March 14, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Massage

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.

Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.

So What Is It Exactly?
Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies are defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. Specifically:

Massage: The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. The many variations of massage account for several different techniques.

Bodywork: Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body.

Somatic: Meaning “of the body.” Many times this term is used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach as distinguished from a physiology-only or environmental perspective.

There are more than 250 variations of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies and many practitioners utilize multiple techniques. The application of these techniques may include, but is not limited to, stroking, kneading, tapping, compression, vibration, rocking, friction, and pressure to the muscular structure or soft tissues of the human body. This may also include non-forceful passive or active movement and/or application of techniques intended to affect the energetic systems of the body. The use of oils, lotions, and powders may also be included to reduce friction on the skin.

Please note: Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies specifically exclude diagnosis, prescription, manipulation or adjustments of the human skeletal structure, or any other service, procedure or therapy which requires a license to practice orthopedics, physical therapy, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychotherapy, acupuncture, or any other profession or branch of medicine.

Physical Rehab?

March 14, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Therapies

Physical rehabilitation is the process of physically recovering from your ailment and adjusting to any physical changes you may experience. Different diseases or injuries and their treatments affect some survivors’ bodies more than others. You may have been able to physically recover from disease or injury on your own. Or, you may have a hard time physically adjusting to life and want to seek help from a medical professional.

Medical professionals who can help you with physical rehabilitation focus on:

  • Restoring your independence
  • Preventing other physical problems you may get from being inactive for so long
  • Assisting you with adjustments from physical changes and disabilities
  • Helping you physically handle day-to-day activities

For some survivors, life after disease or injury means learning how to live with major physical changes. You may have to find new ways to do things or change the things you do on a daily basis. This may affect you emotionally. It’s perfectly understandable if adjusting to physical changes upsets you. The information in this site can help you identify whether you would benefit from getting help with your physical rehabilitation. If you want to learn more about how physical changes can affect you emotionally, you should talk to a mental health professional.

A physical rehabilitation plan is something you can develop with the help of your health care team. A part of your physical rehabilitation plan may be working with therapists who specialize in helping your body recover after your trauma. These therapists can help you with physical changes throughout your survivorship.

Who can benefit from physical rehabilitation?

Recovering from disease or injury and its treatment is difficult for many survivors. Getting back to work, regaining your independence and feeling like you have enough energy to get through the day may take time. It’s important to give your body some time to recover, but if you are struggling with your physical recovery at any time during your survivorship, you can talk to your health care team about physical rehabilitation.

Working with a therapist on physical rehabilitation is usually recommended for survivors who have a leg or arm amputated, receive a prosthetic, or experience any other serious physical change that interferes with their mobility or ability to physically function. It can also be helpful for survivors who experience minor physical changes but still have a hard time physically adjusting to life afterwards. If you feel like the physical effects are seriously interfering with your life after your treatment ends, you can ask a member of your health care team if you would benefit from help.

Medical Therapy No Help

March 14, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Western Treatment

Patients in their 80s appeared to get no benefit from commonly used cardiac drugs when they have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, data from a small retrospective study suggest. Action Points

Explain to patients that this study found no benefits from medical treatment of patients older than 80 with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction.

Note that the findings were based on a retrospective subgroup analysis of a larger study and involved a relatively small number of patients, which may have limited the ability to identify significant differences.
Antihypertensives, vasodilators, and statins all failed to make an impact on survival during five years of follow-up, Ernst R. Schwarz, M.D., Ph.D., of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center here, and colleagues reported online in the American Journal of Cardiology.

In fact, the only significant difference in medication use between patients who died and those who survived five years went in the wrong direction.

“The benefits of statins and other common cardiac medications in patients older than 80 with heart failure and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction should be vigorously and specifically studied in this patient population with the intention of showing both a validated therapy and insights into novel mechanisms of disease and disease modification,” the authors concluded.

The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for management of chronic heart failure emphasize treatment of hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and clinical symptoms in patients with preserved ejection fraction.

Medication classes suggested in the guidelines include beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics, the authors noted. Statins also have been studied in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction.

However, the benefits of these commonly used medications in heart failure patients older than 80 had not been established, the authors said.

To examine the issue, they performed a subgroup analysis of a larger study involving patients of any age with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction.

