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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - April 2006 | Issue 22

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • April 29 – World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day
  • May 6 – 2nd San Diego Healing Arts Festival
  • May 9 – New York Open House
  • May 16 – Chicago Massage Open House

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Pacific College Library Named A Finalist For NCLIS Awards

Pacific College Library in San Diego has been named one of the ten finalists for the 2006 NCLIS Health Information Awards for Libraries, which are designed to encourage library programs that foster better health.  Pacific College is the only Oriental Medicine School to be named as a finalist this year.

Finalists were chosen based on how well the program encouraged lifestyle improvement among the target population, the program’s adaptability, collaboration with other community organizations, and how successfully the program was able to reach out to people with low information literacy skills. 

Pacific College’s library is considered to be a stand out in part due to the Senior Health Information program that was developed in 2004, titled, “Senior Health Information Goes Electronic in San Diego.” Since the program began, senior citizens have been provided the opportunity to improve their lives through access to reliable, accurate and authoritative health information.   Pacific College Library’s health outreach works in partnership with the Florence Riford Senior Center, the First Lutheran Church, the Clairemont Friendship Community Center, and the San Diego Public Libraries in Pacific Beach and La Jolla in order to work hands on with the senior community to provide them quality health information.  The Library also continually updates links on our website to health information databases including Medline Plus, Pub Med, NIH as well as online tutorials to provide authoritative educational health resources.

The final winner of this award will be announced May 3, 2006.  The grand prize
winner will be awarded $20,000 and each finalist will receive $1,000.

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San Diego Healing Arts Festival

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in association with The Alternative Healing Network, announce the return of the San Diego Healing Arts Festival, on Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the lawn at Park & President’s Way in Balboa Park.  This free event brings holistic healing to the San Diego community through classes, presentations, and lectures and music.   

Treat yourself to a free massage, acupuncture consultations, as well as yoga and qi gong classes.  This event will include live music showcasing local musicians Alfred Howard & the K23 Orchestra, Wise Monkey, Anya Marina, Pocket, The Biddy Bums and Vegitation.

“This event is designed to teach the community about various health care alternatives that they might otherwise not be exposed to,” said Ryan Altman, Chairman of the Alternative Healing Network, Inc. “With classes, speakers and presentations all day long, there will be something for everyone.”

Vendors will also provide further opportunities for the public to experience the benefits of alternative medicine.

For more information about this event, visit the festival website at: www.althealnet.com

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Massage for Detoxification

By: Mario-Paul Cassar

Some of the conditions associated with toxicity

• Auto immune diseases
• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Lethargy and muscle fatigue
• Psychological problems e.g. anxiety, depression, claustrophobia
• Cancer
• Colds
• Joint pain
• Arthritic changes
• Fevers
• Skin eruptions
• Digestive disturbances

Toxins are noxious or poisonous substances which can be harmful to the body.
Although mostly of plant or animal origin toxins can also include inorganic elements or compounds some of which are essential and form the mineral constituents of cells. These compounds or trace elements include aluminum, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, fluorine, iodine, copper, manganese, and zinc. Whilst they mostly exist in a harmonious stability, an excess of one element, such as aluminum, can be harmful to the body.

