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Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
August, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 08
Vacuum Therapies for Surgical Preparation and Recovery
By Anita J. Shannon, LMBT and Rita Woods, LMT
Surgery can be one of the most traumatic, yet helpful, events that a person can undergo. Proper preparation and effective techniques for recovery can make a world of difference in the experience.Vacuum therapies present a successful path to integration with the medical community, and allow us to work directly with the surgeons and have access to diagnostic reports.
Preparation for surgery includes vacuum therapies to drain and clear lymphatic pathways, decongest the tissues, and release any soft tissue restrictions to movement of muscles and fascia or flow of blood and lymph. Post-surgical care includes the same approach, and adds in potential scar work to diminish appearance and adhesions, along with release of inflammation, pockets of anesthesia, and soft tissue issues that may have resulted from surgical positioning.
Surgical complications often include the formations of adhesions, nerve compression damage and reactions to the anesthesia. While any adhesion is a potential restrictive problem, abdominal adhesions are a particularly burdensome complication. They form in approximately 90% of all patients undergoing any type of abdominal surgery, but the risk is greater for operations on the lower abdomen including pelvic, bowel and gynecological surgeries.
These surgery induced adhesions can be caused by tissues incision, especially those involving internal organs, the handling of organs, the drying out of internal organs and tissues, contact of the internal tissues with foreign materials such as gauze, surgical gloves, stitches, etc., as well as blood or blood clots that were not rinsed out during surgery. Abdominal adhesions are bands of tissue that form between tissues and organs causing them to adhere and stick together. They can become larger and tighter as time passes causing problems years after surgery.
Other less common, but just as serious, causes of abdominal adhesions involve inflammation from sources not related to surgery including appendicitis- in particular appendix rupture, radiation for cancer treatment, gynecological infections and abdominal infections. The use of vacuum therapies is extremely effective in working with these scars and adhesions, with very little discomfort for the client.
Prolonged surgeries in which the body has been placed and maintained in an unnatural position can lead to peripheral nerve damage. While the cause of damage varies, it can range in severity from mildly annoying to disabling. In most cases, the damage is temporary and the discomfort or numbness decreases in the weeks following surgery. But a small percentage of patients have lasting nerve problems. Decompressing the involved area with vacuum therapies relieves the pressure and allows the tissue to return more quickly to a normal state. Damage can also occur at the site where medications were injected or at the site of a spinal epidural.
Another potential complication of surgery relates to the anesthesia. Most problems arise from the use of general anesthesia (when the patient is put to sleep) but some problems may arise with local or regional anesthesia- usually at the site of medication injection as mentioned above.
General anesthesia, however, can foster a whole different set of problems. Two separate studies, one from Sweden and one from Duke University, showed that the length of time spent under deep anesthesia is a significant risk factor for predicting death up to two years after surgery. In both studies, the common cause of those deaths after surgery (non cardiac surgeries), were primarily from heart attacks or cancer. Additionally, a subsequent study indicated a cognitive decline in elderly patients up to two years following surgery. One popular theory as to why this happens is based on the production of inflammatory neurochemicals that negatively impact the body and undermine the immune system. One of the key uses of vacuum therapies involves the ability move fluids and clear the body of toxins and inflammatory residue.
The most incredible aspect of this work for preparation and recovery from surgical issues is the decompression that the vacuum produces. The lifting and stretching of the tissue and the release of restrictions, as well as the drainage and clearing of debris creates space and the opportunity for the body to resume normal functioning.
Protocols for each client will depend on a thorough intake and review of supporting documentation from the surgeon (if possible), and then the application of a six-step evaluation and tracking criteria that we developed over years of creating protocols using vacuum therapies. Recovery techniques can be used on clients of any age, and can produce some surprising results on sites that are quite old.
A recent experience while teaching in France was the perfect opportunity to show the class how the age of a scar can determine the techniques used to treat it, yet the results were dramatic with both examples. A wonderful German man who was also a guest at the inn where we stay and hold our classes offered to let us work on his recent scar from carotid artery surgery.
As he settled on the massage table, we could not help but notice a large scar completely surrounding his right knee and restrictions in his leg. His leg would not lay flat on the table and the posterior attachments and muscles felt like bands of steel. He described a low level of pain and restriction on both the neck area and leg, with discomfort beginning to radiate to the hip and low back.
These scars were both from surgery, but the approach to relief for the neck was to address the congestion in the scar area by working superficially with a very small cup to smooth puckering and facilitate soft pliable tissue that will move and blend with the surrounding area. For pain relief, the anterior and posterior muscles of the neck were treated, starting with slower pumping movements using deep suction to gently release the muscles from the position they were held in during surgery.
The approach for the older knee issues was to do much deeper techniques directly on the scar with straight suction and a larger cup, and look for areas that needed released. The anterior, posterior, lateral and medial knee attachments were worked with deep, slow pumping movements while the entire leg was treated with the largest cups possible and observed to develop protocols for subsequent treatments. The leg was treated with pumping movements first and then gliding and other techniques were introduced at a comfort level that was kept pleasant for the client.
Vacuum therapies can be used to work on so many conditions and prepare the client for a speedy and full recovery. Consider the approach for vascular issues, assess the client for any lymphatic and vascular restrictions and use decompression to open those up, see if there is dark congestion that can be cleared from spider veins, and finally use techniques designed to strengthen the vascular walls and stimulate lymphatic flow.
Mastectomy issues are usually best addressed post-surgically, with the focus on softening scar tissue and establishing lymphatic drainage. As with any oncology work, please have training and a thorough understanding of this condition, being especially careful with vacuum therapy for clients who have had recent radiation or are currently under chemotherapy treatment. Vacuum therapies have a very different effect on the body and can release radiation and chemotherapy from the tissues.
Scoliosis, joint replacements and carpal tunnel syndrome are also a real favorite at our clinic and the physician referrals keep rolling in due to the great results that their patients experience from this work combined with expert surgery. Each of these conditions will require research to understand the best way to treat safely and effectively, combined with a sound education in the use of vacuum therapy techniques and assessment, to produce significant results.
Vacuum therapies have begun to link the medical and massage community in a new way where we can work directly with physicians to greatly assist their patients with pre- and post-surgical issues. The constant stream of new cases makes each day an adventure, and the results from these techniques make clients and their physicians extremely happy. Much of the stress is removed when the clients know that they are well prepared and that they have a gentle and effective program in place for recovery and pain management.
For the practitioner, producing excellent results requires thorough training in and experience with vacuum therapies techniques and this powerful tool can also utilize the foundation of knowledge you currently possess. Developing critical thinking based on specific evaluation and tracking criteria, along with practical experience, can lead to such high levels of personal satisfaction and further evolution as a therapist. Service fees can be raised to be commensurate with the results you produce and successes build your reputation as a premier and specialized service provider.
Anita Shannon is a Licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Cosmetologist since the 1980's, specializing in skin care, body treatments, clinical aromatherapy and various modalities of massage therapy. She is a national educator since 1990, and the Director of Advanced Continuing Education (ACE), an NCBTMB CE provider established in 2001.
Click here for previous articles by Rita Woods, LMT.
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