Acupuncturist releases CD-ROM on pain relief

Massage therapist calls her approach 'trigger point self-help'

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004

CD-ROM release party

Valerie DeLaune will hold a CD-ROM release party this Friday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at her office at 223 Gold St. Call 463-3026 for more information

Valerie DeLaune wants all her patients to take a tennis ball around to reduce their physical pain.

DeLaune, a Juneau acupuncturist and neuromuscular massage therapist, has been teaching her patients to apply pressure with the tennis ball on their own muscles that cause pain.

"Depending on the muscles, they can lie on the ball," DeLaune said. "I recommend my patients include a tennis ball in their travel bag."

DeLaune calls the approach as "pain relief with trigger point self-help." She will release a CD-ROM under the same name this Friday.

"My patients don't always remember everything I tell them," DeLaune said. "With the CD-ROM, they can check it if they have questions."

DeLaune said trigger points are areas of cells in the muscle where blood flow has been reduced and metabolic wastes are not exchanged for oxygen. These form knots that one can feel when they are pressed.

"Trigger points are caused by injuries, overuse, nutritional problems, endocrine system imbalances, some diseases and infections or stress," DeLaune said.

Trigger points often are not located in the area where one feels the symptoms so working on the area of pain doesn't afford relief, DeLaune said. Shoulder pain can be caused by lack of oxygen in muscles ranging from one's upper arms to neck.

Massage and self-help techniques on trigger points help reverse the dysfunctional metabolic cycle of the muscle cells. By pressing on the trigger points and making them hurt a little bit more than they already are, it causes one's body to release pain-masking chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins.

DeLaune's CD-ROM drew heavily from the research of Janet Travell and David G. Simons.

Travell was the first female White House physician. She pioneered and researched new pain treatments, including trigger point injection. She treated President John F. Kennedy when he was still a senator. Kennedy, at the time, was using crutches because of crippling back pain.

Treating trigger points with massage for 15 years and with acupuncture for seven years, DeLaune added her own observations and self-help techniques in the CD-ROM. Users of the CD-ROM can place the cursor over the area they feel pain and a slide-out list of muscles will appear. A click on each muscle will take readers to symptoms, possible causes and self-help tips.

"Many people think their pain is going to walk away," DeLaune said. "It's not that simple."

• I-Chun Che can be reached at ichun.che@juneauempire.com.



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