Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category
- of, or relating to, the viscera
- relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect
synonyms: instinctive, instinctual, gut, deep-down, deep-seated, deep-rooted, inward
I found this definition online and it perfectly encapsulates the nature of the course I went on this weekend. The course was called Visceral Manipulation I and both of the definition options above speak clearly to the nature of the work we did this weekend.
The course reviewed the anatomy and physiology of the internal organs – and reminded me that the lungs, heart and brain – with all their accessory bit are a part of that viscera. Our focus though was on the gut organs this time. The other definition is very appropriate to as the work requires that you use your knowledge of the structure of the body and then release it to simply feel the body. I knew going in that for myself the need to be patient and quiet my mind in favour of listening to my body would be my greatest challenge.
I am very aware, with a kind of chagrined pride, that I tend to over-think things at times. I often have said that I am more comfortable in my mind than in my body – but I have also said that my education and practice as a massage therapist has balance that to some degree. This weekend was, for me, another step toward embracing that balance. I do not think that I will ever be someone who first speaks to how they FEEL, I suspect I will always first go to the place of THINKING, but I do believe my life is richer for the fact that I strive to improve the balance between the two.
What is all this work for anyway? What will it help and might you be one of the people that experiences this work when next you are on my table. There are many indications for this work, some are emotional or life related (stress, depression, anxiety), many more physical – including digestive issues, disease process or history in the body – especially those where organs have been damaged or altered – right through to pain patterns in the body, especially those that are persistent and respond to, but do not resolve, with direct massage. Quite a few of you might just be finding yourself experiencing something a bit different in the near future. If you are interested in this work specifically feel free to ask more when you are in next time or to drop me an email or call.
For myself, I had an interesting time on the receiving end of all of this work and will be bringing some of treatments into my own self-care regime. I am interested to see the way this subtle and progressive work unfolds within me over the next weeks.
I checked out a link on twitter today and loved the article so much I just had to write a bit about it
Written by an animal loving leukemia patient the article shares her experience of getting ‘prescribed’ a puppy during her recovery. She focuses on the many benefits she has experienced in her life and I think some of her points are ones that anyone who knows a cancer patient should think about.
The puppy has provided a positive attention draw, she is no longer identified as the ‘bald-lady with cancer’, she is now ‘the (bald) lady with the sweet puppy’ to the general public and that is freeing, she is more than her diagnosis or disease, she is not just a receiver of care, but a giver of care.
In her more intimate relationship with her boyfriend this has provided the both of them a focus for their attentions that doesn’t have to do with treatment or symptom management.
Taking the puppy walking and to obedience classes also get her out into the wider world regularly, providing both stimulation (mental and social) and exercise (an important part of regaining her “normal” life).
I particularly loved the idea of the comfort and cheer listening to the puupy’s heartbeat and feeling his warmth bring to her. I was reminded of new Mom’s being encouraged to hold their children close to their bodies to soothe them with their warmth, scent and the sound of their hearts. Research has demonstrated that this snuggling lowers babies heart rates, reduces their stress levels and that they fuss less often – perhaps she is enjoying similar benefits.
If you know people going through cancer treatment – especially long and/or high-risk treatments – remember that though you and they need the opportunity to talk about the illness that your relationship goes beyond that and that they may already have had lots of opportunity to talk about their treatment. Be open to talking about their disease and treatment but remember they are not just a patient, their your friend.
Once upon a time, because of the risk of cross-infection with your pet, or your pet bringing in dirt and contaminants the ill and the elderly were not encouraged to have pets. In recent years that has been changing. Cats, and sometimes dogs, can now be found in nursing and retirement facilities as group pets. These animals provide the residents with company and entertainment. HIV/AIDS patients, with their lowered immune function, were encouraged to give up pets they had, not just avoid adding a pet, in earlier days. Now the emotional and social benefits of having a pet to love and care for and to be cared for by have been show to improve immune function and reduce depression in patients.
