World Mental Health Day

mental-health-2019924_1920

Today is World Mental Health Day, a global event that raises awareness of mental health issues, highlights support available and campaigns for more to be done to ensure everyone gets the care that they need.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 50% of UK adults believe that they have had a diagnosable mental health problem in their lifetime, yet just 33% have received a diagnosis.

Furthermore, young people are particularly vulnerable to ill mental health, with one in five adolescents experiencing a mental health problem in any given year and one in 10 children and young people clinically diagnosed.

According to our 2018 Members’ Survey, more than 82% of FHT members regularly support clients experiencing stress and anxiety, while over 34% support clients with a diagnosed mental health condition.

Many studies have looked at the effects of complementary therapies for mental health problems, with one recent study suggesting that aromatherapy could aid people experiencing depression.

A team of scientists at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University conducted a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials (five on aromatherapy through inhalation, eight in aromatherapy massage and one involving both methods).

The 12 selected trials involved a combined total of 1,226 subjects, of which 984 were female and 224 male, with a mean age of 47. Treatment times and frequency varied across the studies. The selection of essential oils used were determined by the aromatherapists. Where the oils were inhaled, lavender and bergamot were primarily used, whereas the aromatherapy massage studies opted for a wider range of oils, including lavender and rose otto.

Two of the five inhalation-based studies and five of the eight massage trials reported improvements in symptoms. Aromatherapy massage was also found to be more effective than inhalation for alleviating depressive symptoms.

Read more about World Mental Health Day and access online resources

Massage therapy assists in elite para-athlete recovery

Paracycling low res.jpg

Massage therapy can improve sleep and muscle tightness to aid recovery in elite para-athletes, according to a study published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine (Kennedy et al, 2018).

In a mixed methods study, scientists invited nine members of Team Roger C Peace, an elite para-cycling team from South Carolina, USA, to receive one hour of massage therapy each week for four weeks, before switching to every other week until the respective athletes left the team or the two-year study ended.

Seventeen massage therapists were recruited, who on average had been practising for 14 years.

To monitor progress, the athletes agreed to complete a questionnaire before and after each massage session, with closed and open-ended questions on athlete goals, stress, sleep, muscle tightness, spasticity and pain. Additional information was collected from programme feedback and treatment notes from the massage therapists.

The results at the end of the study revealed improvements in sleep and muscle tightness from baseline, which was supported by individual testimony from the athletes describing how the massage had assisted their recovery while training.

See the full open-access study at fht.org.uk/IT-124-paracycling

References

For full references, go to fht.org.uk/IT-references

Photo by Seth kane on Unsplash

 

We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Spring 2018 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.

Acupuncture may be more effective than ibuprofen for lumbar disc herniation

Acupuncture has a more favourable effect in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation than lumbar traction and ibuprofen, according to a recent study published by the BMJ.

Acupuncture shutterstock_233138302

Scientists from Guangzhou, China conducted a systematic review and meta analysis of randomised controlled trials in leading scientific databases to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation (LDH).

After an extensive search, the scientists narrowed down the study to thirty randomised controlled trials, involving 3503 clients, that were published in either English or Chinese and compared the effects of acupuncture with western medicine, lumbar traction, tui na and other techniques for LDH.

The results indicated that acupuncture alone had a ‘more favourable effect in the treatment of LDH than lumbar traction, ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, meloxicam, mannitol plus dexamethasone and mecobalamin, fugui gutong capsule plus ibuprofen, mannitol plus dexamethasone, loxoprofen and huoxue zhitong decoction.’

Access the full study here

Image

Indoor air pollution as harmful as car fumes, study finds

pexels-photo-50631

The shampoo, deodorants, air fresheners, cleaning products and even perfumes in our homes could be creating as much air pollution as the transportation sector, a new study finds.

Conventional wisdom maintains that outside air pollution from cars, industry and public transport are the main sources of air pollution. While this was true in previous decades, today particle-forming emissions from chemical products are about twice as high as those from transportation. According to this new study, as cars get cleaner, VOCs come increasingly from consumer products.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) atmospheric scientist Jessica Gilman, a co-author of the new paper, attributes this disparity partially to differences in how we store those products versus fuels. “Gasoline is stored in closed, hopefully airtight, containers and the VOCs in gasoline are burned for energy,” she said. “But volatile chemical products used in common solvents and personal care products are literally designed to evaporate. You wear perfume or use scented products so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma. You don’t do this with gasoline,” Gilman said.

What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are any chemical compound that evaporates into the atmosphere at room temperature, potentially causing health effects within the environment.

Many VOC concentrations are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. They are emitted by a wide array of products, including paints, varnishes and wax, as well as many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. It is thought around 350 different types of VOCs exist in our indoor environment.

What effects can VOCs have?

VOCs can react with the atmosphere to produce either ozone or particulate matter—both of which are regulated in many countries due to the potential health impacts, including lung damage.

There’s a wide range of long- and short-term health effects associated with exposure to VOCs, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

How can you reduce VOCs in your home?

Store paint, paint thinners, pesticides, particle board, fuel, cleaners, and similar materials in a detached shed or garage to protect your family from VOCs.

