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IBS, Irritable bowel syndrome, can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome affects the colon (large intestine) and symptoms include pain, cramps, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a fairly common problem and its symptoms and their severity vary between individuals. Although IBS does not permanently damage the large intestine, it can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Massage for constipation and IBS can offer effective pain relief.
Common IBS symptoms include constipation, diarrhea (or constipation alternating with diarrhea), bloating, flatulence, pain and cramps in the abdomen. Some IBS sufferers only get mild symptoms but for some, the symptoms can be very unpleasant. IBS is usually considered a chronic condition, but for some, the symptoms can come and go. They may be present for some time and then disappear, only to appear again when triggered by certain foods, stress or anxiety.
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat IBS. Many patients learn to manage the problems with lifestyle choices that can help to keep IBS under control. These include paying attention to diet, using massage and other alternative treatments, and stress reduction techniques.
In irritable bowel syndrome, the muscles that line the walls of the intestine contract stronger than in a healthy person, and food passes through the colon faster. This then causes diarrhea or gas. Sometimes food passes through too slowly and constipation follows. IBS patients often react to certain foods differently from a healthy person and some foods may trigger symptoms or make existing symptoms worse. Other lifestyle issues that affect IBS patients include stress and anxiety.
Stress is not a cause of IBS but being stressed can aggravate the condition. If you are under stress, or experience negative emotions or anxiety, you may notice that symptoms suddenly appear or get worse. Many people get an upset stomach if they are stressed or anxious, and but in IBS patients stress and nervousness can make symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
Alternative treatments that can be used to relieve the symptoms include massage. Specific massage movements and massage on pressure points can be used to stimulate sluggish digestion in case of constipation, to relax abdominal muscles or to relieve bloating. Massage on acupressure points can also help to stimulate the colon. Some studies have shown that regular abdominal massage reduced gastrointestinal symptoms with regard to constipation and abdominal pain, and resulted in an increased number of bowel movements, although it may take up to two weeks to begin seeing the increase.
Massage also has another function in treating IBS: it's an effective way to relieve and to prevent stress and anxiety. The Touch Research Institute has supported several studies on the efficiency of massage therapy on a variety of health conditions, including stress and anxiety. In a study by Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T.,Goncalves, A., Burman, I. , Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996) adults were given chair massage and a control group was given relaxation exercises in a chair. While both groups scored lower in depression scores, it was only the massage group that had lower scores for job stress.
Regular massage treatments for IBS and constipation can thus be used to relieve symptoms but also to prevent further problems.
For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has used herbs and acupuncture to treat a variety of maladies from internal health problems to skin disorders, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, alopecia and others. Many practitioners today continue to apply these methods to treat their patients who prefer a less invasive and non-chemical treatment.
Traditional Chinese medicine views good health as a balance between the body's internal systems and the environment we live in. Displacement of the balance between energy (Qi), blood, yin and yang result to the development of diseases. The impact of environmental conditions, such as wind, heat, cold, dampness and dryness also contribute to the illness. In addition, traditional Chinese medicine views the mind as a powerful influence on a person's health.
There are four areas of dermatology where traditional Chinese medicine is applied: Chang Yang (skin sores), Pi Fu Ling (skin disorders, such as eruptions and warts), Gan Men Bing (rectal or anus disorders, such as hemorrhoids), and Za Bing (other disorders, such as acute abdominal disorders and gangrene).
Traditional Chinese medicine use the Three Yellow Cleanser (San Huan Xi Ji) to treat about 60% of skin disorders, which include acne, eczema, dermatitis, rashes, and psoriasis. The formula, which has been in use for many centuries, consists of four cleansing herbs with a "cold property" that clears the internal heat (Qing Re), stops itching (Zhi Yang) and prevents secretions (Shou Se) from oozing further. Three of the four herbs used in the formula have a yellow hue, hence the name.
The four herbs -- Rhubarb (Dai Huang), Sophora (Ku Shen), Phellodendron (Huang Bai) and Skullcap (Huang Qin) -- were placed under scientific study and were found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral qualities. Clinical research indicated that Phellodendron (Huang Bai) is very effective in treating eczema.
Aside from the extensive use of Chinese herbs, traditional Chinese medicine also recommends acupuncture as a parallel treatment for skin disorders. Stimulation of acupuncture points increases the production of endorphins and simultaneously activates the immune and endocrine systems. Acupuncture points are specific nerve points that give particular access to the system of energetic meridians, which perform different functions depending on their location.
