resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
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.
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!
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.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
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.
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.
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."
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
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.
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.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
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.
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.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
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.
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.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
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, etc.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
December, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 12
Raging Water, Raging Fear
By Donna Snow Spears, LMT, NCTMB
Little did I know what lay ahead as I packed for my first advanced CranioSacral Bio-Aquatic workshop in the Bahamas. In hindsight, I believe my journey to self-discovery in the waters of the Bahamas was well choreographed by my personal angels - not one thing was by happenstance - and although I did not know it at the time, the universe would teach me many lessons.
At the small airport in Daytona Beach, I saw the twin-engine plane as it glided up the tarmac with its proud face slanted upward toward the sky.My plane! An hour later, I was in Freeport. All of my preconceived expectations were blown within the first hour of my arrival, one of which was the unpredictable and temperamental weather that would ultimately set the brutal stage for my process of self-discovery. Only later did I realize that the stormy water was divinely prepared to help purge the fears lodged deep in my subconscious. Oddly, I do not remember thinking that the threatening weather and rough water would be a deterrent to me.
Bio-Aquatic Therapy (Day One)
The captivating "swim with the dolphins" began with a car ride to Port Lucaya, then a relaxing boat ride over clear "glass-like" water. In groups of six, we spent 20 minutes "playing" with trained dolphins. The sweetness of these beings still resonates in my thoughts. A morsel of fish rewarded and promoted their favorable behavior and, notably, the disposition and happiness that radiated from the dolphins indicated their true enjoyment of our company. I believe we are no different as humans in our need for our "morsels."
Unmasking the Fearful Unknown - Ocean Therapy (Day Two)
I eyed the storm clouds on the horizon as we approached the dark, churning water. Once in the water, my footing was uneven because of the coral rock ocean floor; still, I felt unreasonably secure about proceeding into the world's largest washing machine.
Twelve of us were divided into three teams, and we looked at each other in procrastinating apprehension. Fool that I am, I volunteered to participate first. I kicked my feet up and lay back into the water, explaining that I don't float well. I floated for a moment, but not before stinging saline water drenched my face and sped up my nose and into my mouth. The fierce ocean had started its obnoxious therapy and did not wait for the rest of my team. A heavy arm plopped down and rested on me, and I felt heavy hands pushing me down. I cursed and flipped the hands off my body, repeating that I don't float well. My breath came quickly and without control; I was having an anxiety attack.
The sting of salt in my nose and eyes was overwhelming. Seeing my flailing, Dr. John [Upledger] shouted, "If you'll just try, you'll probably find that that is embryonic fluid going up your nose." Birth Trauma, I thought. With all the trust and respect that I have for this dear gentleman, at that panicky moment, I could not help my reaction. I quickly stood up and pushed the hands off of me. I withdrew from the session and asked somebody else to go.
I tried again a few moments later. I tried to lie back into the unrelenting waves but when the water hit my face, panic reared its ugly head again. I could hear my teammates telling me they were holding me up and it was my body that wanted to sink. I wondered what was happening and why I was so afraid. Then I became aware of an electric current generating from my solar plexus and surging to my heart; I felt it connecting with the sea, discharging from my solar plexus and heart, down my arms and out of my hands. The sensation grew with such intensity that I felt I was clinging to an electric eel in each hand. Its crescendo was accompanied by more energy shooting from the lateral aspects of my calves. My team immediately backed away and held a space. Bit by bit the energy discharged until it was gone. It was only minutes, but it seemed like an hour. I could not figure out what had just happened to me.
Later, during the afternoon discussion, I shared my experience everyone. I mentioned that I felt like my energy was balanced and peaceful, and that the shell that once separated my soul from the universe had been dissolved.
Facing Death (Day Three)
Standing on the beach, I studied the menacing clouds full of rain and lightening that loomed all around. With our sensory antennas at full mast, most of us went on into the raucous mocking waters. With my full (fool) mental regalia, I plunged right in, intending to face the part of myself that, prior to the day before, had been locked in my subconscious.
My breath became ragged as the familiar panic sunk into every cell in my body. My team knew me by now and grabbed onto me with a kind but unrelenting resolve to help get me through the moment. I begged Dr. John to help. Suddenly, I felt my head being pulled back into the water. I tried not to fight as the ocean washed over my face. The salt stung my sinuses and the water pounded its way down my throat. I tried to let go, but I felt that to do so would have certainly invited death.