The authors identified 142 study participants who were older than 80. Complete records were available for medical history and medication use.

During the five years of follow-up, 98 patients (69%) died. The authors could identify no significant differences between survivors and those who died.

Comparison of patients who died or survived revealed no statistically significant impact on survival from use of:

  • ACE inhibitors or ARBs, P=0.912
  • Beta-blockers, P=0.891
  • Calcium-channel blockers, P=0.690
  • Diuretics, P=0.303
  • Digoxin, P=0.233
  • Statins, P=0.321

“Furthermore, no medication use showed a decrease in adjusted all-cause or cardiac rehospitalization,” the authors said.

“However,” they noted, “patients using calcium-channel blockers had a statistically significant increase in annual cardiac rehospitalization.”

Also noting an increased risk of adverse drug effects in older patients, the authors called for more judicious use of medications in that patient population.

“There was no proven benefit for pharmacologic therapy, and yet there were costs, both financial and physiologic,” the authors said. “Despite the lack of proven benefit, there was still moderate use of many common cardiovascular medications in this patient population.”

The authors noted that “the present study was limited by its small retrospective nature. The limited sample size of this pilot study led to a lack of statistical significance in multiple trends in mortality with various medications.”

They also noted that effects of different agents within drug class and different dosages of different agents were not assessed.

The authors reported no disclosures.

By Charles Bankhead, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: March 13, 2009
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Primary source: American Journal of Cardiology
Source reference:
Tehrani F, et al “Value of medical therapy in patients >80 years of age with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction” Am J Cardiol 2009; epub.

New Rating Systems

March 13, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition

If you find your supermarket labels confusing, help is on the way. New rating systems are coming this year.

Toni Hope, health editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, says the new systems can help you make healthier choices if you know how to use them.

“The big one coming out this year is Smart Choices. Foods get the Smart Choices checkmark if they meet federal dietary guidelines. They show you the number of calories and the number of servings per package right on the front of the package,” said Hope.

Good Housekeeping says nutrition labels coming to a number of big chains, including Albertson’s, are good if you want to know about particular benefits, such as fiber or whole grains.

While we’re at the supermarket, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. If you don’t want them in your food, you’d better look closely at the ingredient labels. Don’t assume products that look natural are free of artificial sweeteners.

Samantha Cassetty, R.D., Good Housekeeping’s nutrition director, says most people think of little sweetener packets when they think of artificial sweeteners, but the sweeteners are also in some very surprising products.

“Some even include the word ’sugar’ in their name or they say they’re ‘naturally-flavored.’ But when you take a closer look at the ingredient list, you’ll find that there are some sugar substitutes among them. Look for words like ’sucralose,’ ‘acesulfame potassium,’ ‘aspartame’ and ’saccharin,’” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration says these sugar substitutes are safe, but some people just don’t want them as a part of their or their kids’ daily diet.

“Artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value. They’re in products that might look all-natural, and some of the products that they’re in say that they’re naturally-flavored. So if you’re the type of person who wants to avoid them, you really have to be on the lookout,” Cassetty said.

I know a lot of people worry about artificial sweeteners. And nothing I say will change your mind. But just for the record: the government’s National Cancer Institute says there is no clear evidence of an association between artificial sweeteners and cancer in people.

School Nutrition Programs

March 13, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition

The USDA is defending their school nutrition, food stamps, and other public nutrition programs to the government, saying that there is no concrete proof that these programs contribute to the country’s obesity epidemic.

The USDA nutrition programs will cost an estimated $73 billion in fiscal year 2009. Currently, around 31.8 million people accept government food stamps and 61 million Americans are affected by the food programs in some way. it is estimated that the numbers of Americans who need food ass stance will increase during the current recession.

However, some critics blame the programs, which include food stamps, the government’s Women/Infants/Children program, and school milk programs, for contributing to the nation’s obesity problem.

Both educational and governmental experts state that there is no definitive link between the government’s food programs and the current obesity problem, which affects some 32% of U.S. children.
President Obama has proposed a $1 billion increase in childhood nutrition funding, part of which would go to school nutrition and food programs.

The Cost of Not Having a Heart Attack

March 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Disease & Wellness

A great article on keeping employees healthy, from MLive and Wendy Wigger. I know this comes as no surprise. But when it comes to wellness programming, how do you know if the money you invest in helping to create healthier employees will pay off?

