resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Another Chance to Make a Difference
Just a few months ago, "the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy" hit Louisiana. During this storm, one area experienced 31 inches of rain in 15 hours as almost 7 trillion gallons of water rained down in just one week across the state.
Meshing TCM With Environmental Pediatrics: Where's the Overlap?
Pediatrics has a long history within Chinese medicine dating back to the late Han dynasty (i.e., the late 200s CE), with the two primary areas of emphasis being herbal medicine and xiao er tui na (pediatric massage).
Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion. For example, aperitifs – drinks consumed before a meal to stimulate appetite and digestion – were originally derived from bitter herbs.
Molecular Motors: Tiny Machines Behind the Rhythm of Life
In the clinic, we aim to restore healthy patterns of movement for qi that has gotten trapped or misdirected, or may have even collapsed. We may be focused on freeing stagnation, releasing heat or redirecting counterflow qi, but it often comes down to helping re-establish a flow of sorts.
DVT: Know the Signs and You Could Save a Life
I lost a friend several months ago. He died from a pulmonary embolism (PE) secondary to a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) that originated in his lower leg. Bobby was in his mid-60s, soft-spoken and had a big heart.
Assessing Core Stability and ROM: 5 Basic Checks
One of the first steps in addressing core stability is assessing static posture, ranges of motion, and motion of the pelvic bones, sacrum, femurs, lumbar spine and thoracic spine.
A Letter to the Profession from the New President at AAAOM
Volunteering for a national, nonprofit organization brings with it such highs, lows, and accomplishments, as well as a steep learning curve.
A Simple Protocol for Holiday Stress
It's winter, a time when we should be deep in reflection, eating warming foods and sleeping long hours. Following nature's rhythms, we restore our bodies and minds in preparation for the renewal of spring.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Pt. 2)
Most overuse injuries are benign, but there are some high-risk injuries that, if unrecognized or inappropriately treated, can result in significant loss in time from the sport or even require leaving the sport.
Can a Multivitamin Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence?
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multivitamin supplements in cancer prevention. However, with respect to preventing breast cancer recurrence, an important study was published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment in 2011 by Kwan ML, et al.
All Fiber Is Not Created Equal
Sometimes the best place to start is at the end. So, the conclusion of this article is that all fiber is good ... but some fiber is better. Let's break it down. There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
6 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet
People often ask me what defines success. Success, for me, is simple: doing exactly what you want to do in life. Whether it's the kind of practice you run, your life at home, your hobbies or something else, it's achieving anything you put your mind to.
Southwest Acupuncture College Brings It to Division 1 Athletes
When Michael Phelps' photograph with the distinctive round marks left by cupping went viral, the Division 1 student athletes treated through the Dal Ward Athletic Center at the University of Colorado (CU) could relate.
2016: A Year in the Life of Acupuncture
Happy Holidays, may you, your family and friends have peace, joy and blessings throughout this special time of year. As 2016 comes to a close, we can look back and celebrate the many events and accomplishments for the profession of acupuncture.
Dedicated to Defending Chiropractic
Whether you're a veteran DC or a first-trimester student, the name George McAndrews should be part and parcel of your professional vernacular, as familiar as the word chiropractic.
Little Sticker, Big Impact
It's the end of an election year. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were the subject of conversation for everyone, everywhere for the entire 2016 calendar year. I don't think any of us can deny that this election affected us all very deeply on a personal level.
News in Brief
New President / CEO Takes Office at Yo San University. Electroacupuncture for Constipation?
End of an Era Looms at NYCC
New York Chiropractic College recently announced that Dr. Frank Nicchi will retire in August 2017 after 36 years with the college, the past 17 as president.
Chiro School Reunion: Whatever Happened to...?
I opened the door to the closet slowly, carefully, since I knew it contained a large number of precariously stacked file boxes. It also held numerous outdated gizmos with electrical cords of various lengths that could trip or strangle a person.
A First for the Profession: CCE Accredits First Chiropractic Residencies
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has awarded accreditation to all five chiropractic residency programs currently administered at Veterans Administration facilities, "the first residency programs in the nation ever to be awarded this distinction, a significant advancement in the evolution of chiropractic education," according to a VA press release announcing the milestone.
What We Can Learn From Spine Surgery
Patients with lumbar stenosis presumably present for conservative care to improve their quality of life and avoid surgery. However, providing clear guidance to these patients can be difficult for a number of reasons.
