The Opioid Crisis Hits Home: An Acupuncturist's Inside Perspective of Addiction Treatment
My husband and I have four grown children, but we still sleep with a phone next to our night stand just in case they need us. But nothing could have prepared us for a 1 a.m.
Power of the Talk: A Simple Way to Attract New Patients
One of the most effective ways to bring patients in predictably, especially if you enjoy teaching, is by doing talks. Talks can also bring in another stream of income beyond just seeing more patients one on one.
Who's the "Father of Corrective Traction" in Chiropractic?
History teaches that a Presbyterian minister, Samuel Weed, coined the name for the profession of chiropractic from the Greek cheir for "hand" and praktos for "done."
How to Reduce Metabolic Endotoxemia
Approximately 50 percent of the Western population suffers from a condition known as metabolic endotoxemia (ME). The condition is characterized by increased serum endotoxin concentration during the first five hours of the post-prandial period.
The Medicine of Peace in a Land of Conflict
We often read about violence, despair, and political stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic. And yet there are Israelis and Palestinians working together to transform conflict into cooperation.
Weight Watchers Goes Wellness
Goodbye Weight Watchers, hello "WW." The company has changed its name to reflect its new WW brand not only on its website, but also on every aspect of its public expression, including every studio.
ACA, ICA at Odds Over H.R. 7157
While the American Chiropractic Association recently penned an open letter – signed by not only the ACA, but also the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Clinical Compass and a number of state associations.
Winter Joint Health: Looking at Seasonal Influences
One of the most common clinical issues I see during the winter season is joint / muscle pain. These issues often appear due to the activities of winter sports or may appear due to seasonal influences on old chronic injuries.
An East & West Perspective on Sleep
You, your patients, and people all over the world are sleeping less. In 1979 a team led by American psychiatrist Daniel Kripke did a large-scale study of over a million people, which indicated that most people slept between 7-8 hours.
Dehydration ... A Commonly Overlooked Etiology
Water covers 71 percent of the earth's surface. It's found in every living organism and is considered the "universal solvent," yet we take it for granted as the foundation for optimal health.
Historic Farm Bill Provisions Legalize Hemp ... and CBD?
Until recently, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 drug per the federal Controlled Substances Act, putting it in the same class as marijuana (and heroin, by the way).
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and the Science of EMFs
Movement of planet Earth's molten iron core generates a weak static geomagnetic field that varies in strength over millennia but currently ranges from 0.25 to 0.65 gauss. This is the native field in which all life has evolved.
3 Tips to Get New Patients After a Talk
One of the most effective ways to bring in new patients predictably, especially when an acupuncturist enjoys teaching, is by doing talks. It can also bring in another stream of income, beyond just seeing more patients one-on-one.
Differentiating Qi Under the Needle (Part 2)
While classic sages have said a lot on this topic, I will share my own experience with the sensations under the needle with you. You, in turn, will also need to gain your own understanding of them through daily clinical observation, thinking, and practice.
Neuroscience 101: Understanding Opioid Addiction and How Chiropractic Can Help
Opioids now account for nearly two-thirds of all overdose-related deaths in the U.S. This insidious bane is no respecter of gender, age, race or ethnicity, with nearly all categories experiencing increases.
Case Study: Forefoot Pain
Patient presents with a history of forefoot pain. Discomfort has become worse in the past six months. He has difficulty completing his four-hour shifts as a part-time hairdresser.
Pain in the Butt (Pt. 1)
Many of my patients (and probably many of yours) come in with pain and/or tenderness in the buttock region. First, I assess where the painful and/or tender spots are located and what these points represent.
Flying Into the Year of the Pig: Making Way for the Impossible
The first of the new year has passed, and some of our New Year's resolutions may have already come and gone. Fortunately, we will celebrate the Chinese New Year this month, and will welcome in the Year of the Pig.
Quickie Seminar Adjustments Have No Place in Chiropractic
Recently, I observed chiropractors treating each other in the vendor area at the annual meeting of a chiropractic association. "Quickie" chiropractic adjustments and other hands-on procedures were administered without appropriate history taking, physical examination, diagnosis or informed consent.
The Role of TCM When Treating Mental Illnesses
Mental illness is common in the U.S., nearly 20 percent of adults live with a mental illness which vary in degree of severity—ranging from mild to moderate, to severe. It is not exaggerated to say that mental illness is an epidemic.
Simple Screening Tests for Stroke and Other Brain Lesions
The drift test, arm rolling and finger rolling are three useful assessments in the identification of upper motor neuron dysfunction.
Top Social Media Do's & Don'ts for Chiropractors
For years, health care practitioners have avoided embarking on the social media highway, primarily due to patient HIPAA privacy issues and the time needed to give the process due diligence.
Outcomes for Any Occasion
Outcome assessment tools (OATs) are a necessary part of documentation and patient care. They are used to show patient progress and help practitioners show changes as a result of their treatment interventions.
Quick Sacroiliac Assessment: Treating Different Types of Pain
The lower back is a generator for a number of types of pain. The lower back involves several different articulations – the lumbar spine with vertebral bodies, discs, and facets – the sacroiliac joints – and the lumbosacral junction.
Know Your Clinical Flags: 5 Different Colors to Consider
In health care, the term red flag is used to describe signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of serious health conditions. These conditions generally carry an increased likelihood for serious complications, disability or even death.
November, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 11
Companionship in Cancer Care
By Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
An oncology nurse once told me that in order to get up each morning and go to work at the bone marrow transplant unit at her hospital, a certain amount of inner preparation was needed. She needed to be able to look her patients in the eye and say, "I will walk with you" through the treatment process.
