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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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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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