Modalities Massage Therapy
Dear clients, This Thursday, August 23rd, is the deadline for aromatherapy orders. Check out the webpage on direct orders for the short list of products and pricing. Contact me by phone or email to place your order. As always, orders should be in within a week and I will contact you regarding pick-up. Beginning in September there will be some small changes in my work schedule. I will be teaching infant massage at Mothering Touch again but on Wednesday mornings and I will no longer be working at Achieve Health Monday and Wednesday mornings. In terms of hours here at Modalities there will be only small changes and a continuation of the ‘temporary’ addition of Tuesday mornings. New hours as of September 1/2012 will be:
Monday: 10am to 6pm Tuesdays: 10am to 4:30pm; one 7 pm appointment Wednesdays: 12:30pm to 4:30pm Thursdays: 9am to 4:30pm; one 7 pm appointment Friday: 10am to 6pm
As we move into the fall I hope that we all have the opportunity to enjoy some more warm weather and sunshine. For those of you coming under the influence of school I hope your return to classes goes smoothly.
Sheila Hobbs, RMT
I am not talking about the FDA (Food and Drug Administration – the entity in the US that approves food and drug sales) in this blog, or at least not directly, but the title just called out to me. What I am talking about is how the food you eat and the drink you drink impact the drugs you might take. I got inspired by a couple of tweets I checked out and re-tweeted that I found really interesting.
The question of food and pharmaceuticals, for most, likely brings to mind the little stickers you find on your prescriptions bottles or warnings on the labels of over the counter drugs that mainly circle around whether or not to have with food or alcohol and the safety of heavy machinery operation while using. I recently was put on doxycycline, a fairly potent antibiotic, and for the first time had a warning about dairy food specifically. Why do we receive these warnings? We get instruction of food and drink consumption – both specific types and generally – because of the risk of over or under-dosing. Some drugs have greater impact with food, some less; certain minerals can alter how drugs work for all of these reasons we get little stickers and warnings. This website has very complete information on drug interactions including foods.
How exactly do food and drink influence how drugs are absorbed and broken down in the body? There are a few answers to that question but one of the main ones is – enzymes. Enzymes are complex protein molecules that bring about cellular reactions within the body. Enzymes are how we digest food and are used to speed up, slow down, allow or disallow various chemical reactions to occur. Enzymes are produced by living cells and found in our bodies and in the things we eat and drink. Some enzymes also are able to block each other from acting – they shut down other enzymes. How drugs are processed by the body – especially how long they take to be broken down and absorbed impact how effective they are and how often and how much we need to take.
Alteration in drug processing in the body has profound ripple effects in terms of side-effects, efficacy and costs. The more of a drug you take the more likely you are to have side effects so if the dose can be lowered you have fewer side effects. The reason we often have to tolerate side effects is to ensure we receive enough of a drug to actually have it do the job it is supposed to do. The longer a drug stays at an effective level in our body the more of an impact it can have on our system, slowing down the bodies natural breakdown of a drug into its components can allow a drug to do more. Cost obviously ends up going down if we use less of a drug making lower doses desirable both medically and fiscally, especially in an era of rising medical budgets.
The particular article I read was speaking of grapefruit juice and the cancer drug, sirolimus. When ingested with grapefruit juice a one-third dose of sirolimus had the same effect. This represents a huge cost savings and a potential reduction in side effects as the lower does was accompanied by fewer side effect. Here is the interesting bit. Some dosing is lowered and ordered with a particular accompaniment; in other case, like sirolimus at this time, you take more and are told to avoid the food/beverage that increases the effectiveness of the drug to avoid overdose. I personally hope that current research will lead to increases the incidence of the former and reduces the latter.
The other interesting point that came up in the article is that not only will what you do or don’t take with drug impact their breakdown and bioavailability to your cells but it can also alter how your cells welcome the drug. Recent studies have shown that pre-treatment fasting (of 2-3 days) by chemotherapy recipients increases the impact of the treatment on cancer cell, but even more delightfully, it reduces the impact of the same treatments on the healthy cells. Basically, in healthy cell fasting creates decreased activity, basically the seek to reduce their consumption of fuel, in contrast cancer cells, which are already gluttons become even more ravenous when exposed to fasting causing them to absorb greater quantities of the chemotherapy drugs.