Her words have stayed with me and referred me back to that inner preparation time and time again.It's no wonder so many nurses are drawn to massage therapy, as there seem to be several parallels in massage therapy and nursing. Touch is one of them. Alleviating suffering is another. And companionship is a third.
In my own work with people with cancer, I've encountered a range of individual experiences and subpopulations: cancer survivors, people in treatment, people at end of life, patients in the middle of the diagnostic process and caregivers. Within each subpopulation of my practice, individual experiences also differ widely. I've worked with people in many emotional states - those who are fearful, driven, hopeful, outraged, accepting, cheerful, terrified, resigned, perplexed, grieving, despairing and at peace. No matter what the journey looks like, all can use companionship.
To be that companion, I too have to ask myself each morning whether I am prepared to truly walk with my clients. Walking with a client means listening deeply, opening my heart, accompanying them without judgment, accepting that wherever they are is wherever they need to be. It means breathing through my own fears and letting my care come through my hands without hesitation. It means touching my client with full-hand contact: palms, fingers and fingertips. It means looking for ways to my client's way, without trying to fix it, without needing either my client or my client's path to be different. To truly walk with my client, I need to prepare myself. I wrote recently for Massage Today about "Meeting the Emotional Challenges of Oncology Massage" in the June 2007 issue and offered some self-care measures to help prepare for each day. For the most part, I follow them regularly.
End of Life
Another step in my own preparation is to read. Recently, I came across an interesting small study from Yale University on massage therapy and meditation at end of life.1 The study sample was made up of people with HIV, not people with cancer. But the study was instructive for me, not just for end-of-life care, but for middle-of-life care, life-crisis care and beginning-of-life care - any kind of care. In fact, whenever I read an end-of-life study, I try to replace "end of life" with "life," "birth," "health," "illness" and so on, replacing one point in the life cycle with another to see if the principles still apply. They often do.
These researchers, led by a physician's assistant and physician, pointed out what many end-of-life caregivers have noted: Little attention is given to the quality of life, especially spiritual quality of life, at this important transition point. They set out to study it, using massage, meditation and both in tandem.
The result was powerful. I have read many massage studies but none have moved me to tears as this one did. The researchers wrote plainly and clearly about their study population and its unmet needs. Years of listening carefully to their patients were evident in their words and in their study plan. They described a sample of 58 patients with late-stage AIDS, all in residential hospice care. They examined overall quality-of-life (QOL) measurements and QOL subscores in well-being, physical function and others. They were particularly interested in their subjects' experience of spiritual, or transcendent, quality of life.
The researchers randomized patients to one of four groups. For comparison, a control group received only "usual care;" care usually provided to people in late-stage disease. The other three groups also received usual care, plus one or more interventions. One group received daily massage, another instruction in meditation. The fourth group received both massage and meditation.
Swedish massage was provided in 30-minute sessions, five days per week, for the four-week study period. The meditation instructor offered a cassette, a tape player, and instruction to do the exercise at least once daily, and she made herself available for questions and assistance throughout the study period. "Metta," loving-kindness meditations guided the listener to feelings of love for the self and others and feelings of well-being. Forgiveness meditation guided the listener to forgiveness of self and others. Looking over this study, I had my first experience of reading statements such as "Just as I wish to be free from danger, may you be free from danger. Just as I wish to be well, may you be well. Just as I wish to be peaceful, may you be peaceful," in a medical journal. It was a sweet moment, if initially disconcerting.
The investigators found interesting results. Alone, massage or meditation affected QOL slightly, but results were not significantly different than the control group. However, when massage and meditation were combined, the QOL outcomes were statistically significant. Moreover, the combined effect of massage and meditation was greater than the sum of its parts. That is, the two interventions combined were more powerful than the additive effects of the two single interventions. In other words, a synergy seemed to be at work. These patients' improved scores persisted even four weeks after the last intervention and may even have persisted at the 68-week mark.
Initially, the researchers had set up the study because of their concern about the experience of AIDS - that it was inherently isolating. Their concern with using meditation was that it can feel isolating as well. By adding in the massage component, they hoped to see whether the companionship of massage made people more receptive to the meditation. From their results, it seemed so. Moreover, they speculated that the meditation could have made people more receptive to the massage. It seemed to me that the "felt sense" of meditation and the "felt sense" massage were potent interactions in the study.
The study is small, and the investigators made no sweeping statements about their results. Instead, they presented it as justification for further study. They suggested future studies be rigorously designed to explore any links between massage and meditation in late-stage disease.
As many studies do, this one offered more questions and speculation than firm answers. However, in it was a hint of the companionship we all need during our most important transitions. Considering all of the hands we need to hold firmly throughout our lives as we start kindergarten, give birth, leave home, get married, say goodbye, hear a cancer diagnosis or make any major change in life, this would seem obvious. Sometimes we forget this, too, leaving one or more of us isolated for a time. This isolation is especially poignant during a health crisis such as cancer or AIDS.
The journeys people take through cancer and AIDS aren't limited to the end of life and the majority of experiences happen smack in the middle of it. While AIDS carries its own particular stigma and isolation, cancer also can be a lonely experience. During any health crisis, Metta meditations on loving kindness and nondenominational prayers of forgiveness may help, as may the skilled touch of massage. Loving kindness comes in many forms and massage might provide one clear, unmistakable, flesh-and-blood sense of it.
May we reach then with firm, certain and open hands.
Click here for more information about Tracy Walton, LMT, MS.
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