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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?
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.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
June, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 06
Massage and Embodiment
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Finding myself in the full spring of the second half of the first decade of the 21st century seems cause enough for a bit of reflection on touch and training.Part of this comes from having had weeks of rain and drab grey light in central California, now suddenly giving way to blue skies, scattered wisps of clouds, warm sunlight, bird song and gentle breezes laden with hints of flowers, grasses and herbs. A spirit could choose far worse times and places to be embodied.
One of the modern paradigms of massage is to induce relaxation. The techniques required for relaxation massage are simple and easily taught, the results often depending as much on intent and connection with the client as with the technique. It's ironic that those wishing to focus only on providing relaxation massage to their clients have been subjected both to the scorn of other practitioners and to legislation requiring far more hours of training than needed simply to provide positive touch. The irony lies in missing the value of the gift of human time and relaxation in our 24/7 world. It's estimated that stress costs business $300 billion per year, contributes significantly to loss of health, increased domestic and workplace violence and loss of community connection.8 Honor those who serve the human needs of others. Enough said.
A second paradigm of massage has been to focus on massage as health care. While certifications and state regulation has been touted to address this paradigm, what has been provided is a relatively empty facade. The vagueness of massage education requirements is a major reason that two "medical massage" organizations have arisen, as well as the basis of the incapacity noted by Ralph Stephens in his March 2006 Massage Today column, "Education - Where Does Advanced Begin?" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/03/02.html). Current "standards without outcome specifics" also are the reason I've both tackled the Massage Medical Applications Project 7 and am working as part of a small group, under the auspices of the Massage Therapy Foundation, to define best practices for massage as health care. Such projects exist because guidelines, based on research and objective evidence, don't currently exist.
Ralph Stephens points out problems with corporate influence on massage training in his May 2006 column, "Put Your Hands on Your Monitor - Part 1" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/05/10.html). I differ from Ralph slightly in believing that massage schools are part of the profession, rather than just the business infrastructure, to the extent that those running programs are immersed within massage. I agree with him where massage is simply another add-on area of training. In California, dedicated massage schools continue to resist a larger vocational school organization's desire for legislative policies that would undercut their economic niche and viability.
My third paradigm, the impact of massage on the quality of body-sense or embodiment of the client, has been largely ignored by those looking at massage as tissue-specific health care. Such work, traditionally taught by holistically-oriented massage schools, is not likely to be picked up by corporate career schools. It might appeal to a massage degree program, but these are still few.
The truly amazing aspect of our embodiment is that we inherently have a cohesive sense of our own bodies. The leap from input signals from a myriad of sensors to an integrated body sense is indicative of the unconscious processing capabilities of our brains. Our abilities in spatial integration have profound consequences to our health. From research on phantom limb pain, Ronald Melzack concludes that we have a neuromatrix analog of our physical bodies, dependent both on input and on current state for its sensory output. Recent haptic research by Martin Grunwald suggests that distortions in tactile integration may contribute to anorexia and may be treatable by sensory stimulation. For some, sensory processing is challenging - the feelings of overload restricting the choices of clothing to those which minimize disruptive input4. For many others, the tactile nature of clothing and fabrics, described by terms such as hand, weight, drape, and texture, is part of the joy of embodiment.
Practicing massage as sensory reframing has no lack for material to draw from. Maurice Merleau-Ponty set out a philosophical framework more than a half century ago.6
Deane Juhan describes the sensory benefits of bodywork as "a cumulative process of [clients] getting to know their own bodies and their own sensations from a fresh perspective, a process that continues to help them discover who and what they are and to learn to exercise some measure of self-control over many of the vagaries of their physical and emotional symptoms."5 Donald Bakal lays the same stress on developing body awareness as a path to healing in Minding the Body.1 The lack we face is not in material to teach, but in the value being given to it by the profession of massage. It is material ill-suited to the concept of massage as the application of anatomical knowledge and tissue-specific techniques to a passive client. It does not fall within the circle of value, and thus the "career" teaching, set by a standardized test. We either begin to accord more value to this material and those who teach it, or we might soon count it as part of the unintended collateral damage of the rush to massage as a standardized profession. Whether it's the future consideration of massage teachers or of massage historians is our individually made collective choice in the policies we set and the values we promote.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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