A 2-3 day fast is not a small thing but I suspect this news would be less daunting to the many cancer patients who have appetite loss as part of the symptoms or drug side effects. The reward of less nausea, headaches, malaise, nerve damage and hair loss – just to name a few – would be a nice reward for a bit of fasting too. Further, for those cancer patients and their families who face daily struggles to get enough food into themselves or their loved ones a brief respite would not be bad and all the parties could then focus their food efforts on their inter-treatment time. The volunteers with the trolleys of cookies and juice that wheel through the chemo room though would become a thing of the past.
What I find most interesting about all of these pieces of data is that they can be implemented with minimal hassle, little to no harm and many benefits. There is no costly drug research, no need for gene therapy the research I am talking about is from human and animal trials and new human trials are moving forward in several places already. This is exciting as a new drug or therapy can take years and years to even reach human trial stage. Plus, the cost of all of these options are negligible or well offset by saving. Not very often is that the case with modern medical innovation.
The tweets I’m talking about:
***Beware – this post is a total fascia geekfest, if you are not prepared to deal with that, read a different post! Also, any factual errors are my faulty memory, not faulty presentations.***
Today I had the absolute pleasure of beginning my time at the 3rd gathering on scientists and clinicians who have an abiding interest in fascia in all its varied and wonderous forms. I began the day with a flight to Vancouver and a slightly late arrival – but I got before the real geek-out stuff began, so it is all good.
After some general introductory speeches we dove right into the first keynote speaker. A anatomist from Temple University, Mary Barbe spoke to us about her research in duplicating repetitive stress injuries (RSI’s) in rats and the tissue changes that occurred in response to various types (high, low and negligable intensities) of work. How could this possibly relate to massage therapy you ask? Well the road hasn’t fully been built, but knowing that rest doesn’t always fix the problem and that inflammatory processes have likely come and gone prior to anyone presenting at my office (they peak between week 4 and 8 of performing the task) after months or years of a repetitive task, provides me with insight into what interventions and homecare might best benefit my clients. simply knowing that there are significant connective tissue changes that occur within weeks of undertaking an repetitive task shouts loud and clear about the importance of the fascial work that I am a huge advocate for.
After a quick break we moved our second speaker, Michael Kjaer, whose topic was the impact of exercise on tendon tissues. We discovered that exercise (and not a lot, 1x creates 72 hours of increased collagen production which is what builds your tendons) increases the density of tendons. Interestingly, there seems to be little issue with maladaptive changes in the tissue to repetitive exercise as there is to repetitive work activity (there’s a thinker). More surprisingly, it turns out men exhibit greater tendon density increase than women, and that within the female population women taking oral contraceptive exhibit even lower levels of tendon response than the general population. Further interest in gender issues came when it was revealed that in post-menopausal women being on hormone replacement heightened tendon response. Hmmm, that estrogen, funny stuff.
After a break for lunch we broke into three groups for presentations on specific areas of fascial research. I chose the “biomechanics” room and got to learn about different means of trying to empirically measure different types of mechanical interventions. From pressure sensitive pads on fingers to rather medieval looking table devices this part of the afternoon was an interesting insight into the various ways we can try to research the interventions we apply with our hands and their outcomes. I also gained an interesting insight into the world of research. Failure, or rather, not proving your hypothesis fully or at all. Even in those cases it was interesting to see how that research could be used to launch into better studies.
Our next keynote speaker, Albert Banes, was a doozy. I am pretty sure I learned so interesting things, but they went by so fast I think I might be lucky to catch up with them sometime next week – after reading the paper a few times! He seemed to be summarizing quite an extensive array of studies in the field of fascia research and had some very interesting things to say – and showed us pictures of some lab grow tendons, but it was a lot in just a little time
The final event of the afternoon, academically, was a panel of four clinicians presenting of “scars and adhesions”. One of the exciting bits of us BC RMT’s was having one of our own on the panel – Susan Chapelle of Squamish, BC who talked about the benefits of integretive treatment and the need for increased research that included a manual therapy aspect. She was preceeded by a surgeon, Dr. Michael Diamond, who discussed post-surgical adhesions (things sticking together that shouldn’t after surgery) which I was surprised to find has a 65-100% incidence rate in abdominal surgeries (though they are not limited to those surgeries). We were then treated to a new movie by Jean Claude Guimberteau, a French physician, who has now produced several in vivo movies of fascia using endoscopic techniques (his first being “Strolling Under the Skin”, presented at the first fascial congress). We also had a naturopathic doctor, Hal Brown, present some of his case studies of the impact of the injection of aenasthetic under the skin into scars to improve function in both near and far tissues.
