Acupressure for animals with cancer – healing touch

I love using acupuncture to treat animals with cancer but it involves finding an acupuncturist in your area and some areas simply do not have acupuncturists for animals. It can also be expensive and while most of my clients believe it is worth every penny, it is not always an option for people on a fixed income.

So a great option if you can’t find an acupuncturist is to find an acupressure practitioner or to do some acupressure on your own animal.

th-1Here is a good guild to finding an acupressure practitioner Tallgrass acupressure practitioner search.

There are many, many ways to work with cancer through acupuncture/acupressure points. There is no one right way. Below is how I normally work with cancer. You may have found another way in another book. Do what feels right to you or use a combination of different styles.

Points can be massaged in small circles or sometimes holding light pressure on a point will work better in some animals. If you massage use clockwise circles.

I was taught visualizations to go along with the points. I find that they can help but if they don’t feel right to you just use the pressure or massage.

The system of acupuncture I use is based on traditional Chinese veterinary acupuncture and uses mostly shu or association points that run in the bladder meridians along the spine. There are two bladder meridians, in the dips just lateral to the spinal column that run along side it.

The following points lie just to the side of the spine in the bladder meridian. I have included meridian point names where there is crossover. I always start my treatments with Tian Men.

  • Fei Shu or Lung Association Points (BL13) – find the scapulas on your dog or cat. Between the scapula and the spine is a little depression on both the right and the left side. Fei shu lies in this depression towards the cranial (closer to the head) part of the scapula. Massage both fei shu points as you think about a soft white mist – like a slightly foggy day in the forest, slightly cool. Think of healthy lungs, moving air in and out with nice deep breaths.
  • Gan Shu or Liver Association points – If you go to the last rib and count four ribs towards the head and then trace that forth rib up to the bladder meridian you will find these points. Often there is a slight change in hair color at this point along the spine. Massage these points as you think of a cool mountain stream that is brilliant green in color. There are no obstructions in this stream. Think of your animal moving and stretching and there blood flowing through the body smoothly.
  • Pi Shu or Spleen Association Points (BL20) Count in to the second rib from last rib and trace that rib up to the bladder meridian. As you massage these points think of a hot, dry yellow clay desert with the sun shining down from above. Think of your animal eating well and there digestion moving in the body.
  • Shen Shu or kidney association points (BL23) Go to the most caudal (closest to the tail) aspect of the last rib. From there make a line perpendicular to the spine and follow that up to the bladder meridian. Kidneys in Chinese medicine have no parts, a yin and a yang component. We will focus more on the yin component with these points but visualize both. Massage these points and picture a deep black sea, out of the seas raises a bright blue fire serpent, shining against the black water. Picture you animal lying happily, content after a long day. They are strong and healthy.

The following points are not on the bladder meridian

  • Tian Men is on the midline of the body right behind the boney bump on top of the head, level with the back of the ears in most dogs. Tian Men helps to open up the channels down the spine and open up obstructions in the body, it also helps to calm and relax most animals. I always start with this point as I feel like it helps the other points to work better and relaxes the cat or dog I am working with. As you massage this point think of the love you want to share with your animal.
  • Bai Hui is along the spine at the junction between the lumbar spine and the sacrum. When your animal is standing find the front of the hips and follow them straight up to the spine. There is a small depression where bai hui is. Bai hui works with Tian Men to complete the opening down the spine and to remove obstructions. Massage this point and think of the sun shining down on this point and energy following into your animal and helping to make them healthy. Note: Human acupuncture practitioners – bai hui is in a very different spot in animals than in humans where it is located on top of the head)
  • Hou San Li (ST36)
  • This point is in the fleshy area to the side of the leg bone about a 1/3 of the way between the knee and the hock, closer to the knee. It can be massaged on either side or on both sides. I recommend doing just one side at a time. As you massage this point think of your animal eating well, picture their immune system, little white blood cells fighting the cancer cells.

Why these points? My main goals in animals with cancer is to stimulate qi to increase the immune response in the body against cancer and to move stagnation which is often the cause of cancer. Secondary goals are to alleviate pain, promote digestion, help with detoxification in the body and stimulate appetite.th

The three organs that stimulate qi production are lung, spleen and kidney. I work with the association points for these organs along the bladder meridians through the points fei shu, pi shu and shen shu.

