resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.