The day finished with a welcome reception that was very well attended that allowed us all to review and discuss our reactions and thoughts regarding the days flood of knowledge. I can hardly wait for day two….
As a health and wellness professional I think of myself as well informed and a good clinician. I encourage people to be thoughtful with their wellness and think about all aspects of a situation when making decisions. I even offer my services as a wellness consultant to help other with this process. This morning I had a moment when I was reminded that no one does it right all the time – especially when dealing with family.
One of my stepsons has eczema. Until this fall he had been symptom-free for about two years. Then he had a flare up Since that time we have been struggling to bring the symptoms back under control. They have abated at times and are in a moderate level of irritation right now. We have tired some corticosteroid cream with not great results – for either the itching or the state of the eczema itself. He is oatmeal bathing frequently which offers temporary relief. We have got him off of dairy – mostly – as that helped in the past. I modified some of my bare bottom bum cream with different essential oils, which has helped as much as anything. I got him to add an Omega 3/6 supplement as that helped with some itching I had during pregnancy. Overall, some symptom management has been our best outcome.
How does that moment I described fit into all of this? I was putting cream on my own legs and thinking how dry they are with the colder weather, which led to thoughts of other skin drying activities, which led to thoughts of my stepson being in and out of hot baths multiple times a week. Suddenly I wanted to kick myself. In all the other suggestions we have tried, in all the recommendations, I couldn’t remember ever saying “moisturize after your bath”.
Such a simple concept, one anyone with dry skin will tell you is a necessity, and it never crossed our minds. We shall see now whether it is the missing piece. Will some intensive moisturizing help? Post bath and – if I can convince him – overnight will be the next phase of treatment.
Now eczema isn’t deadly, no permanent harm is likely to come of this, but as my stepson would attest, it is a pain, very distracting and not helpful to life as a whole, but why make this a blog? I keen on reminding anyone I am imperfect, but I did want a reminder of what happens when I don’t slow down and think things through. The other reasons are: to help others remember that lesson too, and to remind them too that when dealing with family, it is easy to forget some of the most basic things. Dealing with family we can often be both more concerned and less careful than normal. Not careless for their well being, but sometimes, in the rush of daily life, if you never sit down and give proper, systemic thought you can miss the obvious. Next time you or one of your family members comes up against a wellness issue, give it the thoughtfulness it deserves. And if the issue is a larger one be sure to give it its due and if you need too, get some support.
The last step in the initial intake for participation in the BC Generations is to do the on site visit. The visit was very quick, I don’t think I was even there 20 minutes. I arrived a few minutes late (sigh) but was quickly signed in and there was the standard double checking to ensure I was who they thought I was by a young man at the front desk who had a package with my name and lots of coded stickers to put on my forms. He gave me my blood and urine lab form and directed me to give my samples before the end of November. He then led me to an adjacent room divided into separate cubicles where a research nurse greeted me.
The nurse asked me a series of screening questions (pregnant – no; hand arthritis – no; pacemaker – no, etc to ensure they could do all the tests and get the right outcomes. She then got to the tests.
First, my blood pressure and heart rate, twice, of course. All good in the blood pressure department. Next was a revisit of the waist and hip measures (only once) where I discovered that I had been too precise in following their waist measurement instructions – I would have like it they had used her explanation – measure at the belly button! Then height, both standing and sitting (this will let them determine spinal shortening).
