Thursday, May 24, 2007

Uma update from John, with a couple of questions


Uma 5.23.07

Hi again everyone,

Thank you for the replys to my email. It’s nice to
hear from people.

Yesterday in physical therapy (according to Marie who
took Uma there) Uma turned her right wrist over a few
times and moved her right upper arm away from her
body. And last night she simultaneously squeezed my
hand and flexed her bicep.

We walked well over a mile yesterday. This is good for
her because it builds up her endurance and muscle
tone. I question a little bit whether it’s good for
her walking form though and will ask the PT on Friday
about. The reason being that, like practicing a
musical instrument, what good is practicing for hours
if you’re not exercising proper form or technique? or,
in this case, does the form and technique evolve as
her brain heals and circumvents the damaged and dead
areas? I’ll try and find out. It may just be one of
the many “unknowns” of this whole challenge.

I have some questions for anyone out there who might
know. They are:

what is the benefit/risk, if any, of accupuncture or
accupressure for paralysis/brain damage?

What is the benfit/risk, if any, of hyperbaric oxygen
treatment for stroke/brain damage?

Are there any health insurance programs for small
businesses (two people)? Do they require information
about previous health conditions?

Uma’s condition improves a little every day. One of
the side effects of this is that she becomes more
frustrated and angry. More awareness = more awareness
you know what I mean?

But yesterday on our walk her awareness showed itself
in that she didn’t just plow through and keep going in
her sort of wobbly struggle. She slowed down and even
stopped a couple of times to think about the placement
and shape of her right leg. She pointed to it and
asked, loudly, “Why?!” I answered every question I
could think of with the fewest words possible followed
by several tons of encouragement and a review of the
history of her recovery since we got home.

She’s great. I’m lucky.

I really do believe that every thought and prayer and
expression of love counts for her. Thank you.



goingRAWr! said...

Article for John about Acupuncture in Stroke Rehabilitation. There are varying results from different studies of course, and I always recommend you find a really great acupuncturist who uses actual needles that actually go into the skin. None of this electroacupuncture, vibration nonsense.

I also suggest finding a good healer (I think these days there is a shortage) to help with both emotional and physical recovery, and sometimes they give you good tips about diet.

I still think that including more raw foods in the diet and doing lots of juicing of vegetables, fresh fruit etc is a brilliant idea and will definitely aid her recovery.

Will update you when I've done a little more research into other alternative therapies.


Maija said...

Hello...I am a liscensed Acupunctureist I'd like to share some info.

I have had the good fortune of working with a noted Acupuncturist and MD in China that specializes in stroke rehabilitation and I have
worked on a few patients myself. The good news is that Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) can help and in fact both the United Nations World Health Organization and
the National Institutes of Health endorse Acupuncture as a treatment for stroke-related disabilities.

As far as risks...there is very little. The methodology behind TCM is to help the body focus on healing itself but the problem with stroke related disabilities is
that longer you wait, the less likely that the impaired part of the brain will recover and regenerate. As for the risk of the Acupuncture itself, we use only sterilized one-time-use only needles and improper insertion is very very rare. Statistically,
there are significantly more risk with Western medicine than Eastern medicine.

The truth is that there is hope for Uma but there is no magic bullet. Everyone responds differently to TCM and it can take time. Also understand that TCM is a highly personalized therapy, I can't begin to understand how to treat Uma or well she might or might not respond until I have meet with her.

Also, I understand that finances are an issue. Most insurance companies do cover Acupuncture... you can always call yours and ask what your benefits include but do make sure that you are quoted for Acupuncturists that are out-of-network (few are
in-network for various reasons).

If TCM still seems financially out of reach, I absolutely suggest going to a TCM university clinic were the fees are very low and
all treatments are overseen by licensed Acupuncturists.

FYI, it's a 3000 hour Masters of Science to gain a license so the students that would help treat will
have been in school for 2 years or more.

And last but not least, no one other than someone who is trained in nutrition and assessed Uma from a medical point of view should dispense dietary suggestions. Raw food and juicing is not a panacea and can do more harm then good if someone’s digestive function is not working due to possible parasympathetic nervous system problems or a low functioning pancreas that isn’t producing the proper enzymes needed for digestion.

I hope this has been helpful...

All best, Maija Merchant, L.Ac.

goingRAWr! said...

Dear Maija,
That's awesome that you an Acupuncturist! It's something I hope to learn very soon myself. All your advice was very informative and your experience is something that calls for much respect.

I just wanted to say... I only suggested that having some/ more raw food and juices would help Uma (not that they are a panacea) and I don't believe one needs to assess people to tell that Truth.

Sure, some people have wetter, colder consitituions and don't do as well with raw but it's certainly not dangerous. In fact you use less pancreatic enzymes to digest raw food than cooked. At first, some people may have difficulties adjusting depending on body type but I do believe in the long term it is an ideal way to eat.

Also, even though I'm a Western Trained doctor (a field I do not wish to continue in) I do actually know about nutrition and have studied TCM (which itself is also not infallible). So I wasn't simply spouting it off the top of my head.

The bottom line is, we are all trying to help Uma and hope that she recovers as quickly, and as wholly as possible.

Do you live in LA Maija? Maybe you could treat Uma if they can afford it. I'm sure you'd be invaluable with all your experience in both Acupuncture and Stroke Rehab.

Peace and Love

Brooke Erdmann said...

This is not an answer to your questions.. and maybe not an answer at all but when I read your blog (and your questions re: acupuncture, health insurance etc.) it was the very first thing that came to mind.

Craniosacral Therapy

Laura Whipple is wonderful.

I have her number.. if interested -- she's in Hollywood.