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Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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 Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg 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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
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.
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.
November, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 11
Exploring with Science
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
As a scientist, I am often bemused by the apparently prevalent assumption in massage therapy that the role of science is as a sort of gatekeeper of proven methods.It's an outlook that I believe is derived more from a limited view of science as a promoter of mechanical technology than from the spirit of inquiry that beckons most research scientists. I have long recalled an article I read years ago on why people enter the pursuit of science. The title was "Whoa, look at that!" That simple title captures the spirit of curiosity and delight at nosing into the unexpected and unknown, better than anything else that I have since encountered. It's in that spirit that I'm writing today.
We do well to remember the gap that can exist between observation and understanding. Herbs containing salicylic acid had been used for centuries to relieve pain and fever before aspirin was purified in 1897. It wasn't until 1971 that Sir John Vane demonstrated that inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) by aspirin was responsible for its effects, sharing the 1982 Nobel Prize in medicine for that discovery. Only recently, a research group led by biochemist Daniel Simmons of Brigham Young University discovered a new variant of the COX enzyme that might explain the previously unknown action of acetaminophen.13 For massage and simple touch, I believe that many of the effects will be even slower and more difficult to elucidate, simply because they extend beyond the mechanical into simultaneous emotional, neurological, and neurochemical interactions. As with the complex connections involved with climate, better understanding of the whole picture may wait on our ability to use computers to simulate the entire system at work. Increasingly, such simulations are becoming a third branch of science - bridging experiment and analytical theory - because they make it possible to investigate regimes that are beyond current experimental capabilities, and to study phenomena that cannot be replicated in laboratories.
Within the last several decades, there have been several medical research developments that create a basis for some intriguing speculations on the effects of touch. In 1975, Dr. Robert Ader coined the term psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), beginning a new discipline of research linking the mind to the immune system.2,12 A recent small sample study with cellular analysis is consistent with massage having a positive effect on immune function.8 I tend to couple the research on PNI with the research and clinical experience of ideokinesis pursued by Eric Franklin and his predecessors.6 This material connects our mental imagery with creation and activation of our low-level neuromuscular patterns. In juxtaposition, PNI and ideokinesis substantially motivate respecting simple touch and relaxation massage as profound and deep reaching interventions toward managing stress and promoting health.
In a comparison of the co-location of acupuncture points and trigger points, Ronald Melzack and his colleagues found a remarkably high degree (71%) of correspondence.9 They concluded that "this close correlation suggests that trigger points and acupuncture points for pain, though discovered independently and labeled differently, represent the same phenomenon and can be explained in terms of the same underlying neural mechanisms." Based on further research into phantom limb pain, Melzack's group later proposed that we have an inherent neuromatrix, essentially forming an analog body within us.7,10 This neuromatrix acts to integrate our myriad sensory input into a coherent perception of a body. It also has a memory of its current state, helping to explain hypersensitivity towards experiencing benign sensations as painful. As a bit of blue-sky thought, I speculate that this research provides a basis for a western understanding of the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine. In this picture, the meridians don't lie within our physical bodies, but are a kind of circuit diagram of sensory relationships in how we form a cohesive sense of body from an overwhelming input of sensory information. There is no inherent conflict with an acupuncture point having non-local effects, because the important proximity is in neurological processing rather than physical space. There are some remarkable analogies to patterns of communication between individual processors in modern massively parallel computers. I find the possibilities intriguing.
When it comes to statements made about "energy work", I am rather an agnostic. Yet, nevertheless, I have experienced profound effects from such work and cannot discount the genre off hand. At this point, I see no basis for proposing fields of energy beyond the electrical and magnetic, so I return to consideration of these fields as recently reviewed by James Oschman.11
While what Oschman covers indicates that we all project fields around us, it doesn't support a conclusion that we are designed to emit beams of energy. Simply speculating on the maximum gain for the least energy required, suggests to me that something must occur in energy work akin to the improvements of tuning a piano.
Those talented in such work may simply possess perceptive skills akin to perfect pitch.1 Some recent studies with savants indicate that we all have neurological and mental capabilities beyond those to which we normally have conscious access.5 Some simply gain access by having the cloaking superficial layers of consciousness peeled back. These extra perceptional abilities include, for example, the ability to find the "sweet spot" in a room at which the sound from multiple speakers arrives simultaneously.5 There is every indication from such studies and from experience with biofeedback, that we are well-designed to detect and correct differences in "tuning" and coherence if we can perceive them. There is an additional observation that those with perfect pitch have a higher incidence of synesthesia, a mixing of senses. When hearing a sound, some, also perceive it as a color.1 This is suggestive that subtle sensations from bioenergetic fields could map for some into the visual, auditory, or tactile senses, giving person to person field interactions a rational basis. I think it likely that much that is taught about the techniques of energy work is simply a metaphorical roadmap to help train perception and focus the mind appropriately to enable subtle manipulations of bioenergetic fields.
While we must be careful not to interpret the perceptions stemming from cross-sensory mapping too literally, we should be equally careful in not dismissing them. Our neurological capabilities are turning out to be a lot more interesting than once thought, as science explores into the windows facing towards our inner selves. Whether we see two faces or a chalice can simply depend on our perceptions of foreground and background.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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