Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TOUCH THERAPY, MASSAGE THERAPY AND ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DEMENTIA

The Human Touch is a powerful thing. Often a touch can be something as simple as placing a comforting hand on a shoulder or another’s hand or, a more powerful touch found in a hug or gentle embrace. For someone with dementia, this is huge.  

The number 1 question I get from caregivers is “What can I do to dispel agitation and anxiety.” While everyone responds differently, you may need to try several things before finding that particular therapy that works best for your charge. There are several basic things I will suggest doing that may well be your key to preventing episodes from occurring but it is important to try first to discover the source of his or her trigger. Consider this exercise much like child-proofing a home.

Anxiety and agitation may be caused by a number of different medical conditions, medication interactions or by any circumstances that worsen the person's ability to think. Ultimately, the person with dementia is biologically experiencing a profound loss of their ability to negotiate new information and stimulus. It is a direct result of the disease.

Situations that may lead to agitation include:
  • Moving to a new residence or nursing home
  • Changes in environment, such as travel, hospitalization or the presence of houseguests
  • Changes in caregiver arrangements
  • Misperceived threats
  • Fear and fatigue resulting from trying to make sense out of a confusing world

There are 5 basic things you will want to do to prevent or reduce agitation:
  • Create a calm environment.
    Remove stressors. This may involve moving the person to a safer or quieter place,      or offering a security object, rest or privacy. Try soothing rituals and limiting caffeine use.
  • Avoid environmental triggers.
    Noise, glare and background distraction (such as having the television on) can act as triggers.
  • Monitor personal comfort.
    Check for pain, hunger, thirst, constipation, full bladder, fatigue, infections and skin irritation. Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature. Be sensitive to fears, misperceived threats and frustration with expressing what is wanted.
  • Simplify tasks and routines.
  • Provide an opportunity for exercise.
    Go for a walk. Garden together. Put on music and dance or paint or draw.

NOTED SUGGESTION: I know this is off the subject of Touch and Massage therapy but creating the calming environment is first and foremost. Research has shown that a combination of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils in a diffuser reduces or eliminates anxiety. Rosemary has been shown to increase cognition while Lavender acts as a calming and soothing agent. Regular daily diffusing helps to create and maintain a calming environment.

Once you have done all you can to ensure creating a calming environment and you are confident there isn’t any medical issue needing your attention yet anxiousness or agitation still persists, Touch Therapy and the use of specific Essential Oils will generally provide immediate relief.
Touch Therapy is our primary focus in this blog today. Touch Therapy is easily learned and incorporated into a daily routine while Massage Therapy should only be performed by a licensed practitioner with knowledge and experience working with dementia’s and the aged. Above all else, Touch Therapy and Massage Therapy present SIDE – EFFECT FREE alternatives to everyone.

How do Touch Therapy and Massage Therapy differ?
Touch Therapy works like an exchange of energy from the giver to the receiver.
In Touch Therapy, therapists place their hands on or near their patient's body with the intention to help or heal. In doing so, therapists believe that they are consciously directing or modulating an individual's energies by interacting with his or her energy field. The focus is on balancing the energies of the total person and stimulating the body's own natural healing ability rather than on the treatment of specific physical diseases.

Sounds kind of WooWoo-ish? Well, we are made up of energy and we exchange energy in many ways. Touch is but one way. Let me give you an example. Have you ever seen a person walk into a room and suddenly it feels like a ray of sunshine just pierced the room? That’s positive energy. Have you ever met someone that immediately made you feel warm and welcome or uplifted? That’s the kind of energy everyone wishes for! On the other hand, have you been in someone’s presence that just made you feel horribly uncomfortable? That too is energy … just the kind you want to avoid!

Every person on the planet has the ability to channel or focus energy into something akin to a radio transmission. In the case of YOU, a caregiver, it’s your compassion, the love of people, your desire to comfort and heal that makes up this beautiful signal your patient or charge feels from you. Your touch is so very therapeutic … but you can do so much more with it.

Touch Therapy is based on the following assumptions:
  • ·        The human being is an open energy system composed of layers of energy that are in constant interaction with self, others, and the environment.
  • ·        Illness is an imbalance in an individual's energy field.
  • ·        Clearing or balancing the energy field promotes health.
  • ·        All humans have natural abilities to heal and enhance the healing in others.


The popularity of Touch Therapy in the nursing profession has encouraged research in this area. There have been more studies on Touch Therapy than other energy therapies (Reiki, Healing Touch).

