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We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
January, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 01
Rubefacient Essential Oils for Pain Relief
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
According to Mosby's Medical Dictionary, the word 'rubefacient' derives from two Latin words: ruber, red, facere, to make, and it is defined as:
This redness is caused by dilation of capillaries and increased blood circulation; a property that is useful for many client issues where pain or stiffness is present. An abstract published in Medline in 1982 reports the effects of a rubefacient commonly used by massage therapists and containing essential oils of cassia and clove called Tiger Balm. They tested application on rabbit skin to discover the effect of long term use and found that, "Tiger Balm Red (which contained 5% cassia oil plus 5% clove oil) caused irritation consisting of erythema, eschar formation and some oedema, to which a degree of tolerance developed. This irritation resulted in hyperkeratosis and sometimes inflammatory changes but no major damage to the skin. Tiger Balm White (no cassia oil and 2% clove oil) was better tolerated and produced less irritation and histological change than either Tiger Balm Red or a mixture of commercial waxes similar in composition to the wax base for Tiger Balm Red. None of the treatments produced any signs of systemic toxicity."
From this study, we learn two important things: rubefacients are well tolerated and don't cause permanent damage, and cassia oil is much more irritating than clove. Trained aromatherapists know this and also how important it is to dilute the rubefacient essential oils by putting them into carrier oil (such as almond, sesame, or my favorite, fractionated coconut) before use on the skin. And cassia (cinnamomum cassia) is listed in Sylla Sheppard Hanger's Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Vol. I as being a "DERMAL IRRITANT, avoid use on sensitive or damaged skin; use very highly diluted if at all."
There are many other essential oils that deliver the rubefacient property and which are more commonly used in massage application. They increase circulation in the skin and muscle tissue, creating relief from pain through an anti-inflammatory effect as well as helping to clear the tissue of byproducts of prior inflammation. They provide a comforting feeling of warmth as they accelerate metabolism in the area. Rubefacient essential oils are used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, back pain, bunion, bursitis (application to area without massage or manipulation), muscle cramps, sciatica, strain and sprain. Frequently, they are paired with essential oils that increase detoxification, such as juniper berry (Juniperus communis), carrot seed (Daucus carota) and lemon* (Citrus limon). This is especially helpful for joint pain and arthritis. They can also be blended with more relaxing anti-inflammatory analgesics like lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula spica) or German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) where stress and tension is known to be a major cause of muscle pain.
The commonly used rubefacient essential oils are:
You can read profiles on some of those essences in an article on the stimulating essential oils published in the November 2011 issue of Massage Today. Nutmeg is less commonly used and has a reputation for having psychotropic properties. Studies have shown that this is true for whole nutmeg, while the essential oil is weak in the myristicin and elimicin content that metabolize to produce hallucinogenic effects. It is unlikely that non-oral use of the essential oil of nutmeg (the only safe method for delivering this and most essential oils) would have any such affects at all.
An example of a blend for chronic arthritis might be (in 1 oz of carrier oil):
An example of a blend for neck and/or back pain due to tension (in 1 oz of carrier oil):
Blending tip: Essential oils of higher aroma intensity require fewer drops.
*Expressed lemon essential oil is phototoxic. Avoid exposure to sunlight for 18 hours after use, or use distilled lemon essential oil.
Shellie Enteen resides in Greer, S.C., and can be reached at . Shellie will be teaching a three day aromatherapy CEU workshop at the AMTA South Carolina Chapter Spring Mini-Convention in Charleston, SC, March 16-18th, 2012. More more information, visit www.amta-sc.org. For a brief biography, a printable version of this article and a link to previous articles, visit Shellie's columnist page at www.massagetoday.com/columnists/enteen.
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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