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Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse during cold weather.
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
Work Stress and Musculoskeletal Health: Do Your Patients Get the Connection?
Most people underestimate the impact their job has on their health, especially if that job isn't particularly physically demanding. Big mistake.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
April, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 04
A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle, Part 1
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Reflexogenic - Producing or increasing reflex actions between muscles and joints.
Myoskeletal - All soft tissues forming from the mesoderm including muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, discs, fascia and bones.
Surprisingly, the "key" that unlocked the door to this muscle/joint mystery initially was revealed in a presentation to the American Back Association by the legendary osteopath Dr. Philip Greenman when he stated, "In the presence of vertebral dysfunction, palpable fourth-layer muscle hypertonicity will always be found." The fourth-layer transversospinalis muscles include the rotatores, multifidus, levator costalis and intertransversarii (Fig. 1). These phylogenetically old laminar-groove muscles are the first structures neurologically stressed by joint blockage, and often are the very same tissues that prolong the dysfunction.
Working with the understanding contained in Greenman's statement, the massage therapist can maximize therapeutic outcomes by:
Under normal conditions, the superior vertebra of each joint smoothly flexes, extends, sidebends and rotates on its inferior neighbor. Too often, however, hypertonically short spinal muscles bind one side of a joint altering its axis of rotation and center of gravity (Fig. 2). When therapists continually palpate lumpy, stringy or wiry fourth-layer intrinsic muscles session after session, underlying joint dysfunction is present and must be addressed.
According to John Mennell, MD, all of the body's synovial joints must have at least 1/8 inch of movement not controlled by voluntary muscle contraction. The term "joint play" was coined to describe this essential principle of normal, pain-free, non-restricted vertebral movement. Deep-tissue myoskeletal techniques focus on restoring joint play and stopping the reflexogenic battle between muscles and joints.
This article offers an overview of current theories and myoskeletal strategies for preventing and correcting "catch 22" pain/spasm/pain cycles perpetuated by abnormal muscle/joint reflex actions.
Fourth-Layer Spinal Muscles
Working through the bulky paravertebral muscles and fascia, bodyworkers' sensitive fingers frequently encounter small, hard and sometimes tender knots in the deep transversospinalis muscles of the erector spinae group. These highly innervated tissues located in the medial groove adjacent to the spinous processes contribute to rotation, sidebending and extension in each spinal segment. According to Greenman, "Fourth-layer muscles are dense in spindles and function more as proprioceptors than prime movers. When dysfunctional, they alter joint mechanics locally and alter the behavior of the larger muscles of the erector spinae group." Therefore, muscles such as the multifidus and rotatores (and suboccipitals) are perceived as dynamic ligaments designed to stabilize the spine. Acting as supporting, information-gathering ligaments, they allow the brain to coordinate more gross movements of the vertebral column via longer-lever muscles that have greater leverage and mechanical advantage.
The power generated by short fourth-layer spinal muscles is easily underestimated. These highly innervated little critters readily pack enough punch to lock spinal joints open or closed with their strong torsional forces (Fig. 3). Holding a telephone with the shoulder to one ear is a perfect example in which prolonged cervicothoracic sidebending unilaterally compresses joint surfaces, creating reflex transversospinalis and erector spinae spasm. This predictable neurological firing pattern represents the beginning of many functional scoliotic cases seen in the clinic. However, specially designed deep-tissue massage techniques can be very effective in releasing hypertonic myofascia and recovering joint play to fixated facets. Regrettably, some of the tightest transversospinalis muscles are buried deep to more superficial groove muscles such as the multifidus and spinalis, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to mobilize them with fingers and thumbs (Fig. 4). So, how can massage therapists access and release short, concealed spinal muscles that bind joints and perpetuate aberrant pain and posture problems? In part two of the "Reflexogenic Relationship" series, I will demonstrate innovative soft tissue techniques for creating joint-play in fixated facets.
Editor's Note: Part two of Erik Dalton's article, along with a complete list of references, will appear in the May 2006 issue of Massage Today.
Click here for previous articles by Erik Dalton, PhD.
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