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Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has an extensive history dating back some 3000 years. In fact, TCM is the oldest continually practiced medical system in existence, and there are recorded instances of its use dating back to thousands of years before the birth of Christ.

Within the practice of TCM, there are many different modalities, and while many people often equate acupuncture with traditional Chinese medicine, this is not necessarily the case. Acupuncture is a modality within the scope of TCM, but it is really just a component, and therefore part of a much larger picture. In addition to acupuncture, TCM encompasses several other modalities, all of which are designed to assist patients to reach a relative state of health and balance. Other therapies that might be employed include moxibustion, herbal medicine, diet and lifestyle changes, and exercise (generally qi gong , or tai chi ).

The concepts of TCM can be quite complex and difficult to grasp. This difficulty lies in the problem of translation- there are some ideas that form the basis of TCM that have no adequate English translation. For example one of the main concepts is the idea of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which is a vital substance that nourishes every tissue, organ and cell.

Essentially, the TCM view is that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. As a result, what happens to one part of the body will ultimately affect every other part of the body. For this reason, the mind and body in TCM have never been viewed separately from each other, but rather as part of a complete energetic system, and the goal of a TCM practitioner is to re-establish balance and harmony within the system.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does a TCM practitioner determine what’s wrong with me?

Your practitioner will employ several diagnostic tools to determine what is out of balance. This begins with questioning the patient about their various signs and symptoms, previous medical history, and course of illness. Next is a physical inspection of one’s face, body, posture, and in particular the tongue and its coating. The practitioner will also palpate various body areas, and the pulse at both wrists. Finally, the sound of one’s voice, breathing, and any smells or odors will also form part of the picture. By using the combined information obtained from these diagnostic methods, the practitioner will be able to determine what is out of balance, and the appropriate treatment method(s) will be selected.

Can TCM help me?

It is estimated that 25% of the world’s population makes use of TCM therapies. In fact, traditional Chinese medicine and modern Western medicine are the two dominant medical systems in the world today. Chinese medicine is a complete medical system, with methods and treatments that can address the full range of disease: acute and chronic, traumatic, infectious, and internally generated. However, there are some cases where Chinese medicine may not be powerful enough. Conditions that are particularly far advanced or virulent, or cases of emergency or acute trauma may not be ideal for TCM. On the other hand, Chinese medicine is an ideal choice at the early stages of any disease, or for cases where modern medicine has no effective treatment.

How long will it take?

There are many factors that determine how long a person will require treatment. Generally speaking, newer or more recent problems will require fewer treatments, and chronic or older conditions will take more time. Acute injuries or conditions of acute pain will be treated with greater frequency (2-3 times per week), and chronic conditions are treated less frequently.

Do I have to keep coming back for treatment?

This is a common question, and the answer is not simple. It is recommended that you return for periodic treatments, much the same as you see your dentist. This allows your practitioner to help you maintain a desired state of health. This notion of preventative medical care is one that we at North Shore Wellness Centre consider extremely important, and we try to educate all of our patients as to the importance of regular care.

Is Chinese medicine safe?

In British Columbia, practitioners are governed the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia ( www.ctcma.bc.ca ). This is the regulating body of TCM in the province, and it is your assurance of competent, quality practitioners. When practiced correctly, TCM will have no side effects, and is extremely safe. The North Shore Wellness Centre uses individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection.

Is acupuncture painful?

An acupuncture needle is extremely thin, and their insertion is virtually painless. Some needling sites will produce very little sensation, and you may not even know the needles are in place. Other sites may produce a sensation of tingling, electricity, heat, cold, heaviness, or an achy sensation. There may also be a sensation of qi moving up or down the channels. The vast majority of people find acupuncture to be extremely relaxing, and many will even fall asleep during treatment.

Myth:

“Chinese medicine is a system of folk healing.”

Not true. Chinese medicine has been developed by some of the sharpest minds in Chinese history, and there are more than 40,000 books and pieces of literature on Chinese medicine. Studies are routinely conducted in Mainland China, and new developments in the field of Chinese medicine are common.

