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News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
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.
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.
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
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.
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.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
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.
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.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
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.
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?
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!
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
March, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 03
Powders, Oils and Liniments
By Judi Calvert, LMP
Today, massage therapists have a wide variety of great mediums they can purchase thanks to the Internet, massage warehouses, massage school stores and convention booths. But have we therapists ever stopped to think about what past practitioners - "operators" as they were called - used for massage mediums?
Some of the oldest mediums used by the experts of the time (doctors, nurses and operators) included such items as hog fat, lard, olive oil, alcohol, cloths, talc powder, rice powder, vaseline, glycerin, lanolin, arnica oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and natural mineral water - just to name a few.
For decades, powders in the form of cornstarch and talc were a popular medium for massage. Some authorities believe talcum was the original "Egyptian dust", named by ancient and medieval writers as an after-bath treatment used in many countries around the world. The oldest chemists and perfumeries in the United States produced Caswell-Massey talcum products to use for massage and in the bath. They are still available today.
Dr. Fehr's compound talcum, a "hygienic dermal powder" was said to be good for skin problems, as a tooth powder, or for dressing bandages. This product was primarily advertised to pharmacists and doctors. Dr. George Knapp Abbott, author of Technique of Hydrotherapy and Swedish Massage (1912), taught: "the talcum rub is useful where oil is objectionable, as in warm weather, or where there is a tendency to free perspiration after treatment. It dries rather than softens the skin. It is also useful for hives, and should be given after a prolonged cool bath. The procedure is the same as with the oil rub."
So what are the advantages of using powder over ointments?
Dr. Max Bohm of Germany wrote in his book Massage: Its Principles and Technique (1913)that powder is conducive to cleanliness and that it "makes very deep kneading possible and improves the masseur's sense of touch."
Bohm explained: "On this account it is better for the masseur who is learning to use powder at first. Generally, the preference is given to light smooth talcum powder instead of grainy powder, for instance, rice powder. Rubbing is sufficient for the removal of powder."
Mary V. Lace was a teacher who received part of her massage training with Dr. James Mennell. In her 1936 book, Massage and Medical Gymnastics, she tells us that "powder or other lubricants should be used as sparingly as possible on account of their tendency to block the pores of the skin. Powder must not be sprinkled all over the patient or on the bed or floor."
If a nurse was not present, it was the job of the "masseuse" to dry the treated limb if the patient could not do it him or herself. If there were any folds in the skin, then starch powder or zinc oxide was applied. Lace taught that French chalk, starch powder or mixtures of the two with boracic or zinc should be used on the patients.
In Europe, sometime in the 1950s, the wide use of powders died out.
The healing power of oil has been used since ancient times. For curative purposes "rubbing of some sort has been going on," wrote massage historian Robert Calvert. Each country used different oils to help ease people's pain.
The Bible has several passages that refer to oils. Psalms refers to the "oil of gladness" and "oil to make the face shine." In Proverbs, oil is the "ointment and perfume to delight the heart."
In his 1913 book, Massage, Manual Treatment, Remedial Movements, Douglas Graham wrote about the famed physician Galen, who lived from A.D. 130 to A.D. 200. Graham deemed him the "most learned physician and the most accomplished man of his age, whose authority in medical matters was regarded in Europe as almost supreme for a thousand years." Graham continued: "[Galen] recommended friction in a great number of diseases, generally as auxiliary to other means. ...It is proper by moderate rubbing with a linen cloth to warm the whole body beforehand, and then rub with oil."
A practitioner needed to warm the skin and expand the pores before applying the oil, believed Galen. He taught that the skin should turn red first, and then to rub the oil in with bare hands.
In Greco-Roman times, oils were applied externally in massage treatments to help people with the pains of daily life. In Calvert's book The History of Massage, he wrote: "In the centuries after the fall of the Roman empire little was written about massage and even less about the mediums used for massage."
However, there have been many books written by doctors and nurses from 1885 to the present about the use of oils in Swedish massage.
In Kurre W. Ostrom's 1918 book, Massage and the Original Swedish Movements, he talks about which massage mediums to use to avoid abrasions when working on people. They used "white vaseline, glycerin, lanolin, lard, olive oil, arnica oil, (in sprains or distortions), belladonna ointment (in neuritis) - the two latter only when recommended by physicians." Ostrom did caution operators "not to use too much glycerin, as it tends to irritate the skin."
He added: "In America coconut oil or cocoa butter has been freely used. Pure cold creams are one of the best lubricants and almost always at hand in every home." Ostrom believed that melted cocoa butter was also useful; however, vaseline became too sticky after a few massage strokes, and lard was only good to use if it was fresh.
Lace, the 1930s massage teacher, used olive oil to treat scars and very dry skin. If babies were poorly nourished, had rickets or had atrophied limbs, the olive oil would soften the skin and aid the subcutaneous tissues. The oil would also help build the skin's nutrition, she believed.
In his book The Massage Operator, Dr. P. Puderbach gives various recipes for specific massage treatments.
A pain-killing massage oil that he found very useful was a mixture of: 25 grams of pure alcohol, 25 grams camphor, 10 grams menthol, and 50 grams olive oil. He would then apply the oil to sore spots. If the patient was in extreme pain, then he would add 50 grams of chloroform to the mixture.
Puderbach's book also includes a recipe by Dr. S. Asada to treat croup. It prescribes applying kerosene oil to the throat while also swallowing a teaspoon of the oil.
During the 19th century, traveling doctors and salesmen began to sell their famous liniments to people in pain. They claimed that these medicinal remedies, which had a lot of alcohol in them, could cure any problem. So if you had neuralgia, headache, sciatica, a cold, or nausea, they wanted you to spend your hard-earned money on these liniments. Dr. Kennedy's rheumatic liniment was one of the first liniments used by massage practitioners. There was no label of ingredients on these bottles.
Another pre-Civil War liniment that was produced out of Boston was Minard's liniment. It was advertised for use in the hospital, in the home, camp and training quarters. Some other liniments include Pen-O-Lin, Tigerhead Antiseptic Liniment and Mother's Friend. And let's not forget Ben-Gay ointment for sore muscles, which was invented in 1898.
Experts long ago used many mediums that by today's standards we would never think of putting on a client. But it's through their trial and error that has contributed to where we are today.
Click here for more information about Judi Calvert, LMP.
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