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Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Connections Worth Making
"If most doctors are like me, [they are] isolated physically and professionally. I do not make the time to connect with other doctors and also a lot of doctors do not want to be connected for a lot of reasons. Dynamic Chiropractic keeps me grounded and connected.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
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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