resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
What TCM Never Had to Deal With
You probably started getting a sense of it when you were in school. The professors would talk about diabetes as "wasting-and-thirsting disease" and you had a thought that you didn't know anyone who was wasting away in any way, shape or form.
Cultivating Our National Strength
The time has come to seriously look at the state of this profession and its influence in the U.S. Where are we? What has happened? Where do we go from here?
Body and Skin Rejuvenation Through Inner Balance, Equals Outer Beauty
First of all, I will draw a line in the sand. You know how there is often a big divide between the methods of Western medicine and holistic or energy medicine?
News in Brief
Foundation for Chiropractic Progress Enrolls Second Group Member; Focus on Chiropractic Education at WFC-ACC Conference in Miami; Are You Ready for Another "Have-a-Heart" Campaign?
MUIH Launches Doctoral Degree Programs
Maryland University of Integrative Health recently announce it will now offer doctoral degrees.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Yo San University Celebrates, Supports Community Clinic
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine recently celebrated 25 years of teaching excellence and serving its community by awarding actor Pierce Brosnan the Robert Graham Visionary Award and raising money for its popular community clinic.
Ancient Chinese Medicine Meets Modern Anatomy Dissection
Have you ever thought it would be beneficial to explore under the skin and examine qi deficiencies in every system of the body? Would you like to see traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis patterns as they relate to western biomedical symptoms and conditions?
The Art of Observation
How many of us spend time just watching our clients walk, climb in and out of cars, rise from a chair or navigate a flight of stairs? Spontaneity is the key. Along with a subtle ability to observe without the client knowing or being made to feel like a lab rat.
The Power of Vitamin K
You may have heard rumblings in recent years that vitamin K helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, and is administered intravenously by some integrative medical doctors who combine it with high-dose vitamin C in cancer treatment.
"Turn, Turn, Turn"
Many people are credited with saying, "If you remember the '60s, you really weren't there." Given the fact I didn't become a teenager until 1970, I actually do remember the '60s (or at least part of it). And as a child of the '60s, I was, of course, influenced by the music.
Treating Our Veterans with PTSD
As July 4th, Memorial Day and Veterans Day continue to pass year in and year out, we honor our veterans from past wars with parades, BBQs and a day off from work, but our veterans live daily with the spiritual scars of war.
The McGill Approach to the Lower Back (Part 1)
Stuart McGill, PhD, brings a unique combination of tools to the table. He is a scientist who also functions as a clinician. He describes himself as a medical consultant who is referred challenging patients. He is both evidence based and practical.
Alcohol Consumption Strongly Linked to Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Alcohol intake is one of the primary risk factors for many human cancers, and is strongly associated with cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, and notably, the colon and rectum.
Behavior as Symptoms of Energetic Imbalance
Karen and Josh said they wanted me to help them fix their marriage. That is why they were sitting on the couch in front of me, complaining about each other. She was too domineering, he said, overly controlling and bossy.
Giving Chiropractic Some Much-Needed PR
Public relations has not always been the chiropractic profession's strong suit, a shortcoming that has subjected the profession to countless attacks on its legitimacy and seemingly perpetual confusion among the public and the health care world as to the skills and services doctors of chiropractic provide.
The Bottom Line ... From a Surgeon Who Knows
Regardless of individual relationships between providers, there continues to be a type of Hatfield-McCoy feud between the philosophies of medicine and chiropractic, particularly when it comes to musculoskeletal ailments.
The Power of Positioning
During the evening, I like to relax while either reading a book or watching television. One of my shows, NCIS, has the main character always drinking coffee. Everyone knows it is a Venti from Starbucks because of its distinctive color and style.
Hon Lee: Scholar, Warrior, Spy, Teacher and Healer
It was fun. Growing up in New York's Chinatown was like living in a Chinese village that had been transplanted to a five square block area in southern Manhattan. The thing I liked most about the city, and still do, is it's rich cultural diversity.
Correcting Dysfunctional Movement Patterns – Is Local Treatment Enough?
It is widely believed that mechanical, non-traumatic back pain is largely related to dysfunctional or compensatory movement patterns the body has adopted over time.
Eight Ways to Help Manage Your Content
You have just completed your last session for the day, checked your voice mail and emailed a new patient about their appointment, but something it gnawing at you, something you just can't quite put your finger it on.
September, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 09
What Memories Can Bring
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Teaching massage has many rewards.One of these comes from simply enjoying the interplay of individual personalities working together closely, as we do in massage classes. An even deeper satisfaction comes in watching how students' skills develop and their confidence increases over periods as small as several weeks. These developments imply that our teaching is making it into our students' sensory input through the filters of awareness and practice, and into their multiple types of long-term memory. Without memory, we would begin anew each week and never get far. Understanding more about the structure of memory gives us a hint of how learning occurs.