Early studies, reported by Heidt, indicate efficacy in muscle relaxation and stress and anxiety reduction. Later studies identify physiological effects (blood pressure, pulse, and temperature) as well as subjective measures, such as stress, time perception, and self-assessment of health.

Touch Therapy does not attempt to cure disease, but rather to stimulate the body's natural healing process. According to Touch Therapy research, the major effects of Touch Therapy are a deep relaxation response, reduction of pain and anxiety, and faster wound healing.

Massage Therapy is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance health and wellbeing. But whether there is a specific goal or not, massage therapy tends to increase the general health and wellbeing of the recipient.

Massage Therapy not only moves the body’s energy, it can relax muscles, strengthen tissue, tone skin, and increase circulation which promotes healing.

Massage can:
  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance physical performance
  • Improve general wellbeing
As a caregiver, I suggest treating yourself to a full body massage, at minimum, once per month. This gives you the opportunity to fully relax and let go. Learning and implementing Touch Therapy into your daily care giving routine will also have a profoundly positive effect on you.

How to Perform Touch Therapy:
In this blog, I am going to attempt to give you a description of a simple but effective technique to use. For those of you interested in a bit more in depth information about various techniques, please drop me an email at regina@lbdtools.com. I am putting together a instruction booklet that will provide you with photos which can help immensely when attempting some of these techniques. As of this writing, it is so very close to being finished.

This technique in particular was used during very intense anxiety / fear episodes with several of my dementia clients when they were brought to my studio for massage the first few visits. It calmed them quickly, helped them to focus on why they were there and put them at ease to move ahead with massage.

I preferred to sit next to the client. Since I am right handed, I will speak to this from a righty’s perspective. If you’re left handed however, make the adjustment to accommodate.

As a right handed person, I would sit on my client’s right; put my left arm around their shoulders cupping their left shoulder with my left hand. This provides a sense of security and comfort.
With my right hand, I would take their left hand and lace the 4 fingers together, like the church and steeple /\ .  

Once the fingers are laced, press gently with your fingertips downward on the top of your client’s knuckles and turn their hand over, palm side up.
Using your thumb and with a gentle but firm pressure, move the flat of your thumb in slow circles (clockwise) in the palm of the hand. Occasionally, and from the center of the palm, move the thumb up towards the wrist slowly using firm but gentle pressure.

You want to be sure and use a firm but gentle pressure. 

If you make the circles to lightly, it becomes a tickle and can further irritate or exacerbate their agitation.

Try it using your own hands. Make the steeple, lace the fingers. Press your fingertips against the knuckles of the opposite hand and slowly rotate the hand until the palm side is up. Then press firmly but gently with the pad of your thumb into the palm of your hand and begin a slow circular massage.

Even this exercise, using your own hands, will have a calming and relaxing effect on you.

You can sit across from or next to your charge, whatever works for you. The Touch Therapy technique would be the same, just make you modifications based on how you are sitting.

Essential Oils for Touch Therapy:
People respond differently to Essential Oils. What one person responds positively to, another may be put off by so my making recommendations is kind of like using a very broad paint brush and painting a very wide swath across a canvas…having said that, I have found that with anxiety, agitation and depression in particular, there are several EO’s that just seem to have the same beautiful effect on everybody that comes in contact with them. The effects will vary from person to person though. While one person may become calm and serene, another may nod off completely and take a little power nap so be watchful until you find what works for your charge.

I preface the following with, no matter what EO you use, make sure to get a bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil to use with your Essential Oils. EO’s can be very strong and can irritate skin if not cut with the coconut oil. Fractionated Coconut Oil is so pure and so refined; it spreads easily like silk, goes far and is wonderful for the skin. Use a 3 to 1 ratio…3 drops FCO to 1 drop EO. It just doesn’t take much at all.