For skin disorders, acupuncture points are stimulated along the arms, legs and torso. The acupuncturist uses fine high-grade surgical steel needles, which are used only once, to stimulate those acupuncture points. The needles may remain from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the desired effect. Heat or electricity may also be applied using three fire needles (heated needles) or wired small alligator clips attached to the needles, which passes a very mild electrical charge from a small battery.
Although no long-term comprehensive studies have been performed to investigate acupuncture's effects on skin disorders, several clinical trials focusing on less than a hundred cases were included in the 2002 World Health Organization nonserial publication, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials.
According to WHO, there were random clinical trials that proved the effectiveness of acupuncture on chloasma, herpes zoster, pruritus, and neurodermatitis. Luan et al reports in Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (1996), 60 cases of chloasma recovered after treatment with auricular acupuncture and acupressure, which produced significantly better effects than Vitamins C and E.
In another report in the World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion (1994), Chen et al observed the curative effects of laser acupuncture on the human (alpha) herpes virus 3. The procedure brought about pain relief and scar tissue formation more quickly than polyinosinic acid treatment.
Aside from performing significantly better than other treatment modalities, acupuncture also produced anti-pruritic effects (British Journal of Dermatology, 1987) and proved to be effective in treating neurodermatitis using the three-step seven-star needling therapy (Journal of Guiyang Chinese Medical College, 1998).
Aside from herbs and acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine also recommends changes in diet. Generally, people with skin disorders should avoid alcohol, fish, shrimp, and crab. Eating leafy green vegetables and fruits is strongly recommended.
Massage therapy can be adapted to accommodate patients with autism. The massage techniques are slightly modified to help autistics become more comfortable with human touch. Clinical results have shown great improvements in communication between autistic patients and their caregivers, leading to a better quality of life.
Autism, or Kanner's Syndrome, is a developmental disorder with early onset that causes both children and adults to seem withdrawn or dissociated from their environments. Patients may respond defensively to being touched, and tend to respond negatively to certain textures. This improper or incomplete maturation of the tactile system can be treated with therapeutic massage, where the senses are stimulated gradually with a safe and nurturing approach. Massage therapists who specialize in Autism have to slowly develop a very consistent relationship with their autistic patients in order to make progress with the treatment.
Interestingly, autistics are more sensitive to light touch than heavy touch. Glancing, inconsistent, or brief skin contact sends irregular neural signals to the brain where they interfere with and over-stimulate the central nervous system. This makes it difficult to perform organized behavior or to concentrate. Massage on the other hand, utilizes deep tissue massage and joint compression, which do not send such confusing signals to the brain cortex.
According to data collected by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Autism affects 1 in 150 children in America, over half of which have opted for alternative treatment methods like massage. There are clinical studies to support the use of massage as a complementary therapy. For example, a small-scale intervention was performed on just under 50 autistic children using Qi Gong Sensory Training. With weekly massage sessions over the course of 5 months, both the teachers and parents of these children noticed less autistic behavior and improved social and language skills.
Additionally, young autistic children between the ages of 3 and 10 have been shown to respond well to a sensory integration therapy that incorporated massage. More specifically, a Thai massage technique was used over the course of eight weeks with a variety of positive effects. This form of massage uses stretches and yoga poses to energize the patient while stimulating circulation and challenging flexibility. Patients experienced an immediate reduction of anxiety, and outside of the clinic, they enjoyed higher quality sleep, heightened concentration, and more positive social interactions.
Those with Autism can also benefit greatly from a deep massage of the foot and leg muscles. Children with Autism tend to walk on their toes, so the feet and legs become tense. This form of massage targets the gastrocnemius and soleus to fully relax the feet, allowing the patient to walk flat-footed for at least a short period of time following the massage.
Massage also promotes relaxation and breathing regulation. Breathing exercises often work to calm autistic patients and reduce hyperactivity.
Overall, with the proper patience and communication techniques, massage therapy can be extended to autistic patients. By providing consistent, nurturing human contact and touch, massage can overcome some of the defensive tendencies characteristic of the tactile system in those with autism. While massage is not a cure for this disability, it can help autistic patients to relax, communicate more effectively, and greatly improve their quality of life.
