resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
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.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
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.
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.)
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.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
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.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
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.
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.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
January, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 01
Myth and Magic
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
In ages past, the rhythms of our ancestors' lives were bound closely to the changing cycle of the seasons. The coming of the New Year was linked with celebration of the winter solstice, the point in the progression of celestial events that marks both the shortest day and the birth of hope that a new spring will come. Anglo-Celtic mythology metaphorically portrays the cycle of seasons as a recurring conflict between the Holly King, who reigns during the half-year of waning sunlight, and his brother the Oak King, who reigns during the half-year of waxing sunlight. In their midwinter clash, the Holly King yields to the Oak King, even as the old sun dies so that the new sun can be reborn. As deep winter approaches, the Holly King withdraws into contemplation. Within his chalice, he nurtures the nascent new sun, and perhaps sees visions and dreams of the year to come.10
Such shared myths as the Holly King encapsulate the themes by which a society makes sense of and responds to the world around it. Whether or not a myth has literal truth is often irrelevant to this metaphorical function. Similarly, we also share family myths and create personal myths to help us organize and make sense of the progression of our own lives. 1,3,4,6 Because our attitudes and responses towards life take form within our internal stories, our personal myths can be both powerful and limiting. Often enacted at an unconscious level, they can separate us from the vitality of our embodied life or allow us to fully experience and draw upon that vitality. In the process, our personal myths set the underlying tone of our emotions and mental imagery. These emotions and imagery, in turn, profoundly affect our health and bodily comfort. 2,9
Among the conceptual difficulties in trying to approach the efficacy of massage and bodywork in the medical sense are the myriad ways in which we can, simply by presence and touch, influence internal life scripts, mental imagery, sensation, and even sense of identity. We deal not with simple cause and effect. Instead, we interact within the ever-changing flow of complex patterns of feedback. The concepts of personal myth and imagery outlined above provide a helpful perspective. Such thoughts are furthered by recent research into phantom limb pain that has led to a hypothesis that the brain contains widely distributed neural networks that create an image of self through genetic programs and memories of past experience. Afferent inputs act on this neuromatrix and produce output patterns that lead to the report of pain. 5,7 What emerges is a view of the body as a system, with a memory that accepts and responds to sensory input, but does not necessarily directly echo it in form or timing.
The Celts viewed liminal (threshold) times and places -- times and places that are neither this nor that but contain a protean element of confusion and chaos -- as holding great potential for creation and change. The Chinese ideogram for crisis also succinctly captures this belief, being made up of the two symbols for danger and opportunity. Perhaps within our practice of bodywork, we learn to elicit the creation of such liminal moments of chaos and reorganization - a threshold or pause in what was a constant state of dysfunction that allows a client to move themselves towards wholeness and a new homeostasis. Our inputs of touch, sensation, and presence may well affect personal myth, imagery, emotion, and neurological state, facilitating such a reorganization of body and spirit. While this viewpoint is largely conjectural, it is conjecture firmly grounded in current concepts of human physiology and its web of interconnections.
Within ourselves, we have the need to create myths for our lives and work that provide us with the opportunity to experience and express wonder and marvel and to seek and find renewal. When these qualities flow into our work, they are conveyed and perceptible to our clients. As we enter into this New Year, there is no better way to promote your excitement with your practice of massage and to work out the creation of your own myth and magic.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.