resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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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