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Archive for December 6th, 2009

MDMA for PTSD
Image by ddaa via Flickr

The holidays can be stressful for all of us. For some people, managing stress requires more than time management and breathing techniques. People that have been through trauma are often wired to overreact to stress. For those that have been through trauma events, war, violence, and similar events, everyday stress may be more than they can handle. But help for PTSD and other trauma related conditions is now much more available. According to John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com, EDMR therapy may work in only 5 sessions.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a type of psychotherapy that, among other things, involves thinking about the traumatic event while attending to bodily reactions and moving your eyes left and right, usually following a light or the therapist’s finger. The  therapy focuses on ‘reprocessing’ the trauma memories – essentially remembering and ‘reliving’ them, which seems to play a major role in preventing the uncontrolled memories and flashbacks that are part of the disorder.

Read Dr. Grohol’s article below for more insight into how eye movements can help reprogram people with PTSD’s  nervous systems.

Does EMDR Work in Just 5 Sessions

By John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com

Can eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy technique, work to help people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in just 5 sessions? The short answer is, yes.

And what about its long-term effects of EMDR? Do the benefits continue even after treatment has ended? Yes again.

For the first answer, I turn to Swedish researchers who examined 24 subjects who had just five sessions of EMDR therapy for the treatment of PTSD. After the five-session treatment, 67% of the subjects no longer met criteria for PTSD (compared to 10% of the control group), and there were significant differences post-treatment between the groups in Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scores and Hamilton Depression (HAM-D) scores. These latter two measures helped to measure how the person actually felt (versus some objective, but clinical, third-party diagnostic criteria). That’s significant, because it means that not only did two-thirds of those who received the EMDR treatment not meet the criteria for PTSD any longer, they actually felt better too. Sometimes researchers forget to measure silly things like that.

How about the long-term benefits of EMDR? Do psychotherapy techniques like EMDR actually help people even after therapy has ended?

To answer this question, van der Kolk and associates earlier this year examined the efficacy of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, with a psychotherapeutic treatment, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and pill placebo and measured maintenance of treatment gains at 6-month follow-up. They too relied on the clinical diagnostic criteria of PTSD as the primary outcome measure, but also used the Beck Depression Inventory II as a secondary measure (again, that pesky subjective measure needed to help determine whether any of this actually helps a person feel better!). Eighty-eight subjects were enrolled in the study, and the study again focused on brief treatment — this time, only eight sessions of EMDR were administered.

After the eight week treatment block, fluoextine and EMDR were equally effective,

However, six months later, 75% who had been traumatised in adulthood and were treated with EMDR reported having no symptoms. For people traumatised during childhood, a third treated by EMDR were symptom free at 6 months.

In contrast, none of the people in either group treated with fluoxetine managed to free themselves from symptoms.

As the researchers noted, brief EMDR treatment produces substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma.

So the next time you think psychotherapy has to take months or years to achieve its effects for the reduction in PTSD severity, point your therapist to this entry. Lasting effects can be had in just 5 to 8 weeks.

Read entire article by John M Grohol PsyDhere. Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Link to abstract of clinical trial.

EMDR Practioners in Chicago

• Ann Foster L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center

• Jenny Scanlon L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center

• Nicole Wahlert L.C.P.C.at Millenium Counseling Center

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Looking for a gift idea for someone with plantar fasciitis? Or just want to give a runner a gift that will help them avoid it?  Look to the Vibram running shoe.

Vibram shoe

Read  John Biggs post about Vibram shoes at CrunchGear.com and learn all about his experience with the shoes. Then run to the nearest running store to get your own..and a pair for the runner in your life!

And, no, Working Well Resources and Working Well Massage are not affiliated with Vibram, John Biggs nor do we get any free gear for our post. (Would you trust us if we did?) We’re just happy to pass on the latest info to you, our loyal readers!

Review: Vibram Five Fingers Classic

by John Biggs

I swore I’d never wear them. We called them the Five Fingers of Suck a few years ago and I was sure they were crazy. Friends, I’m here to tell you I was wrong. And I’m sorry.

Here’s my story: I ran a marathon a few years ago. I got plantar fasciitis and couldn’t run after the marathon. I worked through that inflammation but by the time I was ready to run again I had gained thirty pounds. Wham. Shin-splints. So I was a fat former runner with leg problems. The prognosis wasn’t good.

So I tried a few things – the elliptical, weight training, losing some freaking weight – but the thing that saved me were these shoes.

Photo Gallery by Picturesurf

First, a caveat. I’m not a doctor, I’m an amateur runner and a bad one at that. Before you use these shoes, talk to a doctor. I can attest to what they did for me but I have no idea what they will do for you.

We are born to run. Heck, there’s even a book about it. Our first weapon, before fire and spears, was running. You see, animals like gazelles can run very fast for a short amount of time. They have great sprint speeds but they get tired easily. So we, as a pack predator, would get into formation and literally run animals to death. Then we’d eat them. We are good at running.

But we’re good at running barefoot. We’re not good at running in marshmallow-based shoes with padding, support, and protection. In fact, we get injured because of these shoes. There is some data that shows, in fact, that the more expensive the running shoe the worse it is for your feet and legs. I knew something was wrong when my feet would fall asleep while I was running. Something was up.

I don’t want to get into a religious argument – this is like arguing for veganism or onanism and you eventually fall into the hippie trap of equating something to “freedom” – but it makes sense. I bought the best shoes I could find for the marathon. And the shows – and the marathon – beat me down.

So I tried the Nike Free, a thinner soled shoe with separate compartments on the bottom for increased mobility. This got rid of most of my foot pain but I still had ankle pain. I ran a little in regular shoes and then read Born to Run and decided to go naked.

The thinking is this: we can run without injuries barefoot. It’s our natural mode of transportation and by wearing shoes we are weakening our bodies.

However, running barefoot in Brooklyn is a bad idea. So I ordered the Five Fingers Classic for about $75 – I bought 44 for my size 11.5 foot and they fit very well – and waited. I ran. My knees were screaming. My ankles hurt. Then, a few minutes later, all the pain was gone. I was running normally and, thanks to the light weight and comfort I could run longer than I ever could. I could run without stopping, which was a big change for me. I could run for quite a while. The only limitations were the blisters I got during the first few runs. Even those went away.

So I’m a Five Fingers convert. The shoes give your ankles a workout rather than a coddling. I felt my ankles get stronger and my feet get more resilient. I felt some of the pounds drop. I felt good.

They say we need lots of arch support but for most of our biological history we didn’t even know what an arch was let alone how to support it. While these shoes look ridiculous I’m happy to report that they work and they’re now my go-to running shoes.

Link to John Biggs  entire article here.

Where Do I Get Those Funny Looking Toe Sock Looking Shoes?

Order your pair of Vibrams shoes from their website here.

Order from Hanigs in Chicago here.

Or stop by Running Away a running store in Wicker Park located at 1753 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647. Phone: (773) 395 – 2929. Their website here.

Info on Running Barefoot (sans Vibrams) at runningbarefoot.org here.

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