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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.
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.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
November, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 11
Stay in Touch With ... How to Make a Human House A Home With Hellerwork
By Tucker Sharp
While taking a new route to work the other day, I noticed a new housing development going up in my neighborhood. The sign in front of the development project read "56 new quality homes coming soon.Models available for viewing." I thought, "Those are not homes yet; they are merely well-built structures." No one is living in them. There is no life inside these structures. It's the life inside that makes the structure a home.
One thought led to another, and before long, I had more than a few analogies regarding houses, homes, and humans. I found myself making a comparison between these houses not yet occupied and so many of us. We have bodies we don't seem to occupy much of the time.
The Hellerwork Practitioner assists people in being not only balanced and at ease in their bodies, but also more present. In other words, we help people to become comfortable and at home in the physical "structure" that carries them around. This structure is the vessel through which we human beings animate and express ourselves.
Each Hellerwork session consists of three very distinct components: 1. Structural Integration Bodywork; 2. Postural and Movement Education; and 3. Mind-Body Awareness. In this article, I will elaborate on all three of these components, clarifying what each component has to do with being at home in our body structures.
A house and a human body are similar in that they both are physical structures standing within a field of gravity. Both are subject to the laws of gravity. Consider any new house for example. It has a foundation with four corner stones on which the entire structure rests, evenly balanced and supported. Much like the house foundation, the body also has a foundation - the feet.
Now, suppose one of the cornerstones of the foundation of a house were to drop. How do you imagine this would affect the house? In no time, there would be stress cracks in walls, doors and windows might be stuck shut/open, and quite likely, the roof and the pipes would begin to leak. In short, the house would soon be unstable. If this structure could tell you what it was feeling, it would probably say, "I'm miserable! Please somebody get me balanced again!"
It's quite literally the same situation with the human body. The house left in unstable condition after one of the cornerstones was dropped can be "righted" with professional know-how, properly applied. The same is true of the human body. It can be re-aligned and "righted" again, just like a house.
It's important to keep in mind the human body is a complex, interrelated organization of bone, muscle and connective tissues. When organized appropriately within earth's gravitational field, the body actually is supported in gravity. When, on the other hand, the joint systems of the body are imbalanced, these same gravitational forces negatively impact the fascial system.
Under imbalanced conditions, the fascia shortens, dehydrates and literally laminates itself to any neighboring body part. The bones stay the same length and the muscles still function, but the shortened connective tissues pull the body into compression and rotation patterns. The body responds to these imbalances by decreasing mobility. Over time, this pattern becomes "the new you." Many so-called "debilitating conditions" are the result of this down-spiraling phenomenon. The good news is it can be reversed through Structural Integration Bodywork.
Houses have stories; one, two or three. Similarly, the human body has "stories." The "stories" of the human body are defined by the weight bearing joints of the ankles, knees, hip and pelvic complex, and the spine. You could even say each vertebrae of the spine is its own story. For a balanced distribution of weight and omni directional tension, each vertebra needs support from, and provides support to, the vertebra above and below.
When viewed from this perspective, the body becomes something more like a thirty-story building with each joint system creating a new story for the next to find balance and support. As you might imagine, it can be a bit tricky to maintain balance in a thirty-story skyscraper, like the human body. It is quite miraculous when you stop and think about it.
What holds us up comfortably? Most people think it's our bones. But if you were to remove the myofascial system (muscles and connective tissues), the skeleton quickly would end up in a pile. The bones act as the framework for the body and as attachment sites for the myofascial system. It is the myofascia that holds us together, keeps us upright, and either allows or inhibits movement.
Structural Integration Bodywork systematically uses slow, specific, deep strokes and manual manipulations. These manipulations, over time, unglue, rebalance and lengthen the multidirectional rotation patterns that rigidify in the body. The body changes because these compression imbalances in the tissues are reorganized.
This systematic approach of relating the body to gravity, through the myofascial layers, naturally aligns and improves posture. Length comes into the body allowing the reorganized muscles the space to work and joints the freedom to function. The shrinking so commonly associated with age is arrested and feelings of discomfort and pain vanish.
