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Magnolia-General use and Preparations

In Chinese herbalism, magnolia bark, hou po, is associated with the stomach, lungs, spleen, and large intestine. It is used to treat menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and gas, nausea , diarrhea, and indigestion . Injections of magnolia bark extract are said to cause muscle relaxation. It is also used in formulas to treat coughing and asthma.

The bark is said to make the qi descend and is used for symptoms of disorders thought to move upward in the body.

Research suggests that compounds  found in magnolia bark may have mild antibacterial and antifungal properties.

These studies are in their preliminary stages, however, and have been limited to test tube research. Magnolia flower, xin yi hua, is associated with the lungs. It is used to treat chronic respiratory infections , sinus infections, and lung congestion. Its main function is to open the airway. Little scientific research has been done on the magnolia flower.

Magnolia bark and root are also used occasionally in Western herbalism, although they are not major healing herbs. At one time, magnolia root was used to treat rheumatism, and was thought to be superior to quinine in treating chills and fever. It is not used much today. Russian herbalists use an oil extracted from the flowers and young leaves to treat hair loss and as an antiseptic on skin wounds. In homeopathic medicine a tincture of magnolia flower is a minor remedy for asthma and fainting.

Preparations

Magnolia bark is most commonly used in the following formulas:

• Agastache: for treatment of stomach flu and gastrointestinal upset. • Apricot seed and linum: for treatment of chronic constipation and hemorrhoids.

• Bupleurum, inula and cyperus: for treatment of stressrelated gastrointestinal disturbances. All these formulas can be made into teas or are commercially available as pills or capsules. Magnolia flower is most commonly used in xanthium and magnolia formula.

It is used to relieve sinus congestion associated with a yellow discharge and to treat allergy symptoms such as runny nose. This formula can be made into a tea or is available in commercially produced capsules.

American herbalists dry magnolia bark and root and pound it into a powder or make a tincture that is taken several times daily. Russian herbalists soak the bark in vodka.

Precautions

Chinese herbalists recommend that magnolia bark not be used by pregnant women and that magnolia flower be used with caution if the patient is dehydrated.

Side effects

There are no unwanted side effects reported with normal doses of any of the different uses of magnolia.

Large quantities of magnolia preparations, however, havebeen reported to cause dizziness. In addition, allergic reactions to the pollen from magnolia trees are not unusual.

Magnetic therapy

Definition
Magnetic therapy is the use of magnets to relieve pain in various areas of the body.

Origins Magnetic therapy dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians. Magnets have long been believed to have healing powers associated with muscle pain and stiffness.

Chinese healers as early as 200 B.C. were said to use magnetic lodestones on the body to correct unhealthy imbalances in the flow of qi, or energy. The ancient Chinese medical text known as The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine describes this procedure. The Vedas, or ancient Hindu scriptures, also mention the treatment of diseases with lodestones. The word “lodestone” or leading stone, came from the use of these stones as compasses. The word “magnet” probably stems from the Greek Magnes lithos, or “stone from Magnesia,” a region of Greece rich in magnetic stones. The Greek phrase later became magneta in Latin.

Preparations

There are no special preparations for using magnetic therapy other than purchasing a product that is specific for the painful area being treated. Products available in a range of prices include necklaces and bracelets; knee, back, shoulder and wrist braces; mattress pads; gloves; shoe inserts; and more.

Precautions
The primary precaution involved with magnetic therapy is to recognize the expense of this therapy.

Magnets have become big business; they can be found in mail-order catalogs and stores ranging from upscale department stores to specialty stores. As is the case with many popular self-administered therapies, many farfetched claims are being made about the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. Consumers should adopt a “let the buyer beware” approach to magnetic therapy.

Persons who are interested in this form of treatment should try out a small, inexpensive item to see if it works for them before investing in the more expensive products.

Side effects

There are very few side effects from using magnetic therapy. Generally, patients using this therapy find that it either works for them or it does not. Patients using transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depression reported mild headache as their only side effect.

Research & general acceptance

Magnetic therapy is becoming more and more widely accepted as an alternative method of pain relief.

Magnetic therapy is also being studied in the treatment of depression and for patients with bipolar disorder.

A procedure called repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation has shown promise in treating this condition. In one study, patients with depression had a lower relapse rate than did those using electroconvulsive therapy.

Unlike electroconvulsive therapy, patients using magnetic therapy did not suffer from seizures, memory lapses, or impaired thinking.

Mercurius vivus-description and preparation

Description

Mercurius vivus is the Latin name for a homeopathic remedy made from elemental mercury. The English word quicksilver is a literal translation of the Latin. Although Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathic medicine, also formulated a soluble preparation of mercury that he called Mercurius solubilis, most contemporary American homeopaths regard them as essentially the same remedies and use them to treat the same symptom profiles.

General use

According to Dr. von Boennighausen, Mercurius vivus is the remedy of choice for acute disorders of the skin and mucous membranes characterized by severe inflammation with pus formation and possibly areas of broken or raw skin. Disorders with this symptom profile include eye infections with discharges of pus; bacterial infections with pus behind the eardrum; sore throats with open patches of skin and pus formation; urinary tract infections; and such diseases of the skin as herpes and boils.

Other disorders that are treated with Mercurius vivus include backache, chickenpox, colds, diarrhea, influenza, indigestion, mouth ulcers, and toothache accompanied by heavy salivation.

