resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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.)
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
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.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
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.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
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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