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How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
August, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 08
Zero Balancing: Touching the Spirit Through Energy and Structure
By Lora Freeman
"Stay in Touch With..." is a periodic column designed to provide an introduction to a particular technique or modality. If you would like to contribute to this column, contact us at .
If someone told you that you could be healthier, happier, clearer and more fully integrated with your true self, how would you respond? If you're like most people, you'd be a combination of curious and a little (or a lot) skeptical about such a broad claim.Those are exactly the kinds of results, however, that people who practice Zero Balancing will tell you their clients experience consistently, from this relatively newcomer to the world of massage and bodywork.
Zero Balancing (ZB) was developed in the early 1970s by osteopathic physician and medical doctor, Fritz Frederick Smith. Dr. Smith had a standard osteopathic practice in rural California to which he added studies in acupuncture. He experienced remarkable results with his patients by integrating principles from osteopathy, involving manipulation of bony structures, and acupuncture, involving balancing body energy. Not only did his patients find relief from many of their physical complaints, but they also commented consistently that their experiences transcended the physical. His patients expressed feeling happier, calmer, and more grounded and centered. As one of Dr. Smith's early patients said, "I feel balanced ... back to Zero... sort of Zero Balanced." The name resonated with Dr. Smith and stuck.
"ZB does a whole range of things," commented Michael Oruch, a certified Zero Balancer from New York who teaches ZB in Chicago and throughout the U.S. "It helps with stress, headache, back pain ...but more importantly, it helps people become more of who they are. The ancient Chinese belief is that our ancestral chi [energy] is in our bones, and ZB teaches you how to work with that. It teaches you to work with who and what people are at the core, with what we're made of. In the ZB vocabulary of touch are things that anyone in the healing professions ought to know; these are life skills."
What Does a ZB Session Look Like?
The Zero Balancer follows an elegant protocol that belies its profound effects. The basic protocol varies only slightly from patient to patient, though the timing and pacing can vary greatly depending on the setting, frame and predetermined time limits. A session usually lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.
The Zero Balancer will ask what is happening in the client's life; physical, emotional and/or spiritual influences are all welcome information. It is up to the client to decide what is important to share. Based on that information, the Zero Balancer and the client will decide together the goals and "frame" for the session. The job of the practitioner is to weave that chosen frame into the session. So if the client has determined, for example, that he or she wants the framework of the session to feel more balanced, clearer, more integrated, or "to release baggage" (whether physical or otherwise), part of the Zero Balancer's job is to find a way for the body to become a vehicle for accomplishing that goal metaphorically, while simultaneously keeping in mind the aches, pains or other physical concerns the client has asked to have addressed.
After a brief assessment, the practitioner will ask the client to lie on his or her back, fully clothed, on the massage table. With a series of traction movements and the application of pressure from fingertips called "fulcrums" (applied mostly to the underside of the client's body), the practitioner will follow a set protocol of treating the entire body, from the toes to top of the head.
John Hamwee, a Zero Balancer and author of the book, Zero Balancing, defines fulcrums as "still points on which the body can balance." Where energy may be disorganized from trauma, stress or repetitive strain, possibly to the point of causing physical and structural pain and dysfunction, a fulcrum imposes a stronger, clearer field of energy. This provides the body the opportunity to reorganize. The rule of thumb is that the pressure of a fulcrum should either "feel good or hurt good," and this is essential to an effective treatment. Both giver and receiver need to feel comfortable as an essential aspect of ZB touch.
The story goes that donkeys carrying loads up steep hills lean against one another - the donkey on the outside of the path leans inward, the donkey on the inside of the path leans out - forming a supportive relationship between them as they carry their loads. This "donkey-donkey" connection is what the Zero Balancer works toward with the client, one in which both giver and receiver feel strongly supported and at ease, with no undue effort. As a result of this donkey-donkey connection, an alchemical and therapeutic relationship evolves. A type of "dance" results, as the practitioner focuses his attention - and intention - on following the client's involuntary and often wordless responses to the work. In this relationship, the pacing and depth of pressure evolve organically and meditatively from the relationship between the two people.
The meditative quality of ZB also differentiates it from traditional massage. The Zero Balancer brings a high level of focus to the session by listening to the client's body with his or her hands, eyes and ears. This high level of attention - combined with the predetermined "frame" - makes the treatment a meditative experience for both people involved. Additionally, the deep level of the touch contacts one's being at levels of both energy and structure, and this combination powerfully touches a person in the place where the body/mind resides.
Another essential aspect of ZB touch is the principle of working at "interface" with the client. The Zero Balancer consciously works to maintain the integrity of the client's energy field, neither adding nor taking energy from the client, but rather facilitating a balancing effect of the patient's own energy. This is a crucial skill for bodyworkers and massage therapists who often find their own energy drained by energetically depleted clients - or find themselves struggling with other boundary issues with clients.
Massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other healing professionals will find ZB to be an excellent addition to their treatment "toolbox."
According to Mary Murphy, a certified massage therapist and certified Zero Balancer who works at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., "ZB is a grounding and integrating tool par excellence. It is remarkably efficient at clearing even deeply held restrictions within the body in a way that the client can integrate both in the moment and over time."
Murphy says that she uses ZB in almost every bodywork session she offers. "Whether I am using ZB as a straight protocol or not, ZB helps integrate and strengthen any changes in the patient's system, whatever the modality."
What Can ZB Do for You?
We see only a partially accurate picture of ZB if we merely list the ailments it treats. In reality, though, ZB helps to resolve back pain, musculoskeletal aches and pains, headaches, digestive disorders, and emotional imbalance (to name a few), ZB follows the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) model. In other words, ZB treats the whole person, not just the disease. As with acupuncture, the goal is to bring the client's body back into balance and from that point, the body corrects many of its own ailments. ZB brings the body back into balance structurally and energetically, which consistently makes for happier, healthier clients.
Because ZB has the unique quality of touching bone energy specifically, it also affects mental functioning, according to the TCM model. "The way you perceive yourself and your world becomes clearer," said Robert Alimo, a certified Zero Balancer and industrial rehabilitation specialist at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. "I feel more stable, more integrated," Oruch said of his own ZB experiences. "It has helped sustain me through difficult times, and I know myself better."
And Oak Park, Illinois schoolteacher, Mary Alice Dacosse, said, "After a third Zero Balancing (session), I could breathe easier, had a clearer focus and felt back on track with my life. I limped less as my muscles relaxed. I felt more empowered. I felt ZB was working with me, not controlling me. Perimenopause felt like something that overcame me, something that happened to me. I felt that ZB brought it more into focus so that I can accept it. ZB does not give me a euphoric feeling. It's a subtle transformation, and one you feel you are in communion with, not one that overtakes you."
For more information on Zero Balancing, visit www.zerobalancing.com.
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