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Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
June, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 06
Truth: The Golden Thread, Part One
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
One element shared by all effective healing methods is the process of leading the patient through honest and truthful self-discovery. In my experience, this "Golden Thread" is necessary for the initiation and continuation of self-healing, because it is only through self-healing (as opposed to curing) that patients can experience both permanent recovery and spiritual growth.
Before exploring the issues of self-discovery and self-healing, let's examine the differences between healing and curing.Surprisingly, both words share essentially the same dictionary definitions: that of being a method or course of treatment that aims to restore health. Yet the definitions don't capture the implications the two words have in today's health care world.
Healing often refers to what is done by the patient or the patient's body to resolve a problem of the body, mind or spirit. Curing usually refers to what a physician or therapist does to the patient. Thus, we frequently speak of patients needing to heal themselves after a disease has been cured. Surgically removing the gallbladder, for instance, might cure the gallbladder disease. But the patient must then heal the wound and adapt to the organ's absence in order to achieve full digestive-system function.
The reason we need to clarify the difference between healing and curing is quite simple: Effective therapy, whatever its outer form, initiates, facilitates and supports the patient's own healing efforts; whereas the curing process provides a more temporary and perhaps only palliative effect. Although curing might remove the symptoms of a disease from the outside, so to speak, it usually leaves the underlying causes of the symptoms untouched.
For example, a physician might cure hemorrhoids by surgically removing them. However, if the hemorrhoids are secondary to liver congestion due to chronic alcohol abuse, the problem will not be healed until the patient resolves the underlying reason for the alcohol abuse. Perhaps it would even be better for the surgeon to leave the hemorrhoids intact to remind and motivate the patient to pay attention to the alcohol abuse. In this way, the real cause of the problem might be eradicated.
One of my friends, a general surgeon with more than 30 years of experience once confided to me that, in retrospect, he felt most of the surgeries he had performed might better be classified as excisions of the vocal apparatuses of his patients' inner selves. By removing certain organs or tissues, he believed he was eliminating the bodily voices that were trying to focus attention on the source problem.
Going back to our patient with the hemorrhoids, if they are removed, yet the alcohol abuse continues, the inner self has no choice but to select another organ as an attention-getter. The next target might be the gallbladder, which the surgeon might then need to remove because it becomes full of stones.
So, now we have a heavily drinking patient without hemorrhoids or a gallbladder who still has little or no idea why he's abusing alcohol. Perhaps he's using it to escape feelings of guilt one of his parents instilled in him when he was a child. Whatever the case, if the issue is left unexplored and the abuse continues, eventually the liver function will once again falter.
When such a case of deterioration continues, the inner voice of the body's wisdom will feel an increasingly urgent need to contact the patient's conscious mind. You might even see varicose veins develop in the esophagus. Now the situation is life-threatening, requiring internal medicine specialists and surgeons to co-manage the process. Once the veins are surgically dealt with, there might be little remaining that can be removed except the liver itself, in which case a transplant would be necessary. Usually, though, the internist must support the abused liver until death takes over.
Now, let's backtrack a bit. Somewhere along the line, a psychiatrist might have been called in to deal with the alcohol abuse. Or perhaps by now the patient is believed to be suicidal. In either case, most of the drugs prescribed by the psychiatrist will probably have both mind-altering and hepato-toxic (liver-poisoning) qualities. So the inner voice has even less of a chance to communicate with the drug-compromised mind about the reason for the alcohol abuse. And the liver function will be further impaired due to the toxic nature of the drugs.
What might we expect from such a scenario? Most likely, premature death. The cause would probably be recorded as liver failure due to alcohol abuse. But from our perspective, it might be just as accurate to say the patient died from a hemorrhoidectomy thoughtlessly performed without having searched for an underlying message. Or, we might consider the death due to the second excision of the inner voice that was attempting to speak through the gallbladder.
Becoming aware of this inner voice is what I mean by self-discovery that leads to self-healing. In the case I just outlined, treatment not only failed to make the patient aware of the inner voice, it ultimately suppressed it. This led to a self-perpetuating cycle of deterioration.
Short of a miracle, the process probably was irreversible once the varicose veins developed in the esophagus and the brain was numbed with mind-altering drugs. After all, what chance does the inner voice have against an onslaught of modern surgical technology and psychopharmacology?
Of course, a myriad of health approaches and philosophies have been created in response to the failure of traditional curative methods. Therapeutic massage, meditation, exercise, nutritional therapy, herbal therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, manual medicine, rebirthing, counseling, primal scream, CranioSacral Therapy, SomatoEmotional Release and biofeedback, to name a few. Although outwardly different, each of these systems facilitates the self-discovery that leads to self-healing.
When considering how the process of self-discovery works, it's important to remember our self-image constantly is changing. It seems the closer our perception of self approaches the truth, the deeper becomes our capacity for self-healing. When there is a close correspondence between self-image and trust, our self-healing power may be virtually unlimited, capable of producing the "miracle cure."
That's why, as a therapist, your main responsibility is to help the patient develop a truer (more accurate) self-image. You must become an accurate reflecting mirror - a medium through which the patient's real self can be perceived more clearly. You must be an unbiased facilitator, understanding the patient's true self-image might not be compatible with your preconceived notion of the problem.
When you release any ego-based tendency you might have to engage in dogmatic symptom classification, you can become a clear, reflecting medium that ultimately permits no illusion, delusion, camouflage or facade. Then, and only then, can you and your patient both discover the truth.
As a facilitator, you also must not force too much perception of truth at one time. Otherwise, you run the risk that the patient will turn away from his own reflections. You must be a very sensitive mirror, reflecting only as much as the patient is able to deal with at any given moment. Still, you must reflect enough to prevent stagnation and keep the self-discovery process moving forward.
The art of therapy is in sensing how rapidly the process can move without turning the patient away, and in allowing the patient to make his own discoveries. This requires you to avoid suggestion and leading. It also involves connecting with the patient at a nonconscious level. The process of self-discovery might continue with or without words. I wish you well as you continue to weave the Golden Thread throughout your therapy.
Editor's Note: Part Two of "Truth: The Golden Thread" will appear in the July issue of Massage Today.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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