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There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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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