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News in Brief
In Remembrance: A Moment of Silence for Robin McKenzie (1931-2013); DC Re-Elected to Co-Chair AMA Code Review Board; WFC Celebrates 25 Years.
Weight Training: Are Cheat Reps Worth It?
While resting between exercises at the gym recently, a young lifter asked me for a spot on a set of barbell bench presses. The bar was loaded with a moderately heavy amount of weight that at first glance appeared to be too heavy for his frame.
Obesity is a Shen Problem
The expressions "obese" and "obesity" are not pejorative terms. They are scientific terms, determined solely by the Body Mass Index scale, which combines a person's height and weight in a mathematical formula. A number of 30 and above denotes "obesity."
Three Essential Herbal Products For Your First-Aid Kit
There are three Chinese patent medicines that belong in everyone's first aid kit. All three are for topical application, and all three provide extraordinary benefits unavailable from any domestic over-the-counter.
Treating Rib Joints to Protect Thoracic Stability
It is an exciting world that awaits us when we go to work every day. We deal with all types of people who present with varying health conditions we can (hopefully) help alleviate.
A Medication Primer for Alternative Health Care Practitioners (Part 2)
Morphine is arguably the greatest drug of all time, at least in the sense that it is so powerful in relieving pain.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
The "Great Opportunity" for Chiropractic: Expanded Scope of Practice; The SOAP Note: An Effective Tool for Documentation; Treating Patients Goes Beyond Following Established Protocol.
Beauty is Averageness
After seeing Kim Kardashian's face all over the Internet -and my inbox- following her posting on getting facial acupuncture, I recalled the work of Michael Cunningham who was at the University of Louisville when I was doing my doctoral work.
Healing the Qi: The Boston Marathon Bombing
On Monday, April 15 2013, locals and visitors from around the globe gathered for the world's largest marathon in the city of Boston. With 23,000 participating in the race and many more on the sidelines, the marathon represents a Boston institution.
Extraordinary Vessels and Emotional Healing
In addition to the 12 primary Organ-related meridians in the body, there are other energy circulation channels that have been mapped out by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Probably the most significant of these are called the Eight Extraordinary (or Extra) Vessels.
It's About the Word
The new patient was already a fan of chiropractic. "I liked the guy a lot," he said of the previous DC he had consulted. "But he is on the other side of town, and I just can't get there after work. So he sent me to you, since you're his buddy."
Weaving Eastern & Western Medicine Together: Q&A with Beijing's Dr. Kezhen Zhang
Dr. Kezhen Zhang M.D., is currently the founder and president of Beijing Taijitang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital.
The Physiology of Anger
Most of us recognize and have felt anger at some point in our lives. Anger can be seen as a natural response to some kind of pain, whether emotional or physical.
A Solution for the Primary Care Crisis?
A white paper generated by the ACCAHC Primary Care Project and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Senior Research Scientist, Michael Goldstein, PhD, addresses a clear oversight noted in recent workforce analyses designed to assess the nation's primary care needs.
Becoming a Concussion Expert in Your Community: What You Need to Know (Part 2)
What makes an individual an expert in concussions? Obtaining education about concussions and treating concussed patients are two factors that lead to expertise.
Dry Needling is Acupuncture: But What of Education? What of Public Safety?
One of my patients told me recently, that their physical therapist used a "dry needle" and that it wasn't acupuncture. Apparently, physical therapists (PT) are taught to tell their patients that "only acupuncturists practice acupuncture."
Protein and Weight Loss
Recently I was asked by the staff at Dynamic Chiropractic to referee some of their water-cooler discussions regarding nutrition. Topping their list was this one about protein and weight loss: "Why is protein important for weight loss and how much should I eat?"
The Monkey on Your Back
Many practitioners run their clinic without any extra help—at least initially. I've always been pretty good at multi-tasking. Having nine kids taught me how to wear multiple hats and juggle a lot of responsibilities. Running a clinic is similar.
Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapments
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve arises from the 2nd and 3rd lumbar nerves. It is formed in the psoas muscle and emerges from its lateral border to cross the iliacus muscle and exit the pelvis.
