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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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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