resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
March, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 03
Using the Six Divisions
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
The last article I wrote for Massage Today (www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=10200) was a fairly simple explanation of differentiating and treating headaches using the six divisions.I actually don't think there is an emphasis on the six divisions in many bodywork programs. It would be useful to take a look at them. It's relatively easy to incorporate their principles into your practice. Their connection is one of similarity, rather than yin/yang opposites.
I really like that the Chinese are always figuring out ways of connecting things together, rather than separating them. There has been an emphasis in dissection in the West, so much so that I believe our culture suffers from "over-separation." The mind has been separated from the body; the interchangeable parts of the body are separated from the whole, and the pathology is taken from the larger picture of the disease process. The influence of Chinese medicine and philosophy today has been to reconnect us within our bodies, with each other and with the universe as a whole.
Because of the emphasis in Chinese medicine on making "connections," we find an enormous array of paradigms, all operating at the same time. Plus, the Chinese don't like to throw anything away if it works. They just kept piling many different theories up on top of each other, using whichever theory seems to fit best. This can be incredibly frustrating to Western students, who would like everything to be in black and white.
The yin/yang paradigm is a way of categorizing opposing forces. Yin and yang may be opposites, but they also control one another; are contained in each other; and are supported by and transform into one another. Even though it is common to think of men as yang and women as yin, each gender has a balance of both aspects of yin and yang in them.
The most commonly used meridian pairs in the West are yin/yang. For example, the Gall Bladder (GB) and Liver (Liv) meridians are opposite from each other on the body, and they flow one into the other using yin/yang principles. The GB is the middle aspect of the leg. The end of the GB meridian on the lateral side of the fourth toe connects and transforms into the Liv meridian with an internal pathway to the lateral aspect of the big toe. The GB organ itself is yang meridian, on the outside/yang aspect of the leg. The Liv is, for the most part, the middle yin meridian on the inside/yinyang by the fact that it is simple and hollow; the Liv organ is yin because it is complex and solid.
This is very useful in our practices because we know that, because of the Liv and GB's strong yin/yang relationship, they exert a tremendous influence on one another. Going back to my previous article, using the example of a shaoyang headache in the temple region of the head (GB and TH meridians), we also know that the Liv meridian is involved because of its strong relationship with the GB.
I had a Chinese teacher who would anthropomorphize the meridian yin/yang pairs by calling them "couples." The GB and Liv meridians have a very close relationship: they go everywhere together. You wouldn't think of having a party and inviting GB but not Liv. They seem quite harmonious together and often share chores, like headaches!
I like to take that analogy one step further and look at the six divisions as "couples" as well. The Heart (HT) and Small Intestine (SI) meridians form a pair, but frankly, I don't think they do much for each other. They are rarely involved in the same pathology, and they don't seem to have a very strong relationship at all. They may help each other out in a pinch, but to be honest with you, if the SI meridian has a problem, the Bladder (BL) is where it's going to go for help. The strength of the six divisions lies in their similarity. The SI/BL are a pair, very much a couple. They both are on the aspect of the back of our bodies. The bladder provides our armor down our backs; the SI gives us a similar protection in the back of our shoulders. The BL is on the, posterior lateral aspect of our leg; the SI is on the , posterior lateral aspect of our arm. Their function is also both in that they create our structure and move us forward. We saw in the last article that a headache is located in the back of the neck, so we work on both SI and BL points to treat it. This principle can also work for problems further along the meridian. When a client comes to me with knots between the shoulder blades (BL meridian points), I hold the most painful point () that feels like a "Gummy Bear," then palpate the SI meridian starting at SI 15 and working against the flow all the way to the little finger, SI 1. By the time I finish, the painful knot has usually melted away! We also saw in my previous article that a headache (located on the side of the head) can be treated with the GB and Triple Heater (TH) meridians. They have a relationship. The GB meridian is the middle meridian on the outside of the leg; the TH meridian is the middle meridian on the outside of the arm. They are both on the side of the body, and they move us from side to side. helps us differentiate, "Should I go here or there?"
As you might suspect, pain even further down the GB meridian, such as in the rib area, can also be relieved by palpating the TH meridian, particularly TH 5 and TH 6. When my mother had shingles, pressing TH points offered her a wonderful reprieve from the pain. These points were also much easier for her to do herself, rather than GB points on her feet.
The meridians connection, Large Intestine (LI) and Stomach (ST), is one of similarities as well, being located on the anterior lateral/ aspects of our arms and legs, respectively. is responsible for the action of reaching out to grasp. You'll remember that you this principle one step further in the example of treating constipation. You would think first of the LI meridian for this problem, but vigorously pressing sore/ points on the stomach meridian, particularly between the knee and ankle, tend to be even more effective for constipation.
When you are exploring the body, any connection can be useful, or, as folk singer Ani Difranco says, "There is strength in our differences and comfort where we overlap." We see in any relationship, a balance of commonalities and differences that compliment each other. This goes beyond gender and traditional roles. We also see a balance of similarities and polarities in both meridian pair models as well. Yin/yang meridian pairs are opposite but grouped under the same element. Six division pairs also have polarity, in the fact that one is always yin or yang in relationship to the other. For example, in taiyang, SI is fire, which is yang in relationship to the bladder, which is water. Of course, each meridian has a balance of yin, yang and the five elements within, much as we do as individuals.
There are of course three yin/yin meridian pairs that are also useful, not so much for superficial pain but for deeper, emotional or organ-related issues. There is a psychological aspect of the six division meridian pairs that could be the topic of a whole other article, if not an entire book. There is also an application of the six divisions in treating febrile disease. This is just a taste. Learn more.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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