The most common form of toxins to occur are those produced by bacteria. Such poisons are either released by the micro-organisms (exotoxins) or occur as a result of the bacteria being destroyed (endotoxins). Toxins can be found within the cells or in the interstitial spaces. They can also be transported in the blood. Poisonous substances which are produced by a bacteria growing in a local or focal site can be distributed throughout the body via the blood (toxemia). This results in generalized symptoms, e.g. fever, diarrhea, vomiting, changes in the pulse rate and in respiration.
Treatment of toxicity
Toxins which are circulating in the blood are normally eliminated through the colon, the kidneys, the lungs, by the liver via the bile, the mucus membranes, and the sweat glands in the skin. Other toxins like bacteria and minute particles such as coal dust are taken up and neutralized by the lymphatic system. Toxic substances can bind to proteins in the interstitial tissues and are then broken down by the action of phagocytes.
Effects and application of massage
Massage is very beneficial in the treatment of toxicity. It helps to relieve the symptoms such as headaches, myalgia and fatigue and improves the function of the organ or system affected.
Massage is first of all applied to improve the circulation systemically in order to secure a good nutritional supply to all tissues. It is also utilized to enhance the venous return which is essential for the removal of toxins. To this end massage movements like effleurage and petrissage are applied to the superficial tissues and to muscles. Circulation to the visceral organs can also be enhanced; using similar techniques and, in some cases, by more specific methods such as compression massage for the liver and for the kidneys (described further on).
Toxins can lodge around joints and form crystals. Gout is one example, albeit an extreme one, where there is a toxic build up in the periarticular soft tissues such as the ligaments and tendons. A 'gouty-joint' is too painful to massage but otherwise effleurage is utilized to increase the venous return and the arterial flow to and around joints. Transverse friction movements are equally suitable for improving the circulation to the periarticular structures.
Enhancing the lymph flow
The lymphatic system is given considerable attention in the treatment of toxicity. As well as reducing oedema lymph massage is applied to increase the actual flow of lymph in the interstitial spaces. Stagnation in the interstitial spaces can impair the lymph flow through the lymph vessels. Circulation to the tissue cells is also diminished which in turn slows down their nutritional supply and metabolism.
The congestion has the additional effect of preventing the removal of toxic wastes from the interstitial spaces. Increasing the lymph flow with massage on the other hand has the benefit of delivering nutrients to the cells and transporting building materials to restore the tissues. In addition massage carries lymphocytes to combat and neutralize toxins and bacteria.
Research has indicated that massage creates sufficient pressure to mechanically push the lymph through the gaps between the endothelial cells of the collecting lymph vessels. It has also been observed that raising the temperature of the skin forces more junctions between the endothelial cells to open. Both of these factors increased the drainage effect of massage on the lymph. (Xujian).
Lymph flow can be increased by the general strokes for circulation such as effleurage. It can be enhanced further with more specific techniques like lymph effleurage and intermittent pressure technique. These can be applied on most regions of the body and are repeated several times and alternated with one another.

Improving kidney function
The nephrons of the kidneys are the physiological filters which remove toxins from the blood. These include uric acid which is a naturally occurring product of catabolism, nucleic acids which are derived from food or cellular destruction, and benzoic acid which is a toxic substance in fruits and vegetables and believed to be eliminated from the body in the form of hippuric acid. Massage, systemic and local on the kidney area, increases the circulation to and from the kidney thereby improving the filtration and elimination process. Systemic lymph massage as already noted has a similar function.

Improving the liver function
A major function of the liver is to destroy worn-out blood cells, bacteria and toxic substances. It also removes drugs like penicillin, ampicillin, erythromycin and sulfonamides. The liver is said to be a semi-solid organ which is encased by a fibrous capsule. As it is largely protected by the rib cage direct manipulation is limited to its lower borders. The organ is however influenced by external pressures such as those exerted by the diaphragm from above, an adjoining viscerus or indeed that of palpation. With the squeezing massage movement described here sufficient pressure is exerted through the tissues to influence its circulation. Massage can also assist the portal circulation to the liver through the hepatic portal vein. It also increases the oxygenated blood supply to the liver via the hepatic artery. Circulation is also enhanced along the lobes of the liver, the central and hepatic veins, and to the superior vena cava. Secretion of bile is augmented to some extent by the advanced blood flow and by the mechanical pressure of the technique.

Assisting respiration
Full movement of the rib cage and deep breathing are both necessary for the unrestricted uptake of oxygen and the elimination of gaseous toxins.
To this end massage movements are carried out on the muscles of respiration, in particular to the intercostals, the pectoralis minor, the sternocliedomastoid, the scalene group (scalenus anterior, medium and posterior), the rectus abdominis, the serratus posterior inferior and superior and the levator scapulae.

Elimination of toxins through the skin
The skin is an organ of elimination and consequently skin eruptions are an indication of toxicity and the body's attempt to eliminate them. This process can be assisted by the massage movements which increase the circulation to the skin and de-congest the pores. Effleurage movements are of particular use. Another effective method involves a compression and an upward stretch of the superficial tissues, primarily the skin and subcutaneous fascia.

This article is adapted by Mario-Paul Cassar from the book Handbook of Massage Therapy: A Complete Guide for the Student and Professional Massage Therapist written by Mario-Paul Cassar, to be published by Butterworth Heinemann in July 1999. ISBN: 0 7506 4000 6. 256pp, £29.99.