Safety

The practice of traditional Chinese medicine is extremely safe when performed by a competent, registered practitioner. There are currently four professional designations that pertain to the practice of Chinese medicine in BC, these are:

• R.Ac (Registered Acupuncturist)

• R.TCM.H (Registered TCM Herbalist)

• R.TCM.P (Registered TCM Practitioner)

• Dr. TCM

For more information, see the College website at www.ctcma.bc.ca.

Education

Educational requirements vary according to the professional designation of the practitioner. For example, the Dr.TCM requires five years of school at a TCM college, and two years of undergrad studies for a total of seven years.

Licensing

All the information regarding licensing of practitioners is available on the College website at www.ctcma.bc.ca

Recent Studies

As traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture gains more popularity in the West, an increasing number of studies are being conducted in order to determine the effects of acupuncture from a modern biomedical perspective. Following is a summary of a recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School. (Source: www.hsibaltimore.com). .

A team of researchers from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study to investigate the physiological responses in the body during an acupuncture treatment. In the study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in order to determine changes in blood flow, as well as fluctuations in blood oxygen that occurred during acupuncture treatments.

The study consisted of stimulation of needles on a specific acupuncture point on the hand in 13 healthy subjects. Based on fMRI analysis, a clear change in the brain of 11 of the 13 subjects was observed. Researchers noted a decrease in blood flow to the regions of the brain associated with pain, mood, and cravings.

Bruce Rosen, a Harvard Medical School radiologist said that the regions of the brain affected in the test are especially susceptible to dopamine, which he described as a “reward chemical”. He further speculated that the dopamine activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are pain relief chemicals in the body.

Of course, as one neurobiologist suggested, the next step should be a controlled study to compare fMRI results of “genuine” acupuncture versus the stimulation of “bogus” points. However, this study does provide some important information in understanding the physiological activity in the body during an acupuncture treatment.

Chiropractic Services

Chiropractic Services

What is Chiropractic care?

Chiropractors focus on the health of the joints of the body, particularly the spine. Through a variety of hands on tests, the chiropractor will determine which areas are not moving as well as they should, how this is affecting the overall function of the body, and if an irritation of the nerves is involved. The main tool chiropractors use to correct this is the adjustment, or spinal manipulation. There are other soft tissue techniques that Chiropractors may choose instead of manipulation, such as Active Release Technique and Trigenics. Your doctor will determine which type of chiropractic adjustment, or treatment, is suitable for you based on your condition, your age, your bone health, and your personal preference. The goal of the adjustment is to decrease pain, increase function, and get you moving and feeling your best. Your chiropractor may also recommend exercises, stretches, or modifications to your lifestyle that will enhance your long term health.

All patients are taken through an initial health history and thorough physical examination. A complete diagnosis will be given and treatment options will be discussed. We believe in each and every patient taking an active role in their recovery through implementing a customized exercise and stretching rehabilitation program. We pride ourselves on fully explaining your injury to improve your understanding of your body and overall health.

What comprises a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree?

Chiropractors are regulated, primary health care practitioners who have undergone over 4500 hours of academic and clinical education at a nationally accredited chiropractic college, after having completed at least 3 years of an undergraduate, university education. Most Chiropractors obtain an undergraduate degree before entering chiropractic college.

How do Chiropractors treat?

Chiropractic takes a manual approach to health care through the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and subsequent prevention of conditions relating to the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems of the body. All assessments and treatments are typically hands-on.

What do Chiropractors treat?

Chiropractors can successfully treat conditions that range from chronic postural dysfunctions and repetitive strain injuries, to acute joint irritations, sprains and strains. Although most people think of their spine being treated by chiropractors, all of the joints and muscles of the body are able to be treated by these health professionals. In fact, the majority of conditions relating to the musculoskeletal system can be positively managed to some degree via chiropractic care.

Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Does a good massage do more than just relax your muscles? To find out, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and randomly assigned 29 of them to a 45-minute session of deep-tissue Swedish massage and the other 24 to a session of light massage.

All of the subjects were fitted with intravenous catheters so blood samples could be taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward.

To their surprise, the researchers, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.

Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

The study was published online in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

The lead author, Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.”

from the NYTimes
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: September 20, 2010

At the North Shore Wellness Centre, our RMTs promote health, activeness, and vivacity for their patients. Our RMTs Danielle Tabo, Kandice Leaf, Michelle Woodruff, and Shawn Slingerland specialize in deep tissue massages to rehabilitate the body and maintain general wellness. To book in to see one of our Registered Massage Therapists, please call (604) 980-4538.