Please keep in mind, what I am suggesting is based on research and client use and these oils or combinations of have been shown to be highly effective as topical or aromatic applications for the following:
1.    ANXIETY / AGITATION: Serenity or Lavender or Balance
2.    DEPRESSION / SADNESS: Elevation or Clary Sage or Citrus Bliss
3.    LOSS / LACK OF APPETITE: Wild Orange, Lemon, Ginger
4.    MUSCLE PAIN / TREMORS: (Topical Only) AromaTouch
5.    POOR CIRCULATION: Cypress
6.    EDEMA: (Topical Only) Basil and Lemongrass and Cypress
7.    INSOMNIA / DIFFICULTY SLEEPING: Serenity or Lavender

Some Guidelines using EO’s:
·       One drop of your choice of EO per hand is more than enough to do the job.
·       If you need more lubrication, add a few drops of the FCO.
·       Always coat the skin with FCO before adding the EO. This way the EO is spread further, won’t irritate the skin and doesn’t end up saturating a tiny area.
·       Always replace the caps on your oils after using

Hey …Who doesn’t like a foot massage…right!!! Well, some people are pretty squeamish about anyone touching their feet while others will whip off the shoes and socks and throw their feet into your lap quicker than you can take a breath. The thing about your feet….they are a road map to every organ in the body. They are your foundation, what keeps you standing upright, moving along AND it is the quickest way for Essential Oils to get to the blood stream and do its job. If you put peppermint oil in the arch of your foot, you will taste peppermint in your mouth in less than 10 seconds. So, if your charge will allow you access to their feet, remember it’s the place to apply oils for the fastest results.

PRECAUTION: If applying FCO and EO’s to the bottoms of the feet, make sure you cover the feet with socks and / or shoes to prevent them from slipping and falling when they get up.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form. http://www.lbdtools.com/contact2.php

Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.

Coming up next: Essential Oils for Aroma Therapy - Stress Reduction, Improved Sleep, Memory and Cognition

Supporting Research on Touch Therapy and incorporating Essential Oils:

Monday, September 11, 2017

NUTRITION THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA: USING ESSENTIAL OILS

You will find an enormity of Essential Oils on the web, in health food stores, specialty shops, even grocery stores but one thing I can state as absolute fact … Essential Oils are NOT alike.

Rather than use an explanation from a biased source (a manufacturer or supplier) I’ve gone to the dictionary to answer the question, “What IS an Essential Oil?”.
It states. An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oilsethereal oilsaetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.[1] The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.[2]
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expressionsolvent extractionabsolute oil extraction, resin tapping, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumescosmeticssoaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.”

Essential Oils cannot be reproduced in the pharmaceutical industry. Chemists can replicate some of the known constituents but it would be next to impossible to successfully replicate or recreate an essential oil in the laboratory without sacrificing purity and therapeutic value.

Essential Oils embody the regenerative, protective and immune strengthening properties of plants.  These are very powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals which can cause cellular damage in the body. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-parasitic and antiseptic properties.

So, right now you're asking, what does all of this have to do with dementia and nutrition? The answer is….quite a lot.

Dr. William M. Partridge, an expert in blood - brain barrier research, determined in 2003 that, "The development of new drugs for the brain has not kept pace with progress in the molecular neurosciences, because the majority of new drugs discovered do not cross the blood brain barrier." The ability to cross the blood-brain barrier is essential for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders.

The blood brain barrier is the most secure tissue barrier in the body. It is highly selective in order to protect the fragile tissues of the central nervous system. This barrier only allows passage of certain compounds that are crucial to brain function (glucose, some amino acids, etc.). Novel research has demonstrated that certain sesquiterpene constituents found in essential oils can directly cross the blood brain barrier because of their small molecular size (2-4).

Although sesquiterpenes were particularly studied, it is reasonable to assume that other essential oil compounds, especially monoterpenes, which are structurally smaller than sesquiterpenes, can also penetrate the blood brain barrier.

Ok … now comes the tricky question … “How do I know an Essential Oil is safe for use?”

The applications most common to use are, ingestion (consuming internally), topical application (on the skin) and inhalation (smell by diffusing or simply inhaling from the container). In terms of Nutrition Therapy, we are addressing ingestion.

Given that the basic requirement for calling a product an “Essential Oil” is that the ingredients must contain a minimum of 1% plant essence, my advice is to simply READ THE LABELS! If the product doesn’t have a nutrition label on the container, it most definitely is NOT something you can put into the mouth and swallow.  If the first ingredient on the ingredient list is not the plant essence, well, suffice it to say it begs me to ask the question … WHY would you want to buy it?

I have used Essential Oils for well over 50 years, both personally and in practice so, I am pretty particular about what I put in my mouth or on my skin and especially in a massage practice, the practitioner is far more cognizant about what he or she uses on their clients.

Let me preface the following by saying, this is NOT a sales pitch. Whatever products are discussed in this blog are here simply because these are the items I use or suggest to clients  and are the positive or negative results obtained by me or other practitioners sharing their results with me.

