resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
August, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 08
The Natural Effects of Melatonin
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As manual therapists, it's vital that we continue to study the human organism - inside and out - to fully understand our role in helping individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.As part of that quest, I've been researching a helpful natural chemical called melatonin. This lipophilic indole, chemically known as 5-methoxy-N-acetyl-tryptamine, is a derivative of serotonin, which in turn is derived from the amino acid tryptophan.
Until recently, researchers thought melatonin was secreted only by the pineal gland. Since it was synthesized within and secreted by a gland, it became known as a hormone. Scientists have also speculated that melatonin was only secreted at night and primarily to induce sleep, and that artificial light could reduce the amount of melatonin secreted by the pineal gland. Since then, we've learned a lot more about the powers of melatonin. Yes, it's confirmed: The pineal gland is a major source of melatonin, which does indeed induce sleep. And yes, when the eyes take in artificial light, sleep is somewhat inhibited.
About 30 years ago we discovered that the appendix also generously synthesizes and secretes melatonin, which suggested that appendectomies might reduce melatonin levels. We've since found out that melatonin is also produced by the intestines, the fundus of the stomach, the testes, the spinal cord, the raphe nuclei of the brain stem, and the striatum areas of the brain. We now also understand that a significant amount of melatonin is synthesized within the body cells. Many of these melatonin molecules do not even leave their cells of origin, but instead remain inside them to protect them from being damaged by oxygen and nitrogen radicals and other toxicants.
You might even call melatonin a "double whammy" protector. After it neutralizes damaging reactive species, the metabolites that are produced in the process are even more effective at protecting the cells than the original melatonin molecules. In general, melatonin seems especially protective of DNA inside the nuclei and mitochondria. It also protects cell-membrane lipids and cytosol-contained proteins.
Personally, I believe every cell in our body contains some melatonin, whether it was produced in that cell or, less likely, entered through extracellular body fluids. Yet there are also other sites in the body with high levels of melatonin. The level of melatonin in the bile of the liver and gallbladder exceeds that of the blood and bone marrow. And the level of melatonin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is much higher than that of the blood. In the CSF, melatonin is greatest in and around the third ventricle of the brain, probably because of the pineal-gland secretions. CSF melatonin levels are also greater at night, as is the pineal gland's production of melatonin. It's also interesting to note that the fluid in the Graafian follicle is higher than the blood level of melatonin.
Now let's look at some of the positive effects melatonin offers in specific dis-ease processes. Probably most important at this time is the fact that melatonin reduces degenerative activities in the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. Degeneration of these nerve tissues and cells often occur from the effects of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, as well as excessive or prolonged inflammation.
Beta amyloid peptides (BAP) are metabolic byproducts of the degradation of amyloid precursor proteins (APP). When these proteins (which are normally part of cell membranes) are metabolized as they wear out and lose their functional abilities, they break down into BAP. When these peptides aren't effectively cleared away by the natural flushing of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) or other fluid-moving techniques, they can form plaques and tangles that cause neuronal dysfunction and death. The result? Increased tissue inflammation that leads to cerebral and/or spinal cord degeneration. The name of any resulting disease depends on the location of the degeneration. When it takes place in the hippocampus and cerebral forebrain, it's called Alzheimer's disease. When it takes place in the lower aspect of the brain (the substantia nigra), it's called Parkinson's disease.
Melatonin helps by neutralizing BAP to keep the peptides from forming disease-producing plaques and tangles. It also removes metals that may be involved in the plaques and tangles. These metals include cobalt (often found at higher levels with Alzheimer's disease) and aluminum. Occasionally, high levels of iron may damage the brain or spinal cord, while excessive copper may affect the central nervous system (CNS) in a similar way. Melatonin removes excess iron and copper as needed.
On the opposite side of the fence, melatonin may link up with zinc. This combination seems to enhance thymus-gland function and the whole immune system secondarily. When CNS neurons have been damaged, melatonin also promotes the production of neuronal growth factor, which may help reestablish neuronal circuits that have been injured or interrupted. (I have also had success dialoging with stem cells and getting them to replace damaged or dead neurons as needed.)
Other conditions I believe to be helped by melatonin: stroke damage; damage due to ionizing radiation; diabetic neuropathy; heavy-metal toxicities; non-metallic toxicities; viral infections; seizures; excitotoxicities; homocysteine damage; ischemic damage; reperfusion injury; degenerative CNS diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, senility and so on.
From a therapeutic perspective, I've found the following tactics helpful in enhancing melatonin effectiveness:
* I administer these in divided doses as tolerated by the client. Please note: The information presented here is strictly intended for educational purposes only, and is not to be construed as medical advice.
By continuing to explore the valuable role of melatonin in our bodies and by learning tools to enhance its effectiveness through complementary care, we give our clients more opportunities to enjoy good health, naturally.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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