In addition I always work with liver because it helps to move stagnation in the blood and body and helps with pain. I use the association points gan shu for this.

I often use a point called hou san li or ST36. This point helps to stimulate the immune system, promotes digestion and appetite and is a longevity point.

Bai hui and Tian Men helps to open up the meridian system and remove obstructions. Bai Hui stimulates the yang vitual energy of the body. It is also a very strong intension point. My acupuncture teacher always said that if you could just use one point you could use bai hui and send you healing intension anywhere in the body.

In addition to these points I will sometimes use other points but these are the core points that I feel like really help animals to fight off cancer and have better quality of life. If you are working with an acupuncture or acupressure practitioner ask them to show you the points they use on your animal.

There are many very good books on acupressure for cats and dogs. Here are a few of my favorites.

Acu-Dog a Guide to Canine Acupressure

Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure

Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs

In addition there are acupressure programs. Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute offers classes that can be taken online and DVDs and books.

Complete Article HERE!

The Life Matters Media Connection — Relationships and Intimacy

A new posting for my Relationships and Intimacy column on the Life Matters Media website is now available.

 

Life Matters

 

To find my latest column titled — Culture Wars and the End of Life look HERE!

Here’s what The Relationships and Intimacy column is all about:

The medicalization of dying, in hospitals, in extended care facilities and even in hospice, often leaves little room for the most human of experiences—intimacy. And yet being close to those we love—being able to touch and be touched, as well as having the privacy we need to express our feelings—are essential elements to living a good and wise death.

The sea change taking place in the popular culture, with regards to sexual minorities, people with disabilities, as well as seniors and elders, may not always be reflected in the way we care for those at the end of life. Conscious dying is virtually impossible if those around us are insensitive to our intimacy needs. And the truth is, this is just as pressing a concern for people in traditional relationships as it is for those in non-traditional relationships.

The Life Matters Media Connection — Managing Our Mortality

A new posting for my Managing Our Mortality column on the

Life Matters Media website is now available.

 

Life Matters

 

To find my latest column titled — Is Death The Enemy? look HERE!

Here’s what The Managing Our Mortality column is all about:

We are notorious for ignoring and denying death; we keep death out of sight and out of mind, postponing any serious considerations until death comes knocking at our door. This inevitably leaves us unprepared and frightened as we face our own mortality. We seldom get around to asking ourselves; “Will my death be good? Will it be wise? Will it matter?”

Death is not only a universal fact of life, part of the round of nature; but it’s also a necessary part of what it means to be human. Everything that we value about life and living—its novelties, challenges, opportunities for development—would be impossible without death as the defining boundary of our lives. So planning for the inevitable, especially when death is not imminent, is important work for us all.

Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage

Married on July 11 in Maryland, John Arthur is in hospice care and “certain to die soon.” He and his husband have sued to ensure their marriage is recognized by Ohio officials at Arthur’s death.

By Chris Geidner

A federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials Monday to recognize the marriage of two men that was performed in Maryland on the death certificate of an Ohio resident in hospice care who the judge says “is certain to die soon.”

John Arthur & husband“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’” Judge Timothy Black wrote in granting the couple a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until 5 p.m. Aug. 5, unless the court extends the order at a later date.

“By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex

marriages,” the judge concluded, Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate[] the United States Constitution.”

The couple’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, said in a statement, “This order is a major step on the march toward marriage equality in Ohio.”

Addressing the constitutional question, Black explained, “Although the law has long recognized that marriage and domestic relations are matters generally left to the states, the restrictions imposed on marriage by states, however, must nonetheless comply with the [U.S.] Constitution.”

To that end, the court examined the Supreme Court’s decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act this June in United States v. Windsor, the 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans, and in other decisions addressing differential treatment found to be unconstitutional under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Looking at Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages, while acknowledging its recognition of the marriages of opposite-sex couples who would not be allowed to marry in Ohio, Black concluded, “The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.”

