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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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
June, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 06
The "Secret" of Chinese Pulse Assessment
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
The little-known fact about Chinese pulse assessment is this: It's really easy. When I hear teachers go on and on about the need to take 500 pulses before it means anything, I roll my eyes.Yes, memorizing all 28 pulse qualities takes time; connecting the information to what you feel takes a little longer; and perfecting a more complex system, such as the one described by Dr. Shen in Leon Hammer's comprehensive and eloquent pulse diagnosis tome (800 plus pages), will take quite a bit of discipline, but immediately obtaining usable information you can trust takes only a few hours. These articles will give you an idea of how to complete a qualitative pulse assessment, judging whether qi is weak or strong in each of the 12 main positions. It takes longer to distinguish between the 28 pulse qualities, but when you get confident in assessing the relative strength or weakness in each position, you can start to describe the different qualities of the pulse waves.
Examination Approaches: East vs. West
Although the pulse can give you important information in developing a treatment plan, you must consider it in relation to other signs and symptoms. Actually, looking at the pulse in isolation is contrary to the spirit of Chinese medicine; rather, it must be viewed as an integral piece of a whole complex of symptoms. The Chinese medicine view is broader in scope than the subjective or objective data collected in Western medicine approaches, in which the signs and symptoms are considered directly related to the client's chief concern.
For example, a client presents with lower-back pain. A Western-based practitioner conducts a detailed intake in which he or she asks about the quality of the pain; what relieves and aggravates the pain; the severity of the pain; when the pain started; and how posture, lifestyle and attitude come into play. The practitioner may look at X-rays, MRIs, ROM and other physical exams. Most of this information is thought of as directly relating to the lower-back pain, which yields an assessment and treatment plan.
Suppose the same person with lower-back pain comes to see a practitioner of East-Asian medicine. Many of the results from the same type of examination are considered, but information that appears unrelated can be just as - if not more - important. For example, a weak pulse in the third position can be a tip-off to the presence of lower-back pain even before the client says anything. A slow and deep pulse points to its root cause as a Kidney Yang Deficiency (see corresponding article www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/03/12.html), but there would have to be other symptoms present to confirm that assessment, such as getting up at night to urinate; cold feet; lack of motivation or will; impotence; and/or a swollen tongue with white coating. At this point, a clear, cohesive picture of the energetic balance of the client develops, including emotions and physical manifestations, so the practitioner can select treatment principles and a plan to obtain optimal results.
Back to pulses. If you are an Asian bodywork therapist (ABT), you gather the above information using the Four Pillars of Assessment, sometimes called the Four Examinations, which are pulses belonging to the "touching" category. Other examinations include looking, hearing, smelling and asking. There are so many strategies under each of these categories that you could spend all day doing an initial intake. I prefer to gather a little bit of information at a time because I find that people don't reveal everything right away anyhow, no matter how thorough the examination. I gather enough information to begin treatment; as clients open up in subsequent visits and I see how they have responded to their last sessions, I can adjust my approach (called "assessment by treatment").
The pulses are examples of how the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Basically, any part of the body gives you a picture of the entire body. Microsystems developed for the ears, eyes, hands, feet, face and tongue have proved accurate and useful. I'm sure you could come up with a microsystem for elbow assessment and treatment if you were so inclined!
In my next article, I will give you the method for taking the pulse and a map with which to start. For "hands on" pulse instruction, visit www.aobta.org/schools.htm for a list of schools that offer in-depth programs in Asian bodywork therapy.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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