Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Energetics of EFT Tapping Points

Tapping creates a vibration which dissipates energy, like waves going out in ripples from a drip. This is a very different technique as compared to the pressing down in Acupressure, or the forceful command of an inserted Acupuncture needle.  The tapping is gentle, encouraging, yet nurturing at the same time. It feels safe and non-threatening, so it doesn’t challenge strong emotions as much as it allows them – directly along with the language that acknowledges them.

This article assumes you have some knowledge of EFT Tapping.  To learn more, I’ve provided some links at the end.
Image courtesy of: http://www.thrivingnow.com/

SI-3 Hou Xi (Karate Chop Point)

Significantly, this is the Master Point of Du Mai. As one of the 8-Extraordinary Meridians, Du Mai energetically relates to carrying all the Events/Facts of our life story.  In addition, as a Fire Element point SI-3 calms the Spirit and can help subdue anxiety. By tapping this point while holding our attention on a precise event tied to strong emotions, we send an energetic message that sets a tone (resonance) to find THIS event and corresponding energy in our system, while at the same time quieting our Spirit.

BL-2 Zan Zhu (Inner Eyebrow)
GB-1 Tong Zi Liao (Outside of Eye)
ST-2  Si Bai (Bottom of Eye)

These 3 points surround the eyes – a strong organ of perception (for those who have eyesight). Think “How do I see this situation?” Our eyes correspond to both seeing our external world, and we also relate them to our “Inner Vision”, which can become clouded by strong emotions.  The meridians involved with these points completely surround our body, from head to feet.  The Bladder Meridian covers our back, the Gall Bladder Meridian covers our sides, and the Stomach Meridian covers our front.  Like 3 Grandfather Trees, this invokes strong protective energy to surround us on all sides.

DU-GV-26 Shui Gu, Ghost Palace (Under Nose)
REN-CV-24 Cheng Jiang, Ghost Market (Chin)

The 2 points that surround the mouth have a dual significance in that they are both Ghost Points that deal with things that ‘haunt’ us, or emotions – thoughts - situations that seem to have control over us, and they also activate the Ren and Du Channels. Remember the Du Channel, which is also activated in the beginning via the Karate Chop Point, is related to all of the events/facts in our life story.  The Ren Channel relates to the meaning and emotions we associate with all of the corresponding events in our story. Because these points surround the mouth, think “How do I speak about this situation – what words do I use?” Our words apply to what we verbally say, the internal words we think but don’t speak, and our on-going back-of-the-mind chatter.

KI-27 Shu Fu (Collar Bone/Sternum)

As part of the Water Element, the Kidney Meridian has associations with Fear. It’s said that everything can be simplified to being based in either Love or Fear.  When we use this point with strong emotions, it calls the Water energy to carry the Fear aspect of the energy involved through the channel. KI-27 is found at the end of the pathway that cleanses energy by carrying it directly over the Heart Center. It must be cleansed before it enters the next channel in the natural flow of Qi, the Protector of the Heart, the energy in charge of Gratitude and Appreciation.

SP-21 Da Bao (Under Armpit)
This is the Master Point that opens the connecting grid of Qi flow throughout the entire body.  If energy is stuck anywhere – including emotional energy blocks – this point will create a surge to get the energy to dislodge and merge back into the overall flow.  Once moving it can be transformed and harmonized into something either more beneficial to our system, or at least neutralized so it’s not causing more lingering pain or suffering.  It is also of significance that this point is on the sides of the Heart Center.

GV-20 Bai Hui (Top of Head)

100 Yang Energies converge at this point, which is also the opening of our Crown Chakra.  This point clears the mind and allows for our Higher Self to influence our way of thinking into more positive and inspiring meanings. When used as the last point in tapping, this point can help us finalize our NEW story that started as emotional upset, and has now morphed into a calm, confident, empowering sense of reality.

