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Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
November, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 11
The Inside-Out Paradigm: Survival vs. Quality of Life Part 1
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
Editor's Note: Part 2 of Survival vs. Quality of Life will appear in the December 2005 issue of Massage Today, along with a complete list of references.
The survival-oriented prime directives of our biology and nature's endowments for implementing these directives have reached a tipping point in our collective evolution.They now are competing with our capacity for quality of life and have become contributors to many of our most common chronic ailments. Chronic conditions emerge from how human physiology accretively tends to react to stressful and traumatic circumstances, over time. Let us begin by reviewing a distillation of the research of Hans Selye, M.D., who is considered the father of our modern understanding of stress.
Dr. Selye was an endocrinologist, thus, his initial research was launched with the intent to discover the linkages between chemoreceptors, which were potentiated by hormonal influence. What he discovered were central basics of physiology which continue to be guideposts for our profession today. Most notably, he concluded that the inflammatory process was the body's stereotypic biochemical response to a host of ailments which afflict humans: spanning infections, injuries and trauma.
Selye's notion of stereotypic responses and my 25 years of investigation have inspired me to extrapolate that nature has evolved other similar default responses. Physically, all soft tissues do basically one thing, they contract. Contraction both produces motion and inhibits motion. Consequently, in response to stress or trauma our soft tissues contract, sometimes morphing into varying states of contracture or painful spasm. Mentally, when humans are stressed, they tend to dissociate, allowing nature's primitive programming for fight/flight/freeze to take over. More specifically, we distance ourselves from our bodies and present time awareness is diminished. Conscious choice and taking responsibility for the effects of our behavior also diminishes.
Let's expand even further to explore the survival legacy of human experience. As I see it, the prime directives of biology relate to four survival mandates:
Nature's prime directives are designed help to ensure survival and reproduction, to ward off individual death and species extinction. Of course, nature has provided us with specific endowments which assist the completion of these prime directives: The Mind, creates survival-based models of the world; Hormones, crucial to initiating and lubricating physical growth and reproductive maturity, but significantly decrease between the ages of 35 to 55; Righting Reflexes, nature's hedge against pre-mature traumatic death; and Sympathetic Dominance, which governs our primitive responses of fight/flight/freeze.
Now, let's walk through our biological prime directives and nature's endowments beginning with an infant's first task to Fit In. As babies, we must survive the protracted time of our dependency upon our caretakers. We perceive energetically and feel everything around us. We do not distinguish where we end and others begin. Our experience of events is timeless: always and never. Thus, human learning is an inverted pyramid beginning in utero, more reflective of the energetics and emotions of our caretakers than any symbolic capacity to describe or physical ability to act upon our environment. We are immersed in our environment. There is no separation.
As we grow, we learn through association, building a matrix through our five senses. Somewhere between 2 1/2 and 4 years of age we have compiled enough symbolic sets to develop models of our world and can express them through language. These models grow from sets of "do's" and""don'ts" and associated cause and effect relationships. Sadly, the models typically reflect a massive number of motoric inhibitions. The permissions for exploration that do remain are reflected in the""old saw" that humans only use 10% of their mental capacity. More accurately, the Mind consumes 90% of our neural capacity, leaving only the remaining 10% for curiosity, exploration and experimentation in order to fit into our birth family's social grouping.
The Mind is nature's primary endowment for the creation of these models. It's not wrong or bad. Its goal is survival. We are its beneficiaries. However, the mind is not our brain and spinal cord, nor our psyche, and is certainly not our soul or spirit. It's only a sliver of consciousness: a slice of the pie, not the whole pie by itself. The mind gathers the associations compiled in our early life and retroactively "assigns meaning" to these experiences. This is how the basic models which guide our decision making are initially formed.
Our extraordinary capacity to adapt to the circumstances of our upbringing is a mixed blessing, for it leaves us restrained from updating our models of the world as we age. Consequently, we tend to be""perfectly adapted to circumstances in which we no longer live." A corroborating corollary of this notion is reflected in the difficulty we have with changing our first impressions. What seems to expand this enormous restraint and fixity is new sensory experience through touch and movement and emotional discovery.
The basic apparatus of the mind keeps us playing ping pong with the hurts and self-doubts anchored in the past and caroms us forward in time to fret and fume and worry about future scenarios. Much of our energy and creativity is consumed by this ping-pong, yet it's the self-talk familiar to us all.
Anticipation is a wonderful thing when it's harnessed toward positive outcome. However, its dark side can plummet one's body chemistry into the abyss of inflammatory and/or immune suppressing states with the accompanying feelings of anxiety and depression, doing a dirty dance of inner torture with our physiology. The mind does this by commandeering the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system to drive the adrenals. This is another link to Dr. Selye's research, which concluded that the adrenals were neurally driven rather than regulated via the hormones of the endocrine system.
The prime directive of Don't Fall generally is accepted as our species singular genetically linked fear. Our large body righting reflexes are sub cortically regulated, (i.e., we don't think about them, they simply take over in times of emergency). Most of the time they transmute a major accident to a minor scrape. However, in my clinical experience, these reflexes tend to be perpetuators of chronic musculoskeletal dysfunction following traumatic episodes.
The endowments of the mind and the righting reflexes together reflect our species' collective genetic genius to be able to adapt to damn near anything. The problem is that once we have adapted, whether to our family of origin and/or to trauma, our mind and our reflexive calibrations resist new experience, new information and expansion beyond the set of parameters that have come to be considered normal. It's usually only when what used to work becomes very dysfunctional and painful that we look to changing the core elements of our being.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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