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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
We Get Letters and E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today or online, and may be edited for space and clarity.Please send all correspondence by e-mail to or via regular mail to:
Responding to Ralph Stephens
I appreciated Ralph Stephens' article, "We've Made It!" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/07/13.html) describing the reality that health care in our country is controlled by a system whose primary goal seems to be economic and political advantage rather than effective healing. I'm glad Ralph continues to write on this topic. As I see it, the origin of this situation is shared among the allopathic community, the pharmaceutical and insurance companies, medical schools, and government policies. We are facing a systemic problem that is not localized to one group of practitioners. It is my hope that the massage community will work toward bringing positive changes to this system. I think respect by the massage community toward allopaths, insurance companies, etc., is only due to those people and institutions who actually work for the best interest of the patients. Unfortunately, as Ralph points out, this is not always the case.
I am presently collaborating with Walt Stoll, MD, on a book titled Recapturing Health, which we hope will encourage health care freedom and bring about positive change in the system. Walt is a holistic medical doctor who long ago awakened to using a wide range of healing modalities, including massage, chiropractic, energy healing and other methods. We hope our book will inspire individuals and practitioners to see the truth and begin an informal grassroots movement to improve how health care is provided in our country. It will be a wonderful day when the health care system itself is healed so that people may be healed. You can read more at http://lifespring.netfirms.com or www.askwaltstollmd.com.
Ralph Stephens' article "We've Made It!" points out how far massage has come now that the medical profession is criticizing us in order to control our scope of practice. He discusses how rehabilitation specialist Dr. Robert Gotlin attacks our profession by pointing out the possible dangers of massage. This is behavior Stephens feels is motivated by allopathic physicians wanting to control and profit from our growing profession as they tried to do with chiropractic. Stephens also states that doctors should tend to their own houses before coming in to clean up ours, emphasizing how many people die and suffer each year from mistakes made in the medical profession.
Although there is probably some truth in Stephens' point-of-view, there is another way to look at this issue. Perhaps Dr. Gotlin truly cares for his patients' welfare and is just giving them his honest professional opinion about massage. Many massage practitioners provide competent, skilled, therapeutic treatments. Still, I have experienced (and know enough people who have also experienced) minor injuries and pain after receiving contraindicated massage techniques. A number of my clients and colleagues have shared similar experiences. As a result, I am reluctant to receive anything but a relaxation massage with a trusted practitioner who will not try to fix or change me in some manner.
After practicing as a professional massage therapist for 23 years, I recognize the value of a good massage for relaxation, relief from muscular tension and chronic pain, and even injury rehabilitation. Unfortunately, our field has grown much faster than our standards. Massage training has become heavy on neuromuscular and orthopedic techniques, but light on teaching practitioners why, how, when and where to use these techniques.
Plus, techniques are a dime a dozen. Knowing when to apply them appropriately with skill requires in-depth, specialized training. If we, as massage therapists, are going to use manual therapies in a physical therapy context, we need to be well trained in their application. Granted, our mistakes will probably never result in the number of fatalities caused by physician error. Still, consumers receiving neuromuscular and orthopedic massage techniques have a right to be educated about the contraindications of these types of modalities, and treated by competent, appropriately trained practitioners.
Mary Ann Foster, CMT
Questioning CranioSacral Therapy
Dr. Upledger speculates that cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) moves in a pulse, and that cranial bones move in relationship to this pulse (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/08/12.html). Medical imaging is a technique to validate these speculations. Medical imaging is sensitive enough to detect extremely minute changes in bone position and in the detection of a moving fluid. Let's start with cranial bone motion first.
A standard imaging technique for people with brain tumors or other cranial space occupying lesions is to utilize repeat head computer tomography (CT) scans. In this technique, a series of CT scans are compared with each other to determine if a lesion is microscopically growing or shrinking. For this technique to work, the sequential scans must have a common reference for which to measure change. The common points of reference used are cranial bones. If these bones moved, as is speculated, comparing serial CT scans would not be possible, since the reference would be moving along with any lesion change. Since the cranial bones are fused, comparing repeat scans provides accurate, detailed information about the change in a tumor's size.
Magnetoresonance (MR) imaging cannot record motion. Blood flow, including venous blood flow does not image using the MR technique; however, CSF does image with MR, indicating that CSF moves very, very slowly. If CSF were to move in a pulse, it would not image using MR. Of note, MR can be used to image bone; cranial bones image quite well, indicating that they do not move relative to one another. Dr. Upledger's article speculates that CSF moves in a pulse and the cranial bones move in relationship to this pulse. These speculations are refuted by the results of medical imaging.
Bruce Klein, ND
"There is no way to succeed against a large, profit-driven insurance company"
I have been practicing massage therapy for 17 years and billing insurance for about six. I am also in it for the long haul. In California, if you're billing insurance, it's not only long, but also uphill and into the wind. The latest legislation has slashed care for injured workers and denied claims from many professionals. I applaud Donald Schiff's letter and clear thinking about what is really involved in working with insurance companies (We Get Letters and E-mail, Sept. 2004. www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/09/16.html).
The articles by Vivian Madison-Mahoney are hogwash, indeed. Her views may have been appropriate 10 years ago, but there is no way to succeed against a large, profit-driven insurance company. Ms. Madison-Mahoney would have us take what we can get and not assert ourselves as the professional, heath care providers that we are. We will not gain any ground by rolling over to insurance companies. Keeping fees low will only drive therapists out of business and allow the insurance companies to win.
Don Schiff is right on about the level of service that medical massage provides versus relaxation massage. The last workers' compensation client that I saw required six long-distance phone calls, resubmission of billing and a three-month wait for payment. How could I stay in business giving this level of service for artificially low fees? Massage therapists are not the only ones who are fighting this battle. The doctors, chiropractors, PTs and acupuncturists are in it, too. In California, many insurance companies are making huge profits by denying care to injured workers. The battle is just starting. If we don't stand up for ourselves, who will? I think Schiff's view speaks for the majority of massage professionals in the modern world.
Jody C. Hutchinson, BA, NCTMB
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