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Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
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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