resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
September, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 09
Miles, Myths and Musings
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Last Sunday was one of those idyllic summer days on which the inland temperatures were moderated by a gentle inflow over the hills from the San Francisco Bay. I found myself sitting with friends at a table outside of a coffeehouse in the early afternoon, pouring over maps and charts spread out before us. What had brought us together was the common purpose of running a 199-mile relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.
The preamble to this meeting for me has been a spring and summer reckoned by a week-to-week increase in my running. It has meant a return to some familiar places and routes, after several years of letting my distances dwindle amid the pulls of professional and parental responsibilities. In an interesting synchronicity, I had started increasing my running about six weeks before I was asked to join the relay team. It was a reminder for me that, when we set ourselves to a goal, things often occur around us to aid and further motivate us. As I've spent time running up ridges and over hills, I've had opportunities to muse on the physiology and psychology of training.
Challenging Our Lactate Threshold
There is a persistent myth that massage relieves muscle soreness by flushing out lactic acid. In truth, lactic acid, which dissociates in solution into lactate and hydrogen ions, is only present in excess during and immediately following high-intensity exercise. It is metabolized within 30-60 minutes after such exercise ceases. Moreover, lactate is not a toxic end-product; it is an efficient energy-storage and transportation medium.
As we increase the pace of exercise, our bodies produce pyruvate, the end product of glycolysis, faster than it can be processed. To keep us moving, our bodies perform a metabolic "trick" of sorts, shuttling the pyruvate to lactate. The lactate formed from pyruvate can slip quickly and quietly out of cells and into surrounding tissues and blood, where it can be picked up and used as an energy source by less active muscles . As long as our exercise intensity is only producing lactate within our body's ability to process it, blood lactate limits will only rise slightly, then stabilize. If we exceed this level of exercise intensity, the lactate levels in our blood will increase dramatically - we have passed through our lactate threshold (LT). The good news is that by designing our training to regularly challenge our LT for short intervals, our LT will increase. In running, LT is one of the best predictors of race performance.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Soreness occurring 24-72 hours after exercise is termed Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The exact mechanisms involved in DOMS are uncertain, but researchers believe they involve micro-trauma to individual muscle fibers resulting in calcium ion leakage and a cycle of inflammation response. Most DOMS is experienced following suddenly increased workouts, particularly those resulting in eccentric contractions - muscles being lengthened while resisting against the lengthening, as in walking down stairs or running downhill. Increasing eccentric exercise gradually conditions our muscles and avoids the soreness.
Musings on Exercise and Massage
Eliminating lactic acid removal as the focus of post-exercise massage, we are left with a therapy that sports experience shows to be effective, yet lacks a clear mechanism for such effectiveness. Research indicates that the simple post-exercise administration of effleurage does not result in a increase in local blood flow or in accelerated recovery. Other research indicates that massage, combined with an active cool-down, increases the rate of recovery during short breaks between maximal efforts.
One difficulty in interpreting such results comes from the early 20th century tendency to view the body as a simple machine. We mistakenly look for massage to have direct mechanical effects. What seems more likely is that massage acts as a new input to a system with a memory. In my observation, fatigued muscles tend to remain hypertonic and shortened. When we cajole specific muscles to relax and lengthen via mechanical and neurological input, we reduce their metabolic activity and the compression they exert on surrounding tissue. In my opinion, it is not the direct action of massage, but the action of massage to create a new homeostasis, that allows the natural process of recovery to occur more efficiently.
When I run intensely, I notice results beyond the obvious. Running involves not just my legs, but the core muscles of my trunk, the stabilizers of my hips and ankles, and the coordinated movement of my arms. It requires training my determination and mental focus to challenge my muscles and breath when going up hills, and the speed and efficiency of my neuromuscular motion patterns when going down hills. At times, the fatigue and soreness bring an increased sense of vulnerability and the need for nurturing human contact - another role that massage can fill for athletes.
As I finish writing this article, I'm preparing for a backpack trip into the eastern escarpment of the Sierras -- a journey with a loaded pack along a creek, from the sagebrush-covered hillsides of the trailhead, through the miles and several thousand feet of climbing, to a high alpine lake nestled at the foot of an even higher pass. It strikes me as the perfect preamble for a massage.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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