With much of its focus on prevention of disease, decreasing risks associated with disease and creating healthier lifestyle habits, measuring the impact of worksite wellness can seem to be an elusive and daunting task. Think about it — if your programming is doing a good job of preventing disease, how do you measure the heart attack that never happened?

The reality is that while it may not be easy, there are steps you can take to create a good baseline for measuring the long-term impact of your program. It starts with realistic expectations, outlining your goals and setting the stage to monitor your program impact. The following data sources and evaluation methods can give you a good start:

• A health-risk appraisal can provide an aggregate look at the health status and behaviors of your employees. While the data is self-reported, the information can be a good baseline and annual barometer of changes in employee behaviors, health risks and readiness to change. You can monitor changes in risk levels by monitoring whether employees are moving from high to moderate risk, or moderate to low risk.

• Biometric screens can arm employees with clinical measures that can make for an even richer health-risk appraisal report — for both the employer and individuals. In addition, monitoring the changes in screening factors such as body-mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other risk factors can provide another baseline against which to measure your program’s impact and cost savings based on reduced risks.

• Your health care claims can help tell your medical story as well. We know that much of the cost of health care is associated with chronic disease — much of which is preventable through good lifestyle habits. Work with your health plan to monitor trends and changes in the type of claims and associated costs, but be realistic in terms of your results.

There are many factors that contribute to health care costs beyond disease and lifestyle habits: improvements in technology, pharmacy costs and physician malpractice rates, just to name a few. So, while worksite wellness can make a difference, this alone will not be the answer to solving the increase in health care costs.

Claim costs also can point to misuse of benefits. For example, if you find your employees are using the emergency room for non-emergencies like the flu or sneezes and sniffles, you may need to adjust your plan to have a higher ER co-pay.

Employees absent from their jobs — whether due to health issues, family needs or a lack of commitment — means increased costs to the employer. Worksite wellness programs can have a positive impact on absenteeism through improved morale, creating healthier employees and providing helpful life balance skills.

Monitoring and trending your “unscheduled” absences for your employee population — prior to launching your wellness program as well as afterward — also can point to a potential area of cost savings.

Another factor is employee turnover. If you’re losing good employees even in these tough economic times, a quality wellness program sometimes can make the difference between someone staying with you or going to the competition.

It’s important to offer your employees a variety of creative ways to stay fit and healthy. It’s equally important to know whether these kinds of wellness efforts are achieving bottom-line results.

Welcome to Our New Site!

March 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under BBW News

Welcome to the new home of Back Bay Chiropractic. You’ll notice we’ve changed the name a bit. The term “wellness” really covers all that we do here better than just chiropractic.

Feel free to browse the site. We hope you will look to us for all the latest news on what’s happening in the wellness world.

We’ll be adding new sections and features on an ongoing basis. So feel free to sign up on the home page to get all the latest articles as we post them. You can also subscribe with your favorite newsreader.

If you have and comments or questions, head over to the Contact Us page and let us know!

-Your BBW Dr’s & Staff

If it Works for Humans…

March 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Disease & Wellness

As more people are seeking a natural approach to their own health, it is no surprise that many are doing the same for their dogs.

Holistic care looks at the whole dog on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. It is thought that most illness and disease is a result of unresolved emotional issues. Just as Einstein believed all life was made of energy, holistic care focuses on healing your dog’s body and its energy system.

While holistic care is not meant to replace veterinary care, it can be a wonderful addition to it. While most dog owners are familiar with acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments, there are a number of simple and affordable methods that you may not be aware of.

Nutrition is vital to your dog’s health. Many people do not realize an improper diet can result in health issues such as allergies and behavioral problems such as separation anxiety. Supplements can also be supportive. MSM and glucosamine are frequently used for mobility issues, often reducing or eliminating the need for pain relief. Kinesiology, also called muscle testing, is a way to determine what food and supplements are best for your dog.

Canine massage can provide relaxation, relief from muscle soreness and comfort for dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia. It is beneficial for performance, aging, and less active dogs.

Homeopathy is a method known for treating the cause of the condition, not just the symptoms. For the dog owner, homeopathic remedies are best used to resolve acute conditions like diarrhea, vomiting and insect bite or vaccination reactions.

