resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
January, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 01
Anaphylaxis: A Sudden and Deadly Progression, Part 1
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
From the author: The purpose of this column is to provide our profession with a broad reference of anatomy and physiological science, which have guided my ability to assist so many with chronic difficulties. Understanding how the body works from the inside-out and how progressions from stress-related disorders evolve toward physical pathology allows us the opportunity to supply our clients with the best possible care.
The purpose of this two-part series is to raise our collective awareness as massage therapists of anaphylaxis progression that potentially can be prevented by asking your clients a few simple questions. On Aug. 31, 2007, I got lucky and survived a severe anaphylactic reaction. In July 2008, a dear friend's brother did not. I am introducing Dr. Thomas Walsh, DDS, as the co-author of this article, as his perspective on anaphylaxis was most helpful in assisting me to understand the full scope of this progression.
Anaphylaxis can exhibit a sudden, rapid, and deadly progression. Such systemic allergic reactions typically become progressively more severe with each additional exposure to an allergen. However, even the second exposure can be fatal if an individual has had a sensitization experience.1 Acute anaphylactic shock which results in death is most often associated with the ingestion of peanuts for children and penicillin for adults or, as a result of an insect venom for all ages.2
There are two primary important questions to ask your clients that seem most relevant to Dr. Walsh and myself. First, have you ever had any severe allergic reaction in which you have experienced one of the following: itching and hives over much of the body; swelling in the throat or tongue; difficulty breathing or swallowing; dizziness, severe headache; stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea; rapid decrease in blood pressure; or shock and loss of consciousness?
The second most important question is whether or not they had a previous exposure to a suspected allergen without any reaction. Remember that penicillin, peanuts and insect stings tend to be the most deadly, but other triggers of anaphylaxis do exist. The third question is if they have told their physician about their reaction and requested testing to determine the severity of their allergy.
My most important lesson from Dr. Walsh has been the notion of a sensitization experience. I had such a sensitization in February 2007, during a dental cleaning at another dentist's office. My internal sensations included a sudden onset of severe itching spreading throughout my vascular system, my face turned bright red and became puffy, and my hands and feet swelled to the point of mild discomfort. My dentist administered 50 mg of benadryl by mouth, and a hygenist sat with me for 50 minutes while the symptoms gradually subsided.
In discussion before I left the dentist's office, we speculated about what might have been the trigger for my reaction. Since nitrous gas was being administered, an iodine solution was used, and I had requested amoxicillin because of my genetic heart history, it was unclear what might have been the specific reactive cause. My dentist instructed me to seek out allergy testing to make this determination.
I was able to make the 40-minute drive home and finish my afternoon schedule of three clients. Though quite tired that evening, I mentally and emotionally minimized the experience because there were no lingering effects over the next few days. Still, I was curious, so the next weekend, I consulted a couple of physician friends who specialize in emergency medicine. Neither seemed alarmed by the description of my symptoms, noting that if 50 mg of benadryl had been effective, they considered it a relatively mild reaction.
The key question that could have been the focus of our discussions was whether or not I had a previous allergic reaction to anything. I have taken penicillin and its antibiotic derivatives all my life without any degree of reaction. This is what made the dental office experience qualify as a sensitization.
As part of our clients' early-detection team, we need to be aware of this notion of a recent sensitization. The general population has yet to be educated about this, and even well-trained physicians sometimes forget to ask the most pertinent question. Once a sensitization experience has been identified, follow-up allergy testing is a must - something that had been recommended by my dentist, which I did not do.
So, the short tale of my near-death anaphylaxis experience began with a client confusing our appointment time and my grousing a bit, wondering how to spend my time. I coughed a few times, jogging my memory that my last client from the evening before had been violently coughing and I had neglected to wear a face mask for self-protection. I thought that I could take a couple of the antibiotic pills left over from a previous prescription as a hedge against any possible contagion. I had done this a few times before with success. Guess what I forgot in that moment? It was amoxicillin, one of the possible triggers of my reaction six months earlier. (It is amazing how the mind compartmentalizes.)
Immediately, the uncomfortable itching feeling began to spread throughout my veins. Oh, my gosh! I remembered my previous experience and began to evaluate my options - one being to just lay on my table and wait for it to pass. My instincts then motivated me to drive to a pharmacy a half-mile away to purchase benadryl. I never once entertained the idea of calling 911, as I did not have the knowledge that such a reaction had the ability to escalate so fast or actually could kill me. As my symptoms escalated beyond what I had experienced in the dentist's office, I abandoned the pharmacy idea.
Instead, I drove to an urgent care center located seven blocks away. Along the way, I had numerous visual white-outs during which I only had peripheral vision, and one moment of total blindness. I stopped my vehicle completely in that moment until I was able to regain some slice of vision. The angels were watching over me.
Upon reaching the physician's office and clutching at the door, I collapsed completely. The urgent care center's owner, Dr. John Van Tuyl, MD, reached me as quickly as he could. Finding no pulse, he pronounced me in full cardiac arrest and instructed his staff to call 911. He later recounted to me that I rallied momentarily, lifted my head and stated, "No, I am not...amoxicillin." As an emergency care specialist he split the difference between the possible protocols and placed an atropine patch on my heart to increase its cardiac output. He later explained to me that the visual whiteouts I had experienced were in response to the lack of blood flow to my brain as my heart was being crushed by the sudden swelling of the pleural and pericardial sacs.
What is most important is to anchor this notion of sensitization in your awareness and to specifically ask your clients if they have had allergic responses to any of the common triggers (food, medication, insect venom, latex and exercise); especially a recent one. If they have, please do encourage them to seek out allergy testing with the guidance of their physician.
Beyond my personal story, it is important as a massage therapist to know that anaphylaxis affects more than 10 percent of our population in North America and is increasing in frequency. In more than 25 percent of cases, there is a delayed or biphasic course, with severe symptoms occuring three to five hours after exposure. In more than 20 percent of cases hypotension or laryngeal edema occurs without hives and can be difficult to identify. Most fatal reactions occur in people who knew they were allergic but had accidental exposures. The cause is often not the most obvious and may include combinations of factors including food and exercise. Moreover, most individuals do not inform their personal physicians that they have had severe allergic reactions during routine history and examination.2
In part 2, we will discuss persons medically identified as susceptible to severe anaphylactic reactions along with common products or triggers found in any massage therapist's arsenal.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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