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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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?
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09
The Eighth Element: Cultural Expression
By Robin Zill, LMT
The 10 Elements of the Spa Experience are designed to teach the consumer and professional about the integrated nature of the spa experience. This is the ninth article in a 12-part series and focuses on the eighth of the 10 elements: Cultural expression.
Cultural expression, the eighth element of the spa experience, embodies much of what often goes unspoken or unacknowledged in our daily lives. Yet like a mirror, it reflects back to us who we are and who we can become on our own life journey. Most simply, cultural expression refers to the science, politics, belief systems and arts of the time and how we perceive them using our minds, emotions, senses and souls. We are not separate from the world we live in, and we constantly re-define ourselves according to norms and constructs within our culture. Cultural expression embraces this process of self-discovery through the following four categories: values and beliefs, science and technology, political climate and the arts.
Values and Beliefs
What are the prevailing religious and belief systems, and how do they relate to the spa experience? Our belief systems help us to form concepts of what is right and wrong and what is attractive and unattractive. Cultural expression is important to the spa experience if only to understand simple things such as how modesty and nudity are addressed in the spa setting. The human body and our sexual/sensual concept of what makes us who we are is one example. Europeans are characteristically much less modest than Americans, and Americans less modest than the Chinese, and so on. Nudity, draping issues, touch and gender issues differ according to age, upbringing, culture, and religious beliefs. Belief systems can make or break a spa experience, whether the client is a novice or a discerning spa consumer.
Treatments with religious or spiritual overtones are also a new issue surfacing in the spa industry. Although there is a general interest in exploring spirituality, and a growing tolerance and acceptance for the beliefs of others, there are still problems. For example, providing spa treatments that lean toward Eastern or esoteric philosophy may not be appealing to a dedicated Christian, and vise-versa.
How do science and technology change our idea of an optimal spa experience? How will the spa experience be affected by the shifting scientific paradigm from mechanical reductionism to the emerging paradigm of wholeness and dynamic interrelationships? What kind of treatments appeal to us: do we want pure, natural and organic treatments, or the latest in scientific discovery to remove wrinkles and retard the aging process?
For example, consider current scientific research, the long and high cost of the FDA approval process for bringing a product to market. What is funded, why is it funded, and who provides the funding? I remember how hard it was for our industry to raise funding for the first scientific research on "massage and touch therapies" at the Touch Research Institute in Miami years ago. It would be interesting to compare research dollars spent on touch and hydrotherapy to those spent on laser resurfacing and botox treatments, for example.
Often we don't stop and think how the political environment and ruling party of the time affect a spa experience or even our daily living. Are we at war? What is the climate for trade, social programs, health benefits and insurance? For example, how will social security and health benefits affect the baby-boomers as they age - will they be able to afford spa treatments? Government organizations and political lobbyists help determine what will be available to us: everything from organic food, to beauty aids, to genetic engineering. We must begin to think ahead and become more conscious of the political climate. Do we want spa to become more medical? Should spa treatments be covered by insurance? Who will qualify for new anti-aging therapies and how will they be paid for?
Also, the political climate of the time affects our global trading opportunities from a business perspective. Costs of goods and unique sourcing directly affect the therapies that we can offer and the profit they deliver.
In the words of Dr. Lawrence Van Der Post: "Nations decay when the arts decay." What the arts really do is connect people to the culture and the stories we are telling. I went to Karlsbad in the Czech Republic with Dr. Jonathan DeVierville a few years ago, a trip I highly recommend. Karlsbad is an architecturally beautiful city built around an array of spas and mineral springs for drinking. It is obvious the city planners knew the importance of art and beauty to health and well-being. I remember hearing music in my room only to find out that it was the orchestra actually practicing in the spa we were staying in. Here people stay for at least two weeks or longer. The concept is basic; integrated medical/wellness care combined with spa treatments in a beautiful culture where people have the time to change from the inside out.
Are we surrounded by beauty in today's contemporary spa experience? Do we support our government and local community to capture the story of our times through the arts? How do we incorporate art and music into the spa experience? Yes, new age music is often a staple to the experience, but are we consciously bringing this to the spa guest with the goal of transformation?
All of these considerations weave together the importance of cultural expression in the spa experience. It is true, we have experienced much criticism in regards to the eighth element: "it is too obtuse, too vague, not related to the rigors of daily spa business..." This element may have seemed out of step with the spa experience before September 11. But after this catastrophe, the complacency of our political, social, and spiritual lives blew up -- literally. For the first time, this cultural dimension of the spa experience became the core of how people organized or reorganized their businesses.
Traveling less and spending time with family at home became more appealing and cash became tighter, so selling strategies needed to change. People were more likely to visit a day spa than a destination resort, showing us the diversity of needs within our profession. We saw the ugliness of war on the homefront, and we experienced the impact it had on our artistic communities. We became intimately aware of how political choices, actions and bureaucracy affect the stock market, home security, international trade and travel. Our first reaction was to cocoon and process, the next to connect. No longer was pampering and pleasure the essence of the spa experience, but rather stress reduction, self-discovery, and reassessing of values.
That is why it is imperative that we look to spa as a cultural movement, not just as an industry. This search for the soul of spa is something we can all share together. Imagine this movement becoming the vessel for cultural renewal, one in which people come together to share at a deeper and more meaningful level. We must recognize that it is our responsibility to listen to these inaudible murmurings of our collective unconscious. They are what call us to simplest purpose of the human experience, the search for who we are and that which connects us to something greater than ourselves.
Click here for previous articles by Robin Zill, LMT.
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