New Life for Caregivers. Part 1

New Life for Caregivers. Part 1

Caregivers come in all ages and are responding to just as wide span of need as they are of circumstances.

Are you a caregiver?

There tend to be two things all caregivers have in common. The first is that they are in service to someone they love or feel a commitment to help; and second is that their service, even when done out of love, is all consuming and influences the trajectory of their life.

Whether you are a caregiver or know someone who is, this article is for you. Even though the focus of my work is upon Alzheimer’s, dementia and overall aging conditions my focus is focused upon you here.

Why? Because the role of caregiver is increasing in our country exponentially to the point of it being an unpaid full time job for many who assume the job. And this has implications for every area of that person’s life all the way to every area of our health as a functioning society.

Many of my memory challenged clients with husbands or wives, moms or dads, cannot be left alone…they need to be watched and if they are not watched, they will at some point, wander off. My clients, these loved ones may be able to still feed themselves, dress themselves and even drive. Yes, they may still have a relatively functional life, these who suffer dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, yet they cannot always do these very simple tasks.

Sometimes they cannot remember what clothes they have, or who their spouses are…and anxiety worsens everything. Anxiety of the caregiver, perhaps someone just like you, that your loved one suffering will be okay…anxiety that you will fail in some small way to be there that will result in them being hurt.

When it comes to those suffering the conditions I help I am keenly aware that evidence shows they will die, eventually…There is no known cure and no known survivors. The clock is ticking and even if it ticks slowly it moves in one direction. Slowly these precious individuals lose their memories, lose the very sense of who they are and caregivers lose the very ones they love.

The prevailing logic is to encourage caregivers to return again and again to memories. There is the encouragement to support the caregivers to understand how to keep themselves healthy as they watch the decline day after day of the one in their care.

Does it have to be that way?
Sometimes decline is the path to be taken but I do not believe it always has to be that way.

If the words of Einstein could stir our hearts, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,’ could we work together towards a different way to grow older in life and navigate debilitating conditions? I believe so.

And my research supports it. Period.

I do not claim to have a cure, but I do claim to be working towards different outcomes creating a breaking light of hope.

Now, if you read my blogs you hear me talk over and again about my modality CranioSacral Therapy. Have you read that we are finding 10-15 minutes of CST on a daily basis is influencing our clients powerfully?

YES! We are finding their memory is returning, they are finding their words more easily and they are recognizing their caregivers.

These kinds of results offer good news for everyone one aging in need of care and everyone assuming the role of caregiver. Taken seriously, the quality of relationship between both parties can go from complicated and stressful to easeful and life giving. Yes, aging can happen with greater grace.

The results my fellow colleagues and I are finding have spurred us with greater vigor to reach for the next level.

Want to learn more about the next level and how it will give you support? Tune in to my next blog.

Want to learn more about CranioSacral Therapy? Email me at info@bodyenergy.net.

 

Evidence That IS CHANGING The Senior Health Care System…For The Better

Evidence That IS CHANGING The Senior Health Care System…For The Better

 

Medical science equipment. Shot in a laboratory by © Andrey Kiselev.

You have surely heard the term, ‘evidenced based,’ and most probably have a pretty accurate idea of what it means. But do you know exactly what it means? While evidence based has brought us many of the present day health care options, it continues to push us onwards beyond the mainstream paradigms into NEW paradigms.

After all, at one point or another, every great breakthrough has come about because it showed its effectiveness in achieving its aimed for goals. Can you remember back about 40-50 years ago when chiropractic was on the fringes? And yet, it is now commonplace for an individual or company to rely upon chiropractic as a part of their health plan.

Evidence based practices (a term coined by Dr. David Sackett are abounding all around us. One of the compelling methods making progress in shifting paradigms and introducing solid results is CranioSacral Therapy. In fact CST is a stellar example of what is referred to by professionals as Evidenced Based Practice, the practical application of evidenced based research and expertise.

Sitting for all to see on the Duke Library website is Sackett’s definition of EBP: EBP is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care.

Clinical expertise refers to the clinician’s cumulated experience, education and clinical skills.

The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal preferences and unique concerns, expectations, and values.

The best research evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology.” (Sackett D, 2002.)

CST is not only showing results coming to us through the trained clinicians’ recorded data- clinical expertise; but also proving its effectiveness in the research projects attentively relying upon the above mentioned ‘sound methodology.’

This is worthy of lifting your eyebrow and piquing your curiosity to learn more.

There are notably three ways a new method’s results are proven.

The first is the evaluation of a program never evaluated before. The pure canvas can be subjected to investigation without the muddiness of having been around for many years in diverse ways.

Second is antecedal evidence, that is testimonials from patients or clients showing desired results.

And third, research subjected to rigorous scientific methodology showing desired results, which in turn are usually published.

CST is showing up with greater and greater recorded success in a category effecting our nation by the millions- patients suffering early to late stage dementia.

YES, CST is actually showing improvement in those diagnosed with conditions that are determined to be going in only one direction- progressively worse.

This is an exciting time for CST as evidence is opening new doors of confidence for doctors and patients alike. CST is slowly being included in other senior health care programs like art therapy, healing touch, music therapy and more.

As evidence mounts, co

sts decrease and practitioners increase…and the health of our nation takes a turn for the better.

*For more information about upcoming research or to participate as a client or practitioner email: info@bodyenergy.net and put HP somewhere in the subject line.

Lessons Learned from the first CSG2 Class

I had the honor of teaching the first 2 day CST and Geriatrics class last week in Southern California. Here are some observations about the class:

1. It works! Students were able to easily learn how to palpate the CranioSacral Rhythm and learn how to do a still point on each other. The easy pace of the class gave students the time to have all their questions answered, get validation, and to gain confidence in their own ability to treat patients.

