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How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
Turning Tragedy into Triumph: An Interview with Nancy Schmitt, Creator of Mindful Touch Therapy
By Rebecca J. Razo
If you ran into Nancy Schmitt on the street, you might never guess that less than a decade ago, the petite woman standing in front of you was fiercely fighting for her life against breast cancer.
After successfully beating the disease, Nancy, a trained massage therapist and creator of Aviana Body Products and Bodywork, set out on a mission to use her experience to help others.And though Nancy's peaceful demeanor gives way to a radiant warmth that seems to envelope those around her, it was her strength and resolve that led her to create Mindful Touch Therapy (formerly Mindful Massage), a unique form of bodywork focused on providing touch to those suffering from cancer and other critical illnesses. Massage Today had an opportunity to talk to Nancy about her experiences and Mindful Touch Therapy.
Massage Today (MT): You created Aviana's Mindful Touch Therapy after facing some very personal challenges. Can you tell us about that?
Nancy Schmitt (NS): After remarrying and acquiring four stepchildren that precipitated a premature retirement from managing nearly 800 employees and $5 million in annual volume for a chain of 65 ladies ready-to-wear stores, I elected to return to school to enter the healing arts and become a massage therapist. Shortly after graduation, as I was planning to open a small hands-on business, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I realized at that moment, according to my massage therapy education, that I was considered a contraindication for massage - just when I needed the many benefits of touch the most! That's when I decided to research and develop a touch therapy that was safe and effective for people living with cancer and other critical illness.
MT: In the past, you have referred to your cancer as a "gift from God." How so?
NS: It's hard to imagine calling cancer a gift, especially for those who are newly diagnosed or living through the treatment of cancer at this moment in time; however, without the impetuous [ness] of cancer, I would not have been driven to search the world for touch therapies that would turn no one away from the benefits of a magnificent healing therapy. I would have missed the pleasure of being touched by beautiful people: clients, students and other like-minded individuals who know we are much more than a physical body and quest for quality of life. And I would not have been driven to expand my perception of daily living to better know the truly important small things life has to offer. I often encourage my student body to learn what is really important in life from those individuals whose lives have been threatened.
MT: How is your health today?
NS: Today I celebrate nine years as a bodyworker and nine years as a cancer survivor! Life is good.
MT: Can you describe exactly what comprises Mindful Touch Therapy? What are its core concepts related to healing?
NS: The heart of the Mindful Touch Therapy program is based on the philosophy that the power of touch can have a profound impact on an individual's health and well-being. Our mission is to impart knowledge that increases awareness and usage of therapeutic bodywork techniques that can be applied easily and safely to improve the quality of life for all individuals in every stage of wellness, dis-ease and disease. Mindful Touch Therapy is a unique synergy of energy bodywork, mindful meditation and touch therapy with influence by Native American, Hawaiian and Ayurvedic healing concepts.
MT: What are some of the key benefits of Mindful Touch Therapy, particularly for critically ill or cancer patients?
NS: The value of touch with loving intention is well documented for all individuals, including those who are critically ill or living with cancer. Mindful Touch Therapy goes a step further by incorporating very specific energy, trigger point and mindful concepts that provide a deeply relaxing and restorative feeling that doesn't require some of the physical detoxifying processes that will follow a muscle massage, which can be especially taxing on an individual who is already depleted of energy. There is an ease about the experience and the "after" experience. Many clients have described that there is something about the Mindful Touch process that they can call upon during painful and stressful situations that assists them in getting through the process with less anxiety and discomfort.
MT: What kind of feedback have you received about Mindful Touch Therapy from the medical community?
NS: Aviana's Mindful Touch Therapy has been very warmly received by so many medical institutions. It surprises me. Initially, I imagined this body of work being more easily incorporated into day and destination spas and private practices to begin to provide a sense of comfort and welcome to all individuals, not simply those living with good health. But, I have had some students in my classes enrolled and funded by their community hospitals, breast cancer centers and other integrative institutions. I have also been invited into a few medical communities to discuss and teach core concepts of energy medicine and other related modalities to medical students and nursing students. Mindful Touch Therapy is absolutely perfect as an integrative tool for complementary medicine supporting traditional medicine.
I now have advocates in several states assisting Aviana with attaining certification for nurses and nurse massage therapists to receive CEU's. We see Mindful Touch as the perfect touch therapy for all patients in every stage of wellness, dis-ease and disease, including cancer.
MT: What separates Mindful Touch Therapy from therapeutic or relaxation massage?
NS: Therapeutic and relaxation massage are so highly beneficial, and it's wonderful when a Mindful Touch Therapist is able to provide both, allowing the right modality to be selected at the right time. Mindful Touch Therapy is all about intention. I teach our student body very specific energy and touch techniques, with focused and particular intention on each area of the body. There's a synergy that can't be described but is profoundly experienced when one is touched with both open heart and skilled hands. Another very distinguishing concept is how restorative this technique is for the therapist - physically, mentally and spiritually.
MT: What is the format of a typical Mindful Touch Therapy workshop?
NS: Mindful Touch Therapy is a highly experiential class. We move from lecture and demonstration to hands-on giving and receiving in each phase of the technique. We also incorporate a few fun learning experiences that indirectly relate to the body or work. On the final day, we move through the routine in sequential order. My voice talks and walks you through the experience every step of the way. I provide the intention as you work through the routine so that as you give or receive, you are learning why to touch the way you do. I have found in my years as a teacher that every student learns differently; therefore, I provide a classroom with a variety of teaching methods so that every individual can walk away with confidence in the process.
In a three-day class, we "squeeze" in an unbelievable amount of unique information. It's really a summation of wisdom that has taken me a lifetime to learn. I'm excited to share the best of what's been passed down to me by very special individuals, many of whom prefer to go unnamed. There is a lot of information and experience shared in a short period of time, so you also walk away with instructional materials to take home. Reflection; practice, practice, practice; and expanding oneself in recommended areas of study provides ways to continually enhance your skills. I am currently working on an advanced class for those who have trained and practiced Mindful Touch Therapy for a select period of time. I also hope to offer "refresher" day classes for graduates.
MT: Does one have to be a massage therapist to learn Mindful Touch Therapy?
NS: No; however, the difference in what you [literally] "bring to the table" in class does determine your ability to provide this body of work professionally or casually. For example, in a very few classes, I have had partners of people living with life-threatening illness there to simply get a sense of how to contribute to quality of life for their loved one. Others have come with an understanding that the class teaches more than just a technique, and they want to learn an expanded perspective of life.
MT: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
NS: Over and over again, my student body has told me they received so much more than they expected and dreamed of in a hands-on class. I have tried to better portray the class in small ads in our massage publications and in verbal description, yet I always seem to come up short when expressing the true essence of Mindful Touch Therapy. I suppose it is simply something you must experience if you are driven to want to practice your bodywork in a holistic fashion or feel called to work with an expanded population of people - those who might be "contraindicated" for your other forms of massage and touch therapy.
Lastly, I would love to send a special thank you again, to those who have blessed me with their presence in every Mindful Touch class!
MT: Thank you so much for your time, Nancy.
For more information about Mindful Touch Therapy, visit www.avianabody.com or contact Nancy at .
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