"How much (expletive) water do I have to swallow?" I shouted, knowing that my real question was, "Do I have to die?" I knew that to let go would invite drowning.
"I don't (expletive) know!" Dr. John hollered right back.
I didn't know what to do! Give in and drown? "Why am I under the water?," my brain screamed at me. Throngs of hands were hanging on to me, trying to help, and I wondered again if I had to die. Then a voice behind me said, "Donna, you died in another lifetime. You don't have to die in this one. Just let go!" Those words made the difference. I let go and let the water own me. Fear loosened its grip, and the moment was over.
After several moments, the abundance of seawater that I had gulped made its presence known. Nausea. Suddenly, a therapists' palm was firmly planted in my stomach. I yelled in pain and began retching repeatedly. When I was done, I released an angry, primal roaring scream from the center of my soul; a force that had been pent up in my spirit was released. I had heard classmates release by screaming loud enough to curl your hair, but I had not felt compelled to do; however, it was incredibly satisfying and grounding, and I sensed, it brought closure to the session.
"How do you feel?" Dr. John asked at the discussion later that afternoon.
"My energy feels very smooth, not the 'core' tired like I had at the beginning of the year where there seems to be no reserve from which to draw. I couldn't feel better, aside from a very tender stomach," I added.
Salt water, it seems, helps cleanse us on many levels with a conductivity that speeds the process.
Sweet Resolution (Final Day)
There were no threatening clouds, and the ocean was more peaceful, though it still offered up buffeting waves. I welcomed the sun, and I was determined to know if I had completed my process. It was my turn.
I asked my team of seasoned therapists to let my body sink - if that is what it wanted to do. To do so would allow me to be sure I had completed my process of facing my fear of water in this particular lifetime. I floated on my back peacefully and surrendered to the water, my team, and whatever the universe wanted of me. I sensed my body balancing and releasing in ripples, while the therapist's hands worked intuitively. I thought about how amazing my teammates were and marveled at the body's desire to make itself right.
My thoughts were guided gently to an old, mysterious undercurrent in my soul where loneliness - an ancient longing within me - had been a driving force that I could never control or understand. I connected with this elusive phantom and ever-present demon. Suddenly, I felt gripping heart pain! I jerked my consciousness into the center of the nauseating and breath-robbing constriction in my upper chest. "I'm dying again," I thought. I could not breathe, and my heart felt heavy and sick.
In my mind's eye, the pain appeared as a corpse. I felt my scoliosis strain in its position and with it, I saw tissues and cords of light pulling together, choking my heart. I realized I had perished in one lifetime of a broken heart! Upon realizing this, the tension in my left side began to subside. I felt my spine release! My tears flowed and blended with the motherly sea that caressed me in her bosom. Gratitude overcame me at this self-realization; emanations from this death - a longing for someone or someplace that was wrenched from me - were free from my subconscious. Another memory from a past life would no longer be a driving force in this life. I opened my soul to the universe again.
In my mind's eye appeared a great spirit, a great orca. The vision floated before me and our thoughts blended. He allowed his great body to list slightly as though relaxing in the support of the water and his message came to me: Cease resistance to the water. In a few seconds, the boundary that was once my skin vanished, and the saline current blended completely and peacefully with my blood, mind and soul. I was aware of every nuance that is the ocean's whim. Every ripple and splash was inside of me. I perceived my transparent aqua body and saw the sunlight dancing, piercing through to form its undulating patterns on the sandy ocean floor. I sensed the plankton, the minnows, and invertebrates; every living thing was communicating to me through the salty matrix. I sensed my team's energy as they began to withdraw from me. They backed away, gently holding a space, and I floated peacefully in the company of the universe to freedom.
Why would someone go through such a process? Well, it was not a tribulation, and the existential value is directly equal to the results. For me, the results are lucid thoughts and a peaceful soul that has somehow blended with the vast universe.
The intrinsic value of this endeavor was moving closer to the real person I am and discovering a powerful inner being - the kind that exists in all of us. At the same time, I feel as though I have been "promoted" to a newborn, learning about a new world.
To quote my mentor's parting words to this class, "There is a lot of good in every one of us." In that process, I learned of a new and better way to live in the universe.
Donna Snow Spears is a massage therapist in Ormond Beach, Fla. She specializes in neuromuscular therapy and has been studying CranioSacral Therapy at the Upledger Institute for the past four years. She looks forward to completing the CranioSacral diplomat certification in the near future.
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