resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
July, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 07
Massage and Alzheimer's Disease, Part 1
What would Maslow say?
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
It has been said that in 25 years, the United States will have two kinds of people: those who have Alzheimer's disease and those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. Dementia is a term meaning loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.
As a licensed massage therapist and Compassionate Touch practitioner, I have witnessed the transformation that can occur when intentional touch is offered, enhancing quality of life of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease.
So what is at the heart of these seemingly magical moments? There is clearly something profound happening that goes well beyond simple touch. We can explore the relationship between human needs and well-being to gain a greater understanding of how deep our touch truly goes.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist and scholar. He is noted for his conceptualization of a hierarchy of human needs, and is considered the father of humanistic psychology. Maslow teaches that we must have survival and safety needs met before any social or spiritual needs can be realized.
The needs of the body, mind and spirit remain intact regardless of the condition of the body or mind. The person living with Alzheimer's disease continues to relate to his or her world based upon whether or not these needs are being met. To explore the relationship between Alzheimer's disease, human needs, and touch I invite you to consider the following example of Faye, a woman with Alzheimer's disease who lived in a skilled nursing facility. I saw her for Compassionate Touch sessions twice a month for about a year.
The need for physical survival. As Alzheimer's disease advanced, Faye lost her ability to independently manage activities such as eating or toileting and she relied on caregivers for physical needs. Her sleep patterns were disturbed and she became incontinent of bladder and bowel. Effects of massage: Touch is as essential as breath for humans to survive and thrive. The sensory stimulation of massage awakened Faye's awareness of her own body; physical discomfort was eased; and the quality of her sleep improved.
The need to have personal security and to feel safe. Typical of Alzheimer's disease, Faye lost her ability to recall recent events and her memory of her own life experiences faded. She did retain her ability to recognize her family. She had severe time confusion and did not understand where she was. Effects of massage: The massage and focused attention seemed reassuring to Faye and she appeared less anxious. She seemed more grounded in the present moment which allowed her to enjoy our interaction.
The need for a sense of belonging and connection to others. For years, Faye had been active within her church community (her husband was the minister). Alzheimer's disease and the move to the nursing home had removed her from contact with familiar people in her life. She became somewhat withdrawn and became anxious around unfamiliar people. She spent many hours alone in her room. Effect of massage: The touch became a form of communication of its own as Faye's ability to verbally express herself declined. Our sessions were a time of social interaction that seemed to give her pleasure, decreasing feelings of loneliness and boredom.
The need to express feelings and have them acknowledged. A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is that it decreases the person's ability to organize and express thoughts or communicate one's needs. Feelings are often expressed in ways that are difficult for family or caregivers to understand such as through sounds or movements. Faye retained her ability to verbally communicate but she had trouble forming sentences to say what was really on her mind. She often would get frustrated and just stop, falling quiet. Effects of massage: Through touch and an open heart I was able to convey acceptance and compassion for whatever Faye was experiencing in the moment. Feelings that are acknowledged are diffused. During our sessions Faye often found the words and it became clear to me that she retained a level of awareness about her situation that was not casually apparent. Here are a few of the things she said during our sessions:
The need to give to others and to be treated with respect. We all feel good when we give of ourselves to others or are productive members of the society in which we live. We thrive in an environment of mutual understanding and respect. People with Alzheimer's disease can easily feel that they have nothing to contribute and I've observed that this idea is reinforced in our care system leading to what I refer to as "learned helplessness." Effect of massage: Faye enjoyed the one-to-one focused attention and would often look for ways to do something for me. She would offer me food or sometimes would put lotion on my hands. I noticed that if I would accept her gifts that she sat up just a little bit straighter in her wheelchair and her facial expression was brighter.
The need for a sense of self and a connection to spirit. Many people assume that Alzheimer's disease robs people of their identity. My experience has shown that although memory and cognition become severely impaired, it appears that the person living with dementia seems to retain a sense of self--the essence of whom he or she really is. Effects of massage: When the essence of the individual is acknowledged through the gift of touch and mindful presence it seems to allow it to shine through the fog of Alzheimer's disease.
Massage therapists can bring a unique perspective to the care of elders living with Alzheimer's disease by highlighting the role of compassionate human touch in satisfying human needs on all levels. I think Maslow would be pleased!
In my next article, I'll present an overview of some studies that support the use of skilled touch in the care of those living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Until then, shine on!
According to the Alzheimer's Association:
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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