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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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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!
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.
December, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 12
Flushing Out Myths
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
There's a statement, seemingly pervasive throughout massage education and massage books, that unspecified toxins accumulate in the body, and that these toxins can be flushed out by massage.I believe this is yet another myth that continues to be passed on as misinformation to massage students. This is not to dispute that there are very real toxins that accumulate in the body, notably persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in fatty tissues and heavy metals in skeletal tissues. [7,8] However, these toxins are too chemically bound to their target tissues to be significantly liberated by the mechanical motions of massage.
A more significant issue is whether metabolic wastes and cellular debris can significantly accumulate and be flushed out by massage. To elucidate a negative response to this, I turn to consideration of the circulation of blood and lymph. If the tissue is to accumulate wastes in a static manner, i.e. not as an instantaneous balance between production and removal, the tissue must be isolated. If we assume that the tissue is isolated from blood circulation, then necrosis (cellular death) is the rapid consequence. Such gangrene is, for example, one of the results of the vascular pathology of diabetes. We have to conclude that non-gangrenous tissue must be receiving oxygen and nutrients via circulation and that, for this to continue, venous return flow must also be occurring. If the toxins are accumulating, they cannot be doing so within the reach of the circulatory system. Perhaps we should look instead in the interstitial spaces served by the lymphatic system.
As noted by Bruno Chikly, the lymphatic system is a second pathway back to the heart, parallel to the blood system [2, pg. 27]. Chikly further notes that "about 1.5 to 3.5 liters of lymph per day circulate through the thoracic duct, although the total volume of the flow of lymph has yet to be precisely measured" [2, pg. 51] and expands on the process of lymphatic circulation.
What arises is a picture of tissue far from being in static isolation. If neither necrosis nor severe edema is to result, the tissue environment must be continually bathed in the fluid circulations of blood and lymph, ruling out the accumulation of free toxins. Where there are restrictions, such as adhesions between fascial planes, they must be of a more macroscopic nature, still allowing for the microscopic flow of circulation, just as water can flow through cheesecloth.
Based on the above considerations, I can only conclude that the flushing of toxins is yet another persistent myth. However, this does not imply that massage is powerless to benefit the body. While massage does not appear to directly increase overall blood flow , it can be used to relax muscle hypertonicity. Lowering the level of muscle activity will locally reduce the need for energy and oxygen and the rate of production of metabolic wastes. It will also reduce the muscular pressure on surrounding tissues, effectively improving circulation and recovery from use. This, however, is not massage moving out toxins, but massage facilitating a better homeostasis. It is just this improvement in homeostasis by which, I believe, massage facilitates recovery from exercise and allows a higher level of training to occur.
In cases of excess lymphatic fluid production (overloading a normally functioning lymphatic system), or partial lymphatic system compromise, lymphatic drainage massage may be helpful in promoting the process of lymphatic filtering. The key sign here is the existence of edema. Normally, local muscle contractions promote sufficient lymph drainage. A notable exception exists with breast tissue. Since there is no contractile tissue within the breast to assist lymphatic drainage, overall tissue movement becomes important [3, pg. 101].
There remains a consideration that some clients respond to a massage with reactions of flu-like aches and malaise. Such symptoms have often been attributed to the toxins released. Dispelling with the concept of toxins means that we must seek other explanations for such post-massage malaise. Chaitow notes that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are the distant end of spectrums of dysfunction that can include aches, malaise, and flu-like symptoms [1, pg. 6]. He believes that a great many people are somewhere on those spectrums. Some of the models of dysfunction that Chaitow presents include a sort of systemic allergic reaction characterized by a great deal of pain, either muscular and/or joint-related [1, pg. 33]. Chaitow also notes the hypothesis that the inability to produce an adequate cortisol response to a stress can result in symptoms: "Deficiency in cortisol is characterised by fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, bowel symptoms, nausea, increased allergic reactions, mood disturbance" [1, pg. 68]. I tend to think of a body's neurochemical system on the edge of its ability to adapt being pushed temporarily beyond the edge by accommodating to the work being done. This reaction may be exacerbated by effects of athletic overtraining or by a genetic metabolic predisposition [5,6].
To explain the effects of massage, think not of flushing out toxins, but flushing out tensions - not just in the sense of emotional holding, but in the basic sense of muscles "idling" with the throttle open. As with good mechanics, we're simply readjusting the throttle to a reasonable idle rate. Underlying this way of looking at things, however, is a fundamental shift in orientation from mechanically moving something that accumulates to changing a dynamic balance within the living human body. It is, I believe, an important shift away from mythology and toward better understanding of our work.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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