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Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
April, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 04
Massage for Caregivers
By Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
I have provided massage to people with cancer for years, and the exchanges I have shared with them have influenced me deeply. But some of my most moving encounters have been with the caregivers of people with cancer. These are family members, friends and partners who, by design or by accident, also are shaped and molded by their experiences as companions to their loved ones.
I meet caregivers when they bring their loved ones into my office. I also meet them at my clients' homes, bedsides and in the hospital. Occasionally, I even see them on my massage table, sometimes for an occasional massage and sometimes for a course of sessions.
Unfortunately, this is not as often as I wish. Caregivers often are the last to benefit from skilled touch in the cancer scenario. When I brainstorm with my students about the benefits of massage for people with cancer, we think up a flurry of ways touch can be helpful to patients. Often a lone voice will ask, "What about massage for family and other caregivers?" And we all quietly nod, remembering people who tend to be forgotten.
Caregiving can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. It can mean being in a chronic state of emergency. It can require constant vigilance - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - for weeks, months or even years at a time. Imagine being at a sentry post for that long, never relaxing when your world is under siege. The sense of responsibility can be staggering, and rarely is matched by an equivalent amount of control over how things are going to go. Finding ourselves in this disparity, it's natural to be frightened, sad and outraged by the experience. It's no wonder the health risks of caregiving are enormous. Most poignantly, caregiving is isolating. It can be an incredibly lonely experience.
Against this landscape, I've looked for resources in massage therapy and found several. One is a book, A Touch of Hope, by Jana Carrington, who practices massage and teaches Reiki in central Florida. She knows both sides of the experience as a caregiver to her husband through years of cancer treatment, and as a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with cancer within months after her husband's completion of a bone marrow transplant and subsequent remission. Her book is designed for caregivers to read in small increments for self-care tips such as simple reminders to breathe. It's beautifully laid out and possible to draw from without making a commitment to reading the entire book.
I know of two research papers in which investigators looked at the effects of massage therapy on caregivers of people with cancer. The first, by Stephanie Rexilius, et al., appeared in 2002 in Oncology Nursing Forum. The researchers looked at caregivers of patients receiving a stem cell transplant. They recruited 36 caregivers and compared a massage group, a healing touch group and a control group. The massage and healing touch groups received two 30-minute sessions per week over three weeks. The investigators found anxiety, depression, and experiences of burden and fatigue at baseline. Although they did not find statistically significant improvements in the healing touch group, subjects who received massage therapy showed reduction in anxiety, depression and several types of fatigue.
In another paper, Nursing Research, a researcher looked at a more general population - spouses of patients with cancer. Author Linda Goodfellow recruited 42 subjects as part of her doctoral work in nursing. Half were provided with a single 20-minute massage. The other half (the control group) read a book for 20 minutes. In both groups, blood was collected via an IV that had been placed 30 minutes before the procedure. The investigator found improvement in mood and reductions in stress after the massage intervention as compared to the control group, but did not observe effects of massage on natural killer (NK) cell activity, a measure of immune function.
These two studies, while small, demonstrate a spark of interest in the potential for massage to help people's stress during difficult times in their lives. I would caution therapists to quote these studies carefully, without making sweeping claims. Something like, "Small studies suggest that massage therapy might help caregivers of people with cancer" and "Further study is needed to see what the role of massage is in this population," are more accurate than the statement, "Research proves massage helps caregivers."
But the fact that the research isn't quite there yet shouldn't stop us from seeking out work with caregivers. We don't have to wait for the science to support what we already know in our hearts: Skilled touch heals. It eases stress and builds an important bridge between people, easing the isolation of some of the hardest human experiences.
Yes, resources are growing in recognition of caregiver stress. But one of the greatest resources might be massage therapy professionals. Our willingness to listen, the full attention we give to our clients, and the support we provide to others can be powerful. As they give their companionship to others on the cancer journey, so too can they use our companionship.
One of the best resources in this caregiver scenario might prove to be our own hands. There we can comfort, reassure, ease pain, help sleep, shift perspective, validate and support. There we can provide respite, a port in a storm - and where nothing has to be explained, just wordless, quiet support. It will be interesting to find out, in the years ahead, the difference that our work can make.
Click here for more information about Tracy Walton, LMT, MS.
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