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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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
This month, we continue our survey of neurological issues with a topic that has generated a lot of questions from concerned bodyworkers - peripheral neuropathy (PN). This rather ambiguous umbrella term refers to virtually any damage to nerve tissue outside the central nervous system. While we often associate PN with symptoms in the feet, it can likewise affect cranial nerves - in particular the vagus nerve - with serious or even life-threatening consequences.
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
PN often is classified by what types of peripheral nerves have been affected. You may remember that peripheral nerves (which include spinal and cranial nerves) have some fibers dedicated to the somatic nervous system (having to do with conscious processing of sensory input and voluntary muscle activity) and others dedicated to the autonomic nervous system (mostly motor fibers that control heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and other involuntary functions). PN can affect any of these fibers. In other words, it can be primarily sensory, it can affect voluntary motor control, it can affect autonomic function, or any combination of the three. Furthermore, PN may be described by the tissue that is damaged: the neurons themselves, which is called an axonal injury, or the myelin surrounding the neurons in the peripheral nervous system.
PN often is classified according to its cause. Here is a short list of some possibilities:
Injury and infection also can cause peripheral nerve damage. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, Bell's palsy, HIV, herpes simplex and shingles. In these cases, however, symptoms are usually unilateral rather than symmetric. This is a diagnostic clue to the cause of the pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The signs and symptoms associated with PN vary according to the cause of the problem and which types of neurons have been affected. Obviously, sensory neuron damage leads to changes in sensation. This may reflect as tingling, shooting or burning pain, or numbness. Often people with PN describe a feeling of "stockings" or "gloves" with symptoms that begin bilaterally at the extremities and work proximally up the limbs.
Motor neuron damage leads to poor coordination and specific muscle weakness, which can lead to local atrophy as muscle fibers degenerate in the absence of stimulation. Perhaps the most alarming and dangerous symptoms of PN occur when cranial nerves, especially the vagus nerve, are affected. Autonomic symptoms can vary from occasional dizziness to changes in respiration and blood pressure. Reduced sweating with resulting hyperthermia may occur, gastric motility and digestion may be impaired, and bowel and bladder control may be lost.
Treatment options for PN are determined by the cause and severity of symptoms. Peripheral neurons have the amazing capacity to regenerate, so if the irritation is stopped and blood flow is returned, the nerve tissue may regain function. The prognosis is most hopeful when damage only affects the myelin sheath rather than the neuron tissue itself.
Analgesics (painkillers), antiseizure medications, lidocaine patches and antidepressants sometimes are prescribed to mitigate the symptoms of PN. These work with pain management, but don't target rebuilding the myelin sheath or damaged nerve tissue, for which exercise and good nutrition are generally the best options.
When we have a client who reports unexplained alternating periods of numbness and sharp shooting pains in the feet, the first thing we need to recommend is that they see a doctor. While we obviously don't want to exacerbate pain, in many ways numbness is a more serious symptom in terms of bodywork, because it prevents our client from telling us when our pressure is too intense.
Many people find relief with the gentle circulatory stimulus massage gives to limbs that are tingling and painful. Clients who have been diagnosed with PN may benefit from massage as long as sensation is intact and as long as cautions concerning their underlying disease or injury process are understood and respected. These are situations during which we definitely want to be in communication with a client's health care team, and it is important to avoid any radical changes in external environment - going from a hot soak to a cold plunge, for instance.
For Next Time
We could look at some of the neurological disorders that this discussion brought up (Bell's palsy, anyone?) or we could examine a poorly understood autoimmune condition, polymyalgia. Please let me know: What's on your table? 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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