To learn more about Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT Tapping, I recommend one of the following websites:


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Massage for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
by Natalie Efird
            Thoracic Outlet Syndrome comprises a collection of disorders that all involve compression of either a nerve, vein and/or artery in the thoracic area between the base of the neck and the axilla (armpit) (Rubin, M., 2016). Symptoms include pain and paresthesias (pins and needles sensation) in neck, shoulders, arms, and/or hands, often accompanied with sensory impairment, weakness, muscle atrophy, cyanosis, and swelling in the affected areas (Rubin, M., 2016).
                                         IMAGE 1
Compression in three different areas of the thoracic outlet is caused by bone or muscle abnormalities (Rubin, M., 2013). Numerous reasons for abnormalities in bones, muscles, and other connective tissues of the thoracic region range from postural distortions due to underdeveloped or overdeveloped muscles, broken bones that healed abnormally, bone spurs, extra clavicular rib, trauma to neck and shoulders, damage to spinal discs, and secondary conditions (e.g. diabetes, congestive heart condition, edema, obesity, pregnancy, etc.) can bring about bone or muscle abnormalities leading to TOS (McMullen, C., 2017).
Although diagnosis and classification of thoracic outlet syndrome lacks standardization, frequently the conditions are identified as three different syndromes:
  1. Anterior Scalene Syndrome or Scalene Anticus Syndrome – TOS in the Anterior and middle scalene 
  2. Pectoralis Minor Syndrome or Hyperabduction Syndrome – TOS beneath the pectoralis minor muscle 
  3. Costoclavicular Syndrome or Edens Syndrome – TOS between the clavicle and the first rib 
Massage Therapy Reference (2013, July 16).
        IMAGE 2     
   
 Benefits of Massage for Thoracic Outlet Syndromes
Relaxation and increased circulation in the thoracic region are the major benefits of treating TOS with massage (Massage Education, 2010-2017). Relaxing the muscles relieves pressure on the nerves and/or blood vessels and with increased circulation tissues are nourished facilitating nerve and muscle regeneration and pain reduction (Massage Education, 2010-2017). A variety massage techniques are used to free impingements caused by abnormalities in muscles and other connective tissues.
Modification of Massage for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
            Upper Body Pain Path Treatment (McMullen, C., 2017):
·         Warm the back
·         Neck massage
·         Shoulder massage – pull from spine out
·         Warm the arm
·         Knead arm
·         Hand massage and squeeze fingers at the tips and at the sides at base of nails
·         Small Intestine (SI) meridian pain path (shoulder blade area)
o   SI points 9 – 15, thumb circle each point 8 times, repeat pattern 3 times
                            
                        IMAGE 3
                     
·         Large Intestine (LI) meridian pain path (forearm and hand)
o   LI points 11 - 9 thumb press each point 8 times while holding LI 4 and rotating arm, repeat pattern 3 times

IMAGE 4
         
·         Traction arm – 3 directions
·         Massage back and neck
·         Close
Chinese Medicine and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Chinese medicine considers pain to be stagnation of Qi or blood, or both. Individual diagnosis is necessary as each person’s underlying causal factors are likely different. Sometimes stagnation responsible for pain is due to Cold or Damp, which can obstruct the flow of Qi and blood (Joswick, D., 2017). Paresthesias (pins and needles sensation) or tingling is considered Wind in Chinese medicine and the Chinese Liver system is in charge of nerves (McMullen, C., 2017). Another factor to consider when diagnosing an individual is whether the condition is caused by an Excess (Yang) or a Deficiency (Yin); with Excess (Yang), muscle tension, over use, and inflammation are often present and with Deficiency (Yin), lack of tension, inactivity, not enough blood/undernourishment is found (McMullen, C., 2017). In addition to massage, cupping can be used for Excesses, and for Deficiencies moxa has a good effect (McMullen, C., 2017). The ultimate treatment goal of Chinese medicine concerning TOS is to invigorate Qi and Blood circulation, unblock the channels and ease the pain (Gu. S., 2007).



