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Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
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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