Friday, June 20, 2014

Gastroparesis and Massage


Gastroparesis literally means stomach paralysis. It is a condition where the stomach takes too long to or cannot empty. The muscles of the stomach and intestines are not working normally and affect about 5 million people.

Can massage help?
Yes it can, I have read a few blogs and I have a client with Gastroparsis. I was already including an abdominal digestive massage for my client, to which she noticed the difference right away. Then I read the blogs raving over the digestive massage. J I have also added essential oils and tuning forks to certain acupressure points during the massage to help enhance the flow and hopefully increase the effectiveness of the massage to reduce the symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, and the emotional pain that goes along with that.

Causes
of Gastroparesis
are unknown, usually is a secondary cause in systemic diseases below
-          uncontrolled diabetes,
-          Hypothroid
-          Injury to or pinched vagus nerve
-          Viral Nerve
-          Medications, narcotics or anti depressants
-          Nervous systems disorders like Parkinsons or Stroke
-          Multiple Sclerosis
-          Depression (referenced only in TCM)
-          And other rare conditions such as - Amyloidosis, scleroderma
-          Can also be caused by viral infection
Symptoms
-     Heartburn or “GERD”,
-     Nausea,
-     Vomiting undigested food,  
-     Feeling full quickly when eating,
-     Abdominal bloating and pain,
Poor appetite and weight loss,
-     Unstable blood sugar levels
-     Brain “fog”.
Complications
  • Food that stays in stomach to long can ferment lead to growth of bad bacteria
  • Food in the stomach can harden and solidify into a “Bezoar”, which can cause obstruction in the stomach limiting the food to pass into the small intestine
  • People with diabetes and Gastroparesis have more difficulty controlling blood sugar.
Diagnosis  
  • Blood tests  to test blood sugar levels
  • Barin X ray
  • Radioisotope gastric- emptying scan - Radioactive substances swallowed  
  • Gastric Manometry –  a tube is sent down the esophagus to the stomach and meaures the speed of digest
  • Electrogastrography -  Speed of digest through electrolosis
  • The smart pill  - speed of travel through the digestive system
  • Ultrasound
  • Upper endoscopy – a thin tube down the esophagus that examines the stomach lining.

Treatment is very limited and there is no known cure in western medicine. Gastroperisis is normally associated with other diseases and considered as a complication of such, like diabetes and hypothyroidism.
Suggested options of treatment would be to look at diet. Fats cause delay in metabolism as with high fiber vegetables, for example cabbage and broccoli. On the other hand liquids and warm substances speed up metabolism. Small frequent meals with soups or smoothies would be the best for people with Gastropersis. You can add the higher fats into the smoothes and the higher fiber vegetables into well cooked soups! I have heard and read “become friends with soups and smoothies”
The third option for treatment is to medicate to “turn on” the stomach churn (muscle) and speed up metabolism.
Last and final option is surgery which includes procedures to empty and lastly to bypass the non-empting stomach.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees this condition as a Wood/Earth disharmony. Wood and Earth are two of five Elements looked at in TCM. Gastroparesis is sometimes diagnosed as Food Stagnation. I have also found that the stomach is not only where food is digested but also ideas, thoughts and emotions. This follows what the Chinese believe.

The Chinese Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of everything in your body, including your emotions and digestion. So when that flow of anything is impaired the Chinese Spleen, responsible for digestion of anything is weakened and therefore compromised.

So what came first the chicken or the egg? Does it matter? NO!! In TCM the general disharmony is harmonized therefore resolving all symptoms!!  To compliment this theory the Chinese see the Liver as the seat of the emotion “anger”. Western psychology and Chinese theory suggests depression is anger turned inward therefore flow is restricted!!

TCM treatment
An herbal formula can be prescribed for Gastroparesis is Xiao Ban Xia Jia Fu Ling Tang (Minor Pinellia with Poria Decoction)   
Formula Action
-          Harmonizes the Stomach
-          Stops Vomiting
-          Dispels Phlegm
-          Regulates water circulation
-          Disperses Stagnation
   
Acupuncture or acupressure is also helpful with dispersing stagnation and harmonizing flow. 
These points are suggested CV 14 (disperses phlegm), 
                                      CV 12 (Alarm-Mu point for stomach) 
                                      St 36 (Rectifies stomach and spleen and other intestinal conditions)
                                      St 25(Alarm-mu point for large intestine)  

Diet on the TCM side would consider foods that calm the wood element down and then help strengthen the Earth element all dependant on the clients condition at the time.
And once all Five Elements are back in balance condition should rectify itself with client able to function a healthy normal life!! :-) 

References
Blog. Adventures with Gastroparsesis
Blog. Dr Shan Kong acupuncture
http://www.motilitysociety.org/clinician/manuscripts/trtment_of_gastroparesis.pdf                

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