resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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?
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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