Study: Acupuncture for Acute Low Back Pain More Effective Than Drugs
New research by Korean doctors of Oriental Medicine suggested that an acupuncture method could reduce acute lower back pain faster and more effectively than conventional drug injections.
Keeping Up With Western Medicine Advancements: The Amazing World of Imaging Studies
When patients with neuromuscular problems come to you for treatment there is usually a lot you can do for them to improve their mobility or reduce their pain, whether it is a middle age woman with a frozen shoulder.
Pre-Conception Wellness: What Do Your Patients Need to Know?
Deciding to have a baby is one of the most important decisions a woman will ever make. But how many women are really prepared for a healthy pregnancy?
10 Life Lessons That Will Change the Way You Practice
"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" I have posed this question for years to groups I've spoken to across the country and around the world.
If you visit the website of the JAMA and search on the word chiropractic, more than 200 results appear. If you sort that list chronologically and look at the oldest entry, you will find "Medical News" that includes the following.
Chiropractic Care for Veterans: Serving Those Who Served (Pt. 2)
To what extent do you think the role of chiropractors in the VA can serve as a model for greater chiropractic integration elsewhere in the American health care system? That's a very important question.
Maintaining Professional Boundaries in a Facebook World: Social Media Guidelines for DCs
A few months ago, I received an unexpected message on my Facebook account: "Hi Doc, do you remember me? I'm so happy to find you here on Facebook. It's been years since I have seen you and I'm glad to reconnect with you.
August, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 08
Zero Balancing: Touching the Spirit Through Energy and Structure
By Lora Freeman
"Stay in Touch With..." is a periodic column designed to provide an introduction to a particular technique or modality. If you would like to contribute to this column, contact us at .
If someone told you that you could be healthier, happier, clearer and more fully integrated with your true self, how would you respond? If you're like most people, you'd be a combination of curious and a little (or a lot) skeptical about such a broad claim.Those are exactly the kinds of results, however, that people who practice Zero Balancing will tell you their clients experience consistently, from this relatively newcomer to the world of massage and bodywork.
Zero Balancing (ZB) was developed in the early 1970s by osteopathic physician and medical doctor, Fritz Frederick Smith. Dr. Smith had a standard osteopathic practice in rural California to which he added studies in acupuncture. He experienced remarkable results with his patients by integrating principles from osteopathy, involving manipulation of bony structures, and acupuncture, involving balancing body energy. Not only did his patients find relief from many of their physical complaints, but they also commented consistently that their experiences transcended the physical. His patients expressed feeling happier, calmer, and more grounded and centered. As one of Dr. Smith's early patients said, "I feel balanced ... back to Zero... sort of Zero Balanced." The name resonated with Dr. Smith and stuck.
"ZB does a whole range of things," commented Michael Oruch, a certified Zero Balancer from New York who teaches ZB in Chicago and throughout the U.S. "It helps with stress, headache, back pain ...but more importantly, it helps people become more of who they are. The ancient Chinese belief is that our ancestral chi [energy] is in our bones, and ZB teaches you how to work with that. It teaches you to work with who and what people are at the core, with what we're made of. In the ZB vocabulary of touch are things that anyone in the healing professions ought to know; these are life skills."
What Does a ZB Session Look Like?
The Zero Balancer follows an elegant protocol that belies its profound effects. The basic protocol varies only slightly from patient to patient, though the timing and pacing can vary greatly depending on the setting, frame and predetermined time limits. A session usually lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.
The Zero Balancer will ask what is happening in the client's life; physical, emotional and/or spiritual influences are all welcome information. It is up to the client to decide what is important to share. Based on that information, the Zero Balancer and the client will decide together the goals and "frame" for the session. The job of the practitioner is to weave that chosen frame into the session. So if the client has determined, for example, that he or she wants the framework of the session to feel more balanced, clearer, more integrated, or "to release baggage" (whether physical or otherwise), part of the Zero Balancer's job is to find a way for the body to become a vehicle for accomplishing that goal metaphorically, while simultaneously keeping in mind the aches, pains or other physical concerns the client has asked to have addressed.
