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The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
Just Tell Me What I Need to Know to Pass the Test
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
These are the words to make any instructor wince! I want my students to be inspired by what I teach. I'd like them to learn Asian/Chinese medicine because it's fascinating and it works. But practically speaking, like it or not, exams are necessary for evaluating theoretical material learned, setting standards and creating laws.There is also a certain amount of information you need to commit to memory before you are able to pass an exam. This article is designed to help you learn the Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) theory portion of the National Certification Exam (NCE) so you can continue to do whatever it is that you love the most. The NCBTMB states that the NCE covers some basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and although this outline is as simple as you can get, I can't guarantee that it covers all of the questions asked.
I have to tell you truthfully though, that if this subject matter doesn't thrill you and/or you have had little or no training in ABT, don't worry. According to Cliff Korn, a past chairman of the NCBTMB, there is only a small percentage of the content outline pertaining to traditional Chinese medicine on the exam, and you can probably miss every single ABT question and still pass. Call the NCBTMB if you don't believe me! Spend your time studying the information that you learned and know it well, rather than trying to cram a lot of material into your head that you may find irrelevant to your practice.
Don't get me wrong, I am a big supporter of the NCE. If you graduate with a degree in massage, take the NCE whether you think you need it or not. You will be glad that you did, particularly if you ever decide to move to a state that requires it for licensure.
If you practice any form of ABT, such as shiatsu, acupressure or tuina, I recommend you take the more appropriate ABT exam offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). The NCCAOM has been the benchmark in Asian medicine for almost 20 years; their acupuncture certification is already being used in 42 states for licensure.
The benefits for doing so are numerous. Diplomate ABT (NCCAOM) is the highest certification available in the field of ABT, clearly distinguishing the education and standards as separate from massage. If you practice any form of ABT, I believe that this is the single most important action you can take to support your personal growth, your profession and the field of ABT as a whole.
So if you are determined to forge ahead and learn "just what you need to pass the exam," here are my suggestions, followed by a five-month game plan to learn some basics.
Admit That You May Be Afraid
Many people suffer from exam anxiety. Most of the time it's not rational. I don't remember ever failing an exam in my life, but I still suffer from exam fear.
If you feel the same way, get someone to work on your Kidney meridian to help you calm your fears. The Kidneys in Chinese medicine relate to the Water element, which relates to fear.
Lie face down. Ask your partner to hold the Kidney shu points bilaterally. (Bl 23, located 1.5 cun/anatomical Chinese inches from the space below L 2.) With their free hand, have them thumb-press up from your sole along the medial posterior aspect of your leg slowly. Ask them to finish by rubbing the lower back vigorously, then gently holding the area beside the lumbar vertebrae bilaterally with their palms.
Form a Study Group
All of my students who form study groups do well on their exams. Start five months ahead of time if you need to cover a lot of material that you haven't already learned thoroughly in your course of study.
Commit to meeting one time a week and stick to it. Divide the list of topics to cover evenly over the time you have left before the exam. (See below for a suggested basic outline.)
Rotate among the people in the group presenting a topic each week. For example, one person on the list presents the basic yin/yang theory with relative associations the first time you meet. Use handouts, drawings and any other materials you can think of to make it interesting and fun. Laugh as much as possible as that helps to open your Heart/Mind and you will remember things longer. If you like the people you are studying with, it also has a similar good effect on your memory, as this all relates to the Fire element.
Start each meeting by quizzing each other on material that you went over last time. When you ask a question that draws a blank, give someone time to pull it out of his or her memory reserves. If they still can't get it, when you finally tell them the answer, they will tend to remember it longer.
Here is a 20-week game plan for covering basic ABT theory:
The night before and day of the exam, get plenty of rest and relax. My clients swear that they do better on exams if they have a shiatsu session the night before. There are points and meridians that can be worked on specifically for clear thinking and grounding, allowing you to access the information that you studied so hard.
Eat a warm, nutritious breakfast.
When you sit down to take the exam, even before you look at anything, make charts of all of the elements, meridians and times. You then have something to refer to if you blank out during the exam from overload.
Skip over questions you don't know and go back to them later. You may find that another question will spark your memory and you will get that question. When you finish the exam, go over it again for careless errors.
If you follow these steps and prepare methodically, you have nothing to worry about come exam time. But remember, if you pass the NCE, it's a national certification in massage and bodywork, not specific to Asian Bodywork Therapy such as shiatsu or acupressure. Advertise your credentials proudly, accurately and ethically!
Author's note: For a more detailed study guide, see the chapter by Barbra Esher and John Johnston in the new edition of Tappan's Healing Massage Techniques, due out at the end of this year.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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