Health Gains for Grown Up Soccer Players

Health Gains for Grown Up Soccer Players

Being a soccer mom usually means carpooling kids to games and watching them play. But new research shows that women who join in the fun and kick around a soccer ball can dramatically improve their bone and heart health.

Researchers in Denmark recruited more than 70 women ages 20 to 47 who had no history of playing soccer as children or teenagers. Two-thirds of the women were randomly assigned to either a running group or a soccer team. The rest served as a control group.

For 14 weeks, the women in the active groups exercised by running or playing soccer for an hour a day just two days a week.

At the end of the study period, women in both exercise groups had improved on a number of indicators of heart health, balance and muscle strength, compared with the control group. However, the gains were greater among the women who had played soccer instead of running.

For instance, runners improved their maximum oxygen uptake, an indicator of cardiovascular fitness, by about 10 percent. But the soccer players improved by 15 percent.

And playing soccer not only led to better balance and improved muscle strength, but the sport also increased a woman’s bone mineral density by an average of 2 to 3 percent. Given that after age 40 women lose bone mass at the rate of about .5 to 1 percent a year, the gains from soccer are equivalent to reversing three to six years of bone aging, according to the report published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

Why was soccer so much better for a woman’s bones and heart? Peter Krustrup, associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Copenhagen, said that soccer gave women a more diverse workout than running.

“We analyzed the activity patterns during soccer, and we observed multiple sprints, turns, tackles, headers and shots on goal,” he said.  The researchers speculate that the varied activity patterns were more stimulating to bones than simply jogging or running at a steady pace.

Other studies conducted by Dr. Krustrup and colleagues have shown similar heart and bone benefits in male soccer players. One study looked at muscle function and balance in a group of 65- to 75-year-old men who played recreational soccer most of their lives. In a one-leg balance test, the older soccer players performed just as well as 30-year-old men. Older men who weren’t trained in soccer had twice as many falls during the balance test as their soccer-playing peers.

While many people associate soccer with broken bones and muscle injuries, the injury risk among the recreational soccer players studied was low. Although the women kept score and were competitive when they played, the intensity level of the game was far lower than in games played in high school, college or sports clubs.

“When you play soccer in the park or among friends, the injury risk is much much lower than if you play competitive games with local rivals from another club,” Dr. Krustrup said.

Dr. Krustrup said that although many adults think their only exercise options are jogging or joining a gym, the study shows the value of recreational team sports.

“We know a lot about strength training, running and cycling because those sports are very easy to study in the laboratory,” Dr. Krustrup said. “But so many people all over the world play soccer, basketball or hockey. It’s very important to understand the health benefits of those sports and to emphasize that there are motivational and social factors related to team sports that may enhance the possibility for lifelong adherence to a physically active lifestyle.”

Article posted from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/health-gains-for-grownup-soccer-players/

Thank You for attending our Open House!

Thank You for attending our Open House!

On behalf of the NSWC team, we thank all who came to our open house on May 31st! It was truly a night of spirit and joy for each of us here. We hope the night left you feeling rejuvenated and informed. We would also like to extend a big congratulations to all of our winners. We hope that you found the event both interesting and intellectual and hope to see you again soon in our new space! Again, we sincerely thank you for joining us for a night of games and wellness. We couldn’t have done it without you.

In good health,

The NSWC Team

 

Welcome Francesca Fabbri – OSTEOPATHIC MANUAL PRACTITIONER

Welcome Francesca Fabbri – OSTEOPATHIC MANUAL PRACTITIONER

Philosophy

Born and raised in Italy, Francesca’s passion for the functions of the human body began at the age of 16, when after an ankle strain, she needed physiotherapy treatments. She started her career as a physiotherapist, but daily experience taught her that Western Medicine protocols, when equally applied to every single patient, did not properly suit or help them all. Therefore, she studied osteopathy. She believes it is important to combine Western medicine, such as her background in physiotherapy, with holistic and alternative medicine, as is her osteopathic practitioner approach, to be able to consider patients’ concerns from a double point of view, and provide a comprehensive treatment accordingly.

