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Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
March, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 03
Prenatal Massage and Pre-Treatment Evaluations
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
In addition to learning what to do to support your pregnant/postpartum clients and relieve their common discomforts, part of the prenatal professional training must include how to recognize when a massage should not be provided. And part of the dialogue that you have to establish with your clients is that when you feel a massage should be postponed until after they have been checked by their care providers, you mean it and stand behind your decision. It is not easy to tell a deserving client that her much-coveted massage is not going to happen, but if your pretreatment evaluations are positive, that is the only safe and responsible choice you can make.
But upon what standards or guidelines do you base your decision? The answer comes from understanding prenatal and postpartum anatomy and physiology. By the end of the pregnancy, most women have an increase of up to 40 percent more interstitial fluid. This excess fluid generally pools in her extremities, especially the legs and feet. In most cases, this "gravity" edema can be treated effectively with manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) and elevation of her legs. And although the swelling can be extensive due to poor posture, poor diet, excessive sodium in the foods she eats, standing a great deal during the day, weather conditions, and restrictive clothing to name a few contributing factors, it poses no health risk. Appropriate massage (MLD) will reduce the swelling by enhancing lymph absorption.
Assessing Serious Conditions
There are times, however, when the swelling is a symptom of a more serious condition - preeclampsia. This hypertensive condition is extremely dangerous for mother and her baby. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by swelling of the face, hands, and feet, elevated blood pressure, excessive fluid retention, and protein in the urine. It is sometimes accompanied by severe headaches (or migranes) with or without optical "floaters." If preeclampsia is suspected or confirmed, all massage must be avoided until her blood pressure stabilizes and her care provider affirms that she and her baby are out of danger.
In order to test for the presence of this potentially life-threatening illness, we assess the swelling by pressing on the lowest part of each leg, just above the ankle. Press for a count of 5. If the indentation does not fill, or remains pitting, and the ischemic region does not appear red again within 10-30 seconds, massage is contraindicated and the client must see her care provider immediately. Some women develop preeclampsia during postpartum recovery, so the test for pitting edema must continue for the first six weeks, or during the puerperium recovery.
In order to protect against hemorrhaging during childbirth, pregnant women produce more blood clots. During the second trimester, there is an increase in the synthesis of plasma fibrinogen (coagulating factors VII, VIII, IX, X, and fibrinogen) that continues throughout the first few months (8-10 weeks) of postpartum. The potential in blood clot formation (thromboembolism) is five to sixfold during pregnancy and up to three months postpartum. These clots primarily appear in the deeper veins of the legs: the femoral, iliac, and saphenous veins. In order to prevent dislodging these clots, the safest and most effective modality to employ is, once again, MLD.
The risk factors for clots during pregnancy include a sedentary lifestyle, being confined to bed rest, a maternal age of 30 or older, being over-weight, having an autoimmune disease like lupus, and being pregnant with the fourth (or more) child. In addition, clots may develop because of the weight of the gravid uterus slowing iliac and femoral circulation, sluggish blood flow, venous stasis, increased blood volume, and higher levels of progesterone relaxing the smooth muscle fibers. (Although many of these changes reverse soon after childbirth, fibrinogenic activity doesn't normalize until 8-10 weeks postpartum.)
Illness and death from venous thromboembolism occur 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 2,000 pregnant and postpartum women. These figures do not reflect deaths which occur after the traditional 6-week recovery period.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which occurs mostly in the left leg and its resultant pulmonary embolism are the leading causes of preventable in-hospital mortality in the United States. In general (not necessarily related to pregnancy and postpartum), the signs of DVT are commensurate with the degree of blockage in the vein and inflammation of the vessel wall. Many people, including those who are pregnant, are asymptomatic, but it is important to evaluate both legs before massaging your pregnant or postpartum mother for the signs that we can assess.
Surgeries, like Cesarean sections, increase the risk of thromboemboli and the sequelae of a pulmonary embolism. After surgery, most clots occur in the left leg, although both legs must be evaluated.
While lightly placing your hand(s) down the back of her leg (you can perform this before she gets on the treatment table or through the sheet with your client lying on her side), palpate for localized unilateral swelling, heat, pain (which occurs only 50 percent of the time), tenderness on the over-lying dermatome (50 percent of the time), muscle contraction, and possible redness. Keep in mind that the edematous leg will feel hot all over; remember that you are feeling for localized symptoms. In addition, her legs will feel hotter around the joints where the fluid tends to aggregate and in areas where the veins are superficial like the backs of her knees or her ankles.
The second test is specifically for the calf muscles and evaluates the presence of clots in the saphenous vein. However, this Homan sign or Homan check is present in less than one-third of patients with confirmed DVT and is positive in more than 50 percent of patients without DVT, so it is nonspecific. Still, it is a relatively fair barometer to use. With her leg extended, flex her knee to about 5 degrees. Dorsiflect (bend or flex backward) her foot. Any sharp pain in her calf may indicate a positive result. If you suspect that a blood clot is present, do not massage and refer her to her care provider immediately.
To effectively use these pretreatment evaluations, let your pregnant (postpartum) clients know that you will be doing them before each treatment. Once you become proficient, they will take less than one minute to do collectively. If you suspect pitting edema or the presence of a blood clot, explain this to your client in a calm manner and suggest that she seek immediate medical confirmation. I usually suggest that these evaluations are not absolute medical diagnoses but rather indicate that caution should be exercised, and massage should not take place. Instead, I offer my clients an opportunity to book another appointment, once the situation has been addressed, "on the house." However, it never fails that my clients return and pay, regardless of my offer.
Make these pretreatment evaluations a part of your prenatal/postpartum practice. You will feel more confident about giving the massage and your clients will be grateful that you are taking appropriate care of them and their babies.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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