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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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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?
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.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Dry Eyes, Dry Mouth: Sjogren's Syndrome
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
My February article, "Bariatric Surgery," about working with clients who have had various forms of bariatric surgery really seemed to hit a cord. Here are some of your responses:
"I read with interest your article on bariatric surgery. I especially am thankful that you mentioned colon massages. I learned abdominal massage in massage school and improved on it by working with other massage therapists to get greater sensitivity in that area. Now I can feel the colon and surrounding tissue, the peristalsis and what's going on in the rest of the abdomen, as well as helping clients to be more knowledgeable about their own bodies. I understand that there are massage therapists who would rather not address this area, don't have time to do so, or don't feel that they know enough. I would suggest then, to just practice with your colleagues and get the colon massages for yourself. You never know when you may be of assistance to a client with a chronic backache, who really only has a colon ache."
"I started receiving weekly massage therapy shortly after my surgery and continued through the summer of 2008. I found it invaluable to assist me in keeping in touch with my changing body. My massage therapist did Swedish, deep tissue, and stretching. We would also talk about my experience of losing weight and having the band in my body. He was a real support to me through this process. Bottom-line: Massage can be very helpful to someone going through this process."
Roger Bartman, LMT
For this article, I am answering the request of a reader (Hi Karen in Virginia!), whose client has a relatively common autoimmune disorder called Sjogren's syndrome. Sjogren's syndrome is usually manageable, but in rare cases it can be a serious and potentially threatening condition.
Sjogren's Syndrome: What is it?
Sjogren's syndrome, named for Swedish doctor Henrik Sjogren who first identified this pattern in the early 20th century, is an inflammatory condition that usually affects the eyes and mouth, but can have impact on many tissues throughout the body. Most experts agree that Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder with a strong genetic component. In this situation lymphocytes invade and rogue antibodies attack two major sets of glands: the lacrimal glands that produce tears, and the salivary glands. In some cases, antibodies may attack other tissues as well--especially in joints and blood vessels--but this is relatively rare.
Sjogren's syndrome has some features in common with other autoimmune diseases. While some people experience this as a chronic, low-grade, slowly progressive condition, others find that it runs in a cycle of extreme and severe flares followed by periods of remission. Like most other autoimmune conditions, Sjogren's syndrome is more common in women than in men by a ratio of about 9-to-1. It usually affects women between 45 and 55 years of age, but it has been documented in patients both older and younger. Statistics on its incidence in the United States vary; it may affect anywhere from 400,000 to 3 million people. Sjogren's syndrome often appears with other autoimmune disorders: about half of those with Sjogren's syndrome may also be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or lupus.
Signs, Symptoms, and Complications
Signs and symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome revolve around inflammation of tear and salivary ducts, leading to a decrease in important secretions. Without adequate lubrication the eye can feel gritty and painful, it can become vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection, and the cornea can be permanently damaged.
Inadequate production of saliva makes it difficult to swallow, especially dry food. Teeth become vulnerable to cavities and infection, the tongue may develop fissures, and the mouth is generally more vulnerable to a fungal infection called thrush.
Some people experience similar drying effects in other areas, notably the nasal sinuses, vaginal canal, and the skin in general. While nosebleeds and dry skin are irritating, even more severe manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome can lead to joint pain, a type of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) that can contribute to kidney damage, lung damage, and nervous system damage ranging from mood swings to strokes.
Treatment Options for Sjogren's Disease
Sjogren's disease is often categorized as secondary (occurring as part of some other autoimmune disease) or primary, occurring as a freestanding condition. Secondary Sjogren's syndrome is treated symptomatically, but only as a side-issue to the underlying pathology.
Primary Sjogren's syndrome may be benign, mild and non-progressive, but it may be systemic and potentially threatening. Benign and systemic cases are also treated according to symptoms, but specialists now recognize that Sjogren's syndrome has the potential to cause serious problems and it requires careful and thorough follow-up to manage its progression and the tissue damage that it can cause.
Treatment options usually begin with artificial tears, aggressive oral hygiene care, and medications that promote the production of saliva. Room humidifiers can help with dry mouth and irritated nasal sinuses. If these are insufficient, other strategies include medications that suppress immune system activity, steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and drugs that address organ-by-organ problems that systemic Sjogren's syndrome might involve.
What about massage?
When a client's Sjogren's syndrome is connected to other autoimmune disorders, the therapist must gather information about these conditions before making choices about massage. Lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis all affect the connective tissues, and bodywork practitioners need to be sure that their work is not exacerbating symptoms or problems. It is generally suggested to save rigorous mechanical types of bodywork for periods of remission with autoimmune diseases. During flares most clients are better off with reflexive or energetic types of bodywork that invite stability rather than challenge homeostasis.
Most people who have primary Sjogren's syndrome experience this as a mildly annoying but manageable condition that doesn't significantly impact their quality of life. In these situations choices about massage are not specifically influenced by this condition. However, in those rare cases where it is associated with very severe symptoms, then accommodations for bodywork may be necessary.
For next time: it's up to you, readers. If anyone is interested in more information about Sjogren's syndrome partners (lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis), let me know. Alternatively, I've sensed some interest in the role of massage in the context of cosmetic surgery. Do you work in a plastic surgery office? Have you seen massage as a post-operative strategy to reduce swelling after liposuction or facelifts? Do you have clients who use botox as a cosmetic intervention? What do you find about massage in that setting?
Use this column as a way to share your wisdom with your colleagues and let me know: what's on your table? Until then, many thanks and many blessings.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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