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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
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?
March, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 03
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
The encouraging news about uterine fibroid tumors is that they are almost always benign, especially for women in their 30s and 40s. However, they can cause a multitude of discomforts, including heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea), backaches, and/or abdominal or pelvic bloating and heaviness.If the fibroids grow large enough to protrude into the pelvic cavity, other pelvic organs may be involved, resulting in urinary frequency and urgency, or constipation. Most fibroids, however, are asymptomatic and many women don't know they have them until they cause a problem or a gynecological exam detects them.
Uterine fibroids are solid, noncancerous tumors made of fibrous and smooth muscle tissues. The preeminence of fibrous tissue gives these tumors their name. Their etiology is unknown, but they seem to be estrogen-dependent because they don't develop before a woman gets her first period and they decrease in size and occurrence after menopause, when estrogen levels are low. Oral contraceptives that contain estrogen compounds, and pregnancy can stimulate the growth of these tumors. (I have seen pregnant women who looked as if they were carrying twins when, in fact, one mass was a fibroid.) There also might be a predisposition based upon genetics.
The sizes of fibroids vary from microscopic to ones that takes up the entire abdominal cavity. Fibroids affect nearly 20 percent of women over the age of 20 and approximately 40 percent of women 35 to 45 years of age. In the United States, Asian-American and African-American women are two to five times more likely than Caucasian women to have them.
There are several different types of uterine fibroid tumors based upon their location within the pelvis:
The diagnosis of fibroids usually is made when the provider palpates a mass during a routine gynecological exam. An ultrasound confirms the diagnosis and determines the type of fibroid.
When a client with a confirmed fibroid comes for a massage, it is important to avoid massaging the abdomen with any deep strokes. If any type of pressure causes pain, the abdominal massage should be stopped. Client positioning also is determined by comfort level. If prone positioning is uncomfortable, position her side-lying with a pillow under her neck and others placed between her knees.
Women have many options to treat uterine fibroids. The most extreme is a hysterectomy to remove the uterus. Only about 10 percent to 20 percent of fibroids require surgery. While it is certainly an effective way to remove the fibroids that have been causing pain, it puts women into an immediate surgical menopause if the ovaries also are removed and, like any surgical procedure, has many risks. An incision is made in the lower abdomen, although it can sometimes be performed vaginally. Recovery from this major surgery can take as long as six weeks.
A less invasive treatment is a procedure known as myomectomy. During this surgery, which may be done as an outpatient procedure depending on the number, size and location of the fibroids, the uterus is left intact. If an abdominal incision is made, the recovery takes as long as a hysterectomy. It may be performed using a laparoscope - lighted surgical tubes inserted near the navel - or through the vagina with a hysteroscope.
Rather than going under the knife, some women opt for embolization of the fibroids. This nonsurgical procedure cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids, which effectively shrinks them, although they don't necessarily disappear. A catheter is inserted through the patient's femoral artery and gently moved to each affected uterine artery. Tiny pellets are inserted through the catheter which blocks the blood supply. A woman must remain in the hospital for a day or two and is able to resume normal activities within the week. Embolization studies have found an 85 percent to 95 percent reduction in fibroid symptoms, while not actually eliminating them.
Prior to undergoing any type of surgery or medical procedure, women might opt for acupuncture, with or without herbal remedies, to treat their fibroids. The first mention of uterine fibroids in traditional Chinese medicine was in the Ling Shu (ca. 100 BC), which described them as "stony tumors." Chinese medicine categorizes fibroid tumors as zheng xia, or "masses in the uterus with a feeling of pain, swelling or fullness, and with bleeding in severe cases." TCM recognizes three patterns of uterine fibroids and treats them accordingly: qi stagnation and blood stasis; yin deficiency and empty-fire blazing; and liver qi stagnation and spleen deficiency. Once the appropriate pattern has been determined, acupuncture and specific herbs are provided. TCM is very effective in reducing or eliminating many types of uterine fibroids, especially if they are caught early.
Pharmaceutical drugs also can be taken to reduce the size of these fibroids and control the bleeding they often cause. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken alone or with the addition of progesterone. A synthetic form of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Lupron) controls the supply of estrogen and progesterone, which causes the fibroids to decrease in size. However, its use is limited because long-term use contributes to osteoporosis and once a woman stops taking Lupron, the fibroids grow back. It is more effective when used prior to a myomectomy to shrink the tumors and make the surgery easier.
A cutting-edge procedure (which is not necessarily covered by insurance) is an MRI-guided ultrasound. High-intensity ultrasound is directed at the fibroids, heating them and breaking down their outer walls. The procedure takes a few hours and the patient has to remain in a prone position in an MRI machine with her head outside of the machine and her abdomen submerged in a pool of water. Risk factors include burns and nerve damage, and the effects of this intensive ultrasound on future pregnancies have not been determined.
Uterine fibroids are not life-threatening growths, but the symptoms they cause can have a major impact on a woman's quality of life. Thankfully, there are many options available today, and women can make their decisions based upon their own needs.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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