About the author
Mario-Paul Cassar DO ND practices Osteopathy, Sports Therapy, Naturopathy, Massage and Bodywork Therapy. A respected author and established tutor with many years of experience in Massage Therapy and Bodywork, he has lectured in a number of colleges and centres in the UK, Europe and the USA. He is the principle of the Massage and Bodywork Institute and senior lecturer at the College of Osteopaths (Middlesex University).
He can be contacted at: 93, Parkhurst Road; Horley; Surrey RH6 8EX Tel: +44 (0)1293-775467


Hall G., BDS, FIAOMT and Winkvist L., BDS; Hall V-Tox, a treatment for the removal of metal and environmental toxins. Positive Health April/May 1996

Taylor G.H. M.D.A Sketch of the Movement Cure First published in 1860 Reprinted in the Massage Therapy Journal/ Winter 1993

Danneskiiold-Samsae, B., Christiansen E., Lund B., Anderson R.B. Regional Muscle Tension and Pain (Fibrositis). Scandinavian Journal of Rehab. Medicine 15: 17-20, 1982

Caenar, J.S., Pflug, J.J., Reig, N.O. and Taylor, L.M. Lymphatic pressures and the flow of lymph. British Journal of Plastic Surgery, 23, 305, 1970.

Peterson, F. B. Xenon disappearance rate from human calf muscles during venous stasis. Danish Medical Bulletin 17: 230 1970

Xujian Shao. Effect of massage and temperature on the permeability of initial lymphatics. Lymphology 23 (1990) 48-50

Olszewski W.L. & Engeset A. Intrinsic contractibility of prenodal lymph vessels and lymph flow in the human leg. American Journal of Physiology 239. H775. 1979 and 1980.

Wang G., and Zhong S. Experimental study of lymphatic contractility and its clinical importance. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 15: 278. 1985.

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Evidence of Tea's Health Promoting Properties

Courtesy of Royal Dynasty Tea

Although green, white and red teas have been used in Asia and Africa for thousands of years to prevent disease, promote longevity and improve mental functions, it is only within the past twenty years or so that they, like black tea, have become popular in the West. There is ample evidence today supporting their healthy properties.

Other than water, tea is the least processed beverage. Drinking tea is the most natural way to gain its many health benefits.

The average cup of green and black tea contains 30-50 mg of caffeine, half the amount found in coffee. The average cup of white tea contains 5-15 mg of caffeine. Red tea is caffeine-free.

Polyphenols and Flavonois found in tea pack a three-part punch. First, they prevent free radicals from damaging DNA, nipping cancer initiation in the bud. Second, they seem to prevent uncontrolled cell growth, slowing cancer development. And third, certain polyphenols may even destroy cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells. When Japanese researchers combined cancer medications with polyphenols, the treatment was 20 times more effective than the cancer drugs alone, according to a study published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research.

Premium-grade teas of superior quality
contain larger quantities of polyphenols, flavonoids,
vitamins and minerals than teas of lesser quality.

There are several primary polyphenols and flavonoids in tea. These powerful antioxidants have been shown in numerous studies to fight viruses, slow aging, and have a beneficial effect on health. Clinical tests have shown that they destroy free radicals, limiting their damage to healthy cells, and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body.

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and fragments of molecules that can damage the body at the cellular level leaving it susceptible to cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

Recent studies have shown that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant, is at least 100 more times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA from damage believed to be linked to cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. It has twice the antioxidant benefit of resveratrol, found in red wine.

Concerning red tea, it is completely pure and natural, containing no additives, preservatives, flavorants or colorants. It is super-rich in antioxidants (50 times greater than green and white tea) that boost the body's immune system and help slow the aging process. It is also a natural sources of several minerals, supplementing our daily intake of iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc needed for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Its antioxidants protect the heart by reducing cholesterol buildup. It is reported that four cups a day can lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 69%.

Research indicates that its antioxidants have antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, antiviral, antimutagenic and antiallergic properties. These polyphenols reduce the number of chromosome aberrations, inhibit tumor growth, dissolve cholesterol and improve general health by increasing energy levels and boosting the body's natural immune system.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day “To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.”-- Lao Tzu