The general symptoms that would suggest Mercurius vivus to a homeopath include heavy, foul-smelling perspiration; foul-smelling breath and body odor; copious, drooling salivation. Mercurius vivus patients are easily irritated by temperature or other environmental changes, and they are comfortable only within a narrow range of circumstances. They tend to tremble or shake, are generally weak, and easily tired by activity. These patients are slow to respond to treatment and infected parts of the body take a long time to heal and often appear severely diseased.

The mental and psychological symptoms of Mercurius vivus patients include restlessness, an agitated quality, and a tendency toward impatience and willfulness. The English word “mercurial” describes this general temperament. The patient may jabber or chatter rather than talking at a normal pace, and may act on impulse. These impulses sometimes lead to violence; Mercurius vivus patients may act out suicidal or murderous thoughts. Other personality traits of the Mercurius vivus patient are quarrelsomeness and dissatisfaction.

Preparations

The most common form of Mercurius vivus preparation on the market is 30c or 30x tablets, although the remedy is also available in liquid form. The abbreviation 30c means that one part of mercury has been diluted with 99 parts of water or alcohol; this ratio is called a centesimal potency. This process of dilution, along with vigorous shaking of the remedy, has been repeated 30 times to achieve the desired potency.

A potency of 30x is a decimal potency. In a decimal potency, one part of the medicine is mixed with nine parts of alcohol or water; thus 30x means that this decimal dilution has been repeated 30 times. In homeopathic practice, the strength of the remedy is in inverse proportion to the amount of chemical or plant extract in the alcohol or water; thus a 30c preparation of Mercurius vivus is considered a much higher potency than a 30x preparation. The tablet form of a homeopathic remedy is made by pouring the diluted liquid over sugar pills.

Precautions

Taken by itself, mercury is poisonous to humans and can cause irreversible damage to the nervous system even if the patient survives. Other symptoms of mercury poisoning include burning thirst, swelling and discoloration of the membranes lining the mouth, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and shock.

Hahnemann’s interest in accidental poisonings from medicines that were commonly used in the eighteenth century is one reason why mercury was one of the first substances that he studied. Since ancient times, mercury had been used for medicinal purposes to cleanse fever victims of toxins. In the modern world, however, mercury poisoning is more likely to result accidentally from breathing metallic vapors given off in certain industrial processes rather than from mercury-based medicines. Standard homeopathic preparations of Mercurius vivus are so dilute that they are highly unlikely to cause mercury poisoning even if the patient takes a sizable overdose.

McDougall diet

Definition

The McDougall diet provides the structure of a low-fat, starch-based diet to promote a broad range of such health benefits as weight loss and the reversal of such serious health conditions as heart disease , without the use of drugs.

Origins

The McDougall diet began as a challenge to Dr. John McDougall by one of his patients. The patient simply asked him if he believed that diet is connected to the health problems he saw in his patients. At that time, McDougall believed the answer to this question was a definite no.

The patient challenged him to ask his patients what they were eating, in order to see if there might be any relationship between their eating habits and their diseases.

McDougall agreed, and the McDougall diet was born. McDougall was a plantation physician based in the village of Honokaa, Hawaii. In his practice, he handled a variety of medical problems from delivering babies to performing brain surgery on accident victims.

Although he felt a lot of satisfaction in saving people’s lives, McDougall was bothered by his inability to help patients with such disease conditions as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.

He decided to further his education and took up another residency in internal medicine.

During his internal medicine residency, McDougall did countless hours of research on the effects of diet and lifestyle on chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, the literature he read seemed to conflict with the approaches he was being taught in his residency.

McDougall began to change his own diet as he studied the literature. Over a period of a year, he began to cut out meat and dairy products and began to focus on eating more green and yellow vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

He noticed many improvements in his own health, such as lower weight, lower blood cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. The St. Helena Hospital and Health Center in Deer Park, California offered him an opportunity to present his diet program at their facilities in 1986.

Benefits

Many patients who have undertaken the McDougall diet have found an improvement in such conditions as:

• high blood pressure

• diabetes

• headaches

• constipation

• mild arthritis

• fatigue

• body odor

• oily skin

• allergies

Another possible benefit of the McDougall program is that patients may find themselves spending less for food. In addition, McDougall points to the possibility of saving considerable amounts of money by avoiding serious and costly health problems.

Description

The McDougall diet focuses on adopting a dietary regimen and lifestyle that encourages human beings’ natural tendencies to be healthy. The program is based on proper foods, moderate exercise, adequate sunshine, clean air and water, and surroundings that promote psychological well-being.

Massage Therapy

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 Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of normalizing those tissues and consists of a group of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of or to the body.

These techniques affect the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, and other systems of the body.

The basic philosophy of massage therapy embraces the concept of vis Medicatrix naturae, which is aiding the ability of the body to heal itself, and is aimed at achieving or increasing health and well-being.

Touch is the fundamental medium of massage therapy. While massage can be described in terms of the type of techniques performed, touch is not used solely in a mechanistic way in massage therapy.

One could look at a diagram or photo of a massage technique that depicts where to place one’s hands and what direction the stroke should go, but this would not convey everything that is important for giving a good massage. Massage also has an artistic component.

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Because massage usually involves applying touch with some degree of pressure and movement, the massage therapist must use touch with sensitivity in order to determine the optimal amount of pressure to use for each person.

For example, using too much pressure may cause the body to tense up, while using too little may not have enough effect.

Touch used with sensitivity also allows the massage therapist to receive useful information via his or her hands about the client’s body, such as locating areas of muscle tension and other soft tissue problems.

Because touch is also a form of communication, sensitive touch can convey a sense of caring—an essential element in the  therapeutic relationship—to the person receiving massage.