According to the order, Obergefell and Arthur live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and “have been living together in a committed and intimate relationship for more than twenty years.” The order also notes “they were very recently legally married in the state of Maryland pursuant to the laws of Maryland recognizing same sex marriage.”

The order notes that Arthur is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which prompted the couple to fly to Maryland on July 11 to get married.

As Black put it, the couple “traveled to Maryland in a special jet equipped with medical equipment and a medical staff necessary to serve Mr. Arthur’s needs, whereupon Plaintiffs were married in the jet as it sat on the tarmac in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. They returned to Cincinnati that same day.”

The lawsuit seeking to have the couple’s marriage recognized was filed against Gov. John Kasich and other state and local officials on July 19.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office defended the state’s laws in filings with the court on Monday, but Cincinnati city lawyers representing Dr. Camille Jones, the vital statistics registrar for the city, declined to defend the law, telling the court, “The City will not defend Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages,but the City’s vital statistics registrar is bound to follow Ohio law until that law is changed or overturned.”

Asked about the court’s issuance of the order on Monday evening, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told BuzzFeed, “We don’t comment on pending litigation other than to say the that the governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Complete Article HERE!

To get married, they left Ohio

Crossroads Hospice offers the gift of a perfect day to its patients, a chance for the dying to do something they’ve always dreamed of. One man asked to ride an Indian motorcycle for his 100th birthday; an extended family went on a bus tour to view Christmas lights; a woman flew to Florida to stick her feet in the sand one last time, then died three hours after she came home.

 

 

John Arthur’s been a patient of Crossroads since March, but it wasn’t until June 26 that he settled on his notion of a perfect day. That morning the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. As he watched the announcement from a medical bed in his Over-the-Rhine condo, Arthur and his partner of 20 years, Jim Obergefell, decided that they wanted to marry.

photo2A wedding for the couple would not be easy. Because same-sex marriage is illegal in Ohio, and because the Supreme Court ruling left marriage bans at the state level intact, Arthur and Obergefell couldn’t marry here. The prospect of travel was difficult because Arthur is bedridden with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe. Within minutes of the Supreme Court decision, the couple started working the phones, email and social media to figure out how they might legally wed.

New York was the closest to drive to, but they’d both need to be there for the license and return for the wedding. Out, they decided.

California and Washington, and the knot of northeastern states that have legalized same-sex marriage, were too far.

Maryland required only one partner to come for the license. Then a 48-hour waiting period.

It was an hour and 10-minute flight.

This might work, they decided: A destination wedding in Baltimore.

Then there was the cost.

Arthur has been unable to leave the couple’s home since March, and he’d need a medical transport plane that could accommodate a stretcher. Though hospice could provide some services, like the ambulance ride to the airport, it couldn’t cover the $12,700 cost of renting such a plane.

Obergefell asked friends if they had any connections. Instead donations poured in from relatives, friends, former co-workers, even someone in Ireland they’d met on a cruise. They covered enough of the cost to make the trip possible.

Obergefell flew to Baltimore on Tuesday, obtained the marriage license and flew back a few hours later.

And then on Thursday Arthur and Obergefell boarded a Lear jet at Lunken Airport with a nurse, two pilots trained in emergency medicine, and Arthur’s aunt, Paulette Roberts, who’d been ordained to perform weddings with the hope that she’d someday get to do theirs.

They touched down in Baltimore at 10:39 a.m. The plane parked off the runway and the pilots stepped outside.

And then, in the cramped cabin of the jet, Obergefell seated next to Arthur’s stretcher, the couple turned to each other and held hands. Roberts sat behind them and began to speak.photo3

“When I obtained ordination and license to marry people, I called my nephew John and told him I would go anywhere, anytime to officiate at his and Jim’s marriage,” she said. “He and Jim both said no. They were married to each other in their eyes, but that they would not take part in a wedding ceremony until the law of the land declared they were equal to other couples.”

“Twenty-six months ago John was diagnosed with ALS,” she continued. “Since then the amazing relationship between John and Jim has become even closer, even more devoted, even more loving – and it was pretty damn great before John became ill.”

Obergefell spoke, choking back tears. They exchanged rings. Roberts pronounced them husband and husband, and Obergefell leaned over to Arthur and kissed him.