Branding: Set Your Practice Apart
Dr. Brad started his practice seven years ago on a shoestring budget. He created his generic logo in five minutes using a website because he didn't have the time to figure out how to make something special.
December, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 12
Raging Water, Raging Fear
By Donna Snow Spears, LMT, NCTMB
Little did I know what lay ahead as I packed for my first advanced CranioSacral Bio-Aquatic workshop in the Bahamas. In hindsight, I believe my journey to self-discovery in the waters of the Bahamas was well choreographed by my personal angels - not one thing was by happenstance - and although I did not know it at the time, the universe would teach me many lessons.
At the small airport in Daytona Beach, I saw the twin-engine plane as it glided up the tarmac with its proud face slanted upward toward the sky.My plane! An hour later, I was in Freeport. All of my preconceived expectations were blown within the first hour of my arrival, one of which was the unpredictable and temperamental weather that would ultimately set the brutal stage for my process of self-discovery. Only later did I realize that the stormy water was divinely prepared to help purge the fears lodged deep in my subconscious. Oddly, I do not remember thinking that the threatening weather and rough water would be a deterrent to me.
Bio-Aquatic Therapy (Day One)
The captivating "swim with the dolphins" began with a car ride to Port Lucaya, then a relaxing boat ride over clear "glass-like" water. In groups of six, we spent 20 minutes "playing" with trained dolphins. The sweetness of these beings still resonates in my thoughts. A morsel of fish rewarded and promoted their favorable behavior and, notably, the disposition and happiness that radiated from the dolphins indicated their true enjoyment of our company. I believe we are no different as humans in our need for our "morsels."
Unmasking the Fearful Unknown - Ocean Therapy (Day Two)
I eyed the storm clouds on the horizon as we approached the dark, churning water. Once in the water, my footing was uneven because of the coral rock ocean floor; still, I felt unreasonably secure about proceeding into the world's largest washing machine.
Twelve of us were divided into three teams, and we looked at each other in procrastinating apprehension. Fool that I am, I volunteered to participate first. I kicked my feet up and lay back into the water, explaining that I don't float well. I floated for a moment, but not before stinging saline water drenched my face and sped up my nose and into my mouth. The fierce ocean had started its obnoxious therapy and did not wait for the rest of my team. A heavy arm plopped down and rested on me, and I felt heavy hands pushing me down. I cursed and flipped the hands off my body, repeating that I don't float well. My breath came quickly and without control; I was having an anxiety attack.
The sting of salt in my nose and eyes was overwhelming. Seeing my flailing, Dr. John [Upledger] shouted, "If you'll just try, you'll probably find that that is embryonic fluid going up your nose." Birth Trauma, I thought. With all the trust and respect that I have for this dear gentleman, at that panicky moment, I could not help my reaction. I quickly stood up and pushed the hands off of me. I withdrew from the session and asked somebody else to go.
I tried again a few moments later. I tried to lie back into the unrelenting waves but when the water hit my face, panic reared its ugly head again. I could hear my teammates telling me they were holding me up and it was my body that wanted to sink. I wondered what was happening and why I was so afraid. Then I became aware of an electric current generating from my solar plexus and surging to my heart; I felt it connecting with the sea, discharging from my solar plexus and heart, down my arms and out of my hands. The sensation grew with such intensity that I felt I was clinging to an electric eel in each hand. Its crescendo was accompanied by more energy shooting from the lateral aspects of my calves. My team immediately backed away and held a space. Bit by bit the energy discharged until it was gone. It was only minutes, but it seemed like an hour. I could not figure out what had just happened to me.
Later, during the afternoon discussion, I shared my experience everyone. I mentioned that I felt like my energy was balanced and peaceful, and that the shell that once separated my soul from the universe had been dissolved.
Facing Death (Day Three)
Standing on the beach, I studied the menacing clouds full of rain and lightening that loomed all around. With our sensory antennas at full mast, most of us went on into the raucous mocking waters. With my full (fool) mental regalia, I plunged right in, intending to face the part of myself that, prior to the day before, had been locked in my subconscious.
My breath became ragged as the familiar panic sunk into every cell in my body. My team knew me by now and grabbed onto me with a kind but unrelenting resolve to help get me through the moment. I begged Dr. John to help. Suddenly, I felt my head being pulled back into the water. I tried not to fight as the ocean washed over my face. The salt stung my sinuses and the water pounded its way down my throat. I tried to let go, but I felt that to do so would have certainly invited death.
