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Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
August, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 08
Skills of Touch
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Touch inherently is a two-way sense - we cannot touch without being touched back. We have the sensors to receive far more tactile input from the world than we can consciously process. Thus, habitually, we filter out the vast majority of the sensory input we receive. Without such filtering, we would have a hard time living within our skins, constantly being aware of every contact and friction with clothes and other objects. Yet, in massaging another, we can learn more by training both our conscious awareness and our unconscious filtering processes to better discriminate both client tissue and client responses. Open your sensory filters and explore your awareness of touch. Compare the sensation of touching and holding with slight back and forth movements (sliding touch) or touch with slight vibration. Touch surfaces at different temperatures, with different textures and with different levels of plasticity or give. In touching surfaces with some give, slow down and observe the differences in what you perceive with different pressures of touch. Particularly with touching human skin, muscles and fascia, practice feeling the different layers and the differences in texture, temperature and direction that distinguish them.
One of the classical sensory analogies for deep tissue work is the cornstarch and water solution. In the worlds of children's play and physics, this solution has become known as Oobleck.5 Add water to cornstarch in a small bowl until the solution as the consistency of pancake batter when stirred very slowly. If you tap the surface quickly, the surface is hard. Your fingers come away without intermingling with the solution. If your place your fingers on the surface and pause, your fingers sink in. Suddenly the solution is liquid. For deep tissue work, the lesson is one of working slowly and giving the tissue a chance to deform plastically rather than trying to force a rate of movement. In teaching such work, I use the term "glacial creep," literally meaning to apply pressure obliquely to the body's surface and let the stroke move naturally with the plastic movement of the tissue beneath, much as a glacier deforms and moves under the pressure of its own weight. On a sensory level, feel for the give in the tissue and work to enhance that, working the directions of give into the directions of restriction. The sensation is one of eroding the edge of a restriction rather than jumping directly into the middle. Applying pressure and waiting also provides the advantage of making the work easier; you simply relax and lean into the technique, letting your bodyweight do the work while you "hangout" in the tissue waiting for pressure and accommodation to interact.
In looking at good resources on palpation, Philip Greenman gives a thorough overview of palpation skills in his book on manual medicine.3 He divides the process of palpation into reception, transmission and interpretation. Sensation involves the activation of skin sensors by the variations in touch. Transmission is the internal processing of the stimuli. Finally, and likely the most learned and learnable stage, you have to interpret the signal at multiple levels of awareness, your conscious mind analyzing linearly and your unconscious mind matching the signal to previous patterns of experience. Greenman's practice of palpation involves varying the pressure, depth and movement of touch, and noticing differences. How thick, how deep, how warm and how mobile are the tissues?
Leon Chaitow, in Palpation Skills provides an extremely thorough guide to using touch for assessment.1 He sets five objectives for palpation:
Chaitow notes that successful palpation requires trusting the sensory input; paying attention to what is being felt and suspending critical judgment while the process is being carried out. "Critical judgment may be used in interpreting what was felt, but the process of 'feeling' needs to be carried out with that faculty silenced."
Clyde Ford, in Compassionate Touch, describes an exercise in pacing another with touch that provides some additional insights. The exercise itself is simple, having the other person lie supine and actively pacing their breathing with a hand on their chest or abdomen (i.e. the hand is not laying there as dead weight but is actively moved with the breath). Part of the value of the exercise comes in realizing the power of simple attention to another and in attuning your actions to their responses. Another part comes from the opportunity to be still and observe. As you quietly pace their breathing with your touch, you can notice changes in the depth and rate of their breathing, in the tension and overall small movements of their body, in rates of eye blinking, and in coloration of their skin with superficial changes in circulation. Touch and attention are profound and powerful gifts. Value them and use them well and wisely.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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