resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
September, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 09
Understanding the “E” Word in Bodywork
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Even in nontraditional healthcare circles, it's interesting to note how uncomfortable some therapists get around the "E" word - energy. They might be intrigued by your philosophy and impressed by your protocols, but mention energy and you can almost feel half of them check out of the conversation.(Ironic, isn't it?)
That's why it's helpful to be reminded of the physics of energy to better grasp why it plays such a central role in bodywork. I have a good friend who is a talented CranioSacral Therapy practitioner and instructor. He also happens to have a doctorate in theoretical physics. Indeed, before Tim Hutton, PhD, LMP, CST-D, became a massage practitioner in 1994, he worked in experimental physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Tim spoke at length on the subject of energy at Beyond the Dura 2005, an international health care conference held every two or three years in south Florida. As he pointed out, energy means different things to different people. So, it's worth looking carefully at the term to help therapists find common ground in understanding the concept of energy in manual medicine.
Following is a highly abbreviated version of what Tim shared with more than 300 therapists at the 2005 conference. It serves well to highlight the science behind a concept that might, at first glance, appear unconventional in a therapeutic framework. As you'll see, it is anything but.
As therapists, we define energy as a physical sensation, like the vibration or heat we experience when we work. While we may not all feel the same thing, we can generally agree on when energy is being put into something and when it's being taken out. Energy in bodywork is sense-oriented.
In physics, energy has a precise definition: The ability to do work or to make something change. Energy is conserved - it can never be created or destroyed, just transformed or moved around. This concept of "conservation of energy" unifies every experience in life, from throwing a baseball to boiling water, and it allows you to see the connection.
Along with another concept ("conservation of momentum"), the conservation of energy forms the foundation of modern science and technology. So, to physicists, energy is neither elusive nor sense-oriented, but the fundamental principle from which all of science arises. Everything around us is a result of this dance of energy being transformed. Energy is encountered in several forms: kinetic, potential and heat. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion, like that of a baseball when you throw it. Potential energy is stored energy that has the potential to be used. Heat is the kinetic energy associated with the motion of all the atoms inside an object.
Imagine a roller coaster going over two hills. If the car starts at the top of the first hill and rolls down, it gradually picks up speed until it reaches the bottom. It takes the potential energy it has by being a certain distance from the earth (gravity) and converts it to kinetic energy to accelerate to the bottom of the hill. Then it slows down and continues up the next hill, converting kinetic energy back into potential energy. Because the car started at a higher point on the first hill, it still has enough energy to go over the second one. But energy was not lost or gained in the process, just transformed. So, what if the car starts halfway down the first hill? It accelerates but doesn't have enough energy to get over the second hill, and ends up oscillating back and forth between the two. To get the car over the second hill, energy would have to be added from outside the system to help push it over.
Energy is stored, moved or manipulated by one of three forces: nuclear, electromagnetic or gravitational. Nuclear force holds the nucleus together inside an atom. Electromagnetic forces provide the interaction between atoms. Gravitational force is the mutual attraction between masses. Since humans don't have much direct connection with nuclear force, what we experience in daily life are electromagnetic interactions in the field of gravity.
Physics dictates that anything conducting electricity has an electromagnetic field, including the human body. When you bring your electromagnetic field close to another person, the two fields interact. With training, you can learn to perceive your own field, and through this interaction, the field of another. This forms the basis of energy work.
To better understand this, let's add the concept of entropy - the degree of disorder or chaos in a system. Imagine a game of pool. You take the balls, place them into a triangular rack and set them neatly on the table. Then you strike the rack with the cue ball, scattering the balls across the table. The entropy of the table has increased - there is more disorder.
Globally, the universe tends toward increased entropy, toward chaos. Locally, however, a system that's strongly interacting with its surroundings tends toward equilibrium.
Thus, by putting energy into a system, it is possible to decrease entropy. Consider the pool table. How did you get an ordered state to begin with? By placing the balls exactly where you wanted them. You put energy into the system to increase order on the table.
The human body tends toward order, toward healing. If we cut ourselves, the body tries to knit itself back together. Life is a system for decreasing entropy. So what is energy in bodywork? It's one person adding energy to another through the interaction of electromagnetic fields, helping to decrease entropy in the body and return it to a more ordered state.
Consider that roller coaster with the car stuck at the bottom. You'd have to put energy into the car to move it past the barrier of the hill. In the same way, you connect to help your clients move past barriers toward better health. It's a concept supported by science.
- Tim Hutton, PhD, LMP, CST-D
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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