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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.
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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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."
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
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.
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!
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.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
March, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 03
Understanding Alzheimer's Part 2
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
Part one of this article dealt with facts about Alzheimer's disease. As an educator, I believe that facts are a good place to start to understand a topic.Facts give us the big picture about the disease, demographics and guidelines. I've been around people with dementia my entire professional career. I've seen how this disease takes the brain a little at a time and the heartbreaking loss that families endure. My formal education focused on impaired intellectual and functional abilities as the phrase "death by a thousand subtractions"1 reflects.
But facts are only part of the story when it comes to understanding Alzheimer's disease. A new body of knowledge is emerging that shines a light on the inner life of the person living with Alzheimer's and what remains intact. I'm excited to find others speaking out about what I've witnessed for years - that, in spite of the disease, the individual within remains and is capable of a worthwhile life.
Personhood is defined as "the state of being an individual or having human characteristics and feelings". A person living with Alzheimer's is often thought of as a former person - one who has lived but is no longer "there". New perspectives beg to differ. We now see that Alzheimer's is about much more than memory loss, but rather complex layers of both cognitive deterioration and largely intact abilities. The key, it seems, is to find ways to focus on the abilities. John Zeisel in his book, I'm Still Here2, tells us:
I couldn't agree more. Through my work as a Compassionate Touch practitioner, I've witnessed the profound impact of touch in bringing forth the intact person within the fog of the Alzheimer's. A gentleman, I'll call James, resided in a skilled nursing facility. When I met him he was able to share much of his life and was very engaged with his family. James had been an entertainer and a businessman.
As a young adult he was a radio broadcaster and loved to sing. He shared with me a recording of him singing a beautiful Italian song. His young tenor voice was lovely. We played that recording many times during our visits and, while I gave him a back massage, he would tell me stories that music brought to mind. As his condition worsened and he no longer knew who I was when I arrived, the touch and music helped him access the memory of our relationship. One day he surprised me by asking about my son, clearly remembering things I had told him months before. Even near the end of James' life he enjoyed the connection we had through the medium of touch.
Touch As Connection
What is it about touch that is so powerful? That is a complicated question but two reasons are near the top of the list in my opinion: oxytocin and hardwiring. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter in the brain related to childbirth, sexuality and social behavior. Touch stimulates production of oxytocin leading to feelings of safety, caring, trust and decreased anxiety. It's been called the "care and connection" hormone.
Zeisel talks about hardwired human abilities. These are universal abilities all humans share. He explains that touch is one, along with emotions, singing and facial expressions. People with Alzheimer's don't lose the capacity for human emotion or recognition of a caring touch. What I've seen is that even a person in the very late, severe stage of Alzheimer's retains all these capacities.
A case in point is a woman who was largely non-verbal, her muscles were contracted and she barely could move. She could no longer feed herself or tell someone if her nose itched or if she was in pain. Her days were spent either in bed or in a reclining chair with very little interaction with others except during her physical care.
I saw her weekly for 30-minute sessions. Sometimes I would see very little obvious response to the hand, shoulder or foot massage I provided. But I had a sense that there was more than met the eye happening. She seemed to relax into her bed a little and her face relaxed. And sometimes she would look me in the eye with a little smile. One day as I massaged her hand she held my hand, turned to me and said in a weak voice, "You are very kind. I love you." Not only was she capable of receiving love, she was capable of giving it - also a hardwired human trait.
Benefits of Sensitive Massage and Focused Touch
I believe that touch - in the form of sensitive, gentle massage and holding - taps into reserves of hardwired abilities resulting in the following special benefits for those living with Alzheimer's disease:
A hand massage, back massage or simply holding a person has the power to elicit positive, life-affirming feelings and responses. For the person with Alzheimer's, touch becomes a language of the human heart and a remembrance of his place in the world.
Along with the references listed, the following books are great resources for more information on this topic: Alzheimer's Disease: The Dignity Within by Patricia R. Callone et al (Caring Concepts, 2006); and Inside Alzheimer's: How to Hear and Honor Connections With a Person Who Has Dementia by Nancy Pearce (Forrason Press, 2007).
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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