Educational Background

She graduated as a Doctor of Physiotherapy with honors from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in 1998, then started working as a hydrokinesis therapist, massage therapist and kinesiotherapist with post-op patients and local athletes. During this time, she decided to broaden her educational background by taking on a 6 year long course of Osteopathy, at Collegio Italiano di Osteopatia, were she graduated in 2010 as D.O.M.P. (Diploma of Osteopathic Manual Practice).
Francesca is a member of the Osteopathic Association of British Columbia, which guarantees the highest quality levels in osteopathic treatment and continuous updating.

Areas of Practice

Francesca has helped her patients heal from several diseases related to the muscoloskeletal system as well as visceral issues, post-op cases and scar tissue concerns, TMJ troubles, pregnancy pains and childhood problems.

Personal History

Francesca loves travelling, reading, spending time with friends at the cinema or at the beach and her two cats are her passion.
Eating homemade Italian food, pizza and drinking a glass of wine are a way to invite people at her place and sharing with them happiness and good conversation.
Since moving to Vancouver, she also began hiking and snowshoeing.

Chiropractic vs. Medicine for Acute LBP: No Contest

Chiropractic vs. Medicine for Acute LBP: No Contest

Acute low back pain patients demonstrate significantly greater improvement with chiropractic than “usual care.”

By Editorial Staff

With the publication of the Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcomes (CHIRO) Study1 in The Spine Journal, one of the most frequently cited spine research journals in the world,2 the health care community at large may finally appreciate what the chiropractic profession has known for more than a century: Patients with acute mechanical low back pain enjoy significant improvement with chiropractic care, but little to no improvement with the usual care they receive from a family physician.

Published in the December 2010 edition of The Spine Journal, the study found that after 16 weeks of care, patients referred to medical doctors saw almost no improvement in their disability scores, were likely to still be taking pain drugs and saw no benefit with added physical therapy – and yet were unlikely to be referred to a doctor of chiropractic.

The study is “the first reported randomized controlled trial comparing full CPG [clinical practice guidelines]-based treatment, including spinal manipulative therapy administered by chiropractors, to family physician-directed UC [usual care] in the treatment of patients with AM-LBP (acute mechanical low back pain).” (Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines have been established for acute mechanical low back pain in many countries around the world, but sadly, most primary care medical doctors don’t follow these guidelines.) Researchers found that “treatment including CSMT [chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy] is associated with significantly greater improvement in condition-specific functioning” than usual care provided by a family physician.

Study Parameters

cheese king down The Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcome (CHIRO) initiative was “designed to evaluate the outcomes of spinal pain patient management strategies that involve a component of chiropractic assessment and/or spinal manipulative therapy, administered in a hospital-based spine program outpatient clinic.” The study utilized the CHIRO framework “to examine the effectiveness of current evidence-based CPG-recommended treatments for patients with AM-LBP pain.”

CPG “study care” (SC) was compared with the usual care (UC) provided by family physicians. Patients were first seen by a spine physician and then randomly assigned to either the SC group or the UC group.

Patients in the SC group received acetaminophen, a “progressive walking program” and up to four weeks of lumbar chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. The manipulative therapy was provided “using conventional side-posture, high-velocity, low-amplitude techniques” to the lumbar region only, and only by a chiropractor.

Patients assigned to the UC group were referred back to their family physician, who was “simply advised to treat at their own discretion.” Patients in this group received treatment from “a variety of professionals including family physicians, massage therapists, kinesiologists, and/or physiotherapists.”

All care was provided at a hospital-based spine program outpatient clinic. The primary outcome measure was the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ), administered at the beginning of care and at 16 weeks, when acute low back pain is considered to become chronic. The RDQ was also administered at eight and 24 weeks.

Other Important Findings

After 16 weeks, “78% of patients in the UC group were still taking narcotic analgesic medications on either a daily or as needed basis.” (Only 6 percent of this group received chiropractic care.)

Condition-specific improvement after 16 weeks “clearly favored the SC group, with mean RDQ improvement scores of 2.7 in the SC group compared with only 0.1 in the UC group (p=.003).”

While the difference in improvement “was not quite significant at 8 weeks,” it was found to be “clearly significant at 24 weeks of follow-up (0.004).”

