resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
A friend of mine recently admitted that she suffered with postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of her twins. It wasn't so much her emotional state that took her off guard, she said. But rather that her depression began when they were 5 months old.She was unaware, as are so many new mothers, that the onset of PPD can begin as long as a year after childbirth. All too often health care providers fail to connect a woman's depression with labor and birth after several months have passed since delivery - leaving the mother even more despondent.
It is not at all unusual for most new mothers to experience mood disorders after the birth of their child. The dramatic shift in hormones, the labor and birth, and general fatigue all contribute to fleeting feelings of sadness. As many as two-thirds of new mothers worldwide experience postpartum blues, also known as "baby blues." The onset generally occurs at about day three and the duration of these transient feelings of sadness is about a week or two. The blues are characterized by weeping, insomnia, fatigue, moodiness, and anxiety but is self-limiting. With some rest, support, sunshine, and compassion, these feelings recede without lasting effects.
Since the blues are short-lived, a nurturing massage can be profoundly relaxing and help speed up the emotional healing.
Points of a nuturing massage: Include stimulation to Spleen 3 (Sp 3), under the balls of each foot on the arch, to help balance hormones. Press this point for a count of 6 and repeat a total of 6 times. Sp 6, the uterine tonifier, should also be stimulated. Measure approximately 2 1/2 - 3 cuns (width of a fingertip) from the medial ankle bone posterior to the tibia. The point should be sensitive.
However, for 10 percent to 20 percent of new mothers, the emotional symptoms are more severe and can be debilitating. These women may suffer from postpartum depression, the most common complication of pregnancy, which has a later onset and more exaggerated symptoms. In these instances, massage practitioners should work together with a mental health professional to provide the most supportive environment for the new mother.
Symptoms of PPD
The etiology of PPD is unclear and is varied from woman to woman, but certain factors are suspected to contribute to its development: hormonal fluctuations, any preexisting medical problems, personal or family history of depression, marital dysfunction or general lack of support and social network, immaturity and low self-esteem, negative feelings about the pregnancy, lack of sleep, financial concerns, premature or special needs child, multiple pregnancy, traumatic birth, chronic stress factors, and neurotransmitter deficiencies.
Some important statistics: Teenage mothers are depressed 2.5 times more than older women and African American women suffer from PPD twice as often as white women. Nursing mothers may fare better in avoiding PPD or have less severe symptoms. And for celebrity mothers, PPD is often dismissed or overlooked; it takes a celebrity mother's willingness to discuss her depression before people acknowledge how serious it can be.
The symptoms of PPD almost seem like a typical reaction to childbirth: fatigue, sleep disturbances, and appetite and weight changes. But the red flag should go up when these responses are accompanied by feelings of anxiety, dysphoria, social withdrawal, cognitive disturbances, guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, a sense of worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts.
For women, the symptoms of PPD are similar to major depressive episodes unrelated to childbirth. (New fathers can also experience a form of PPD, as we'll discuss later in this article.) It is also important for the care provider to rule out postpartum metabolic disorders, such as thyroid disease, when assessing PPD because many of the symptoms are similar. Autoimmune thyroid disease can affect up to 10 percent of all women and is often suppressed during pregnancy but is exacerbated during postpartum. Postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) initially presents with a transient hyperthyroid phase 6 weeks to 6 months postpartum. So it appears that the new mother is losing weight in a typical manner. However, this is followed by a hypothyroid phase that can last as long as 1 year. Nearly 6 percent to 9 percent of women develop PPT and manifest symptoms that can readily be construed as depression: fatigue, hair loss, depression, impairment of concentration, inability to lose weight, lethargy, and dry skin.
Both depression and PPT are common reactions to childbirth. As many as 38 percent of women with PPT are also clinically depressed, so it is understandable how difficult it is to determine the cause of the depression. While it is certainly beyond the scope of a massage therapist to make a diagnosis, suggesting that her depression might have hormonal causes that are readily resolved with proper medication may provide support and make her feel less helpless. Regardless of the cause, a client who is depressed should be referred to a doctor or mental health professional who can determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
In the United States, it is estimated that half million women suffer from PPD yearly and that most of them have a history of a mood disorder. The risk of recurrence in a subsequent pregnancy is 25 percent. It is vital that practitioners working with this population recognize the signs and intervene early by referring the client to a mental health professional. One study of PPD found that the depression was less severe for those women whose partners provided them with emotional support. That can extend to include a sensitive massage practitioner. It is interesting to note that in traditional societies where new mothers were celebrated with rites of passage and healing ceremonies, PPD was rare.
Sheila Kitzinger offers several suggestions for new mothers to help them treat PPD. First of all, don't be afraid to ask for help. Make a plan to get out of the house first thing in the morning when symptoms are usually worse; get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Sleep when the baby does and don't try to get everything done all at once. Contact other new mothers and talk with them; seek help if needed.
Although it is not as common or known as women's mood disorders, some new fathers experience their own form of PPD after the birth of their child. These feelings are brought on by fears of becoming a parent, rigid expectations of themselves, feeling ignored by their partner in favor of the baby, and lack of sleep. Manifestations of male (this could also affect the non-birthing female partner) depression might be escaping into work, denying their emotions, outwardly expressing anger at the baby, or complete withdrawal from parenting and relationship responsibilities.
Fathers, often overlooked, also have an adjustment to make to the new member of the household and the better informed they are, the easier this period will be for all concerned. Fathers also need emotional support, for themselves and to be a better support for their partners.
Even more dire but less common is postpartum psychosis (PPP). Affecting 1 percent to 2 percent of the puerperal population, PPP is a clinical emergency requiring immediate intervention because of the heightened risk of infanticide or suicide (especially among young mothers). This psychotic condition has additional symptoms that include sleep disturbances, dissociative behavior, depersonalization, confusion and extreme disorganization, bizarre behaviors, delusions, and unusual visual and/or aural hallucinations. These symptoms can also be an underlying manifestation of bipolar disorder that has a high frequency during postpartum recovery. A woman who suffers from PPP has a 33 percent to 40 percent chance of experiencing it again with subsequent pregnancies. Early intervention dramatically improves the prognosis and prevention of this potentially devastating condition.
Practitioners who massage postpartum women must be on the lookout for any emotional signs that may be troublesome to the new mother. Recognizing these problems early can mean the difference between continued despair or a healthy new lease on life.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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