Before using any product, I do intense and thorough research. Next I will either use it, to insure it isn’t caustic or I will talk at length to people that have used it to find out what, if any, negative or positive effects they experienced. If I find it to be effective and feel it may help clients, I may incorporate it into my use.

When it comes to dementia or any related disorder / disease, I will always encourage caregivers to exercise extreme caution when looking at products to use. Anything that can cross the blood brain barrier … in my book …better darned well be the purest of the pure, the cleanest of the clean and the best of the best. Bottom line, the end result is we are dealing with the brain.

Six years ago, I found a particular line of Essential Oils that, for me, ended my search for the best of the best. These are the things I looked for:
1.    Purity and Therapeutic Value
2.    Source
3.    Who is behind the product
4.    Research / testing results prior to bringing it to the public
5.    Feedback – this really ranks lowest on my list because the Essential Oil market is highly competitive and in the online world, negative comments or criticism often comes from a competitor.

The purpose for the preface to the guts of this post is simply this … be very careful when choosing an Essential Oil product or any other product for that matter. As a caregiver, you are looking for ways to increase comfort, eliminate anxiety or stress and provide optimal care for your charge. Knowledge is power and being forewarned is being armed. At the end of this blog, I will provide you with contact information where you can email me with questions or for details of any item mentioned.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR NUTRITION THERAPY:
Proper nutrition is essential for everyone but as we age, it takes on an even greater priority or, it should. For those suffering with any form of dementia and especially those on any kind of pharmaceutical, Whole Food Nutrition isn’t just important … it is an absolute must.

Medications have an extreme impact on the digestive system or the gut. Your gut is literally your second brain, created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation, and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control. It's important to understand that your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are heavily dependent on your diet and vulnerable to your lifestyle.

WHERE TO BEGIN:
Recent research 1/2 indicates that; physical and psychological stressors, environmental toxins, medications, processed foods, sugars and more increase inflammation in the gut. This inflammation will interfere with the signals transmitted to the brain.

Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neuro-degenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes, dementia and cancer.

A gentle Digestive Cleanse using something as simple as Lemon Oil and PB Assist® will tackle gut inflammation and eliminate many of the toxins residing there, allowing the good bacteria to flourish and aid in the increased production of serotonin and the uptake of much needed whole food nutrients … naturally. This helps to retrain the body's systems filters to function normally once again.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION:

An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with pro-biotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating pro inflammatory stimuli to the brain, may also improve depression symptoms, general health and quality of life.

According to a study (2015)3 run by the Mental Health Centre of Kayseri Education and Research Hospital, obesity ran at a higher than normal rate among depressed patients and essential vitamin / mineral / fatty acid levels were much lower as well as the ability to uptake nutrients.

WHAT TO TAKE:

A balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, an energy complex of B vitamins, and 800 IU of vitamin D, readily absorbable minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as organic trace minerals for optimal bone and metabolic health, a unique blend of health-promoting polyphenols from a wide variety of some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables, a unique whole food blend of vegetable powders from some of the healthiest vegetables, including the cruciferous vegetables and a botanical blend of pure plant extracts to help calm the stomach for those who may have experienced stomach upset with other vitamin and mineral products.

In addition, a proprietary blend of therapeutic quality essential oils, plant and algae-sourced omega fatty acids that can help support joint, cardiovascular, and brain health; as well as healthy immune system function.*

Now, you can go to a health food store and purchase these supplements individually and in some cases, two or more blended into one tablet. Chances are, most of what you will purchase is synthetic versions of the vitamin or mineral or many supplements contain fillers which the body doesn’t need but who wants to take a handful of pills in addition to medications currently prescribed? I don’t. This entire composition is available in 2 bottles and the dose I would suggest is ½ the recommended dose ( 2 of each per day) until the body acclimates to the improvements in energy levels, brain and digestive function.

Just an FYI to all you caregivers out there … If you plan to give these supplements to your charge, think about taking them yourself. Remember, the stress you are under as a caregiver will have the same negative impact on your body, mind and spirit as it does to your charge. Taking care of YOU is ALL important. If you don’t take care of YOU, who will take care of your charge if something happens to you?
(The supplements described above are available in the Daily Nutrient Pack®)

Stress, medications and often resulting depression and anxiety take a physical toll on the body. The first order is to help bring body systems back into balance.

To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form.

Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.