Both groups showed improvement in bodily pain and physical functioning, but “patients in the UC group uniquely showed no improvement whatsoever in back-specific functioning (RDQ scores) throughout the entire study period.”

The inclusion of NSAIDs and manipulation/mobilization performed by physical therapists were no more effective in treating patients than family doctors who offered patients advice and acetaminophen. The study found: “[T]he addition of NSAIDs and a form of spinal manipulative therapy or mobilization administered by a physiotherapist to the lumbar spine, thoracic spine, sacroiliac joint, pelvis, and hip (compared with a detuned ultrasound as placebo manipulative therapy), to family physician ‘advice’ and acetaminophen were shown to have no clinically worthwhile benefit when compared with advice and acetaminophen alone.” [Italics ours]

The study criticizes a 2007 report that had derided the efficacy of spinal manipulation by pointing out that the older report based its conclusions on the outcomes of therapies performed by non-chiropractors. The 2007 study concluded that patients “do not recover more quickly with the addition of diclofenac or spinal manipulative therapy.”3 By contrast, the CHIRO study noted: “Although spinal-manipulative therapy is currently administered by many different healthcare professionals, including: chiropractors, osteopaths, orthopedic surgeons, family physicians, kinesiologists, naturopaths, and physiotherapists, the levels of training and clinical acumen vary widely. The study design used by Hancock, et al., therefore, differs from our study because [their study] did not use chiropracticspinal manipulation, and current guideline based care does not endorse any forms of spinal manipulation administered by any other practitioners.” [Italics ours]

References

  1. Bishop PB, Quon JA, Fisher CG, Dvorak MFS. The Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcomes (CHIRO) Study: a randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of clinical practice guidelines in the medical and chiropractic management of patients with acute mechanical low back pain. Spine Journal, 2010;10:1055-1064. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20889389
  2. Brunarski D. “Impact of the Chiropractic Literature.” Dynamic Chiropractic, Dec. 2, 2010;28(25).
  3. Hancock MJ, Maher CG, Latimer J, McLachlan AJ, Cooper CW, Day RO, Spindler MF, McAuley JH. Assessment of diclofenac or spinal manipulative therapy, or both, in addition to recommended first-line treatment for acute low back pain: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 2007 Nov 10;370(9599):1638-43. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993364

Article reposted from Dynamic Chiropractic

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=55150

What is “trigger point therapy”?

What is “trigger point therapy”?

The term “trigger point” was coined in 1942 by American Physician Dr Janet Travell to describe a clinical finding with the following characteristics:

  • Pain related to a discrete, irritable point in skeletal muscle or fascia, not caused by acute local trauma, inflammation, degeneration, neoplasm, or infection.
  • The painful point can be felt as a nodule or band in the muscle and a twitch response can be elicited on stimulation of the trigger point.
  • Palpation of the trigger point reproduces the patient’s complaint of pain, and the pain radiates in a distribution typical of the specific muscle harboring the trigger point.
  • The pain cannot be explained by findings on neurological examination.

Travell’s work treating US President John F. Kennedy’s back pain was so successful that she was asked to be the first female Personal Physician to the President.

Studies estimate that in 75–95 percent of cases, myofascial pain is a primary cause of regional pain. Myofascial pain is associated with muscle tenderness that arises from trigger points – focal points of tenderness, a few millimeters in diameter, found at multiple sites in a muscle and the fascia of muscle tissue. Biopsy tests found that trigger points are hyper irritable and electrically active muscle spindles in general muscle tissue

Trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points, disease, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), homeostatic imbalances, direct trauma to the region, accident trauma (such as a car accident which stresses many muscles and causes instant trigger points) radiculopathy, infections and health issues such as smoking.

Trigger points form only in muscles. They form as a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers in a larger muscle or muscle bundle. These in turn can pull on tendons and ligaments associated with the muscle and can cause pain deep within a joint where there are no muscles.

Injection Therapy

Injections, including saline, local anesthetics such as procaine (Novocain), and anti inflammatory medications such as Traumeel, can provide almost immediate relief and can be effective when other methods fail. A low concentration, short acting local anesthetic such as procaine 0.5% without steroids or adrenaline is recommended. Dry needling methods such as acupuncture and intramuscular stimulation (IMS) can also be effective but causes more post-injection soreness.