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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.
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.
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.
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?
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.).
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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