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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.
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
In a previous column, I touched on medical applications of massage that appeared in the indexed medical literature from 1997 to the present. Of 213 instances of medical goals addressed by massage, 155 (73%) were systemic rather than tissue-specific (clinical/orthopedic) interventions. Systemic treatment goals included increased well-being, stress and pain management, and improvements in self-image. These "systemic" effects of massage also are well-represented in the research reported by Tiffany Fields and the Touch Research Institutes (TRI).5 The TRI home page highlights observations that massage therapy: facilitates weight gain in preterm infants, reduces stress hormones, alleviates depressive symptoms, reduces pain, improves immune function and alters EEG in the direction of heightened awareness.5 With the above observations in hand, it seems time to consider mechanisms for the effectiveness of massage.
Tissue specific interventions (TSIs), while requiring understanding in anatomy and movement to implement effectively, are simpler conceptually. TSIs largely can be understood by reduction to specifics. The practitioner needs to be able to listen to client history, assess active and passive range of motion limitations, look-up and implement special orthopedic tests as needed, and thus gain a working hypothesis of the location, extent and nature of injured tissue i.e. the "lesion" resulting in pain or limitation. I differentiate active and passive range of motion limitations because they differentiate between pain felt in a musculotendinous unit when it's actively contracting and pain produced in ligaments, joint capsules and antagonist muscles when they are passively stretched. I note "looking up" special tests because I am a believer in having and knowing how to use information resources rather than in memorizing everything in sight (or reach). Procedures frequently used will be memorized. I define the result of assessment as a "working hypothesis" to clarify that it's not a medical diagnosis.
With TSIs, the techniques follow from assessment and isolation of the lesion(s). Tendinosis on tendinous attachments benefits from the stimulation of inflammation by local friction.1,2 Adhesions between fascial layers release under slow separating pressure. Trigger points succumb to ischemic pressure combined with various methods to lengthen the affected tissue. Muscle hypertension can be lowered by methods of positional release and post-isometric relaxation. The assessments and treatment might be intricate, but they are not inherently complex in the sense that we can conceptually connect the treatment goals and the intervention.
Understanding how non-tissue-specific touch affects the state of our human systems has not been so easy. We are able to record the effects, as has the Touch Research Institutes, but we haven't had a sound mechanism to explain them. My opening quote from Ashley Montagu motivates why touch would be expected to have profound effects on us, but it, too, stops short of mechanism. The answer, however, is starting to take shape in diverse venues of science and mathematics.
Over the last two decades or so, a new area of research has evolved. There are systems in which important properties lie, not in the individual parts alone, but in the interaction and communication between the parts. These properties have become known as "emergent properties," be cause they literally emerge from the complexity of interactions.6 In 1984, the Santa Fe Institute was founded specifically to study such complex systems.4 The April 2, 1999 issue of the journal Science was devoted to interdisciplinary viewpoints on research in complexity. These included papers on "Complexity and the Nervous System," and "Complexity in Biological Signaling Systems." Numerous papers and books have come out of studies of things describable as "information networks," including studies on organization spontaneously emerging in the structure of the Internet. We slowly are gaining the tools and the understanding that seemingly simple appearances can arise out of the complexity of interactions. We also are finding understanding that such systems can have multiple stable states and flip between them depending on input from outside.
Thus, we come to the human body as a system of systems a system with neurological, chemical, immune, emotional and sensory interactions all communicating. Sensory input includes touch in a big way. We come back to the observations of TRI and Ashley Montagu, with the understanding of massage and touch as a major input to a complex system. We don't understand the details, but we understand the basis for touch to create profound changes in the homeostasis of the human system. There are important structures of the human body that are not physical; they exist only in the fluid interchange of information within the living system.
In the end, it's not the complexity of the touch being done, but the complexity of the human system being touched that is most profound. Someday, we might be able to model the complexity of neurological-chemical-emotional-sensory interactions to determine patterns of sensory input that are most effective at inducing positive change. We still are far away in the infancy of such concepts. The best tool we have to bring to bear today is the equal complexity of the observational instrument known as the human practitioner. The human ability to learn from practice and observation and then to react in real-time to sensory input remains unmatched. We are slow at consciously processing input, but rapid at "unconsciously" matching patterns. There is great value in being able to initiate a simple touch, judge the response and adjust our input toward assisting the client's system toward a better place. We've known this intuitively for a good while. We are just beginning to develop the scientific finesse to explain it.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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