resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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 Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
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.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
Symbol and Form
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Along the road to discovering how people learn to draw well, Betty Edwards began to realize that the problem was not primarily one of kinesthetic skill, but of seeing and perception. Students who learned to draw did so suddenly, not incrementally. One week, their drawings were stereotypic symbolic images, and the next week they were drawing proficiently. Then she found a new clue.
What Edwards concluded was that the brain hemisphere responsible for verbal-linguistic ability couldn't draw except in stereotypic symbols and that the hemisphere responsible for seeing in the way necessary for drawing was nonverbal. I am reminded of Edward's observation whenever I am demonstrating massage and attempting to describe my methods or am Scandinavian dancing and trying to converse. Kinesthetic/perceptual skills and verbal/linguistic skills simply come from different places. Doing both requires a lot of switching back and forth.
What has intrigued me further, however, are the differences Edwards noted between the detailed perceptions of shape and form needed for drawing and the simple symbolic caricatures offered up by the verbal-linguistic mind. There are other ways in which fixating on the symbol rather than switching our minds into the depths of the form can deceive us.
We often think of posture as if it had some independent existence. Yet, if we delve below the symbol, our posture is merely the relative positioning of parts of our body in the downward pulling field of gravity. If we simply lean forward slightly while standing, we can feel the posterior line of the muscles of our calves, hamstrings, and glutei tighten to keep us from falling forward. At the same time, our knees might lock in hyperextension while the intrinsic muscles of our toes contract to grip the ground.1 If we were to hold this posture habitually, the muscles of our posterior line and plantar foot would be working continually. At the same time, the mobility of our knees and ankles and their ability to absorb shock would be reduced. Over time, anterior line tissues would become shortened and weak, locking our bodies in this effort-filled position. From just this small example, we see how many clues to lengthening and releasing specific tissues we receive in going from the symbolic idea of posture to the specific dislocations that have occurred. Sometimes we talk about injuries to soft tissues as if they came in standard packages at the store. Yet again, in working with minor injuries we need to examine the specifics. What type of tissue was injured: muscle, tendon or ligament? What has been the effect of this injury in limiting tissue strength and restricting motion? Do we best create a change by applying compression, a lengthening stretch, or a broadening stroke across the tissue? All are useful but quite different techniques.5 How do we best position our client to facilitate access while keeping our own body mechanics effortless and efficient? Do we want our client to move a joint to enhance either tissue lengthening or broadening? Again, moving our focus from symbol to detail provides the clues.
It's easy to get stuck in the terminology we learn and miss the nuances of its application. In working with the shoulder and hip we learn words for position like flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, medial rotation, and lateral rotation. As we get into the specifics of assessing dysfunctions, however, we begin to realize that position isn't everything; that motion also is present.3 What can be confusing is that the words for position and motion are the same. We can have a motion of flexion in a position of flexion and a motion of flexion in a position of extension. We can also have a motion of extension in a position of extension or a motion of extension in a position of flexion. Similar combinations exist for abduction-adduction and medial rotation-lateral rotation. Again, it's in going beyond the terminology into the specific tracking of both position and motion that we begin to understand working with the shoulders and hips.
Beyond just shaping the work we do with our hands and hearts, the differences between symbol and form can shape our very perceptions of ourselves and of each other. People speak of having "high standards" for entry into practicing massage when what they mean is simply high requirements. In contrast, the Boston Marathon has clear entry standards based on a prior performance in another marathon. For the 18-34 age group, the required finishing times are: men - 3 hours 10 minutes; women - 3 hours 40 minutes. The conditions are measurable and unambiguous. They don't specify how many hours you have spent training, but they do specify what the result of that training must be. It is meaningless to talk about "high standards" apart from a specific context and a well-defined measure of attainment. Betty Edwards was right. The differences between symbol and form lie deep within the perceptions of our minds, and make all the difference in the world in how we draw our conclusions.
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.