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Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
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.
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
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?
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.
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.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
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.
Connections Worth Making
"If most doctors are like me, [they are] isolated physically and professionally. I do not make the time to connect with other doctors and also a lot of doctors do not want to be connected for a lot of reasons. Dynamic Chiropractic keeps me grounded and connected.
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.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
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.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
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.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
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.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Seeing Your Massage Clients Through a New Lens
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
I've worked with people young and old with complex medical conditions since 1979 when I began my career as an occupational therapist. From rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, psychiatric hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities, I've been around the block a time or two.But my work the past decade as a massage therapist has helped me see things through a new lens.
One such thing is the importance of distinguishing between a primary diagnosis and the secondary conditions resulting from the primary illness or injury. It's important to realize that secondary conditions can impact our clinical reasoning, leading to modifications in our approach or techniques, as well as our own feelings and emotional reaction to our client.
There are many diagnosis commonly found in older adults who require skilled nursing or home care. However, I'm focusing on only one — Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder. Nerve cells located in the area of the brain that controls movement degenerate causing symptoms associated with this disease. In spite of aggressive research, the exact cause is unknown; however there is speculation that genes and environmental toxins might play a role.
So, let me ask, is it necessary to be an expert about Parkinson's disease to have a safe and beneficial massage session for a person with the disease? I don't think so. It's not the diagnosis itself that drives our approach, but rather our observations of the secondary conditions or symptoms. Secondary conditions are those things we can see, feel, hear and sense during a session. They impact our decisions about how to carry out a session; how we position our client; how we communicate; what techniques to use.
What follows are three secondary conditions (symptoms) of Parkinson's disease and corresponding questions that influenced my own clinical reasoning when a woman was referred for massage therapy sessions to improve physical comfort and sleep. Mrs. P. was a woman with advanced Parkinson's disease being cared for in her home by family and a team of home care professionals.
Symptoms included tremor while at rest, involuntary shaking of an extremity, often the hands when the muscles are relaxed. For example, the hands shake when they are lying in the lap. But when the person reaches for something or performs other purposeful movement, the tremor is lessened. Clinical questions: Will her hands shake while I'm trying to massage them? If so, is it okay to massage them anyway? How much pressure should I use? Would compression be a good technique to use? Will massage help quiet the tremor?
When I started seeing Mrs. P., I noticed her right hand had a mild tremor that continued as we talked about how she wanted to receive her massage. I determined that gentle compression techniques to the arm and shoulder attachment sites would be a good technique to use since compression has an inhibitory effect on the nervous system. If compression did not ease the tremor, I understood there was still benefit to offering unconditional touch to sooth her.
Bradykinesia is when people have difficulty initiating movement and appear to move in slow-motion and walk with small, shuffling steps. Speech becomes slurred because the muscles of the mouth and tongue are affected and some people have a mask-like facial expression. It was clear that Mrs. P. was not able to get onto a massage table. Should I use a table-top massage device or have her get up on the bed? Is the area free of clutter or anything that might be a fall risk should she need to move from the chair? Should I have her remove clothing knowing that it takes her a long time to do so? She had a mask-like look on her face making it difficult to read her non-verbal expressions. How else might I determine her reactions and watch for signs of pain?
Mrs. P's speech was very hard to understand because she had difficulty forming the words and her voice was very soft. It took my full attention to understand. But she made it clear that she preferred to get onto her bed for our sessions. Her daughter helped her transfer from the chair to the bed. Mrs. P's movements were excruciatingly slow making the process difficult. It took several minutes for Mrs. P. to get settled in a supine position on the bed. She was dressed in loose fitting clothes and I decided it best to not ask her to remove anything. We would work around and through the clothing.
There was muscle rigidity and atrophy causing stiffness and sometimes painful contractures in the arms, legs and trunk. Is there pain? Does it hurt to move? How much range of motion is present? Should I try stretching it? Are there any positioning techniques I could use to increase her comfort and support during the massage?
As the disease progressed, Mrs. P's muscles became very tight and stiff especially in her arms, legs and neck. She now found it extremely difficult to speak and was now mostly silent. But she was alert and her eyes were bright. Now, when I arrived for our evening sessions she was already in bed. Her arms were usually bent at the elbow and held tightly to her chest. Muscle spasticity in her legs caused them to be clasped together and crossed at the ankles. Her daughter reported that Mrs. P. had difficulty sleeping because of pain. I discovered that effleurage strokes, gentle compression and focused touch, eased the spasticity that caused the stiff posture and she was able to relax her arms enough to be placed comfortably on pillows at her side. Her legs relaxed allowing them to uncross at the ankles. Within minutes of starting our session Mrs. P's eyes would close as she drifted into sleep. Her family reported that on nights she had massage she slept through the night, giving all of them much needed rest.
As our sessions continued, the fact that Mrs. P. had Parkinson's disease became less relevant in my mind. More important were my keen observation skills; meeting her in present time, responding to each moment of every session and allowing her to receive the gift of touch in any way that served her. Sometimes that meant having her cat sit on her stomach watching my every move. I'm not sure if that's a secondary condition or not, but I know I sure enjoyed it!
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Massage therapy can reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which may be especially helpful to people experiencing muscle rigidity associated with Parkinson's disease."
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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