"How much (expletive) water do I have to swallow?" I shouted, knowing that my real question was, "Do I have to die?" I knew that to let go would invite drowning.
"I don't (expletive) know!" Dr. John hollered right back.
I didn't know what to do! Give in and drown? "Why am I under the water?," my brain screamed at me. Throngs of hands were hanging on to me, trying to help, and I wondered again if I had to die. Then a voice behind me said, "Donna, you died in another lifetime. You don't have to die in this one. Just let go!" Those words made the difference. I let go and let the water own me. Fear loosened its grip, and the moment was over.
After several moments, the abundance of seawater that I had gulped made its presence known. Nausea. Suddenly, a therapists' palm was firmly planted in my stomach. I yelled in pain and began retching repeatedly. When I was done, I released an angry, primal roaring scream from the center of my soul; a force that had been pent up in my spirit was released. I had heard classmates release by screaming loud enough to curl your hair, but I had not felt compelled to do; however, it was incredibly satisfying and grounding, and I sensed, it brought closure to the session.
"How do you feel?" Dr. John asked at the discussion later that afternoon.
"My energy feels very smooth, not the 'core' tired like I had at the beginning of the year where there seems to be no reserve from which to draw. I couldn't feel better, aside from a very tender stomach," I added.
Salt water, it seems, helps cleanse us on many levels with a conductivity that speeds the process.
Sweet Resolution (Final Day)
There were no threatening clouds, and the ocean was more peaceful, though it still offered up buffeting waves. I welcomed the sun, and I was determined to know if I had completed my process. It was my turn.
I asked my team of seasoned therapists to let my body sink - if that is what it wanted to do. To do so would allow me to be sure I had completed my process of facing my fear of water in this particular lifetime. I floated on my back peacefully and surrendered to the water, my team, and whatever the universe wanted of me. I sensed my body balancing and releasing in ripples, while the therapist's hands worked intuitively. I thought about how amazing my teammates were and marveled at the body's desire to make itself right.
My thoughts were guided gently to an old, mysterious undercurrent in my soul where loneliness - an ancient longing within me - had been a driving force that I could never control or understand. I connected with this elusive phantom and ever-present demon. Suddenly, I felt gripping heart pain! I jerked my consciousness into the center of the nauseating and breath-robbing constriction in my upper chest. "I'm dying again," I thought. I could not breathe, and my heart felt heavy and sick.
In my mind's eye, the pain appeared as a corpse. I felt my scoliosis strain in its position and with it, I saw tissues and cords of light pulling together, choking my heart. I realized I had perished in one lifetime of a broken heart! Upon realizing this, the tension in my left side began to subside. I felt my spine release! My tears flowed and blended with the motherly sea that caressed me in her bosom. Gratitude overcame me at this self-realization; emanations from this death - a longing for someone or someplace that was wrenched from me - were free from my subconscious. Another memory from a past life would no longer be a driving force in this life. I opened my soul to the universe again.
In my mind's eye appeared a great spirit, a great orca. The vision floated before me and our thoughts blended. He allowed his great body to list slightly as though relaxing in the support of the water and his message came to me: Cease resistance to the water. In a few seconds, the boundary that was once my skin vanished, and the saline current blended completely and peacefully with my blood, mind and soul. I was aware of every nuance that is the ocean's whim. Every ripple and splash was inside of me. I perceived my transparent aqua body and saw the sunlight dancing, piercing through to form its undulating patterns on the sandy ocean floor. I sensed the plankton, the minnows, and invertebrates; every living thing was communicating to me through the salty matrix. I sensed my team's energy as they began to withdraw from me. They backed away, gently holding a space, and I floated peacefully in the company of the universe to freedom.
Why would someone go through such a process? Well, it was not a tribulation, and the existential value is directly equal to the results. For me, the results are lucid thoughts and a peaceful soul that has somehow blended with the vast universe.
The intrinsic value of this endeavor was moving closer to the real person I am and discovering a powerful inner being - the kind that exists in all of us. At the same time, I feel as though I have been "promoted" to a newborn, learning about a new world.
To quote my mentor's parting words to this class, "There is a lot of good in every one of us." In that process, I learned of a new and better way to live in the universe.
Donna Snow Spears is a massage therapist in Ormond Beach, Fla. She specializes in neuromuscular therapy and has been studying CranioSacral Therapy at the Upledger Institute for the past four years. She looks forward to completing the CranioSacral diplomat certification in the near future.
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