Animal communication is something everyone can do; it is just a matter of awakening the intuitive abilities inside of you. By talking to your dog, you can find out how they are feeling, why they are acting a certain way, help resolve behavioral problems and develop a stronger relationship.

Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing that is offered in hospitals such as MD Anderson. It can have amazing results in calming your dog, helping with illness and discomfort, and providing comfort to both of you when it is time for them to pass on.

Holistic care can help your dog live a happier, healthier and longer life. When you take the time to connect with your dog’s body, mind and spirit, you can also experience a deeper bond like never before. And through this journey, you can profoundly affect your own life, too.

Kim Shotola has worked with animals at the Houston Zoo for over 17 years. She has been a supervisor for 14 years, helping manage the care of over 1,000 domestic, livestock, wildlife and exotic animals in the Children’s Zoo. She is a holistic animal instructor and consultant and has a private practice that is not affiliated with the zoo. To learn more about holistic animal care, please visit Kim’s website.

Chiro & Kids’ Backpacks

March 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Chiropractic

Take The Pain Out Of Returning To School

Article courtesy of the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association

Parents are being advised to shop wisely for school bags as the new school year approaches.

“Backpacks are best, but make sure they’re not too big or too heavy,” says Dr Simon Kelly, a spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.

Carrying heavy bags can cause chronic shoulder, neck and back pain, even in young children.

“Most kids are carrying too much weight in their backpacks. In fact, with large textbooks, sports gear and laptops all in the one bag, the weight kids are carrying often exceeds recommendations for adult weight bearing in the workplace.”

Dr Kelly says children need to learn how to pack their bags, lift and wear them properly.

“We recommend parents invest in a good quality, ergonomic backpack with wide shoulder straps. The bag should be no longer than the wearer’s torso – from the base of the neck to the hips.”

Dr Kelly advises parents to keep an eye on their children’s posture when wearing their backpacks.

“If they’re leaning forward, the bag is too heavy, poorly fitted or badly packed. Make sure heavier items are at the bottom of the bag, closer to the child’s centre of gravity.”

Limiting loads to less than 15 percent of the child’s body weight can help prevent back pain and buying the right size bag is important.

“Don’t buy a small child a big bag hoping they’ll grow into it. They will always try and fit as much in there as they can.

“Make sure they carry their backpacks on both shoulders to spread the load and always check that the bag you’re buying meets their approval. If it’s not cool, they won’t wear it!”

10 Golden rules for backpacks

1. Buy backpacks with wide, padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Padded straps help absorb the load while narrow straps can dig painfully into shoulders.

2. Look for a backpack with “S” shaped shoulder straps. These will ergonomically contour to a child’s body.

3. Choose a backpack with a moulded frame and/or adjustable hip strap so the weight of the full backpack will rest on the child’s pelvis rather than their shoulders or spines.

4. Be sure the backpack is the right size. It should not be wider or longer than your child’s torso, (i.e. from the bony bump at the base of the neck down to the top of the hips.)

5. Pack heavy items so they are closest to the child’s back and make sure they can’t move around. It is important to be balanced in the natural centre of gravity.

6. Make sure the child understands that carrying a backpack over one shoulder will cause back pain and possible injury.

7. Consider the weight of the backpack when empty. Canvas bags are lighter than leather.

8. Suggest to children that they use lockers to store unneeded books and sports equipment.

9. Don’t try to save money by buying the biggest pack ‘to last through college’ – buy one that is appropriate to the child’s size, and one they approve of.

10. Chiropractic care can help. If you or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call your chiropractor (visit for a list of NZCA members). They are licensed and trained to diagnose, treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. They can also prescribe exercises to strengthen muscles and advise on posture.

The chiropractic profession in both Australia and New Zealand has been so concerned about the availability of suitable backpacks that both have endorsed Chiropak Schoolbags made by Spartan Bags. The bags, which were developed at the Macquarie University’s Department of Health and Chiropractic, are ergonomically designed and reduce muscle fatigue and stress on the spine.

They have an internal spine which can be adjusted to mould to the carrier’s back, contoured adjustable shoulder and chest straps, waist straps with hip pads, split compartments and compression straps to centre the contents of the pack and extra padding for comfort.