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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - August 2006 | Issue 27

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • September 10 – San Diego Commencement Ceremony
  • September 12 – Chicago MSTOM Open House
  • September 26 – New York MSTOM Open House
  • September 30 – San Diego Open House

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Cancer Patients Find Relief Through Massage

The battle with cancer can be daunting and traumatic. Family members, caregivers and patients are asked to endure the difficulty and uncertainty of treatment and recovery. For many patients, added physical pain may develop from the cancer or from treatments.

Cancer pain is complicated because it can arise from a variety of sources. It can come directly from a tumor that destroys or presses on tissues, bones, and nerves. Muscle aches can result from the physical inactivity a patient may experience during or after drug treatments or surgery. Pain unrelated to cancer, such as headache, backache and arthritis, can significantly increase the discomfort of the patient. A massage-licensed therapist can relieve these types of pain, greatly improving the wellbeing of the patient.

Twenty percent of all cancer patients in the U.S. seek massage therapy. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York collected patient response to their massage therapy program. After two days, the benefit of massage was evident -- anxiety levels dropped 52 percent, pain 40 percent, fatigue 41 percent, depression 31 percent and nausea 21 percent.

Treatments for cancer-related pain are varied and are often used in combination for the best results. Massage therapy is one avenue of treatment that permeates a deeper level of healing. Massage reduces stress and anxiety levels, relieves insomnia, decreases nausea, eases depression, manages pain and lessens the need for medication.

The benefit of massage cannot always be measured. Patients can experience a deep sense of wellbeing through bodywork. They gain a sensation of being cared for and being held. As the body fights against disease, stress and trauma accumulate. Massage helps to ease the effects of cancer pain out and away from the body.

Comfort, quality of life and sense of calm and wellbeing -- each of which are a benefit of massage -- should not be undervalued. These conditions are fundamental in changing a patient's outlook, which can have incredible healing powers. Feeling and looking healthy are other aspects of keeping a patient's sprits up. The visually evident benefit of massage includes its anti-inflammatory effect. The sooner patients receive massage after surgery, the less swelling they develop.

Due to the nature of their disease, cancer patients can be viewed as too fragile for massage, but massage has proven safe and beneficial at many stages of cancer. A responsible, massage-licensed therapist knows the patient's condition and what is involved in his or her other treatments. The therapist also researches the drugs the patient is taking, as well as the resulting side effects, in order to provide the most complete and beneficial treatment possible.

A massage-licensed therapist can also serve as an early warning system. Therapists occasionally find lumps that have not shown up on medical scans. In addition, massage is often as effective, cheaper, less invasive, more comforting and side-effect-free than drug treatments for common cancer pain problems.

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Red Tea Is Beneficial For Tension And Depression

The Chinese scholar Lu Yu in his Cha Shung, the earliest treatise on tea, says, “When feeling hot, thirsty, depressed, suffering from headache, eye ache, fatigue of the four limbs or pains in the joints, one should only drink tea. Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude, relieves fatigue, awakens thought, prevents drowsiness and refreshes the body and mind.” What else would be the most effective way to help you cope with the stress of day to day living in today’s competitive world?

Red tea is known to have a soothing effect on the central nervous system and is a safe, long term herbal remedy for headaches, irritability, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, stress, hypertension, panic attacks and even mild depression.

India is the largest producer of Red tea while Sri Lanka ranks second. Kenya and Vietnam are the new entrants. The best variety of Red tea is grown in Darjeeling located in the Himalayan region of India. In the West, Darjeeling has become synonymous with tea.

Rooibos or ‘red bush’ from South Africa is found to be a very potent variety of red tea prepared from the leaves of the herb Aspalathus linearis. Indigenous to the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa, Rooibos is the only red tea that undergoes a fermentation process similar to black tea. Fermentation turns the green leaves into a garnet colour and lends a very sweet flavor. Rooibos endowed with a very high magnesium (‘Nature’s tranquilizer’) component, acts as a natural adaptogen i.e., that which helps the body adapt to stress.

Incidentally, Rooibos is almost caffeine-free. Research shows that 60 per cent of tea drinkers experience insomnia and anxiety due to the high caffeine intake, especially when they consume large quantities regularly. Rooibos has less than 1mg caffeine per cup as compared to even decaffeinated green tea that contains 30 mg caffeine per cup.

The Tibetan herbal red tea varieties, Sorig and Loong,are found to be very effective for alleviating stress when taken with salt and honey.

A common offshoot of Stress and depression is a weak immune system. Certain types of the Oolong variety of tea contain high concentrations of a particular amino acid which help strengthen the body’s immune system response when fighting off infection.

Red tea also has a high concentrate of Thiamine, an amino acid, which enhances blood circulation to the brain, and thereby has a tranquilizing effect, and an increased cognitive activity and brain function.

Regular consumption of tea thus leaves you refreshed during the day and relaxed at night.

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Chinese Extract May Yield Diabetes Treatment

Traditional Chinese Medicine is fast emerging as one of the most potent treatment for diabetes. A new research report published by Bradford B. Lowell from Harvard Medical School, Michael Wheeler from University of Toronto, and Chen-Yu Zhang from Nanjing University, show that Gardenia fruit extract can effectively help treat type II diabetes. The fruit extract contains a chemical that can aid in overturning pancreatic malfunction.

Diabetes is caused by abnormalities in pancreatic cells, especially the insulin producing beta cells. Type II diabetes often results from the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin. This shortage of insulin is attributed to the presence of a substance known as uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). Presently, different diabetes therapies are focused only on controlling the disease. However, with this new extract, Diabetes may one day become a fully reversible disease.

Researchers conducted laboratory tests on two groups of mice. The extract stimulated pancreas cells taken from normal mice to secrete insulin. However, cells from mice engineered to lack UCP2 didn't respond. These results suggested that the extract contained the UCP2 inhibitor that the researchers were seeking.

After further analysis of the extract, the researchers have attributed the UCP2 inhibiting action to genipin, a small molecule isolated from the fruit extract. Researchers further report that adding genipin to isolated pancreatic tissue reverses high glucose and obesity-induced dysfunction of insulin-producing beta cells. The fact that a derivative of genipin that lacked the chemical's cross-linking activity continued to inhibit UCP2 presents great scope for developing genipin-related compounds for therapeutic use. Researchers, however, point out that further work will be needed to examine whether inhibition of UCP2 itself might also have some negative consequences.

It is likely to take some time and further research before we see a new stream of drugs for treatment of diabetes. The research findings, however, do send a direct message of hope to all those waiting for a cure for diabetes.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.”

-- Anonymous