Neurologists have broken the structure of memory into sensory working and long-term memory.6 The first stage, sensory memory, receives the river of input from our senses. It has a large capacity, but only holds information for about one second. The next stage, working memory, has a more limited capacity (seven items, plus or minus two) and holds information for 20 to 30 seconds. Neurologists believe working memory can be divided into a central executive controlling attention, an auditory (phonological) input loop, and a visual input sketchpad.1 The final memory stage is long-term memory, which handles anything we remember longer than working memory can hold. Long-term memory has a near-infinite capacity and seems to be broken up neurologically to process different types of input and content. Long-term memory is thought to divide into declarative memory (conscious memory for events and facts) and implicit memory (unconscious memory for skills; habits; repeated recognition; emotional responses; skeletal musculature; and reflex pathways).9
What neurologists and psychologists have learned about the structure of long-term memory functioning has often come from examining the effects of brain injuries. More recently, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures oxygen flow to different areas of the brain, has been used to display activity in different structures of the brain while doing specific mental tasks. Foster and Jelicic discuss research with amnesia from brain injury in introducing a recent compendium of articles on the structure of memory:5
The term 'memory' can refer to numerous different kinds of remembering and types of knowledge. We will be dealing with information, which is retained in long-term or secondary memory, also referred to by some authors as the permanent memory store. This memory store spans a period from a few minutes to a lifetime. Within this system, evidence from amnesic subjects has proven particularly informative in determining the organization and operating principles of memory. Thus, amnesic individuals have profound memory loss for events which occurred after their brain damage (i.e. they manifest a severe anterograde amnesia), but relatively better preserved memory for events which took place before the occurrence of the brain damage (i.e. their retrograde amnesia is typically less severe). Amnesiacs also typically have preserved functions in other psychological domains; for example intelligence, perception, language and motor functions. Importantly for the theoretical view of long-term memory organization, amnesiacs continue to be able to learn specific types of new information, such as perceptual and motor skills.
It's striking that motor skills can be learned by amnesiacs when they no longer have the ability to memorize facts or remember events for more than a few seconds. This "dissociation" between brain functions indicates to neurologists that conscious (declarative) memory and (procedural) memory for motor skills are physically separated in our brains. Even more intriguing, amnesiacs presented with a word, such as "reason," tend to complete the word fragment "rea" as "reason," rather than other alternatives, such as "reader " or "reality."3 Although conscious memory was lost, some previous experiences remained at an unconscious level.
There is a profound implication in this research that the touch we provide in massage will interact with both conscious and unconscious memories. This provides a pathway for working with life experiences our clients may have consciously forgotten but still recall in their body usage. Such research also adds direct neurological support for pediatrician Mel Levine's observation that neurologically based memory deficits can be very specific, compromising performance; for example, in the massive detail recall used on tests while allowing near normal processing in the less memory-intensive activities of everyday life.7
The physical separation of different facets of memory helps explain the observation that the activity in which facts are presented is an integral part of what is learned. Situations co-produce knowledge through activity. Learning, and the ability to use what is learned, is fundamentally linked to the situation in which it occurred. There is a strong indication that competence can only be measured in situations approximating actual usage. Even the medical profession is becoming aware that objective knowledge and competence are not equivalent, leading to a proposal that "professional competence is the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served."4
Working with the memory we each have been given, there remain ways in which we can prompt our memories. Elizabeth Phelps describes ways that emotional content may improve recall, perhaps explaining Elizabeth Bowen's observation in my opening quote:8
For instance, although we know that there are several different types of memory in humans, the predominant one is the ability to recollect information at will. These memories for emotional events seem to have a persistence and vividness that other memories lack. There are several possible ways emotion may alter this explicit, hippocampal-dependent form of memory. Emotion may alter the rate of forgetting for emotional stimuli. Emotion may also provide an organizing theme to aid in later recall. Emotion may influence attention or perceptual encoding, which may effect later recollection. Emotion could also add a component of distinctiveness. All these variables may act independently to influence our ability to recollect emotional information.
Before the printing press was invented, techniques for memorization held greater importance for maintaining and passing on knowledge in an oral tradition.10 People used mnemonic strategies that grouped information using acronyms for easier recollection. We still do this today, using the acronym SITS, to help remember the muscles of the rotator cuff, the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor and Subscapularis. We still use acrostics, in which the first letter of each word in a sentence is the first letter of a bone or muscle. Thus, the phrase, "Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle" helps us to remember the eight carpal bones: Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrium, Pisiform, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, and Hamate.
A more involved visual format of mnemonic, the Method of Loci or "Memory Palace", dates back to the Greek orator Simonides in the 5th century BC. Supposedly, Simonides was at a banquet, but had left the room just before the roof collapsed. He helped identify the bodies by visualizing a walk through the room, as it was when he left it, noting where different people were in the room. Later, remembering would be visually associated with specific settings in visualized buildings, or so-called "memory palaces." To remember the material, one simply walked mentally through the buildings, often to recalling sequences of items that numbered in the thousands.
Memory brings us much in our senses of self and embodiment. Living within our bodies, sensory input - touch; texture; odors; and light - acts as a direct pathway into accessing memories held below our conscious recollection. In touching our clients' skin, we touch their entire lives - history, present, and future. It's something to remember.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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