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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Massage Combats PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops in response to a traumatic event. The event often includes physical and/or psychological harm to an individual or a loved one. Triggers of PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or man-made disasters, accidents, or military combat. Post-traumatic stress is the inability to dissociate the trauma from the past and live without fear of the future. Evidence demonstrates that massage therapy eases suffering caused by this disorder and assists in the recovery process.
Trauma and PTSD
After the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, the perspective of the world changed forever. Since, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Chilean and Kasuri earthquakes, hurricane Katrina, countless wars and famine, PTSD has risen to unprecedented levels. According to the National Center for PTSD, 7.7 million in the United States have suffered from PTSD.
Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a major RAND study.1 Most of the 1.64 million will return home from war without problems and readjust successfully. However, 18.5 percent of all returning service members meet criteria for either PTSD or depression.1
Symptoms include: flashbacks and/or nightmares, avoidance/numbing, a feeling of estrangement from others, hyperarousal/hypervigilance, and a feeling of constantly being in danger. Other common symptoms include: sleep disturbance, physical pain, irritability, depression, suicidal thoughts, and no longer feeling at home in one's body.2
However common the disorder, stigma may hinder individuals from receiving treatment. In 2008, it was reported that only half of military service members who have returned from Iraq with PTSD or major depression have sought treatment.1 Stigma includes factors such as being concerned that one will be viewed or treated differently by peers or military leaders if they are receiving mental health treatment. Other barriers to receiving care include not being able to get time off work, lack of information about where to find help and not having adequate transportation to get to the location where care is available. Stigma and barriers seem to affect both genders, especially males, who are not as likely to pursue professional help as females.3
Sgt. Travis Runnels, Combat Veteran of the 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army, (himself a sufferer of PTSD) said, “Team strength is emphasized within the units and nobody wants to feel like the loose link. Sometimes a cry for help is confused with being weak, instead of taken for the serious disorder it is. Understand that PTSD needs proper medical treatment and sometimes intervention.” Runnels found that massage and alternative medicine were a real compliment to his conventional treatment. However, for a long time he had a hard time with doctors touching him, let alone someone that he was not comfortable with. Ultimately, at the right time with the correct counseling resources, he was able to control his reactions and unwind enough to the point where he was able to receive massage. “Massage helped me to learn to relax, let my guard down, and begin to feel safe and comfortable within my body and mind,” said Runnels.
Traditional treatment includes pharmacology and psychotherapies, cognitive behavioral programs, exposure therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Cognitive behavioral treatments include: psychoeducation, anxiety management, exposure and cognitive restructuring. According to the National Center of PTSD,4 specific cognitive behavioral therapies including prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy and EMDR are best used as initial treatments of PTSD. Group and family therapies along with alternative methods continue to be studied.4
Treatment is provided by TRICARE Prime, a health care plan for active duty military personnel, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Since 1998, the DoD has required soldiers to complete a pre-and post-deployment health assessment, and more recently has mandated a post-deployment health reassessment to be completed six months after the service member returns home.5
Based on the combined screening, clinicians identified 20.3 percent of active duty and 42.4 percent of reserve soldiers as requiring mental health treatment, according to a 2007 study.6 Mental health treatment by the Veterans Administration is helping those with PTSD; 49-59 percent of those who had PTSD symptoms identified after the first assessment, report improvements six months later.6 However, those who didn't initiate treatment at that time, tend to get worse. Several community health programs are also becoming more readily available, one being a DE-STRESS program (Delivery of Self-Training and Education for Stressful Situations), that utilizes an interactive Web site to complete an eight-week program designed to help manage and treat PTSD.5
A revolutionary change in the treatment of PTSD has begun with a holistic approach at the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center in Texas.7 The program, created by clinical psychologist John Fortunato, was launched in the summer of 2007 after a long struggle for funding. His six- to nine-month program includes a rigorous 35-hour treatment week that combines group and individual therapies that include alternative therapies such as: massage, reiki, qigong, tai qi, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic, exercise, games, hot-stone therapy treatments and "rehearsal therapy", which includes telling your most painful memories over and over until they lose their power.
Fortunato uses acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety, panic and tension-induced pain. Reiki treatments are used to assist in treating hyperarousal symptoms. According to Fortunato, "In order to stay alive, their bodies have been hyperaroused for so long, that they come back and cannot turn it off. Their body doesn't even remember how to relax again, and because of that they don't sleep and are irritable. ... The massage has helped soldiers sleep."
And the holistic healing approach for soldiers is paying off: 12 of the 37 soldiers have returned to their units and only two have ended up having to take medical discharges from the army.
According to a 2005 study,8 positive changes have been shown in biochemistry following massage therapy including reduced cortisol and increased serotonin and dopamine. By decreasing the clients' cortisol levels with bodywork, a client can reduce the constant feelings of hyperarousal and danger. By increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain, an ease of suffering and anxiety is felt.8
A study on sexual abuse victims suffering from PTSD conducted by Cynthia Price, concluded victims of PTSD showed a significant decrease in physiological and physical symptoms, after massage and body-oriented therapy (in addition to psychotherapy).9
Alternative medicine, massage and bodywork, along with traditional methods, can help victims of PTSD in the recovery process. With PTSD numbers on the rise, and more troops coming home every day, there are plenty of sufferers in need. In the hands of a well-intentioned therapist, massage for clients with PTSD acknowledges and helps to restore the most basic human needs of safety, trust, control, self-worth and intimacy. When these needs are satisfied in the context of a healthy therapeutic relationship, an individual may not only succeed but re-learn or discover for the first time how to thrive.2
For a comprehensive list of PTSD resources go to: http://ptsdcombat.blogspot.com/2007/01/need-transition-help-free-resources.html.