The Hellerwork Series generally consists of a minimum of 10 sessions of progressively balancing bodywork. Each session focuses on a different area of the body which furthers the releasing and balancing process of the previous session. The results are cumulative. When the whole body has been structurally integrated, one moves more freely and feels lighter and younger.
The human body is built to move within gravity with equal tension between the flexor and extensor muscle groups throughout the body, producing buoyancy and balanced fluidity in movement. The body must move to enjoy optimum health. This is why the postural and movement aspect of Hellerwork are important.
Postural and Movement Education
Once the body is reorganized and back in balance, the person needs some postural and movement re-education to maintain the "new and improved" lengthened alignment. What Joseph H. Heller (the founder of Hellerwork) noticed, was that unless people were educated about how to move more effortlessly and efficiently, old habits would re-assert themselves, pulling them back into old patterns.
While it's true that form creates function, it's also true that function creates form. It works both ways. That is why each Hellerwork session has a corresponding postural/movement re-education aspect to help support the body's changing alignment.
To understand this, you might try the following postural awareness lesson. For this awareness lesson, it's necessary to acquaint you with your "pelvic bowl." The front of your pelvic bowl is an imaginary line from the front of your hips, across your lower belly under your navel. The back of your bowl is from side to side across the top of your buttocks. The sides are defined by the most lateral edge of the upper hipbones, with the landmarks of the bottom of the bowl being the anus and genitals.
Stand up and place the palm of one hand just below your navel (on the front of the bowl) and the other at your low back (on the back of the bowl). This is your pelvic bowl."Imagine this bowl is full of soup. See whether you can find that place where your bowl is nearly horizontally balanced front to back, with the front of the bowl tilting slightly forward. The front hand should be a bit lower than the back hand.
Now notice what happens when you tip your bowl back (spilling your soup). It causes the back hand to go down and the front hand to come up. This will result in some very significant postural changes. Below I list several possibilities, see which of them you notice.
Now consider this: What I have outlined here actually is a simplified version of the whole compensatory picture. Quite literally, every aspect of the body is impacted by this one postural imbalance. Without education designed to alert us to the many ways we unknowingly misuse our bodies, we create multiple compensatory patterns.
This will lead to bodily stress and limited range of motion. This is why each individualized session of the Hellerwork series features several postural and movement lessons.
So, we now have our bodies back in balance. We have learned how to move our bodies in a way that supports and maintains the new balance. So why do we need the body-mind dialogue aspect of the Hellerwork Session? Simply put, we need it because we, as human beings, have a reciprocal body-mind system. Our bodies are the instrument through which we experience life. We cannot have a mental or emotional experience without its corresponding bodily experience. This doesn't mean, however, that we always are aware of every aspect of ourselves or our bodily feelings. There is no evidence we are conscious of all our feelings, and much to suggest that we are not.
As Hellerwork Practitioners, we are not interested in turning our sessions into psychotherapy sessions. Our intention, in terms of this third component of the session, simply is to open up some form of dialogue regarding the connection between one's mental and emotional experiences and the corresponding bodily experience.
For example: Notice how you feel as you are reading this article. On a scale of 1 to 10, how relaxed are you in your chest, neck, throat, shoulders, stomach, etc.? Take your time. Then, when you are ready, think back to one specific life-altering event. Think of something you did, or something that was done to you, or something you experienced that you feel profoundly altered who you were something that left you feeling significantly different than you felt before the event occurred. Now, as you think of this event, what happens in your body? Do you find yourself tensing certain muscles? What else happens in your body? Does it feel as though you can no longer sense certain parts of your body? As Hellerwork Practitioners, we are interested in this type of awareness. It's these kinds of bodily responses we want to help you to discover. We want to help you discover these responses because we human beings are a mind-body reciprocal system.
It's this kind of awareness the awareness of what happens in your body when you think certain thoughts or have certain emotional experiences, which will again, much like the movement component, help you to maintain the balance in your body that occurred as the result of the Structural Integration Bodywork.This awareness component, much like the movement re-education component, helps support the body's changing alignment.It's, much like the movement re-education component, one of the three components that helps make the physical structure that is your body into a comfortable home a home full of life!
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