Next up: Touch and Massage Therapy using Essential Oils – We’ll discuss the recommended oils to use in both therapies and oils for specific disorders / diseases, improved sleep, reducing stress, depression and anxiety as well as effective massage techniques you can easily learn.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Supporting Research on Nutrition:

Note: These links to the latest research on the importance of Nutrition in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, panic / panic attack disorders, bi-polar disorders and treatment resistant patients will take you to a web page off this blog.

1.    Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R.

2.    Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Porter K, Beversdorf DQ, Lemeshow S, Glaser R.

3.    Evaluation of Nutritional Status of Patients with Depression.
Kaner G, Soylu M, Yüksel N, Inanç N, Ongan D, Bamsrl E.


Monday, July 3, 2017

INCORPORATING ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN DAILY CARE ROUTINES:


Medicine is traditionally considered a healing profession, and modern medicine claims legitimacy to heal through its scientific approach to medicine.1 

The marriage of science and medicine has empowered physicians to intervene actively in the course of disease, to affect cures, to prevent illness, and to eradicate disease.2 In the wake of such success, physicians, trained as biomedical scientists, have focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.3 In the process, cure, not care, became the primary purpose of medicine, and the physician’s role became “curer of disease” rather than “healer of the sick.”4,5 

The medical definition of ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE is : any of various systems of healing or treating disease (as homeopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, Ayurveda, or faith healing) that are not included in the traditional curricula taught in medical schools of the United States and Britain.

There is an enormity of evidence that Alternative Therapies are becoming the norm rather than the rarity.[1] Physicians across the globe are now integrating alternative / complementary therapies into their practices as pharmaceuticals become more dangerous to use lessening the effect of traditional / conventional treatments.

When Alternative Therapies are used in combination with traditional medical practices, it is called INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. Many Americans have never heard of Integrative Medicine, but this current movement has left its imprint on many of the nation's hospitals, universities, and medical schools in recent years yet has been common practice in many European countries.

The Duke University Center for Integrative Medicine is a classic model of integrative care. It combines conventional Western medicine with alternative or complementary therapies, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, yoga, and stress reduction techniques -- all in the effort to treat the whole person. Proponents prefer the term "complementary or alternative" to emphasize that such therapies are used to complement mainstream medicine, and not used as replacements for standardized medical treatments.

With progressively degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s, LBD or Alzheimer’s, the treatment goals are to alleviate pain, decrease stress and improving quality of life. Due to the serious issues with many of the drugs when normally used to meet these goals, traditional medicine has been only minimally effective.

Alternative therapies are often welcome additions to the traditional treatment regimen. These less conventional modes of treatment have the advantage of being much safer than traditional drug treatment while often being even more helpful. Caregivers can also benefit from incorporating these therapies into their daily care regimes.

Integrative medicine got a boost of greater public awareness and funding after a landmark 1993[1] study. This study showed that one in three Americans had used an alternative therapy.

In the past decade, integrative medicine centers have opened across the country. According to the American Hospital Association, the percentage of U.S. hospitals that offer complementary / alternative therapies has more than doubled in less than a decade, from 8.6% in 1998 to almost 20% in 2004. Another 24% of hospitals said they planned to add complementary / alternative therapies in the future. [1] [2]

TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON:
The term “Holistic” means to treat the whole person rather than just a part or symptom. The term “dis-ease” is in relation to the affected individual being ill at ease or dis-eased.
Both doctors and patients alike are bonding with the philosophy of integrative medicine and its whole-person approach - designed to treat the person, not just the symptoms or the dis-ease.

One of the most important things I could ever say to you is this: Integrative medicine starts with and depends upon a partnership between the patient, caregiver and the doctor, where the goal is to treat the mind, body, and spirit [3], all at the same time. If you are reliant on your physician for traditional care, please talk with him / her about incorporating Alternative Therapies into a daily care regime before starting something. 

While some of the therapies used may be non-conventional, a guiding principle within integrative medicine is to use therapies that have some high-quality evidence to support them.

PROVIDING OPTIONS:
There are high levels of public interest in the various complementary and alternative therapies available today. Many people with dementia, and those who care for them, are interested in using these therapies as additions to their conventional treatments, often due to the benefits that they may bring and the image of being 'safe' and 'natural'.

This following explains what complementary and alternative therapies are, and outlines several therapies for which there is evidence of their effectiveness.