After a brief assessment, the practitioner will ask the client to lie on his or her back, fully clothed, on the massage table. With a series of traction movements and the application of pressure from fingertips called "fulcrums" (applied mostly to the underside of the client's body), the practitioner will follow a set protocol of treating the entire body, from the toes to top of the head.
John Hamwee, a Zero Balancer and author of the book, Zero Balancing, defines fulcrums as "still points on which the body can balance." Where energy may be disorganized from trauma, stress or repetitive strain, possibly to the point of causing physical and structural pain and dysfunction, a fulcrum imposes a stronger, clearer field of energy. This provides the body the opportunity to reorganize. The rule of thumb is that the pressure of a fulcrum should either "feel good or hurt good," and this is essential to an effective treatment. Both giver and receiver need to feel comfortable as an essential aspect of ZB touch.
The story goes that donkeys carrying loads up steep hills lean against one another - the donkey on the outside of the path leans inward, the donkey on the inside of the path leans out - forming a supportive relationship between them as they carry their loads. This "donkey-donkey" connection is what the Zero Balancer works toward with the client, one in which both giver and receiver feel strongly supported and at ease, with no undue effort. As a result of this donkey-donkey connection, an alchemical and therapeutic relationship evolves. A type of "dance" results, as the practitioner focuses his attention - and intention - on following the client's involuntary and often wordless responses to the work. In this relationship, the pacing and depth of pressure evolve organically and meditatively from the relationship between the two people.
The meditative quality of ZB also differentiates it from traditional massage. The Zero Balancer brings a high level of focus to the session by listening to the client's body with his or her hands, eyes and ears. This high level of attention - combined with the predetermined "frame" - makes the treatment a meditative experience for both people involved. Additionally, the deep level of the touch contacts one's being at levels of both energy and structure, and this combination powerfully touches a person in the place where the body/mind resides.
Another essential aspect of ZB touch is the principle of working at "interface" with the client. The Zero Balancer consciously works to maintain the integrity of the client's energy field, neither adding nor taking energy from the client, but rather facilitating a balancing effect of the patient's own energy. This is a crucial skill for bodyworkers and massage therapists who often find their own energy drained by energetically depleted clients - or find themselves struggling with other boundary issues with clients.
Massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other healing professionals will find ZB to be an excellent addition to their treatment "toolbox."
According to Mary Murphy, a certified massage therapist and certified Zero Balancer who works at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., "ZB is a grounding and integrating tool par excellence. It is remarkably efficient at clearing even deeply held restrictions within the body in a way that the client can integrate both in the moment and over time."
Murphy says that she uses ZB in almost every bodywork session she offers. "Whether I am using ZB as a straight protocol or not, ZB helps integrate and strengthen any changes in the patient's system, whatever the modality."
What Can ZB Do for You?
We see only a partially accurate picture of ZB if we merely list the ailments it treats. In reality, though, ZB helps to resolve back pain, musculoskeletal aches and pains, headaches, digestive disorders, and emotional imbalance (to name a few), ZB follows the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) model. In other words, ZB treats the whole person, not just the disease. As with acupuncture, the goal is to bring the client's body back into balance and from that point, the body corrects many of its own ailments. ZB brings the body back into balance structurally and energetically, which consistently makes for happier, healthier clients.
Because ZB has the unique quality of touching bone energy specifically, it also affects mental functioning, according to the TCM model. "The way you perceive yourself and your world becomes clearer," said Robert Alimo, a certified Zero Balancer and industrial rehabilitation specialist at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. "I feel more stable, more integrated," Oruch said of his own ZB experiences. "It has helped sustain me through difficult times, and I know myself better."
And Oak Park, Illinois schoolteacher, Mary Alice Dacosse, said, "After a third Zero Balancing (session), I could breathe easier, had a clearer focus and felt back on track with my life. I limped less as my muscles relaxed. I felt more empowered. I felt ZB was working with me, not controlling me. Perimenopause felt like something that overcame me, something that happened to me. I felt that ZB brought it more into focus so that I can accept it. ZB does not give me a euphoric feeling. It's a subtle transformation, and one you feel you are in communion with, not one that overtakes you."
For more information on Zero Balancing, visit www.zerobalancing.com.
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