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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12
The Inside-Out Paradigm: Survival vs. Quality of Life Part 2
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
Editor's Note: Part 1 of Survival vs. Quality of Life appeared in the November 2005 issue of Massage Today.
Biology's directive to Build Fat and Preserve Fluids is a major contributor to our culture's current epidemic of obesity and fluid retention ailments, culminating in our high rate of diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and kidney dialysis.Yet, we wouldn't have gotten here without them, as starvation and fluid loss were common causes of death for prehistoric humanity.
Nature's end game, Living Long Enough to Reproduce, is facilitated by hormones to ensure the perpetuation of the species. Hormones are the pesky accelerators of our physical and reproductive growth. Two key factors need to be remembered. Hormones tend to be "dumped into the system" rather than added in measured doses and their production decreases in a similar fashion during mid-life, thus the tendency for unpredictable, variable and unsettling effects.
During adolescence, the intensity and quantity of hormonal cascades produces accelerated growth such that the bones often grow faster than the soft tissues can match for a smooth transition. This sets the stage for many and varied physiological and musculoskeletal problems later in life. Also, hormonal production decreases dramatically as we reach our middle years of 35 to 60. These are the very demographics of the people most likely to become new massage clients. It's no accident that people are turning toward our profession.
Nature's endowment of Sympathetic Dominance relates to the tendency of human physiology to "get stuck" in the overdrive mode. This selection has obvious survival enhancing qualities, especially to fight, escape or avoid detection from a predator or a perceived lethal enemy. However, activity and rest need to be balanced in order for our internal functioning and our energetic reserves to be maintained and renewed. It's a simple notion historically codified and prescribed by most cultures and religions.
At a more precise level, sympathetic overdrive shunts blood (and thereby oxygen and nutrients) to the musculoskeletal system and starves the visceral organs of their fair share. This involves timing, quantity and quality. The shunting of blood sets the stage for the eventual development of pathology. Degeneration and disease emerge from the deprivation of oxygen and nutrients usually resulting from states of fluid congestion and stasis. Reflect on how often your clients exclaim, "I hurt, I am no longer able to, I have little or no energy." Physiology operates very much like a credit card: one can continue to keep spending, yet the interest quickly builds the debt, and eventually, the debt must be paid. Pain, injury, illness and reduced quality of life are the common forms of paying the debt.
Depending on one's mental strategy for survival, certain parts of our musculoskeletal system get more blood than others. But the real questions are why and what function does this serve? Let's again relate this to nature's endowments. Fight, flight and freeze are our reflexive responses to intense or perceived to be threatening stimuli. Our mental strategies generally reflect a tilt toward one of these three orientations, rather than a balanced blend among them. Thus, our bodies and our physiologies shape themselves to reflect this tilt. In sum, some muscles get more than their fair share while the others become ischemic. All chronic syndromes or conditions reflect this skewed allocation of resources.
In my earlier articles, I have outlined what I have clinically experienced to be the path of discharging the tension which builds within us as human beings in response to stress and trauma. It happens from the inside-out, beginning with the sacs and tubes and suspensory ligaments of the viscera, and eventually spilling over into the intrinsic musculature. Next, as the body endeavors to distribute the strain over as wide an area as possible, one or more dysfunctions of motion is created in the kinetic chain of the joints. Then the extrinsic musculature is stimulated to contract or spasm to maintain the integrity of the involved joint(s). Now to the most important question, where does it all begin? The "meaning we assign" to events is the source of our stress. Change the assigned meaning appropriately and one experiences less stress. Let's consider a continuum between threat and pleasure with a feeling of neutrality somewhere in the middle. What usually grabs our attention? That's right, threat and worry.
The mind commandeers blood flow to support its basic survival strategies. It responds to symbolic stimuli in the same fashion and with the same intensity as it would as if that stimulus truly was life-threatening. Remember, the mind creates models for its survival. This results in the application of its survival strategies to questions of right and wrong. We all have experienced how this orientation to being right and the avoidance of being wrong perpetuates conflict. Repeated countless times, this depletes our energetic reserves and diminishes our quality of life. The mind also tilts our selection of life circumstances subconsciously and, thus, we tend to symbolically re-create the need for the defenses which are central to our individual survival strategies. This especially relates to the types of partners we choose and the repetitive conflicts which emerge in our private, social and work lives.
Many of the healing arts attempt to harness the mechanism of the mind to expand beyond this slavish dedication to survival. All help to some degree, yet the mind cannot expand beyond its own fundamental programming alone. It's unable to solve the conundrum: what's life all about? Accessing one's spirit, heart, instinct and the broader expanse of the psyche through expanded awareness is where actual shifts occur. Touch accesses the central circuitry where the mind's meaning assignments are anchored. Touch enhances healing across the spectrum of one's perceptual matrix, assisting reflexive reactions to become conscious choices again.
Our current world circumstances reflect both the best and worst of nature's survival orientation and its endowments. However, biological survival alone tends to be exclusive and ethnocentric. Presently, there is an obvious need to enhance our ability to make more inclusive choices. Because of our sheer numbers on the planet, our collective survival might now depend on this. Curiosity, cooperation and the exploration of options for the common good are what are needed now.
The massage therapy profession actually has an honored place and crucial role in this evolution of consciousness because we touch people and take time with them. We nourish and assist them to update their models through the experience of touch and the quality of our presence. Let us dedicate ourselves to join with others to develop healing models which might light the way for our clients to improve the quality of their lives through this expansion of human awareness.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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