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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
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.
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.
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.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.)
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Help Your Client Achieve a Natural Labor: Four Simple Tips for Pain Relief
By Michelle C. Larson, MAc, BA, LMT
Most women are nervous about labor pain whether their goal is an unmedicated labor or not. Pain is part of the right of passage into motherhood, but there are many simple things you can do to make it more comfortable and assist your body in the natural process of birth.
As massage therapists, we have a wonderful opportunity to assist expectant moms in creating the best birth experience possible. Over the last year and a half, I studied natural pain relief techniques for labor and delivery. Using my background as a massage therapist, acupuncturist and labor doula, I applied the principles of hydrotherapy, massage and acupressure to find the most effective and fundamental techniques.
My goal was to decrease anxiety, keep labor progressing and decrease pain. The following are four procedures you can use with your clients to make labor and delivery less stressful:
Hot Foot Bath
Place her feet in hot water, deep enough to cover the feet and come above the malleoli. This will not only feel relaxing, but also will help to draw energy downward and promote descent of the baby. By relaxing the muscles in the feet and legs, her pelvic floor also will relax. As she relaxes her mind, she will find a decrease in pain during contractions.
Many hospitals will have plastic tubs you can use for this purpose. Simply ask the nurse. This also is a great treatment to use at home in early labor before you head to the hospital or birth center. If you like, you can add essential oils such as rosemary or lavender to enhance the energetic effect of the hot foot bath and add a wonderful aroma. Keep in mind some women are very sensitive to scents during labor.
"Mind over matter" works. Here is a tried-and-true meditation you can guide her through at any stage. Have her close her eyes between contractions, ask her to take her mind deep inside. "With every inhale imagine breath in life and energy. Each breath is as nourishing and energizing as your favorite dinner. You are drawing in energy from the world around you, filling yourself. Even though you are tired, you are becoming more and more energized. With every exhale allow your pelvic floor to relax and open, exhaling out any tension, fear and anxiety. Focus on the relaxation."
Starting the next contraction with this new-found relaxation will make it more productive and less painful. The pressure and stretching of the pelvic floor can be very frightening. This fear will cause a woman to tense these muscles which will delay labor and make it more uncomfortable.
Here are three simple, very effective acupressure points. You can use them at any stage of labor, but not during pregnancy. These points have a very strong, energetic action and are not to be used during pregnancy. Have her talk with her primary care provider to decide when she is ready for labor to begin, because these acupressure points can stimulate contractions.
With all of these techniques, the key is to communicate. Invite her to let you know what seems to work and what doesn't. Application of pressure over these points can be done with thumbs, hands, elbows or massage tools. You can use these points as little or as often as you'd like. As long as it feels good to your client, keep going.
Essential oils are a wonderful way to relax and ease tension. Not only is the scent therapeutic but also the application of the oils on the skin. Most oils are not to be used during pregnancy because they have a strong moving effect and can stimulate contractions. During labor, however, this is exactly what you want.
You can use a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a diffuser to scent the entire room, or place a few drops on a tissue to enjoy a light fragrance. A drop of essential oil applied to your fingertips during an acupressure massage will enhance the effect of the treatment.
Keep in mind that a scent she really likes normally may not be pleasing during labor. It's best to use the oils in such a way that you can easily remove them from the room or take the scent away if you find it becomes aggravating.
Lavender is one of the most commonly used essential oils. It provides very relaxing, nourishing feminine energy and helps to sooth pain.
Rosemary is very invigorating and uplifting. If labor has been slow and you find energy fading, the lively scent of rosemary is a huge help. This is also a good one to use during acupressure to stimulate the points.
Orange is a sweet smell that also is very invigorating. Use orange as you would rosemary for an extra energy boost or during your acupressure massage.
Massage therapists often are asked to assist a regular client during labor. This can be very intimidating, especially if you have never been through the birth experience. Use these simple techniques to feel empowered to confidently assist her. And remember, not all births go as planned. A successful birth ends with a healthy mom and a healthy baby; the process is unique and can never be planned.
Michelle Larson is a certified massage therapist with a masters degree in acupuncture and a bachelors degree in holistic health. As a faculty member of the Cortiva Maternity and Infant Massage Program, she travels nationally teaching continuing education for professional massage therapists.
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