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Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
September, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 09
Dealing With Psoriasis
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
I was surprised to hear so little in response to my last piece on MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus); I had fully anticipated a lively discussion of this health threat to follow my article.Instead, the silence was deafening. I didn't get any suggestions for a topic for this article either, so I made an executive decision to pick up a topic of interest, at least to me: psoriasis.
What Is It?
The word psoriasis comes from the Greek root psora, which means "the itch." It's mainly a skin condition, although in some circumstances other systems can be involved as well. Psoriasis is quite common in this country, affecting 6 to 7 million Americans. It's most common in Caucasians. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
How Does It Work?
Under normal circumstances, superficial skin cells are replaced roughly every 28 to 32 days. (Hmmm, a 28- to 32- day cycle. What does that make you think of?) What we see with psoriasis is that, in certain areas, skin cells replicate at a vastly accelerated rate: instead of a month-long turnover cycle, they are replaced every 4 to 6 days. The consequence is a patchy pile-up of keratinized epithelial cells, often with a silvery scale: these are the plaques of the most common form of psoriasis.
What we don't understand is why this happens. A genetic link might seem to be part of the picture, because the incidence of psoriasis is higher within families. Immune system anomalies are clear as well, and some experts classify psoriasis as an autoimmune disease - a situation in which immune system mechanisms are directed against healthy tissue by mistake. Psoriasis frequently appears with some other autoimmune disorders (ankylosing spondylitis, for instance), and it runs in cycles of flare and remission; both of these characteristics are common in autoimmune disorders.
Types of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis (Fig. 1) is the most common form of this disorder. It frequently appears over joints: knees and elbows are common. Some people have one small lesion that appears in the same place for a few weeks every year or so; others have huge lesions that might cover their back or trunk, scalp, hands or feet. Even when the condition goes into remission, the skin might sustain enough damage to appear permanently discolored and scarred. Other forms of psoriasis are less common, but good to know about:
Psoriasis doesn't usually involve dangerous complications, unless the lesions bleed and get infected, or unless a person with erythrodermic psoriasis has a fluid-loss crisis. However, about 10 percent of the people with psoriasis are at risk for a painful and possibly extreme form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis. If a client has psoriatic arthritis, treat it in the same way you would treat rheumatoid arthritis: avoid it when it's hot and inflamed and work for joint mobility and pain reduction when the joint is not actively inflamed.
We understand a lot about the process of how psoriasis develops, but this still is a basically idiopathic (of unknown origin) disease. Consequently, the treatment options for psoriasis are largely hit-and-miss efforts to control symptoms. Many people with psoriasis develop tolerance for medical interventions, and so, must constantly be looking for the next option.
Allopathic interventions include topical skin creams to reduce itching and help clear up plaques. Oral medication can work with controlled exposure to UV radiation to help this process. In very extreme cases, patients might be prescribed chemotherapeutic drugs to limit skin cell replication. All of these can help to control the frequency and severity of psoriasis outbreaks, but none of them are a permanent cure for the disease.
The newest strategy involves a group of drugs called TNF Blockers. TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is an immune system mediator associated with inflammation. Blocking its activity keeps the inflammatory process (and accompanying proliferation of extra skin cells) under control.
Alternative psoriasis treatments also vary widely. A search for "psoriasis cure" brings up dozens of products claiming to heal this disease. They range from herbal clay applications, to aromatherapy, to visiting the Red Sea so that a species of fish can nibble at the lesions (I am not making this up!).
Personally, I am open-minded to seeing dietary adjustments and herbal or homeopathic applications for psoriasis management, but I retain a healthy skepticism of any product that claims to "permanently cure" this condition.
In the olden days (as in, the days of Hippocrates), doctors were instructed to rub olive oil into psoriasis lesions. We know now that when psoriasis is acute, these are areas where cells already are hyperactive. Increasing energy or circulation to these sites might not be the best plan. However, it's important to point out that psoriasis is not contagious! Clients with psoriasis can benefit from bodywork that includes the whole body, as long as the stimulus doesn't increase itching or irritation. Herbal or aromatherapeutic agents could be useful in this context as well. If you have found an application you have seen to improve psoriasis symptoms, please share it with me and other Massage Today readers.
For Next Time
Gentle readers, let me remind you that this is your column! I am at your disposal to gather information on the pathology topics you want to read about. Please go through your client history notes and find one that makes you curious - and let us all know: what's on your table?
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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