resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
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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