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A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
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 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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09
Breathing Fresh Air
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Breathing fresh air has literal and metaphorical significance. In the beginnings of the industrial revolution, little thought was given to the environment. As a severe result, the particulate air pollution in London from coal burning resulted in "killer fogs" from the 1800s into the 1950s.9 Since then, greater understanding and attention to the system as a whole has freshened the air. This is partly a change from perceiving everything as simple stand-alone machines, to understanding more of the interactions, feedbacks, and true complexity of systems. It is the change of viewpoint from the industrial revolution to the information revolution. The "fresh air" of a wider perspective can contribute significantly to the literal freshness of the air.
The somatic consideration of breathing fresh air returns us to thoughts from last month's column. I brought up the effects of chronic shortening of our anterior line, including compaction of our ribcage and dysfunctional breathing patterns. Philip Greenman notes that alteration in ribcage function can negatively impact respiratory activity, circulatory activity (arterial, venous, and lymphatic), and neural activity.3 During inspiration, as the diaphragm contracts and descends toward the pelvis, the ribs should elevate and expand using secondary muscles of respiration.1,3,6 The reverse occurs during expiration. Lengthening the anterior line restores space for the ribs to function, but does not automatically restore function. Art Riggs comments on working with clients to correct their breathing patterns:7
Sometimes, especially in relation to chronic postural patterns, the motion of one or more ribs can become restricted - fixed in either exhalation or inhalation. Directly working the soft tissues of the thoracic regions around the costotransverse, costovertebral, costochondral, and sternochondral regions is a first step toward restoring movement.5 Additional steps can involve direct work on the deep intrinsic muscles of the spine, gentle movements of the ribcage, and gentle resistance against breathing in the manner of post-isometric relaxation.5,7 Gentle resistance techniques can also be used to help a client become aware of and relearn breathing patterns.7
Breathing fresh air also has the metaphorical meaning of taking a new path in looking for solutions to well-known problems. One such problem comes in seeking ways to reach out and help at-risk and disadvantaged segments of our population to help themselves. I've recently become involved in such a project via the Touch Health Association, the community outreach agency of the McKinnon Institute at which I've long been teaching massage.8
Many young mothers are unaware of their children's needs because they lack maturity and/or education to pick up on their cues. An infant massage training program, now in its own gestation, will teach disadvantaged mothers to touch their children in a healthy/healing way that improves infant development and increases their familiarity and comfort with appropriate touch. It is planned that, as these women complete their training in massage therapy, they will be hired through the non-profit agency to bring massage and appropriate touch back to their own communities. We will make use of the community knowledge the young mothers already have and the trust they can access from being part of the community served. The focus of the project is to create sustainable job options for young mothers as well as increase availability of massage to underserved populations.
Much of the coursework is based on results of developmental research from the Touch Research Institute (TRI). In many cases the trainees will not be persons fluent in academic learning and assessment methods - chalk and talk and standardized tests won't cut it. The project will have to move both to use of active visual media and to an experiential/kinesthetic mode of teaching topics such as anatomy.1,6 Assessment will need to be done directly within the context of practice.
What I'm describing is without a doubt at odds with many existing state practice acts - laws written and passed without a thought of using massage as a tool for community intervention. The pursuit of "credentialism" embodied in such laws can have needless impacts on those already disadvantaged.2
Such laws were written by people and can be changed by other people. Advocate such change to colleagues and legislators when licensing acts are either being initially considered or are up for a review of need and efficacy. Cherish and preserve the flexibility you do have, working with nonprofit resources and government agencies to create touch-based outreach programs. By caring enough to participate, we can create a breath of fresh air in how we reach out as massage therapists to improve community and culture and stem the tides of despair and violence.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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