2. Variations on a theme: How to modify the still point to treat patients in a geriatric setting was very successful. Students learned how to treat in situations that will support more challenged clients.

3. The mix of beginning and more advanced students worked very well. Advanced students (SER 1 and above) were able to refine their listening skills and prepare themselves and apply their knowledge to a geriatric population. In addition, they became a resource for the new students who may want to refer their patients to others for more advanced work.

4. Our presentation of the mechanism of what causes Dementia and Alzheimer’s, which included the inflammatory process, was well received. It was simple enough for everyone to ‘connect the dots’ to their own experience.

5. Lastly, we were able to treat three Geriatric patients that were in their 80’s. Each felt the benefits of the treatment. Students were able to feel and see the changes that their CranioSacral Training brought about. The students were able to practice a simple protocol that, in 15 minutes, allowed them to relax their patients, find areas in the body that needed treatment, and reduce inflammation in the body.

During our time together we found, in the process of treatment, many of our seniors were able to tell their life story and have somebody listen. It was very validating to see our seniors respond in such a positive way.

Alzheimer’s, Dementia and CranioSacral Therapy Part 3

Prevention

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s or Dementia. By their own admission, Pharmaceutical companies admit their products can only mange the symptoms for some amount of time. However, the Craniosacral perspective does offer encouragement.

As we mentioned in Part 1, there are two factors from a craniosacral perspective which we feel contribute to Dementia and Alzheimer’s:

  1. A decrease in production of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)
  2. An increase in the inflammatory response in the body over time.

Increase in CSF Production: In a study published in the American Journal of Gerontological Nursing in 2008, (Craniosacral Stillpoint Technique: Exploring its effects in Individuals with Dementia) we reported that the regular administration of a cranial technique called a still point had positive results over an extended period of time in patients with moderate to severe Dementia. 

Decrease of the inflammatory response: Along with “pumping up the volume” of CSF, Craniosacral therapy and allied techniques have the effect of calming the body and lowering body wide inflammatory response, which again may be a precursor to dementia being exhibited as a symptom.

In our pilot study on Dementia and Alzheimer’s, we took individuals from a rest home and evaluated how the simple application of CST, with the application of what is called a “still point” made a difference in their lives. It would be enough to prevent the progression of this disease from one stage to another. We actually saw clinical and statistical significance-based on an intervention with CST-measuring the impact before during and after the study. The bottom line is that the effect of CST “lingered” even after the intervention stopped. As we continue our research, we are investigating how CST might not just slow or stay the progression of the disease, but even reverse some of the effects. One anecdote from the study-a 100-year-old woman in a nursing home in Minneapolis was able to feed herself and began to speak in sentences over a 6-week period of time.

Prevention, Treatment, CST & Geriatrics

CranioSacral Therapy as a preventative measure is highly recommended.  We feel the influence of CST on patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, no matter what stage they may be at, is so effective that we are developing a class to train caregivers and therapists. The class is called CranioSacral Therapy and Geriatrics-a 2 day class to train laypeople and therapists in treating individuals who also show signs or who actively display symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

Alzheimer’s, Dementia and CranioSacral Therapy Part 1

This 3 part blog on the Larry King CNN Special on Alzheimer’s points out some key elements on risk factors, the pathology of the disease process, and suggestions for prevention and treatment. I will counterpoint key elements of the special with comments on how our research with CranioSacral Therapy complements and enhances these views.

Risk Factors:
From the Larry King special on Alzheimer’s:

“If this is not dealt with, this will cripple the healthcare system.” President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s doctor.

“By the time you’re 85, it’s a coin toss as to whether or not you will have it.” Ron Reagan

“They look like your parent but they become your child.” Maria Shriver

“For caregivers, make sure they don’t do it alone.” Laura Bush

It is estimated that caregivers (estimated to be 15 million people) spend an average of 202 billion hours annually supporting their loved one.

The following is from a compilation of sources relating to risk and environmental factors that seem to contribute to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Larry King mentioned some of these, but some have also been added:

Environmental and Risk factors:

1. Women have double the risk of being affected with Alzheimer’s in later life than men.
2. Dietary factors are high-calorie/high-fat diets, excessive amounts of dietary iron and copper, and low intake of folic acids/folates and antioxidative nutrients such as Vitamins C & E.
3. Low demands on intellectual function, which seem to correlate with increased occurrences of Alzheimer’s.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle. Mental and physical exercise seems to help.
5. History of head trauma.
6. Increased oxidative stress that heightens oxidative damage in the brain tissue

To compliment the above view, from a craniosacral perspective, we have two additional components to add to this list of risk factors:

A. Decreased flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) in an aging population.
B. Increased incidence of inflammatory response in aging humans.

Let’s look at both of these in turn.

Decreased flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid in Aging Population: A number of years ago, Dr. Upldeger (the founder of CranioSacral Therapy) commented that the “turnover” of CSF in middle age adults (the definition of which keeps changing) may be half that of normal healthy younger adults. Our additional research has shown that in elders with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, the flow of CSF is again half as much. To put numbers to this, normal CSF flow is 800ml a day, which may decrease to 400ml daily, and in Dementia and Alzheimer’s, down to 200ml a day.

Why is this important? CSF has a “washing” action, which removes heavy metals across the blood brain barrier. The less flow there is the more opportunity there is for the brain to “clog up” with plaques, tangles, and other factors typical of the memory loss and eventual overall decline found in Alzheimer’s patients.

Increased incidence of inflammatory response in aging humans: Simply put, as we age many people accumulate “pockets of inflammation” in the body that are a result of disease processes such as Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease and the like. In some cases, that ongoing inflammation “overflows” across the blood brain barrier and begins to compromise the brain tissue. In many of the patients in our research project, we found prior disease states to be a part of their history.