Bipolar patients struggle with a lifelong disorder that causes unpredictable manic and depressive episodes from day to day. An estimated 1.9 million Americans suffer from this illness, and their families, jobs, and relationships are often disrupted by the persistence of extreme ups and downs. When properly diagnosed and treated, these individuals can enjoy a stability that allows them to be productive, functioning adults, however, there is currently no medication that can address all of the bipolar disorder symptoms. A typical treatment plan involves medication, new lifestyle choices, and some form of alternative or complementary treatment.
One such treatment that is often used in conjunction with medication is acupuncture. Developed in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture focuses on promoting the flow of energy from the surface of our bodies in towards our organs. This energy, or Qi, is critical to not only our spiritual health, but also to our emotional, physical, and mental balance. The proper balance can be restored with the help of several thousand different acupuncture points that serve as a map to our primary and secondary meridians. A practitioner can apply pressure along certain areas of the skin using a series of very fine acupuncture needles, clearing up any energy blockages and allowing the body to heal itself. This ancient method of therapy has been shown to help bipolar patients better regulate their response to stress. Chemically speaking, acupuncture treatment stimulates the central nervous system, releasing endorphins that bipolar patients may not produce in high enough quantities normally. This process helps bipolar and depressed patients to enjoy a significant reduction in their symptoms of mania while following a regular course of acupuncture.
Dr. Tricia Suppes, a professor in the Psychiatry Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, began a formal study on the effects of acupuncture on bipolar disorder back in 2001. The study was sponsored by the National Insititute of Mental Health, and served as a follow-up to studies done at the University of Arizona College of Medicine where acupuncture was used to treat unipolar depression. Suppes found that over the course of 2 months, patients who received acupuncture with points specific to depression were able to lower their bipolar disorder medication doses when compared to patients who received a generalized acupuncture treatment.
Recovering bipolar patients may not regain complete control of their lives immediately and may need a series of treatments in order to attain long-term benefits. Consult your practitioner for a treatment plan that best suits your needs.
Massages for pregnancy, more commonly known as prenatal massages, are therapeutic massages that are scientifically proven to aid in depression in pregnant mothers, labor pains, and childbirth.
There are various research studies that focus on the benefits of prenatal massages, but none have advocated its advantages more than Dr. Tiffany Field, the leading expert in pioneering the field of medical research for massage therapy and its link to childbirth and pregnancy. Dr. Field of Touch Research Institute in the University of Miami Medical School, Florida, and Fielding Graduate University, has already provided a surreptitious amount of medical research data on how massage therapy improves the overall health of the newborn baby (2009a), how they can alleviate the pain in pregnant women (2007), and how they could positively affect depressed pregnant women (2004).
Other benefits include decreased pain and anxiety during childbirth (1997, 2010); shorter labor and hospital stay by an average of three hours and decreased necessity for medication (1997, 2010); improved fetal movement while in midgestation through vibratory stimulation (2002), and lessened norepinephrine (stress hormones) and anxiety during pregnancy as well as fewer postnatal and obstetric problems afterwards (1999).
Colds and the flu virus plague most people at least once a year. Hardly anyone manages to escape the typical runny nose, itchy eyes, and high fevers associated with a cold or the flu virus. However, traditional Chinese medicine has been very successful in treating patients who suffer routinely from colds and the flu virus. Individuals who are especially prone to contracting them should further investigate this viable alternative to standard treatment.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses natural herbs such as Angelica root and field, to rid your body of viruses. Acupuncture, a modality of traditional Chinese medicine, boosts your immune system by increasing cellular immunity. The ultra-fine needles are placed in specific points on the body to regulate and strengthen the body's Qi (energy) in order to prevent seasonal viral problems.
When used in combination with Chinese herbs, like those listed above, patients often recover from colds much quicker or avoid them altogether.
The spine can become damaged or injured in many ways, and the symptoms presented depend on the location and degree of the spinal injury. Spinal problems may be caused by an accident, an infection, a disturbance in blood flow to the spine, or a disease such as multiple sclerosis, that alters nerve function.
Spinal problems can cause a patient major physical and psychological suffering and anyone suffering from spinal problems is advised to seek immediate medical attention from a physician. A patient presenting spinal problems will first have their symptoms assessed by a medical professional. They may then be sent for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scan so that the spine can be looked at in more detail. Once a diagnosis has been sought, an effective treatment method will then be determined.