Next – all the cool toys! First a grip device – where I discovered that my left hand is puny and my right is super strong – enough to offset the left’s puniness in the combined total. I guess I can now tell clients I have one strong hand when they comment on how strong my hand are! After that, my most dreaded machine – BMI calculator. I am not going to share the exact results of my weight, BMI and percent of fat. I will say that I definitely have some losing to do! And some really detailed motivational number. I now know that my body fat is fairly evenly distributed (though my arms are the fattest – who knew!) and that my right leg and left arm are fatter and stronger than their opposites. Finally I stuck my foot in this machine that assessed the bone density of my heel (calcaneus) bone. Here again was some good news – very dense bones. In part this has to do with weighing so much (the bones get denser to support your mass), and with being on my feet a fair amount for work (lots of weight-bearing).
The sum up is that I am as fat as I thought, but I am not doing too bad in terms of strength, blood pressure and bone density. Basically I am healthy enough that I can lose the weight to fix the other measures with relative ease. That is my own personal project though – not the BC Generation’s responsibility.
There you are, that is the total of my experience to date. In future they may phone to ask me to participate in specific studies (which I can decline if I choose) or to come back in for a repeat of the on site visit I had (or perhaps some similar type of visit). They now have my permission to check in on any testing results I get within the medical system. Not to big an impact on my life given how much could come of it – an hour or so of my time now to provide information for studies over the next 25 years.
I love TED Talks. A few months ago now my husband introduced me to TED and I have become a huge fan. I follow TED on facebook so that every day I can see what is up in that world. Their talks range in subject matter from recycled fashion to architecture to engineered silk to transplants and pleuri-potent cells. I never know what I might find on TED or how it may thrill me.
Today, I got an extra big thrill from “e-patient Dave” (aka Dave deBronkart). You wouldn’t think Dave is a cancer patient, would you? He is a man of about 60 who was diagnosed 4 years ago with a cancer that gave him 6 months to live. Through networking with other patients online he managed to find a treatment that has allowed him to live on in good health for four years so far. A treatment his doctor did not know about.
The reason I found Dave so thrilling is that he is advocating for the type of proactive patient behaviour that I want to support and encourage. Dave emboldens patients to go out and find for themselves the information they need. To be “e-patients” that is: equipped, engaged, empowered and enabled (as coined by Dr. Tom Ferguson). To make themselves heard as the vaulable resources they are in their own care.
The services I offer as a wellness consultant are aimed at supporting people in becoming e-patients. I can give you the tools and support to jump start you in this role. I can also offer ongoing support, advocacy and time to your quest to become the star in your health care.
We need doctors and health care professionals to provide us with services and exercises the skills they work very hard to master and maintain…and they need us. Doctors need us not as mute recipients of their skills but as vital contributors to our care. We need to offer our expertise about ourselves. We need to gather resources and information that best serve us and our needs so that our health professionals can better serve those needs.
As using essential oil directly on the body at full strength is almost never a good idea, the next thing we should look at is carrier oils. These include products like almond oil, jojoba oil, borage oil, pretty much any oils you can think of and probably many you have never heard of (baobab anyone?). I find these oils have shorter life expectancy’s and, unlike essential oils, actually go rancid. I have actually had carrier product go off, even when kept under the best conditions.
Carrier oils, unlike essential oils, are fatty oils with big molecules that are much less stable and oxidize very quickly. Most carriers have a life expectancy of about 9-15 months. The least stable (grapeseed) only last 6-9 months. Some, very stable bases can last a couple of years. Jojoba and coconut are such long lived carriers – but then jojoba is a wax and coconut is a saturated oil that is solid at room temperature so they are hardly typical.
Care of Carrier Oils:
- keep in appropriately sized containers (if you use half your litre bottle, move the oil into a 500 ml bottle)
- keep tightly capped
Carrier oils are fine to be in plastic as they do not eat through it the way that essential oils do but otherwise the basic rules are similar to those for caring for essential oils.
What to do with products once they are mixed? Go by the expiration of the least stable ingredient. If you have used Jojoba or Rice Bran as a base, which both have year long life spans and you have used all citrus oils in the blend then the 6-9 month expectancy is the one to use. Keep in mind that we often keep the products we are using daily in less than ideal conditions (i.e. the bathroom, which fluctuates wildly in temperature and may be very bright) or containers, plus we open them a lot, letting in lots of nasty oxygen, all of these factors will shorten the effective life of these products, meaning you may want to go with the short end of the range, or maybe even shorter.