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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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11
By Steve Capellini, LMT
Author's Note: The Spa Letters column features news, personality profiles, trends, and plenty of professional possibilities for LMTs in the spa industry. The style is epistolary, meaning the articles are letters to a fictional massage therapist friend of the author.
I'm glad to hear you're staying on at the spa and learning in-depth about each of the treatments offered - you'll become an increasingly invaluable employee (not to mention a better therapist) as a result. There will be plenty of opportunities for adventure in other locations as you follow your spa dreams into the future, but for now, you should build a strong foundation in the fundamentals, e.g., spa therapies.
As I travel around the country teaching basic spa therapy course, as I have for years, I'm continually amazed to rediscover just how powerful the generic, no-frills treatments really are. I show people a simplified version of several of the most common modalities: herbal wraps; mini-facials; seaweed wraps; mud and clay packs; aromatherapy applications; hydrotherapy; and body scrubs. In hopes that it will help you better understand these powerful therapies and be able to explain them clearly to your clients, maybe I can give you a little primer, starting with my favorite: the herbal wrap.
Herbal Wrap Basics
Why do we wrap people up in spas in the first place? There are several reasons. First of all, when we apply therapeutic ingredients to the skin, at whatever temperature they're applied, people tend to get chilled really fast. This includes a hot application of products, such as in the case of the herbal wrap. Within minutes, your client will be shivering if not wrapped or otherwise kept warm. Some spas use infrared heating lamps to keep clients warm, which works fine but can be awkward if the lamps are placed around the table on stands, instead of attached to the ceiling. Another reason we wrap is to create a self-contained system in which the products we apply interact with the client's body over and over again, instead of escaping into the surrounding atmosphere. Lastly, many people like the sense of security and privacy that being wrapped creates.
The mere act of being wrapped can have a bit of a therapeutic effect because wrapped people sweat, and sweating is good. Too many people (probably including many of your clients at the spa) spend too much couch-potato time, and the sweating produced by simple wrapping is a way to get their largest eliminatory system working again. But the most powerful benefits to any wrap come, of course, from the ingredients applied to the client's skin.
When I visited the Golden Door Spa in California, I discovered that they grew their own herbs right on the property for use in the herbal wrap. Many spas worldwide do the same, but it is not necessary to have locally grown herbs to make an herbal wrap work, as I'll explain in a second. The herbs can be fresh or dried, and of course organic is best. A large handful immersed in a muslin bag can last all day. Most spas change the herbal solution each night.
Each herb has a specific effect: some increase circulation, others soothe the skin, others are diaphoretic, and so on. These herbs are steeped in nearly boiling water, then special canvas-grade muslin sheets are soaked in the solution. It is these herb-infused sheets, along with outer insulating layers, that wrap around the client.
You've learned the basics of wrapping there at the spa, and from what you've told me, I can tell that the technique used there is sound. There are several variations on the basic wrapping technique, with different equipment used for each. Many spas heat their sheets in hydrocollators which, as you know, were not originally intended for this purpose. They do work well, even though they don't get the sheets as hot as the original industrial-kitchen style boilers. Of course, rubber gloves are important to protect the therapists' hands. I've found in my workshops that simple wood clamps help when wringing the heavy muslin sheets out over the steaming herbal solution.
What makes a wrap work is the way the combination of heat and the properties of the herbs "trick" your body into thinking it has a fever. And we all know what happens when you have a fever - you perspire and try to throw of toxins and invading microorganisms. As you naturally begin to release these, the herbs stimulate the process even further. The result is a detoxification effect that can range from mild to extremely intense. I remember performing a series of herbal wraps on a gentleman who was at the spa to give up smoking. At the end as I unwrapped him, a powerful order of nicotine filled the room. The sheets smelled like a used ashtray.
I'm glad to hear that your spa promotes the massage therapists as wrap practitioners. That's the law here in Florida, but in other areas, wraps are performed by unlicensed technicians. It's always best to have a qualified professional working with the clients, someone who can explain the treatment and be ready in case of any emergency.
The herbal wrap is not a treatment to be taken lightly. It has profound effects on the body, and there are contraindications for wraps, just as there are for massage. Primarily, you must remember that the herbal wrap is a heat treatment; as such, it is contraindicated for anyone who is pregnant, hypertensive, or suffering from heart conditions or diabetes.
Also, a surprisingly large number of people feel claustrophobic when wrapped in heavy sheets and blankets. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that works for over 90% of the people with this problem. Instruct your clients to leave their arms out of the wrap, and they will feel quite comfortable. The most important thing is that they feel they can get out of the wrap themselves if they so desire. There will always be a few people who still feel trapped, even with their arms out; they're better off taking an herbal bath rather than a wrap.
Well, that's all the time I have now, Lou. I bet you didn't think there was so much to know about herbal wraps alone! Next time I write, I'll fill you in on some of the other spa treatments that I've personally seen help hundreds of people in spas over the years.
Talk to you later,
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
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