resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
June, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 06
Cholesterol: Friend of Foe?
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As a physician who is passionate about all aspects of the human body, I frequently get questions about situations outside of the realm of CranioSacral Therapy. One such topic that has come up a lot over the last few years is that of cholesterol.With all the talk about the evils of cholesterol, you might think it is a dangerous substance that should be avoided at all costs. But is it really as terrible as it seems? Let's take a look.
Cholesterol is what is called a sterol molecule, which is any of a group of solid, mostly unsaturated polycyclic alcohol molecules. There is one hydroxyl (OH) group on carbon 3 that makes cholesterol an alcohol. If you aren't savvy in chemistry, don't worry; I'll make it as simple as I can.
Cholesterol is abundant in a wide variety of animal tissues, including human tissue. It is especially abundant in brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous tissues. It is a generous constituent of the myelin sheathes that serve as insulation for all of the white nervous tissues. Without adequate cholesterol, the myelin disintegrates and the conduction of impulses in all nerve tissues, including the brain, is impaired. So when cholesterol is not present in adequate amounts, brain function is proportionately compromised.
In addition to cholesterol's contribution to myelin, it has more recently been discovered that cholesterol molecules are essential for nerve cells to communicate with each other. It seems that for a message to be successfully sent from a presynaptic neuronal axon to the receiving neuron, on the postsynaptic side of the gap between the two neurons (the gap is the synapse), there must be an abundance of cholesterol molecules on the presynaptic side of the gap (synapse). We don't yet know precisely how this works, but we do know that cholesterol is necessary for the nerve impulse to be transmitted from one neuron to the next.
We also know that cholesterol is the primary molecule from which all of the corticosteroid hormones of the adrenal glands are derived. Without these adrenal corticosteroid hormones, we would live in pain. These hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands. They mitigate the inflammatory responses that are induced and continually produced under any circumstances that stimulate an inflammatory response by the immune system. Without the proper level of corticosteroid hormone being produced by the cortices of the adrenal glands, we probably wouldn't survive attacks of various bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, allergies, and more. We would simply inflame our lives away.
Another arena in which we would get a tremendous amount of pain is in the area of muscle, tendons, ligaments, fascia, bone wear and tear, etc. The corticosteroids reduce the inflammatory responses in those tissues and bones tremendously. I could go on and on with what inherently produced corticosteroids do for our creature comforts. Yet another arena that requires cholesterol as a primary substance is that of the sex hormones. Cholesterol is the essential basic substance from which our bodies manufacture both male and female sex hormones, i.e., testosterone and the various estrogen- and progesterone-related hormones. Where would we be without cholesterol? We would be asexual and childless. The aforementioned are only some of the things that we know require cholesterol.
Here's one other thing we know for sure about cholesterol: In our skin, in the presence of sunshine, cholesterol is converted to vitamin D, which is necessary for health. Lack of vitamin D in children results in rickets, in which the bones are very soft and easily become misshapen.
In the category of cholesterol functions, there is an argument that I believe began in the 1950s. From 1960 through 1963, I was attending osteopathic medical school and concurrently participating in a biochemistry teaching and research fellowship. I was selected as the award recipient by the biochemistry department chairman, Dr. Stacy F. Howell, who had great experience in the field of biochemistry, and was due to retire at the same time I graduated. Dr. Howell's PhD was from Cornell University where he helped establish proof that enzymes were proteins. His mentor, Dr. J. Sumner, received a Nobel Prize for establishing that same proof.
Dr. Howell and I spent many hours together, and he mentored me several nights. I recall that his friend, Ancel Keyes, PhD, from the University of Minnesota, discovered that there was abundant cholesterol in the plaques that form in arteries. These plaques serve to partially and sometimes completely obstruct the flow of blood through the involved arteries. The medical community immediately took this information from Ancel Keyes and decided that cholesterol was the demon that caused the plaques because when they formed in the arteries to the heart (coronary arteries), a "heart attack" (myocardial infarction) was the result. So it was simple: Cholesterol in the blood was the cause of ischemic (not enough blood) heart disease.
Within a year following his discovery, Ancel Keyes tried to reason with the "powers that be" that simply because cholesterol was present in the plaques did not mean it was the cause of the plaques. It struck Dr. Howell that the medical community was eager to find a cause for ischemic heart disease, a.k.a. coronary artery disease, and it could be treated by lowering blood cholesterol. The simplicity of the concept overcame scientific scrutiny. I listened to Dr. Howell and respected his wisdom; I also felt that Dr. Keyes should be listened to very seriously.
A few years later, a heart surgeon from Texas named Michael DeBakey hypothesized that the artery became infected by a bacteria, virus, etc., first, and that part of the body's defense might be to isolate the infected and inflamed area in the artery so that it would not spread throughout the arterial system and become lethal. Dr. DeBakey suggested that the cholesterol deposits might be part of the body's attempt to isolate the inflamed/infected part of the artery before it spread. Shortly after hearing Dr. DeBakey's ideas, I went to Mexico City to study with Dr. Demetrio Sodi-Pallares, a well-known cardiologist. Dr. Sodi agreed with Dr. DeBakey. I performed several autopsies with Dr. Sodi while I was there, and he showed me some instances in which plaque was not present, and the inflammatory response to a spreading infection in the coronary arteries was the cause of death.
With this information, I offer the idea that cholesterol is not the demon that it is touted to be. First, I believe that Mother Nature would not have the liver manufacturing cholesterol in response to physiological need if the cholesterol molecule were indeed such a menace to our well-being, and it would not have the intestines absorbing cholesterol from our food intake. If cholesterol were that bad for us, it would mean that Mother Nature wants us dead, and I just cannot accept that idea.
When I was in general practice from 1964 through 1975, a normal blood cholesterol level was 250 to 300 mg% (mg% being the number of milligrams of cholesterol per 100 milliliters or cubic centimeters of blood). Now doctors want it to be at 125mg% or less. I believe that cholesterol is an effective part of the immune system's armament against disease invasions. When we starve our bodies for cholesterol, we get sick and taken over by depressive moods more often. Frankly, I believe that the statin medications that are used to lower cholesterol production by the liver are far more toxic than blood cholesterol of 300mg%. As far as "good" and "bad" cholesterols are concerned, I believe that Mother Nature can deal with that better than medicine can.
Editor's note: This article has been written for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for personal medical advice. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have about your health.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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