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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
February, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 02
Making a Statement About Massage
AMTA advocates consensus conference; ultimate goal is a federal statement declaring that massage provides effective relief of low back pain.
By Meghan Vivo, Associate Editor
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) recently approved financial support for the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) to propose that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hold a consensus conference on massage for low back pain.The IHPC is a coalition of health care professional organizations advocating public policy to ensure access to safe, high-quality medical care for all Americans. The latest survey from the AMTA provides evidence of the increasing popularity of massage for therapeutic purposes and suggests the tides may be changing in favor of insurance coverage for massage.
Massage has been credited with alleviating a wide variety of aches and pains, from migraines and carpal tunnel to anxiety and low back pain. More than 100 million Americans suffer from low back pain, and nearly $25 billion a year is spent in search of relief. In the Centers for Disease Control's 30th annual report on the health status of the nation, Health, United States, 2006, low back pain was the most commonly reported type of pain, the most common cause of job-related disability, and a leading contributor to missed work and reduced productivity.
Medication may still be the most common way to treat low back pain, but increasing evidence suggests it is neither the most effective nor the safest treatment method. The need for more effective solutions to low back pain has led many health care organizations to increase research for alternative treatments such as massage therapy. Although many Gen X and Gen Yers believe massage is not only a luxury, but also a medical necessity, Medicare and Medicaid have not yet supported insurance coverage for massage as a remedy for low back pain. In fact, most existing research ignores massage therapy as a treatment for low back pain altogether, instead focusing on drug therapies and surgery.
With the NIH consensus conference expected to occur in 18 to 24 months, the AMTA hopes to elicit a federal statement declaring that massage is effective for low back pain. Historically, the conference panel's findings have triggered Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policies which, in turn, have expanded insurance coverage policies. If the conference goal is reached, the AMTA anticipates that massage for low back pain will be widely accepted by the health care community.
The NIH's previous consensus development conference on treatments for low back pain occurred more than 10 years ago. Although the expert panel at the conference concluded that research supported the use of chiropractic care for low back pain, it ultimately decided that too little evidence existed to assess the actual benefits of massage. Similarly, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that the best treatments for low back pain include bed rest, exercise and various medications, such as over-the-counter analgesics, anticonvulsants, opioids and some antidepressants - with no mention of massage therapy.
More recently, however, a number of studies have indicated that massage is highly beneficial for people with chronic low back pain. For example, a 2003 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that massage therapy produced better results and reduced the need for painkillers by 36 percent when compared to other therapies, including acupuncture and spinal modification. And with 39 million American adults getting a massage annually, and 30 percent of those adults using massage therapy for medical purposes, recent AMTA consumer surveys continue to show that massage therapy is a growing trend.
As evidence that massage therapy is increasingly on the minds of the public, the AMTA reports that 9 million more people discussed massage therapy with their health care provider in 2006 than in 2001. Moreover, almost twice as many doctors recommended massage therapy to their patients in 2006 than in 2001. When patients inquire about massage therapy, physicians are more likely to recommend it (59 percent), while nearly half of all chiropractors (48 percent) and physical therapists (47 percent) also recommended massage. And nearly 80 percent of 25- to 35-year-olds would like to have their insurance plan cover massage.
Despite lingering pessimism from some in the conventional medical community, an impressive 25 million more Americans each year are getting a massage today than they did 10 years ago, according to the 2006 AMTA study. People 55 years old and up have tripled their use of massage over the past 10 years. Gen Yers have become less reliant on medication to treat low back pain, with 94 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds preferring massage therapy for pain relief.
Today, massage therapy is one of the most common ways people relieve back pain. Research is increasingly showing that millions of Americans regularly use complementary and alternative health care approaches. Because most of this complementary care is paid for by the patients themselves, without any assistance from Medicare or other forms of insurance, it is not accessible to all Americans. Only those who can afford the out-of-pocket costs have access to broader choices in their health care. Massage patients, massage therapists and affiliated health care organizations remain hopeful that the NIH consensus conference will convince the health care community and insurance providers of the benefits of massage therapy - a treatment that already provides much needed relief to millions of Americans.
Editor's Note: In September of 2006, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals also pledged $15,000 in an effort to help gain medical recognition of massage therapy as a treatment for low back pain. The ABMP contribution accounts for about one quarter of the funds needed to advance a review under the auspices of the NIH, Office of Medical Applications of Research. Visit www.abmp.com for more information.
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