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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.
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 Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
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 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
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.
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.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
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.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
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.
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.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
July, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 07
Plastination Reveals the Craniosacral System
By Julie McKay
Author's note: This article is for educational purposes only. I have no financial connection to or other vested interest in the Body Worlds exhibit. I only encourage others to take advantage of the exceptional educational opportunity it offers.
For those of you who would love to attend a dissection class to explore the craniosacral system, this article is for you.If you have already seen the Body Worlds exhibit of perfectly preserved cadavers created by Dr. GŸnter von Hagens, you may have realized that it is even better than a dissection class. If you have yet to see the Body Worlds exhibit, I have three words for you: Go see it! Body Worlds is an exhibit of perfectly preserved human anatomy specimens using a technique called plastination. The exhibit features whole bodies, individual anatomical specimens and transparent slices.
I have been practicing CranioSacral Therapy (CST) since 1998. It's the work that I love. As a CST teacher's assistant and study group leader for the Upledger Institute, anything pertaining to the craniosacral system gets me excited. When my husband, who is also a massage therapist, told me about the Body Worlds exhibit, I had no idea how much I would learn about the anatomy of the craniosacral system by attending.
The exhibit is currently on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and takes about two hours to go through. I realized within the first five minutes of walking into Body Worlds that something amazing was about to be revealed to me. After seeing the exhibit the first time, I had to tell everyone interested in the craniosacral system or CST to see it. Why? Dr. von Hagens has preserved delicate anatomy that is rarely done justice in anatomy texts or dissection classes. This exhibit displays many wonderful views of exposed cranial bones; intra- and extra-cranial membranes, including dural tubes, dural nerve sleeves, tentoriums and falxs; and lots of cranial nerves.
Around the exhibit entrance is a display of horizontal body preserved by epoxy resin. The item that caught my attention was the sagittal slice of the cranium and neck allowing an unusual view of the orientation of the occiput, atlas and axis. Once in the exhibit area, cases and upright specimens are on display with over 200 specimens in all. The first full plastinate is "Cartilage-Ligament Skeleton." (623)* Walk around to the back and stand on your tiptoes. You will see your first up-close look at the falx cerebri and tentorium of the intracranial membrane system. Also easily viewed are the sagittal and straight sinuses.
In the display case (203) the smallest bones of the body are displayed - those of the ear. Seeing them up close allows you to realize why the mechanisms of hearing are so sensitive - it does not take much to affect them, as they are so tiny and light. Their close proximity to the temporal bones allows us to appreciate how a blow to the head can have a negative impact on hearing and how CST can allow the body to restore balance to this delicate mechanism.
Look at the suboccipital region of "Muscle Man with Skeleton." We can get a good visual of the extensive muscles and connective tissue that need to be softened to have access to the atlas, C1, which is used in an atlanto-occipital or cranial base release. "Torso with Severely Deformed Spinal Column" (205) helps us to understand the effects of Wolfe's Law, how bone grows or changes to accommodate the stresses it is placed under. We see that the ribs, vertebrae, illia, and even the coccyx have accommodated the stress of the body, but still allow the internal organs to be protected.
Have you ever seen a wormian bone? A wormian bone is a small, irregular bone that forms along the cranial sutures. Well, take a good look at the lamdoidal suture of "The Runner" (614). At first glance everything looks normal. But upon closer observation you'll realize that there is an extra bone above the occiput and between the parietals. Usually, wormian bones are small but this one is probably the largest one that most of us will ever view. I'd hypothesize that either the infantile occiput did not fully ossify into one bone or at some point in time the occiput was stressed and a "crack" or additional suture developed. The craniofacial nerves can be viewed around the left temporal region of "The Runner." We can also see a wonderful view of the psoas. By seeing where it attaches we realize that doing respiratory and pelvic diaphragm releases can affect this muscle. The view of the brachial plexus helps us realize how restrictions can be released with a thoracic inlet release.
Spend plenty of time observing the intra- and extra-cranial membranes and cranial nerves of "Poised Plastinate of Nervous System" (604). The posterior view reveals the exterior side of the dura mater and the interior side of the arachnoid mater of the dural tube. Additionally, a rare view of the vomer bone is offered.
In the brain specimen cases, there are wonderful views of the ventricles (252) where cerebral spinal fluid is produced. And check out the brain slice of the cerebral cortex showing black marks due to Alzheimer's disease. Viewing this brain slice we can understand that if the cerebral spinal fluid does not optimally flow around the brain, it does not have the opportunity to chelate, pick up, and remove the deposits, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease.
My favorite display is the "Chess Player" (603). The posterior portions of the vertebrae have been removed to reveal the dural tube and spinal cord. You can view where the brainstem ends and the superior portion of the spinal cord begins, as well as the cauda equina, nerve roots and dural sleeves. Looking closely, you may also be able to identify some denticulate ligaments and the termination of the dural sac. Other nerves of note are the sciatic nerve and the left trigeminal nerve. We can better understand the major impact that facilitated segments can have on the body by being able to observe this complex pathway of nerves. I am absolutely fascinated by how intricate our bodies are.
Moving on to the arterial specimens, "Arterial-Skeletal" (351) shows the carotid artery's entry into the head through the carotid canal. The sphenoid, temporal and occipital bones form the carotid canal. Viewing this gave me a better appreciation for how making sure that these cranial bones are properly moving can help improve the delivery of arterial blood to the brain. "Torchbearer" provides a beautiful view of the hyoid bone, the only floating bone in the body, and its muscular attachments. Viewing this specimen can help those who have difficulty locating the hyoid during CST sessions by giving us a visual to reference.
Hanging is "Representative Series of Slices, Female." We can view in these transparent slices how the tentorium attaches to the temporal bones and how the falx attaches to the parietal bones. This allows us to visualize and realize how temporal ear pulls and parietal lifts, respectively, can engage the intracranial membrane system. Toward the end of the exhibit hangs "3-D Slice Plastinate" (620). Examine both sides of the 3rd and 4th slices in particular. The intracranial membrane is visible, particularly the tentorium's attachment to the temporal bones.
Last, but by no means least, is the "Cyclist," an expanded body that provides space to better view the relationship between the bones, organs, and muscles of our bodies. I often feel how big a cyclist looks after receiving a CST session, when a lot of my restrictions have been released. Afterward, I feel bigger on the inside, as if I have more space available to me.
For anyone interested in the workings of the body and what lies beneath our skin, Body Worlds is a must see exhibit! It is well worth making the effort to see regardless of where you live. I hope you enjoy the exhibit and walk away with a better understanding of what lies beneath your hands when you work with your clients. It certainly has opened my eyes and allowed me to better realize what I am affecting when working with my clients, "craniosacrally" speaking.
For more information on Body Worlds, visit www.bodyworlds.com.
*Parenthetical numbers refer to the audio tour discussion for that specimen. I use these numbers as an additional means of identifying a particular specimen. I recommend the advanced level audio tour.
Body Worlds 2:
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