“Let us all rejoice,” Roberts said, as she leaned forward to hug them both. “I love you very much.”

“That was beautiful,” Arthur responded, his voice thickened and slowed by his disease. “And thank you for including the word ‘damn.’ ”

The 7 1/2 minute ceremony was over, and as they celebrated with Champagne, the pilots climbed back in and prepared to leave. After 56 minutes on the ground they were headed back to Cincinnati, matching rings on their left hands, finally married after 20 years, six months and 11 days together.

“I’m overjoyed,” Arthur said. “I’m very proud to be an American and be able to openly share my love for the record. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Arthur and Obergefell’s story is a dramatic example of what gay couples who live in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage are experiencing in the wake of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. Trapped between federal law that recognizes such unions and state laws that don’t, they are unsure what their next move should be.

Like Arthur and Obergefell, many of them never expected to have a chance to wed in their lifetimes. But now with the prospect of marriage so close, they are impatient with the prospect of waiting still longer for their state to allow it.

Arthur’s terminal illness added urgency to the questions that many gay couples without the protection of marriage grapple with. Ask such couples why they want to get married, and after the jokes about housewares and bridesmaids subside, the talk often turns to the dark what-ifs that reside at the end of life.

photo4What if my partner’s in cardiac arrest and the emergency-room staff won’t let me in? What if my partner’s family challenges my custody of our son after she’s gone? What if, as in the case of the DOMA plaintiff, my partner dies and I owe $363,000 in estate taxes instead of the nothing that a heterosexual spouse would owe?

Arthur’s ALS diagnosis intruded on the life the couple had carefully built together over two decades. Though they met twice, rather unremarkably, through a friend in 1992, at Arthur’s New Year’s Eve party that year they experienced what they call “love at third sight.” Within seven weeks they had exchanged rings, and that summer they moved in together. “Jim came to our wild New Year’s Eve party,” Arthur said, “and he never left.”

Through new houses, job changes and extensive travel, they accumulated dozens of close friends and enjoyed the company of family. As same-sex marriage became legal in a handful of states, people asked if they’d considered going somewhere to marry, but the notion of a symbolic ceremony with no tangible benefit didn’t appeal to them. Even less appealing was the idea of moving somewhere new simply to enjoy the right to be married.

“Jim and I met here in Cincinnati. We have established our friends and family circle here,” says Arthur. “Even though we thrive on local conflicts and the absurdity of what happens in the great state of Ohio, we’ve never seriously considered moving because to move we wouldn’t have our social base. So it’s never been a real consideration.”

“And we both love Cincinnati. It’s a great city to live in,” adds Obergefell, who works as a consultant for an IT company. “We can’t imagine living anywhere else. And leaving the support network we have wasn’t really an option. Since his diagnosis that’s been even more important because our friends our family have been unbelievably supportive and helpful, and it’s made this horrible situation with ALS much more bearable, and enjoyable, amazingly enough.”

In the two-plus years since the diagnosis, Arthur has progressed from a cane to a walker to a manual wheelchair and then a motorized one. For a time the couple drove a minivan, a vehicle they never dreamed they’d own, because it was easier for John to get in and out of it. Since the spring they’ve relied on friends to come by for visits, as leaving the house finally became too difficult.

They’ve been touched by small kindnesses at every turn: Arthur’s former babysitter who’s corresponded regularly with him, a friend’s five-year-old who drew a picture of the couple that’s now framed on the wall, the friends who’ve shown up en masse for a brief hour or two of levity.

The couple, both 47, belong to a sandwich generation when it comes to gay rights, wedged between previous generations who were often firmly closeted, and younger gays and lesbians who have grown up seeing same-sex couples on television. Arthur and Obergefell say they’ve never known discrimination personally, never had a family member reject them because of their sexual orientation, never considered it more than a small part of who they are.

“We’ve always been out at work,” Arthur said. “But we’ve never been our own personal Pride parade either,” Obergefell added.

But the lack of a marriage license took on new meaning in light of the ALS diagnosis. The disease attacks the nerve cells that control the muscles we move voluntarily. As the nerve cells die, patients are unable to move their arms or legs; eventually the muscles that control breathing are also affected. It is a cruel and relentless disease that kills most patients between two and five years after diagnosis. There is no cure.

