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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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season has been peaceful, fulfilling, inspiring and rejuvenating to help get you through winter's months ahead.
After a prolonged departure from my usual "What's on Your Table?" fare, we return today to a discussion of a particular pathological condition - one that several practitioners have requested more information about - post-polio syndrome (PPS). Polio itself is almost an anachronism; but to understand PPS, we need to revisit a few key features of this infection.
Poliovirus is a pathogen spread most efficiently through oral-fecal contamination. When a person picks up some virus through contaminated water, it concentrates in the gastrointestinal tract and the feces. If any symptoms develop at this time they include high fever, aches, headache, nausea and diarrhea (which helps spread the virus), and then for most people the infection is completely over. Less than 1 percent of all people exposed to poliovirus in this way progress to develop a second-tier infection. The motor neurons begin in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and control muscle function. The resulting destruction to motor neurons leads to muscle atrophy and paralysis. This often occurs in the lower extremities, but a particularly serious form of the infection affects breathing muscles. (One interesting mystery about polio is that we have never figured out how the virus migrates from the intestines to the central nervous system.)
Even with such a low rate of serious infection, polio traditionally has been viewed as a significant public health threat. After all, if 1,000 children swim in a contaminated lake or drink from a contaminated well, this means 10 could become partially paralyzed. And because young children are especially vulnerable, this disease has also been called "infantile paralysis."
People familiar with the history of massage may remember that Sister Kinney, an Australian nurse, pioneered the use of hydrotherapy and intense rubbing to help her polio patients recover some muscle function in the 1930s before polio vaccines were available.
The good news for us is that wild polio (polio that is not connected to a vaccination series) is practically extinct. The last recorded case of wild polio in the Western hemisphere was in Peru in 1991; the last case in Europe was in 1998. As of 2003, wild polio was endemic to only India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt. One of the consequences of the extremely successful world-wide polio eradication program is that a bodywork practitioner working in the U.S. today is extremely unlikely to have a client with an acute polio infection. However, we estimate that some 440,000 people in the U.S. had polio infections during childhood and these people are vulnerable to a long-term complication related to the virus: post-polio syndrome.
Post-Polio Syndrome: No New infection!
When a person develops polio-related paralysis, some of his or her motor neurons have been destroyed and the muscle cells those neurons controlled are likewise prone to atrophy. However, remaining functioning nerve cells have a tendency to develop new axon tips to support some muscle fibers. In other words, the motor unit (a single functioning motor neuron and all the muscle fibers it supplies) becomes larger. Over the course of years, this can lead to cumulative fatigue, stress and wear-and-tear both on the overworked motor neurons and on the under-stimulated muscle cells. The result is that anywhere from 10 to 40 years after an initial polio infection, a person may experience a sudden onset of symptoms that include muscle weakness, pain, breathing and sleeping problems, and debilitating fatigue; this is PPS.
It's important to emphasize that while a polio survivor has new symptoms, often with a sudden or specific onset, PPS definitively is not a resurgence of the virus as a new polio infection. It's simply the result of decades of overuse of tissues that have limited capacity for growth and adjustment. The most typical pattern for PPS is that a middle-aged person who had polio as a child develops the symptoms listed above and the symptoms tend to run in cycles: During flares the person loses function, and during remission the person is stable, but may not regain lost function. People most at risk are those who followed their original polio infection with a rigorous and aggressive physical therapy program to rebuild strength in damaged muscles. We see now that the nervous system can't keep up with long-term demands in this way.
Massage for Post-Polio Syndrome
Polio itself involves motor paralysis but no sensory deficit. This makes it safe for bodywork, since the client can accurately report how intense or safe the pressure feels. Post-polio syndrome is the same: it involves pain and weakness related to neuromuscular dysfunction, but the pain is not related to any attack or inflammation of sensory neurons. Furthermore, numbness is not a reported symptom of PPS. Typically, people with this condition are counseled to adjust their posture and movement patterns to take advantage of their strongest muscle groups, rather than the ones that were damaged and then overworked after their infection. This may mean using or adapting tools like braces, crutches or canes. Massage certainly can help in this area to de-stress overworked areas and to support and refresh muscles that are newly being pressed into service. Massage won't eradicate the problems behind PPS, but by focusing on taking the workload off the weakest muscles and supporting the strongest ones, bodywork can be part of a helpful coping strategy for our population of polio survivors.
I've had some interest expressed in exploring polymyositis: an autoimmune disease that affects muscle function. If you have experience working with clients who have this condition, be sure to share. Until then, many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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