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The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
Medical Massage and More, Part I
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
I believe medical massage is an advanced discipline of massage therapy. In reality, medical massage is more of an orientation than a particular set of techniques. It is not general relaxation massage; it is anatomically precise and patient specific.The medical massage therapist combines education, training, experience, dedication, humility and intuition to create an integrative manual-therapy approach to reducing the patient's soft-tissue related complaint(s).
Initially, I resisted the term "medical massage;" however, I realized that as massage therapists we do treat medical conditions when they are soft-tissue related. Of course, we cannot say we do - we have to play little word games, more in some states than others - but the truth is we do treat medically related conditions like "frozen shoulder" and "medial epicondylitis." So, why not call it what it is: medical massage? If we stay within the scope of soft-tissue manipulation and joint mobilization there is no reason not to call it medical massage. It seems to be accepted without protest from the allopaths. Hopefully, using the term is the first step toward openly and honestly describing what we do when we move from a relaxation paradigm to a therapeutic, corrective and restorative paradigm.
Actually, the term "therapeutic" massage says it all, but it is an old term that no one attaches any significance to these days. And the public does not understand terms that have been coined to describe massage if the word "massage" is not included (terms like somatic re-education, bodywork, structured touch, neuromuscular therapy, myo-skeletal-kinestic-neuro-biological-rearrangement, blah, blah, blah). But it is clear to the public that medical massage will address their pain or problem. It doesn't sound relaxing, and it doesn't sound like adult entertainment. It is a term that allows us to better reach the public and our allopathic colleagues. Isn't that the idea - to help more people? If this is the term that facilitates the needed communication to bring us together with the public and the health care community, then it is the term to use.
Some authors who have recently written about medical massage believe a physician's diagnosis is a requirement to perform medical massage. I strongly disagree. Do you realize where this will lead us? Do you want to be a slave in a physical therapy department for $10 an hour and maybe benefits? Not me!
Massage therapists are currently first-door providers. This means that the public can come directly to us for help first, and we can do whatever we know within certain limits to help them. This is the same privilege and patient-provider relationship that physicians have. We do not need a physician's permission to help someone. Most PTs, OTs, ATCs, nurses, etc., do not have first-door access to patients. They only see a patient after a physician says they can, and then they can only do what the physician says they can do - their hands are tied. They cannot use all of their skills and resources to help the patient. They cannot treat the whole person; they can only treat a knee or an elbow for a set period of time, and in a certain number of visits.
We do not need gatekeepers (physicians) to control the flow of people to our practices. First-door providership gives us an incredible opportunity to help people. We need to defend this privilege above all else. Never surrender it! If we do, patients will only be allowed to get massage if it is prescribed, which will prevent many of the people we now help from having access to our services.
This is not to say that we should not work with physicians, or that patients should not get a diagnosis and/or a referral and bring it to us. The more information we have, the better we can help; however, we should work with doctors as colleagues, as fellow first-door providers, not as subservient slaves. First-door providership is an incredible opportunity, but it is an equally incredible responsibility. We need higher quality entry-level education, including more assessment skills and standard terminology for strokes and techniques so we can communicate better among ourselves and with other disciplines. We need to take advantage of this privilege to help more people. You do not need a physician's diagnosis or referral to perform medical massage, but if the patient has it, so much the better. More on this in my next column.
Got Impressive Credentials?
I get some great mail in response to this column. Here's some recent feedback that I hope will inspire you to personal excellence:
Amen. Become the best you can be. Learn to help people get out of pain, and you will always be busy.
If the presidential elections are not over by the time you read this, hopefully they will be shortly. It's been a long and entertaining campaign. Whichever way it turns out, we will go to work on Wednesday morning. Let go of it. We survived the last four years and the eight before that. Our politicians are merely a reflection of our society.
What's really important is the difference each of us makes in the lives of those we directly interact with. Each one of us has control of what we do. So get good and do good. As massage therapists, we have a unique opportunity to change the awareness and lives of everyone we touch. May our efforts bring about a healthier and more peaceful world.
Happy "Holidaze!" My best wishes for success, health, happiness and prosperity to you all. Thanks for your continued support. May you sell lots of gift certificates and have a joyous holiday season. See you next year!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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