Arthur’s symptoms began innocently enough in the spring of 2011, with a left foot that seemed to drag and slap. The couple was preparing for a trip to Finland to visit exchange students they’d hosted. When they returned he went to their primary-care doctor, who sent him to a neurologist. Though there is no definitive test for ALS, the neurologist eliminated other possibilities and told Arthur his conclusion.

“I had no idea that would be the diagnosis. It caught me by surprise,” he says, tearing up at the memory. “I just remember I came in the door and turned to Jim and said, ‘I have ALS.’ Without even anything close to a full understanding of the implications, it was a very painful moment.”

Health insurance had been an ongoing issue for the couple, as some employers allowed them to share a policy and others didn’t. But insurance and other health-related matters suddenly took on added significance. Still reeling from the news, they had to prepare powers of attorney and other legal documents designed to circumvent the kinds of problems every unmarried couple fears.

They decided to sell their two-story condo and move to a single story, and they put the new place in Obergefell’s name alone to avoid any future probate problems. Obergefell’s employer has allowed him to work from home, but he has had no protection under the federal Family Medical Leave Act.

It’s unclear whether that will change now that they are married. No one knows what federal benefits couples would qualify for if they live in states that don’t recognize their marriages. Some benefits are granted based on where a couple lives, and others on where they were married. Leaving a state of residence that bans gay marriage to marry in one that allows it could further complicate things. The federal government is working now to untangle the confusion, but it could be years before it’s all sorted out.

Critics of allowing same-sex marriage argue that there are ways to extend legal protections to couples, to make sure they are never shut out of a partner’s hospital room or taxed extra because of their status, without changing the meaning that marriage has held for centuries. They want to create a “separate but equal” category for gay couples, a strategy that’s never succeeded in other questions of civil rights.

But in addition to rights, there is the question of recognition. To have one’s relationship viewed as equal to those of straight couples, to be able to check “married” on surveys and tax returns, is as important as the rights and protections that a valid marriage confers.

“In our minds we’ve always been married, but now I can actually say John’s my husband and have a piece of paper, and a Supreme Court ruling, and a federal government that says yes, he is your husband,” said Obergefell. “I’m overjoyed that we’ll now have a piece of paper that confirms what we’ve always known in our hearts – that we’re an old, married couple who still love each other.”

Next year Ohioans will likely have the chance to vote on whether to repeal the 2004 ban on gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to marry here. There are economic arguments in favor of repealing the ban, as many large companies prefer an environment in which all their employees enjoy the same rights. There is the argument that society benefits when it encourages loving, committed relationships and helps them flourish. And as Ohio combats brain drain, repealing the ban on same-sex marriage could help make the state more attractive to the many young adults who now leave for urban centers out of state.

But we believe this is the strongest argument of all: That couples who are already fulfilling the responsibilities of marriage, caring for each other in sickness and in health, should enjoy the privileges of marriage as well. They should be able to depend on the rights that many of us take for granted. They should be able to raise their children without having to carry adoption papers on a flash drive around their neck, and own property together without worry of what will happen to it upon death. They should be able to marry in the presence of family and friends, no matter where they live, and finally feel like full citizens no matter whom they love.

Complete Article HERE!

Israeli rabbi: Weed is kosher if it’s medicinal

An Israeli Orthodox rabbi ruled that distributing and smoking medicinal marijuana is kosher, but using weed for fun is forbidden.

medical_marijuana1Efraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of Mazkeret Batia, a town south of Tel Aviv, made the distinction in a recent halachic ruling, NRG, the news site of the Maariv daily reported on Friday. Leading rabbis frequently weigh in on matters of reconciling halacha, or Jewish law, with modern living.

Zalmanovich’s ruling modifies an opinion by Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora,who in March told Israel’s Magazin Canabis: “If you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.”

Zalmanovich, the author of a book on alcoholism in Judaism, said: “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden.”

However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is “performing a mitzvah,” and the person using the drug is using it “in a kosher fashion.”

Some 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana, including people with post-traumatic disorders and Parkinson’s disease, according to the Israeli health ministry.

Complete Article HERE!