Keep in mind, therapies that are considered 'complementary' or 'alternative' in one country may be considered conventional in another. In recent years, the WHO (World Health Organization) has brought researchers together from around the world to work together to find cures and / or therapies for a host of dis-eases. This has opened the minds of physicians worldwide and is reasonable for the blending of modern medicine and alternative therapies becoming more popular in countries where medicine is highly regulated.

WHAT ARE COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES?
The term 'complementary and alternative' covers many diverse forms of therapies.
Complementary and alternative therapies are a broad range of treatments that are outside of conventional medicine and are an alternative approach to promote health and well being while enhancing or complementing any conventional treatment. Many countries such as Canada, view alternative therapies as “preventative” and are often incorporated into daily lifestyles.

The area of complementary and alternative therapies is controversial and changes regularly. Therapies that are currently considered alternative may become more main-stream over time, as researchers discover their effectiveness and they become integrated into mainstream health care practice. Examples of alternative therapies are: aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, bio-feedback, massage therapy, music - sound therapy also referred to as binaural beat technology and sonic entrainment, meditation, art therapy, puzzle / game therapy, chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition therapy and acupuncture. 

HOW ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES WORK WITH CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE IN RELATION TO NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS:

Conventional Medicine
In the US, conventional medicine is based on a biomedical model, where the focus is on treating the disease rather than the whole person. Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) are the most common method of treatment, and often the first order of defense. Invasive medicine, especially surgery, is also common.
There are several problems with this model of treatment for people with neurological disorders (NDs).
  • Drug sensitivity. The drugs may cause more problems than they fix. Anyone with, or at risk for, a Lewy body disorder is also at risk for severe drug sensitivity to many of the drugs used with these disorders. (This also includes anyone with any other dementia diagnosis since dementias are usually mixed.) Inhaled drugs used with surgery can also be problematic.
  • Age. Most people with NDs are elderly. The elderly in general respond poorly to many of the drugs used to treat dementia symptoms such as anxiety and depression. If the person is younger, the ND weakens the body so that it reacts as though it were elderly.

  •         Response to surgery in the elderly. The inhaled drugs used in surgery can cause anyone to have symptoms of dementia for up to six months after the surgery. The drugs, along with the stress of surgery, may speed the process of any ND and may also cause a dormant ND to become active.
  • The quick fix. As patients, we often want a quick fix and we use a pill instead of changing our diet or lifestyle. We choose surgery instead of learning to live with the problem. Medical professionals hand out tranquilizers and pain pills instead of teaching people how to manage these problems.
  • Disease focus. When physicians focus on fixing the disease, they miss needs the person may have that are unrelated to the disease but may be affected by medical treatment. Often, issues that may affect the treatment they prescribe are overlooked. This focus can also result in a patient feeling as though they are less important to their doctor than the disease is resulting in a slower healing progress.
  • Specialization. Physicians are often so specialized that a patient finds themselves going to many different doctors for problems that are really inter-related.
  • Treatment decisions. With traditional medicine, the physician makes the treatment decisions. That’s what we pay them for. They have the education and training and so this often works well. However, with NDs, so much is unknown and so much is hands on. Caregivers usually know more about how their loved one reacts to specific treatments than the doctor does. They also often know more about the disorder involved. Caregivers need to be more directly involved in treatment decisions.


Commonalities in Complementary and / or Alternative Therapies
When ill, positive attitude and thought processes [6] have been found to have a tremendous impact on the expediency of healing. Many people refer to this as instilling Hope. Some may think this may border on the spiritual side of things. No matter where your belief regarding Hope lays, it is one of the most beneficial healing tools innate in all of us.

In dealing with dementia, the same applies. It is important that during times of lucidity, the caregiver stay in “positive mode.” Many of the alternative therapies will help in achieving this.

Most alternative therapies have the following in common:
  • The treatments are safer and often more effective than many conventional drugs prescribed for the same problems.
  • Therapies are person centered, with more attention and time spent with patients, caregivers and families.
  • The goal is to help the patient be more comfortable and to decrease stress and pain rather than to treat a disease.
  • The focus is on treating the whole person—the mind, body and spirit all at once.
  • Most therapies are non-invasive. With the exception of acupuncture, where small needles are inserted into the top surface of the skin, the skin is never broken.
  • Anything ingested will be “natural” rather than chemical.
  • Patients and caregivers are a vital part of the treatment team and both realize the effects and benefits.


SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF THE MIND, BODY, SPIRIT CONNECTION & YOUR HEALTH:
Research over the last several decades demonstrates the fact that you cannot separate the mind, body and spirit in health and healing.

Dr. Trupti Gokani, M.D. wrote: "Research over the last several decades demonstrates the fact that you cannot separate the mind, body and spirit in health and healing." She adds, "The truth is your body was designed to be healthy. True health means that you are healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Studies in the field of psychoneuroimmunology [4] are demonstrating the effects of the mind and spirit in healing the body.[5] Dr. Bruce Lipton, internationally recognized biologist and author of  "The Biology of Belief ", is a leader in teaching about the science of Epigenetics[4]. His scientific experiments prove that your perception or beliefs, affect your health. His studies show that even if you have a gene for a certain disease, it is your beliefs that can turn that genetic issue off or on.
In the acclaimed paper The Placebo Effect [5] you will see documentation regarding the placebo effect specific to Parkinson's patient’s motor control.

Dr. H. Steven Greer conducted several studies, including a study with a 15-year follow up on women with breast cancer, and found evidence that attitude is linked to duration and survival of cancer.[6][ 7] 

Dr. Greer’s study was specific to cancer patients however; his belief extends to the effectiveness of treatment of any disease.

Dr. Trupti Gokani, M.D. continues, “When all 3 parts (Mind, Body and Spirit) are equal and balanced you not only feel good but your life is happier and more complete! Most healing programs work at the level of the body, forgetting the importance of your mind and spirit. This is why you may find yourself searching out multiple practitioners to support your journey to well-being."

It is my sincerest hope you have found this article educational, insightful and empowering when it comes to considering integrating alternative therapies into your care plan. As a caregiver, you can learn how to integrate and apply many of these Alternative Therapies into your daily care regime. Your charges response to them will quickly tell you if there is an opportunity to continue with beneficial results.

In these articles, I will offer suggested uses and evidence based protocols that may help your patient or loved one. Additionally, hands on classes are being formed that will afford you the opportunity to learn specific techniques associated with that particular therapy.

My next article will discuss the beneficial use of Essential Oils used in Aromatherapy, Touch and Massage Therapy and Nutrition Therapy. I believe this to be a core component in positive health care and maintenance for both patient and caregiver. In addition, hands on classes relating to these topics will be scheduled in the Phoenix area. If you are a professional care giver in a clinic or group home environment, we may be able to arrange classes at your facility for the entire staff. If interested and you would like to be notified of the class schedule, please fill in the form at: http://www.lbdtools.com/contact2.php

RELATED RESEARCH, ARTICLES AND PAPERS:
·        [1] Integrative Medicine at Academic Health Centers: A Survey of Clinicians’ Educational Backgrounds and Practices Gillian Ehrlich, DNP; Travis Callender, ARNP; Barak Gaster, MD
  • [2] Statistics on Complementary and Alternative Medicine National Health Interview Survey - http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/NHIS.htm
  • [3] Kulreet Chaudhary, MD / 10/10/2013 at 5:30 AM / doctoroz.com / The Mind - Body - Soul Connection
  • [4] Epigenetics BRUCE LIPTON, PHD - Author of “The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles”
  • [5] The Journal of Neuroscience, November 9, 2005 • 25(45):10390 –10402 Symposium-Neurobiological Mechanisms of the Placebo Effect - Fabrizio Benedetti, 1 Helen S. Mayberg, 2 Tor D. Wager, 3 Christian S. Stohler, 4 and Jon-Kar Zubieta 5: 1 Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin Medical School, 10125 Turin, Italy, 2 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, 3 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, 4  School of Dentistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, and 5 Department of Psychiatry and Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
·        [6] Psychological Medicine / Volume 21 / Issue 01 / February 1991, pp 51-57 Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291700014641  (About DOI), Published online: 09 July 2009 Relationships between emotional control, adjustment to cancer and depression and anxiety in breast cancer patients: Maggie Watson, Steven Greer, Linda Rowden, Christine Gorman, Bernadette Robertson, Judith M. Bliss and Robert Tunmore Cancer Research Campaign Psychological Medicine Research Group and the Section of Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, Surrey

[7] P. Crichton In conversation with H. Steven Greer Published by The Royal College of Psychiatrists http://pb.rcpsych.org/ on February 17, 2014 Psychiatric Bulletin 2000, 24:189-192. http://pb.rcpsych.org/  

To contact Regina with your questions or requests, please click the link below and fill in the form.