References
Image 1. Retrieved on 6/10/2017 from: http://www.coen1.org/thoracic-outlet-syndrome.jpg

Image 2. Retrieve on 6/10/2017 from: http://www.physiownc.com/wp-
content/uploads/2012/05/thoracic-outlet-syndrome.jpg

Image 3. Retrieved on 6/10/2017 from: http://www.natural-health-zone.com/images/SI-9-15.png

Image 4. Retrieve on 6//12/2017 from: http://bjdonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/E3-
posterior-view.png

Gu, Sherman (2007). Thoracic outlet syndrome treated with acupuncture, manual techniques
and  self-stretching exercises:  A case report. Australian Journal of Acupuncture and
Chinese Medicine, Vol. 2(1). Retrieved from: http://www.ajacm.com.au

Joswick, D. (2017). Treating peripheral neuropathy with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Acufinder: Acupuncture referral service: Learning & resource center articles. Retrieved from: https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Treating+Peripheral +Neuropathy+with+Acupuncture+and+Chinese+Medicine

Massage Education. (2010-2017). Thoracic outlet syndrome and how massage can help!
Retrieved from: http://www.massage-education.com/thoracic-outlet-syndrome.html

Massage Therapy Reference. (2013, July 16). Thoracic outlet syndrome massage (TOS
Massage). Retrieved from: http://www.massagetherapyreference.com/thoracic-outlet-syndrome-massage/

McMullen, C. (2017, May 17). Thoracic outlet syndrome and upper body pain path treatment.
Address at the Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy, Anchorage, AK.

Rubin, M. (2016, September). Thoracic outlet compression syndromes (TOS). Merck Manual.
Retrieved from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/peripheral-nervous-system-and-motor-unit-disorders/thoracic-outlet-compression-syndromes-tos



Monday, September 11, 2017

What To Do With Rosehips


Q: I harvested some rosehips off my rosebushes but I’m not sure what to do with them. Can you give me an idea?

A: Yes! Rosehips are little Vitamin C powerhouses that have nice benefit to our immune system, are great for our skin, and have an energetic affinity to deep internal wisdom nourishing our Heartmind (via Jing in Water connecting to the Fire Element).

FIRST: Rinse them in clean water, then dry them in a flat layer either in a food dehydrator,  on paper towels in the sun, or in the oven set to 200 degrees until they look leathery.
Once dried, you can either store them whole in a glass jar or Ziploc bag, or you can chop them in a food processor first then store in a glass jar.

ROSEHIP SEED TEA FOR FALL:
In 2 cups of water, add 1 Tbsp Rosehip Seeds, 1 Tbsp Goji Berries, and 1 Cinnamon Stick.  Simmer 10-20 minutes covered, strain.  Garnish with a thin slice of Orange for a beautiful hot cup of tea. Sweeten with a little honey if desired.

ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND TO ENJOY WITH YOUR TEA:
To compliment the delicious tea, make yourself an essential oil blend to diffuse or dilute and apply topically.  Try Juniper Berry, Australian Balm Mint, and a touch of either Clove or Ginger. (If someone applies this to your feet while you’re sipping your tea you get extra bonus points!)


ROSEHIP SEED HERBAL INFUSED OIL:
Chop completely dried Rosehip Seeds in the food processor.  Add to a mason jar.  Cover completely with Olive Oil, plus extra oil at the top.  Place jar in the sun.  Turn it every day for 3-6 weeks.  The oil should pick up a gorgeous pink hue but won’t have much of a smell. Strain the oil and keep in a clean jar.  With quality Olive Oil as a base, shelf life will be about 18-24 months.

-          Use the herbal infused oil to drizzle on veggies or make salad dressing.

-          Use it as 20-25% of the carrier oil base in homemade creams, balms, salves, or essential oil blends.  It’s excellent for face, body, massage, and after-shower body moisturizer.


