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The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
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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