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News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
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 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.
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.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
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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