Love this type of information? Learn more in my Online Courses:  http://www.alaska-institute-of-oriental-medicine.thinkific.com/


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Essential Tremors

Essential Tremors

Essential Tremors are the most common movement disorder.  While the cause of Essential Tremor (ET) is still unknown, Western Medicine calls it a nerve disorder.  It is thought to be abnormal electrical brain activity that is being processed through the thalamus.  The thalamus is deep in the brain and controls and coordinates muscle activity.  While ET is not a natural part of the aging process, it does tend to show up between the ages of 40 and 50, though it also can be present in childhood.  About 10 million people in the US are affected.  Genetics are responsible for about half the cases. 

Symptoms include:  shaking in upper limbs and/or head, a shaking voice, tremors that get worse during emotional stress, tremors that get worse with purposeful movement, problems with balance and fine motor skills.  Other diseases and factors that manifest these symptoms include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fatigue after exercise, extreme emotional distress, brain tumors, some prescription drugs, metabolic abnormalities, and alcohol or drug withdrawal.  It can also be attributed to thyroid disease, excessive caffeine intake or side effects from medication.

Western Treatments include medications, focused ultra sound and, when severe enough, surgery.  Medications of oral drugs include Inderal, Neurontin, Mysoline, and Topamax.  Other options include tranquilizers and also Botox injections (helpful for head and vocal tremors).  The surgery involves implanting electrical leads into the thalamus.

When researching how massage therapy can help ET, I came across a case of a 63-year old female who was affected in her hands and head.  During a 5 week study, the aim was to reduce the firing of the sympathetic nervous system and so the techniques they used were relaxation-based, including Swedish massage, hydrotherapy, myofascial release, and diaphragmatic breathing. 

The woman showed improvement in the fine motor skills affected by tremors after each session.   She also had an increase in her cervical range that was observed between her first to last visit.  The article went on to say that more studies need to be done, but it is believed massage therapy eases tremor intensity through encouragement of the parasympathetic response.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tremors, whether ET or as a symptom of a larger disease like Parkinson’s, are thought to be a Yin deficiency of the Kidney and Liver.  This deficiency generates “Internal Wind” which arises from the Liver.  The Liver is looked at as a whole body system the controls movement by ensuring nourishment for the tendons and regulating the smooth flow of Qi through out the body.  To preform this function, the Liver needs adequate of Yin and blood that help supply the nourishment needed for the body.  This is generated in the Kidneys and is considered Kidney-essence.  When Kidney-essence is deficient it leads to malnourishment of the tendons, which puts the tendons into a spasmodic state and creates the movement of shaking that is similar to wind.  Other symptoms related to Internal Wind are that of dizziness and stiffness.

Another image of deficient Kidney Yin is lack of body fluids and dehydration.  Kidneys relate to the water element.  Imagine the land that has been through a long drought and the dryness that occurs. This causes agitation, which stirs up a dry wind that blows through the barren landscape. This is Internal Wind.

Internal Wind can also result from diseases that damage the Liver such as excessive use of alcohol and drugs, or a history of emotional irritability and anger.  Finally, External Wind can enter the body and create Internal Wind.  Symptoms of External Wind often include aches and pains.  Internal Wind then moves that into shaking and trembling.

It is believed that after 40 years of age, Yin starts to decline and can be decreased by half.  This gives rise to Liver Yang agitation that then creates Internal Wind.  This is why it is not uncommon to see tremors appearing in middle to older ages.

Treatments for Internal Wind and ET is a mixture of acupuncture, herbal formulas, and diet.  The approach to any treatment would include a survey to determine the patient’s constitution, including diagram of characteristics that show a persons constitution, past history, family history and associated symptoms.  From there, the focus would be on nourishing Kidney and Liver Yin while sedating and calming the Internal Wind.  Each individual would have a complex formula specific to his or her constitution, which makes it very difficult to have just one formula that would work for everyone. 

One case I found online, is of a 38 year old white female with tremors in both her head and upper extremities.  Since the age of 2 or 3 she had shaking of the upper limbs but now her head was shaking so badly she couldn’t take it anymore.  Several medical centers told her she had to live with the tremors and hopefully find some relief from the medication prescribed: propranolol and diazepam.  She turned to Chinese medicine.

