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Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse during cold weather.
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
Work Stress and Musculoskeletal Health: Do Your Patients Get the Connection?
Most people underestimate the impact their job has on their health, especially if that job isn't particularly physically demanding. Big mistake.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
June, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 06
Help in Understanding Parkinson's, Part 2
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
In part one of this series from the April issue, I presented an understanding of Parkinson's disease (PD), its symptoms and current medical treatment.Now we'll take a look at how massage and other bodywork may play an important role in managing symptoms and offering those with PD a better quality of life.
I'd like to challenge you to ponder what it means for a person living with PD to have "quality of life." Most massage therapists immediately think of tremors and muscle stiffness when asked to name a symptom of Parkinson's disease (PD). What about symptoms that can't be seen but only experienced by the people living with this progressive neurological disease? The Parkinson's Outcomes Project reports that negative mood and depression have the greatest impact on health status and that 40% of people with PD experience depression and/or anxiety disorder.
These symptoms seem to have even greater impact on quality of life than motor symptoms. There's constant frustration from struggling to get through daily activities. But I've observed another invisible symptom – feeling isolated. One symptom of PD is a mask-like expression that comes from poor motor control of facial muscles. The subtleties we rely on for communication and social connection are gone. Imagine a man with PD at a social gathering, say a neighborhood picnic. Here's a man who can't move or walk well so will stay in one place and has a blank and staring expression on his face. Is this a person who will likely be approached by others? I suspect not. Strangers will misread the expression as boredom and withdrawal. Acquaintances may feel uneasy about what to say as they notice the changes that have occurred and avoid him. Closer friends may overcompensate for their uneasiness and dote or be overly helpful. Children may even be a little frightened of him. The end result is that few people will treat this man as they would have before PD. Satisfying social relationships must be hard to come by for many people living with the symptoms of PD.
I have a client who has, for many years, been an active board member of a community music guild. In his early seventies, he developed PD, however he continued to be involved on the board. During a recent session, he told me about the board meeting he attended last week. He said that hardly anyone spoke to him directly and he felt ignored. "I'm the same person," he told me. "Do I smell? I'll never go back." The more I think about this, the more I realize the full impact of his statements. He's been cut out of a community and he knows it. Now, he's left to wrestle with the loss and anger along with feelings of low self-worth. I don't think his situation is unique at all. So how can we, as massage therapists, make a positive difference?
Which modalities are most effective?
It's reported that up to 40% of individuals who have PD use at least one type of complementary therapy with herbal supplements, vitamins, massage and acupuncture most commonly used. I was curious about which bodywork modalities have proven most effective. The following is a survey of the literature along with my personal experience.
Alexander Technique: This educational method teaches the client how to change faulty postural habits to improve mobility, performance and alertness along with relief of chronic stiffness, tension and stress. Main benefits are coordination of the musculoskeletal system, improved breathing, vocal production and speed and accuracy of movement. One study demonstrated that following 24 lessons in Alexander Technique, people with PD had less depression and greater self-concept. These results were sustained for six months. Alexander Technique may have the greatest impact on these PD symptoms: bradykinesia, which means slow, deliberate movements and difficulty performing rapid alternating movements such as combing one's hair or clapping. Because Alexander Technique uses a cognitive approach to re-learning movement patterns it may also help develop new neural pathways in the brain to compensate for those no longer functioning properly. The client may also feel empowered by being actively involved in learning new movement patterns resulting in improved mood and feelings of confidence and self-worth.
Neuromuscular Therapy: This approach is described as soft tissue manipulation techniques including myofascial release, positional release and trigger point techniques. One study examined the effects of neuromuscular therapy on motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. Following treatments twice a week for four weeks, clients had significant decreased tremor and improved rapid alternating movements (finger tapping). However, clients did not have substantial changes in mood. It appears that neuromuscular therapy may be most beneficial for motor symptoms of PD, which would contribute to improved ability to perform activities of daily living.
Swedish Massage: In my experience, rocking broad compression and moderate pressure effleurage seem especially effective for PD symptoms. Rocking stimulates the vestibular system as well as the proprioceptor nerves in the skin, joints and muscles which may improve postural tone while promoting an overall relaxation response. Gentle, sustained compression applied to muscles that are rigid or hypertonic encourages "letting go" or relaxation of the muscle and increases range of motion at least temporarily allowing greater postural comfort for those who have advanced PD. Broad, slow-stroke effleurage on the full back seems especially helpful. Studies have shown that three minutes of slow-stroke back massage decreases blood pressure and heart rate while skin temperature increases. Slow-stroke back massage has been used as a common nursing intervention to help patients sleep. We've long understood the link between massage and improved mood. One study showed that Swedish massage increased serotonin and dopamine levels by 28% and 31% respectively while decreasing cortisol levels by 31%. This is important in understanding that massage changes the biochemistry of the body and decreasing stress reactions.
It's clear that touch therapies can be effective in easing the physical symptoms of PD which goes a long way in improving function and alleviating physical discomfort. But I'd like to go back to those hidden symptoms I described earlier, the frustration, isolation and feelings of low self-worth. Let's look beyond bodywork to the power of compassionate human touch to heal in ways we are only beginning to fully understand. The man I described who felt shunned by his peers looks forward to our sessions which take place in his home. Following the massage, he reports decreased pain and appears physically comfortable and is able to move his arms a little smoother. But what shines through the physical benefit is a shift in his demeanor. The other day he told me how much our sessions mean to him. "You treat me like I still matter." I believe his statement had nothing to do with bodywork but rather by reaching past the disease to serve the human being inside of the body impacted by PD.
Acceptance and compassionate presence comes through caring human touch. I'll close with a quote from one of the sources for this article, "While complementary treatment modalities are used widely by patients with PD, only use of various massage techniques seems to improve subjective well-being and quality of life," from Rehabilitation Interventions in Parkinson Disease by Alex Moroz, MD, et.al.
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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