Let fresh air in by opening a window, or using exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom.

Decorating with houseplants is an easy, inexpensive way to absorb VOCs and other toxins. Some of the best plants for cleaning your air are aloe, spider plants, chrysanthemums, Chinese evergreens, and peace lilies.

Cleaning regularly can reduce VOCs already in your home, and can be done without introducing new VOCs. Use lemon juice and olive oil as a healthy wood polish, or a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with water to prevent mildew in your bathroom.

Dig into DIY deodorisers. Herbs and flowers can make a lovely potpourri, and simmering cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves, or other spices on the stove will produce a welcoming aroma. Natural essential oils are also popular as air fresheners.

Read about the study here. You can also learn more about making your own products with essential oils at our 2018 Training Congress, where Penny Price will be running a session entitled Making Aromatherapy Skincare Products. Find out more on our website.

 

 

Music can help clients change their tune

piano-instrument-music-keys-159420In our last issue of International Therapist, our regular case study feature came from Nicolle Mitchell, who discussed her treatment of a client living with dementia. We documented her treatment plan and approach, as well as the client’s history.

We’ve now received an update via Facebook from Nicolle, which touches on other aspects of her client’s treatment. She writes:

This gentleman, is a lover of jazz & musician. He is usually very vocal & often does not know when he is being vocal which I interpret as frustration, distress and having unmet needs. He cannot walk or see. Within minutes he had quietened and started to pick out rhythms with his fingers. I quietly watched & delighted in his joy & engagement.

We’ve also looked at other benefits music can confer. In our latest issue of International Therapist, we hear from Dr Stella Compton Dickinson about ways that music can improve wellbeing.

You can read Nicolle’s original case study here. Her update on Facebook is here. And our latest article, on the benefits of music, is here.

We also love hearing from our members about their work. If you have a similar case study you’d like to submit, contact our deputy editor, Dan Ralls, at dralls@fht.org.uk.

Want to receive our magazine right to your front door? Join us today to keep up to date on the latest in therapy news and trends.

Greater muscle strength – better cognitive function for older people

Senior Couple Stretching at the Gym

Greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function in ageing men and women, according to a new Finnish study. The association of extensively measured upper and lower body muscle strength with cognitive function was observed, but handgrip strength was not associated with cognitive function. Cognition refers to brain functions relating to receiving, storing, processing and using information. The findings were published in European Geriatric Medicine.

The study population comprised 338 men and women with an average age of 66 years. Their muscle strength was measured utilising handgrip strength, three lower body exercises such as leg extension, leg flexion and leg press and two upper body exercises such as chest press and seated row. Sum scores to depict lower body and upper body muscle strength were calculated separately, and cognitive function was assessed using the CERAD neuropsychological test battery with calculated total score.

Handgrip strength is relatively easy and fast to measure, and it has been widely used as a measure of muscle strength in various studies. However, this new study could not demonstrate an association between muscle strength and cognitive function when using a model based on mere handgrip strength and age. Instead, an association between muscle strength and cognitive function was observed only when sum scores depicting upper or lower body muscle strength were included in the model.

‘The findings suggest that it may be justified to go beyond the handgrip and to include the upper and lower body when measuring muscle strength, as this may better reflect the association between muscle strength and cognition,’ says Early Stage Researcher Heikki Pentikäinen, the first author of the article, who is currently preparing a PhD thesis on the topic for the University of Eastern Finland.

Exercise is known to have various health benefits, and strength training is a way for practically everyone to increase muscle mass and enhance muscle strength. However, the association of muscle strength with various aspects of cognitive function is a relatively under-researched area. The study provided new insight into the methodology of measuring muscle strength and into the role of muscle strength in cognitive function. The study constituted part of the extensive, population-based DR’s EXTRA study, which was a four-year randomised and controlled intervention study analysing the effects of exercise and nutrition on endothelial function, atherosclerosis and cognition. The study was carried out at Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine in 2005–2011 and it involved more than 1,400 men and women living in the eastern part of Finland.

Source

Image

College of Medicine calls for student essays on sustainable healthcare

The College of Medicine is currently accepting entries from students of all health and social care professions for the esteemed Michael Pittilo Essay Prize 2017.

Student at laptop shutterstock_133874060_lo res

First launched in 2010, the Michael Pittilo Essay Prize recognises and celebrates the integration of conventional and complementary approaches to healthcare.

Entries are open to UK students studying any healthcare discipline at degree level or above, including CAM therapies that are statutory regulated or on an Accredited Register, approved by the Professional Standards Authority.

The College of Medicine’s summer conference will this year explore ways in which sustainability is redefining our health system and to correspond with this theme the essay question for the Michael Pittilo Prize is:

‘How can patients, communities, healthcare professionals and governing bodies work together to ensure sustainability of the healthcare system?’

Essays (1,500 words) need to be submitted by 9 July 2017 to lauren.quinn@collegeofmedicine.org.uk

The FHT is delighted to have been a member of the judging panel for eight consecutive years and looks forward to publishing the winning essay in International Therapist.

Read the winning essay from 2016