Her constitution was determined and she did a series of 3 acupuncture sessions.  Two months after the last session she returned showing no symptoms.  She had stopped taking propranolol and was only taking diazepam at 5 mg twice a day.  They advised her to slowly come off diazepam and come in for more treatments if symptoms reappeared.  She returned after 3 months off medication and completely symptom free.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can be extremely successful with chronic ailments, like Essential Tremors.  I believe that is because every case is treated uniquely, as each individual is unique.  Never believe that something can not be healed.  Our bodies are more powerful than we know, we just have to learn to listen. 

References:








Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Understanding and Treating Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating. In it's most common presentation, it appears as dry, itchy patches, typically on the folds of the skin, that can bleed, ooze, and weep, causing quite an uncomfortable state of being for the patient.
There are two very distinct views on the causes of this skin irritation. From a Western Medical perspective, this is seen as an irritation cause by external factors (climate, detergents, heat, etc.) and is so treated with various creams and lotions, mostly containing a type of corticosteroid or antihistamine. These topical medications are used in segments of 3-5 days and they supress the outward symptoms of the condition. Yet typically these symptoms return even more severely and another application of topical medication is needed to supress the symptoms again. This is the cycle most people experiencing eczema in our Western culture endure until a younger patient sometimes grows out of it or the level of medication is increase exponentially and the patient lives in a constant state of symptom management.
The second of the two distinct views of this condition is that of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which looks at the symptoms as an indicator of a deeper imbalance in the body. TCM focuses on creating an environment that supports the body's ability to heal itself through herbs, accupunture, and other modalities, all working with the body's symptoms and rhythms rather than supressing them. There have been various studies conducted showing the effectiveness of TCM practices. In one study, half of the eczema patients recieved treatment using herbs in a salve and also took herbs internally while the other half recieved a placebo. Within 3 weeks of treatment, the patients receiving the TCM treatments were nearly completely symptom-free while the patients receiving the placebo were unchanged.
Other causes of eczema are starting to become more accepted in the west. Diet (particularly dairy and gluten) and stress levels are now being linked to this condition.
Massage is also becoming a more accepted treatment for eczema. Not only does massage and theraputic touch reduce stress levels, but it also promotes circulation to the affected areas when done in the appropriate manner by a licensed therapist. The massage technique should include massaging around the affected area with minimal heat or oils applied directly.
Though eczema can seem to have numerous causes and viewpoints on treatment, it is an disharmony that can absolutely be managed when the body is given the environment to return to balance.

References:
Nautaltherapypages.com.au
Pacificcollege.edu

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Understanding COPD

What is COPD exactly? COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a progressive respitory disease that makes breathing difficult overtime. It can include 1 or 2 respitory conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis causes a phlegmy couch and wheezing and causes the airway to swell. Emphysema is damaged air sacs in your lungs and it causes shortness of breath and a right feeling in your chest.

COPD has affected more than 11 million people worldwide and some may not even know they have it. It causes long term disability and early death. At this time according to western medicine there is no known cure and the number of people dying from COPD is rising. As COPD disrupts your air flow in and out of your lungs it starts to reduce your lung function. Your air sacs and airway lose elasticity, the walls that separate your air sacs become damaged permantely and the walls of your airway can become thick and inflamed, which produces more mucus than normal and causes them to become clogged.

Even though COPD is a progressive and serious disease, with options like: medication, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, people are able to live with the disease for several years. If someone is in the earlier stages of COPD, myofascial release or Swedish massage may be used. Massaging the rib cage can help strengthen respitory muscles and can decrease shortness of breath. Massage will lessen the flow of stress hormones so the rib cage is able to open up more freely and more air is allowed to be brought to the lungs. Lying flat on the massage table can make breathing more difficult, clients may feel more comfortable in a seated position or semi-reclined by propping up with pillows. In more advance stages massage of the back and chest to move excess lymph from the area will help allow the lungs to open up more and making it easier for the client to breathe. When a client is in the final stages of COPD chair massage is the best position so there is not extra body weight on the chest cavity. The massage therapist will focus on their back to live lymph and loosen up the muscles around the clients rib cage. This will help assist labored breathing.

