads to dysfunction at the motor centers in the basal ganglia. It affects about one in 1,000 people in the U.S., and the majority of people with parkinsonism are mature. It is unusual to see diagnoses in persons under 50 years of age - Michael J. Fox is a famous exception to this rule.
Etiology: What happens? Understanding the etiology of this disorder is a little like playing "The House that Jack Built" because the sequence of events is so specific and predictable.
So the sequence goes like this: A voluntary impulse to stand on one foot begins in the cerebral cortex. It is sent through the basal ganglia where, because adequate dopamine is supplied by substantia nigra cells, this impulse travels to the prime movers and antagonists of the lower extremity and postural muscles in order to bend the knee (go ahead, try it).
Parkinsonism occurs when the cells in the substantia nigra unexpectedly and prematurely die. Consequently, dopamine is in short supply in the basal ganglia; it becomes difficult to initiate voluntary movement (this is called bradykinesia - the person often reports feeling "rooted to the floor"), and/or the balance between prime movers and antagonists is disrupted, leading to rigidity or tremor. Several other symptoms may develop as well; they will be discussed shortly.
Causes: Most of the time, it is unclear exactly why the substantia nigra cells die off. Genetics and environmental exposure (or the combination of both) are often thought to be contributing factors. Excessive exposure to carbon monoxide, heavy metals, pesticides or agricultural chemicals is sometimes suspected. Repeated head trauma causes a variation called pugilistic parkinsonism; this is the case with former boxer Muhammad Ali. Most cases of parkinsonism, however, are considered to be idiopathic (of unknown origin).
Signs and Symptoms: Parkinsonism presents very differently in different people, but most primary symptoms have to do with movement problems. A short list of primary and secondary symptoms includes the following:
Treatment: Chemical imbalances in the CNS are often difficult to treat because the blood-brain barrier (a layer of cells that wrap around blood vessels in the brain) blocks the introduction of many substances into this precious environment. Some drugs must be administered in high amounts to overcome this obstacle.
Treatment for parkinsonism often begins with a dopamine precursor, or dopamine agonists. These substances essentially try to replace what the damaged substantia nigra cells should be producing; however, remember that dopamine in the basal ganglia helps create coordinated movement, but too much dopamine in the frontal lobe can cause hallucinations - a significant side-effect! Furthermore, most patients eventually develop tolerance to these drugs, and they lose their efficacy.
Other drugs work to change dopamine metabolism and other brain activity, but at this time no permanent solution or cure for parkinsonism exists. Other options include surgery to affect the globus pallidus or thalamus (this helps to control very extreme tremor), deep-brain stimulation, and eventually the possibility of stem cell implantation with the goal of re-growing the damaged substantia nigra cells.
Massage? Parkinson's patients experience progressive stiffness and rigidity of voluntary muscles. Rigidity is safe for massage, especially when sensation is present, but it is important to remember that this comes about because of a CNS dysfunction, and won't be completely resolved, even with the most brilliantly applied bodywork.
Several different modalities have been quantifiably researched in the context of parkinsonism, including Trager, Alexander Technique and Swedish massage with specific muscle exercises. All modalities report improvement in function, from the reduction of rigidity and improvement of sleep, to the reduction of tremor and increase of daily activity stamina.
It is important to work in cooperation with a client's primary physician, because massage may impact the need for antidepressants and other medication. Be aware, however, that clients with Parkinson's disease do not have the freedom of movement that most other people do, and they may have great difficulty in getting on and off tables safely. Some massage therapists address this by working with these clients on chairs or floor mats.
On a final note, I'd like to recognize two people for their contributions to my preparation of this article. One is a reader named David Ponsonby, who has done an enormous amount of research on this topic and generously shared his information - this article barely scratches the surface of what he has collected on this topic. David has allowed me to put interested readers in touch with him for more information.
The other person is a massage therapist named Jan Mueller who, years ago, published a fascinating and lovely article on working with clients who have Parkinson's disease in the Massage Therapy Journal [Winter 1996, (35): 1]. I made mention of her wonderful work at a class I taught in Kentucky one time, and it turned out by chance that she was one of the participants! Thanks, Jan, for your pioneering work.
And now, loyal readers, a familiar plea: What will it be for next time? At the moment I'm on a progressive degenerative CNS disorder roll, and could easily continue with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a., Lou Gehrig's disease). If you have experience with clients who live with this disease, I invite you to share your wisdom with the rest of our readership. If you have other ideas about what you'd like to read about, let me know that, too. Please let me know: What's on your table?
Many thanks and many blessings,
Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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