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A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
Stay in Touch With...Ayurveda, Part I
By Karyn Chabot
"Stay in Touch With..." is a periodic column designed to provide an overview of a particular technique or modality. If you would like to contribute to this column, please e-mail .
When I was a student of Dr.Vasant Lad at The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, each class left me in awe as I learned more about the ancient, profoundly simple, biological and spiritual science of Ayurveda.
In the past, Ayurveda has been misunderstood, but now with the yoga craze, people are starting to see that it is a beautiful medical science that encourages people to live in harmony with the earth, the elements and the seasons. Ayurveda does not involve mandatory worship of mysterious deities. Instead, it embraces all forms of spirituality and recognizes the divine intelligence within all living things. It is the ancient healing science of India.
Ayurveda addresses the root of disease, rather than just alleviate symptoms. It doesn't assign a medical name to disease because when you name something, you indirectly assign power to it. Instead, Ayurveda views disease as an imbalance of the five great elements within the body. Some of the modalities used to restore this fragile balance include nutritional and lifestyle changes, bodywork, herbs, yoga, meditation, mantra, mindfulness, breath work, sound, color, crystal, aromatherapy and intuitive living. This ancient science was designed to empower people with the knowledge of self-discovery and self-healing.
Disease starts in the mind with thought. By cultivating the garden of your mind and generating positive thoughts, you can prevent disease. A thought is absorbed and assimilated into the body, just like food, right down to the smallest structure of the human cell. An Ayurvedic practitioner named Ryan Kurczak, LMT, once told me: "Many of the people I know who succeed in utilizing Ayurveda as an effective method of health maintenance implement moderate changes over a long period of time. They are not fanatics and don't get bent out of shape if someone offers them a piece of chocolate cake when they are supposed to be on a 'pure' Ayurvedic diet. When I asked my spiritual teacher about how strict I need to be with Ayurveda he said, 'Meditate, and be happy. Then adjust your diet as you need to.' One of the most powerful disease causing factors according to Ayurveda is a diseased mind. When the mind is peaceful, the body will be, as well."
We are the subatomic structure of God; we are microcosms of the macrocosmic universe. There are five great elements that exist on our planet: ether, air, fire, earth and water. Ayurveda classifies these five elements into three aspects. These aspects are referred to as doshas, a Sanskrit word meaning "biological principle," which generally refers to an imbalance due to excess of one of the elements within the body.
Although there are five great elements, there are only three doshas or biological principles. All five elements must exist within our bodies and within the universe in order for us to function properly. As soon as the sperm meets the egg, a unique combination of the five great elements is determined and the physical constitution is born. This constitution is called Prakruti.
Stress, negative thoughts, feeling disconnected from the divine within ourselves or the ones we love, wrong food choices, and lack of exercise are just some of the things that throw us out of balance. When the doshas are out of balance, it usually means they are in excess and have reached the first of six stages in the disease process called "accumulation." Restoring balance usually means reducing the dosha by making conscious choices regarding our lifestyle, food, mindfulness, exercise, breath, prayer, meditation and bodywork.
The three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is a Sanskrit word meaning "what blows." Vata lives in the colon/large intestines and becomes excessive on cold, windy days during the fall and winter. When vata within the body is in excess, people tend to experience anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, paranoia and loneliness.
Pitta means "what cooks" and lives in the small intestines. Pitta becomes excessive on hot summer days. When pitta within the body is excessive, people tend to experience self-condemnation, jealousy, anger, competitive thoughts, and aggression.
Kapha means "what sticks" and lives in the stomach. Kapha becomes excessive on cool, muddy days of spring and on cold, snowy days in the winter. When kapha within the body becomes excessive, people experience greed, lethargy, apathy and heaviness. The weather, the seasons, our genetic constitution, lifestyle choices and our thoughts have a direct affect on our health.
After careful observation of the majority of my clients and friends, I have concluded that the most common complaints are stress and anxiety, which consequently disrupts vata within the body. Living in a world where we are eating lunch while we are driving our car, or reading our e-mail while listening to our voicemail at the same time will naturally disturb vata within the body and mind. Multitasking and feeling like there is not enough time in a day will continually challenge vata. When the vata dosha is out of balance within the body, it can blow the other doshas (pitta and kapha) out of balance causing an overflow of the other doshas. Preventing all the doshas from becoming excessive is important, but remember that vata is the dosha that is critical to health and longevity. The ancient Ayurvedic texts say the earth is now in the vata stage of its evolution, so vata is high for everyone simply because we are so connected to our earth.
There are specific bodywork techniques and lifestyle choices that pacify and calm the vata dosha. Massage therapists are at risk for having excessive vata because of the nature of the job. Most massage therapists will tell you they are in constant physical motion on some level during a session. Massage therapists are movement-centered, energetic, and on the go. Since vata is the dosha responsible for motion within the body and the universe, massage therapists need to take extra care not to accumulate too much vata. Massage therapy can become a vata-provoking job, so choose a lifestyle that will soothe and balance your vata. Here are some easy vata soothing activities:
Editor's Note: Read part II of Karyn Chabot's article in the April 2005 issue.
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