Chinese medicine considers COPD a lung yin deficiency. As lung yin deficiency worsens heat builds up in the lungs and the lungs begin to compensate by producing phlegm. Phlegm obstructs the free flow of any Qi in the lungs. Medicines and herbs that are extremely drying should be avoided and can cause further complications. If dryness is presenting Chinese medicine food therapy suggests foods that moisten the lungs: spy products, barley, peanuts, rice milk, spinach, and pears. Foods that should be avoided that produce phlegm: fried food, dairy, juices, raw foods, iced drinks and cold foods.

Chinese medicine works very affective it to address COPD issues and has shown signs of reversing the disease if caught early on. In more advanced cases of COPD, the herbs will likely be depended on long term use to maintain an improved quality of life over time.

Sources:

American lung association
www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/how-lungs-work

Healthy cells magazine
www.healthycellsmagazine.com/articles/therapeutic-massage-to-ease-COPD

Heal naturally
www.realnatural.org/studies-show-Chinese-herbs-productive-for-COPD



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm. CTS is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. This nerve controls sensation and muscle movements in the hand if the carpal tunnel becomes narrowed from swelling or injury the nerve becomes compressed or impinged, leading to the diagnosis of CTS.
Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually unknown. Pressure on the nerve is the main reason for developing this condition. The pressure can be caused for several reasons including; swelling of the flexor tendons, joint dislocations, arthritis and fractures.                                                            Keeping the wrist bent for extended periods of time has led to diagnosis, thyroid conditions, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can also be related in developing carpal tunnel.
Western Medicine and Carpal Tunnel                                                                                                                                             Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sends over a million patients into a physicians office each year. In which approx 400,000 cases result in surgery. Treatments also recommended in Western medicine may include, splits, steroid and non-steroidal medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Some recommended homecare ideas include icepack, rest, stretching and there are a few specialty therapies including occupational therapy, physical therapy, neurologist, and physical rehab that can also be of help for a patient suffering from CTS.
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel is the most frequent surgery done in the wrist/hand to date. Surgery can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000.                                                                                                                                A surgery overview would look something like this, the surgeon would go in through the palmar side of the hand, cut the transverse carpal ligaments releasing pressure on the medial nerve, they’d then close the incision up with stitches.                                                                                                                         Recovery can be anywhere from 4-6 weeks with strength and movement improving over the next year, most cases needing some type of physical therapy. Some cases are never
Alternative or Traditional Chinese Medicine offer other healing methods with clients who have CTS.  A fundamental in Chinese medicine is to not just treat the symptoms of the disorder, but to discover the cause and work on a treatment that targets the root of the problem.
These are some options TCM recommends if you are trying to prevent Carpal Tunnel;     Good health, If you work at a desk, move as much as possible, don’t sit in the same position for 45minutes, keep warm, often people who have cold hands are more prone to CTS, keeping circulation strong is important, and use both hands evenly.
A few things to do if you are noticing signs or have been diagnosed; try wearing a splint, get a massage helping release tension throughout the body can help loosen everything, including hands, rest, try yoga, and acupuncture is a highly recommended treatment in TCM for this condition.                                                                                                        
Acupuncture is a holistic health technique that stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine practices in which trained practitioners stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin.  Although, needles are used in acupuncture, treatments are relatively pain-free. The energy then circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. If the energy circulation is disrupted, the result can be pain or illness. (Such as CTS) Acupuncture points are stimulated to balance the circulation of energy, which influences the health of the entire being and promotes the body's natural healing ability.                                                                                                                      
A very successful treatment in TCM for carpal tunnel that has been used it Acupuncture combined with moxa along the specific points of the body. A client may have to return into acupuncture clinic for several weeks for a full recovery and may also be referred for massage along with acupuncture. The cost per session of acupuncture can vary greatly depending on your area of living.

I found the information I’ve researched on this topic very interesting. Happy Healing!