Massage for spinal problems is a common form of integrative treatment. During a massage for spinal problems, the massage therapist will deal with sore areas by gently pressing the area in a circular motion, increasing the pressure when the pain experienced subsides. The hands are used to glide up and down the spine from the neck to the base of the spine and back again, pausing wherever tenderness is experienced. Tender areas along the spine may also be treated with the use of constant yet moderate finger pressure on the spot lasting around 90 seconds in duration. The pressure is directed against the spine and the opposite side of the body should be raised up against the pressure in order to relax the muscle treated. The movements made during a massage serve to increase blood flow to the spine, reduce pain and tension, improve motion of the spine and reduce anxiety.
The effectiveness of massage has been investigated by Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Sybil Hart, Tory Field, Iris Burman, Bernard Brucker and Miguel A. Diego of the Touch Research Institute of Miami, Florida. The study looked into the effects of massage for specific areas of the spine and involved twenty participants. The participants were split into two groups: a massage group and an exercise group. Patients in the massage therapy group were in receipt of two 40-minute massage sessions per week for a period of five weeks. Patients in the exercise group were required to practice exercises targeting the neck, shoulders, arms and back twice a week for five weeks. While both groups benefited from the treatment they received, the group in receipt of massage therapy reported increased muscle strength, greater wrist motion range, reduced anxiety, and improved mood.
Daniel C. Cherkin, Karen J. Sherman, Richard A. Deyo and Paul G. Shekelle conducted a review of the evidence presented by studies looking into the effectiveness of massage, among other therapies. The review involved evaluating and analyzing the findings of randomized, controlled trials of the effects of massage therapy, acupuncture and spinal manipulation on non-specific back pain, published from the year 1995 onwards. Three of the randomized, controlled trials evaluated massage, particularly for spinal problems. Evaluation of these three trials led to the conclusion that massage is effective in improving sub-acute and chronic back pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation that may affect many tissues and organs of the body, but primarily attacks synovial joints, which is the most common and movable type of joint in the body of a person. This autoimmune disease that usually causes chronic inflammation to the joints, also affects the tissue around the joints. Autoimmune diseases normally occur when the body's tissues are erroneously attacked by their own immune system.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, it can last for years, and patients suffering from this disease may experience it for longer times without showing any symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis in a typical manner is a progressive illness that may potentially cause joint destruction and permanent disability. The symptoms that are experienced are joint pain, swelling, stiffness and general discomfort.
Traditional prescription medicines are not always the effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. An alternative treatment for this autoimmune disease could be natural treatments such as Traditional Chinese medicines or Acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine and healing method that started back more than 3,000 years ago. For Chinese people, it is used to effectively treat the symptoms of arthritis, and some health problems. Acupuncture is a procedure performed in which specific body areas and points are punctured with fine needles for therapeutic purposes, to relieve joint pains, produce regional anesthesia, or provide body relaxation.
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis because as a natural medication, it does not have any negative side effects, whereas most prescribed medications do, making it difficult for patients suffering from this chronic joint illness.
Acupuncture works by inserting thin needles into several body points or "meridians", clearing any energy blockages. This allows the illness and the uncomfortable feeling to be quickly alleviated. Acupuncturists may focus on the heart, kidney, back of head, and internal secretion points.
Traditional acupuncturists typically treat the person as a whole rather than focusing on the symptoms of the disease. They consider the lifestyle of the sufferer and also environmental factors that triggered the problem.
There was a study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) in Russia with 16 patients that suffered from arthritis. AEP is a treatment of essential points on the ear. They used a double blind method which resulted into a "statistically significant" improvement in their blood samples.
In another research, there were 54 rheumatoid arthritis patients undergoing acupuncture with the use of a Chinese herb called Zhuifengsu, also called warm needling. It resulted positively and has shown to be 100% effective.
Since rheumatoid is autoimmune system illness, acupuncture is a perfect medication because it effectively works to boost the immune system. When the immune system is strong, this disease can be prevented as well as other illnesses.
Most importantly, acupuncture is a form of preventive medicine, because individuals can undergo this procedure without any specific illness or ailments. People experience Chinese medicine to help them prevent rheumatoid arthritis and any other illnesses, while at the same time, they make use of it to keep their minds and body relaxed and stress free.