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News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
September, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 09
Magnets: A Cause for Pause
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Recent discussions about the therapeutic use of magnets bring to mind the story of Madame Marie Curie, who discovered the x-ray. Curie and her husband suffered great damage to their fingers from the ionizing radiation they worked with during their research.Apparently they were not aware that their new diagnostic tool, although invisible, could have harmful effects.
The magnetic field has also been shown to have powerful effects - both healing and destructive - upon living systems. In our eagerness to find new therapeutic methods, I wonder if we may be getting carried in our use of magnets.
The effects of artificial magnetic fields on humans became startlingly evident during the early manned space flights. Both U.S. and Soviet scientists were forced to concede that magnetic fields might have a powerful effect upon human health and function. Subsequent investigations confirmed that changes in magnet field intensity, vector orientation and polarity exert significant influence on living systems in space.
These studies have implications for the earthbound as they refute several long-held scientific dogmas. For instance, one principle held that humans do not have any permanently magnetized materials in their tissues. In fact, the brain contains about five million single-domain crystals of magnetite per gram of tissue, and the meningeal membranes contain 100 million of these crystals per gram of tissue.
These findings are of particular interest to those working with the craniosacral system. It is possible that the energies perceived by craniosacral therapy practitioners as signals of membrane restrictions are related to these magnetite crystals. The mobilization of the meningeal membranes through craniosacral therapy may have an as-yet-uknown positive effect upon the magnetic aspects of these membranes.
Meanwhile, the earth's magnetic fields - called geomagnetic fields (GMF) - are constantly fluctuating due to internal and external influences. These fluctuations seem to be self-correcting, such that the natural magnetic fields remain within the limits that make earth habitable. Continental shifts; explosions; earthquakes; sunspots; eclipses; atmospheric pollutants; lightening; thunderstorms; hurricanes; and cyclones can influence the GMF.
For a simple example of how we are affected by subtle changes in the earth's magnetic field, consider what happens during a full moon: some people report experiencing irrational thoughts or malaise. The earth has an overall positive charge that increases during the full moon. Yet most people seem to feel and function better in an abundance of negative ions. It has also been noted that human oxygen consumption goes up during the full moon, and blood and lymph become somewhat less viscous.
The effects of magnetic fields also have been observed at a cellular level. A researcher at Cal Tech in Pasadena, California hypothesized that individual cells may possess sensory systems that respond to weak magnetic fields. He noticed that extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields change the cellular protein structures, which disrupts the transport of proteins and other substances within the cells. Clearly, disruption of the magnetic field of a cell may ultimately disable it to some degree, and may even cause cell death.
By chance, I came across some startling examples of the effects of magnetic fields on living systems in a book by a farmer named Davis. He and a friend became curious about the effects of magnets on crops and farm animals. They divided vegetable seeds into two batches, then exposed them to either the north or south pole of a bar magnet before planting them.
The men noticed that the seeds exposed to the south pole grew more rapidly, and the vegetables grew much larger than the others. Unfortunately, they were also dry, woody and inedible. The north pole vegetables, although smaller, were moist, tender and pleasant tasting.
Next, the men exposed fertilized chicken eggs to magnets. Again, the chickens exposed to the north pole grew slower and remained smaller than the other chickens. Yet here's what really caught Davis' attention: the south-pole chickens were very aggressive. They would fight to the death. By contrast, the smaller north-pole chickens were quite peaceful. If allowed to mingle, the south-pole chickens would attack and kill the other chickens, then pick apart their victims and eat some of the flesh. This particular observation suggests the possibility of hormonal effects caused by the magnet.
After this book piqued my curiosity, I discovered, along with Jon Vredevoogd, my co-researcher at Michigan State University, that we could use magnetic fields to cause and relieve headaches, nausea and mental confusion. We also found that increases and decreases in craniosacral system pulse amplitude were closely related to changing magnetic fields.
I suggest that, because human and other living systems appear able to create their own permanent magnetic materials, they possess some ability, albeit limited, to modify most external magnetic fields to acceptable levels. It also seems reasonable to expect that long-term exposure to unnatural external magnetic fields might ultimately drain these protective systems of their ability to neutralize and/or modify the effects of these external magnetic fields.
If the body's defenses are not able to neutralize abnormal external magnetic fields, many serious things can happen. Magnetic field exposure could lead to distortion in the cellular production of hormones, various cellular dysfunctions and ultimately, cell death.
Externally created magnetic fields can also interfere with normal cellular activity by creating a "static" that interferes with communication between separate cells and structures within cells. This type of exposure has been seen to interfere with the cell's ability to block disease-causing proteins. Thus, the cell may become more vulnerable to disease-causing invaders such as viruses and bacteria, and to the acceptance of toxic substances.
My experience, personally and with patients, has shown that the autonomic nervous system also is sensitive to changes in the magnetic fields. Research supports these observations, noting that the long-term use of external magnets can cause autonomic systems to change their set points and require time to readjust once the magnets are removed. These autonomic effects are manifest in episodes of cardiac failure, brain dysfunction, blood viscosity changes and gastrointestinal problems.
On the bright side, reports are coming in about the successful use of magnets to stimulate nerve growth. I believe this effect may occur, at least partially, because the external field may reactivate magnetic crystals in the nerves. I have only worked with several spinal-cord-injury patients using magnets for limited periods. They all had secondary paraplegia and sensory loss. In sensory and motor responses, the magnetic stimulation produced more definite subjective responses than electrical stimulations.
However, based on the current evidence, I recommend exercising the utmost care when using magnets as a long-term treatment. This invisible, powerful modality is not without risk. I will err on the side of caution until I am convinced that we know what we are doing. The Curies might have faired better had they been more wary.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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