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TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
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.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
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.
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.
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.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.)
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.
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.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
February, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 02
The Body Viewed in 3-D
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Since seriously considering massage therapy as a career choice, I have had a healthy appreciation for anatomy. My bachelor's degree in business economics had few science prerequisites, and basic college biology was as close as I came to discovering how we work in structure and function until I explored massage schools in 1992.I was amazed at how much I didn't know! Even the Anatomy Coloring Book was a wealth of information to me. I found the memorization of bones, muscles, nerves, etc., to be arduous at best, but the obvious potential for actual application of the knowledge kept me striving to succeed. It wasn't until after I was developing a practice that I came to know the true importance of learning more and more about exactly how the body presents itself.
The study of human anatomy is a standard part of all massage school curriculums. Along with a basic understanding of physiology, it is well-accepted that a solid understanding of these sciences contributes to a massage therapist's skill level and ability to demonstrate professionalism. It's this understanding of the structure and function of the human body, along with the skilled application of touch, which has so greatly enhanced the status of our profession in recent decades. I discovered that the Anatomy Coloring Book was the "Cliff's Notes version" of anatomical documentation, and that there was a whole new world of richness in anatomy texts by the likes of Netter and Clemente. I found that intuitive work on bodies was enhanced greatly if I knew what was really in that body I was touching. The smarter I got, the more intuitive I became! I'm sure that many, if not most of you, have come to realize the same.
Obviously better than books is the study of actual human tissue. It's for this reason that cadaver study is becoming increasingly popular in massage school curriculums. It's also becoming more of an option for those seeking continuing education. Most cadaver labs are operated by universities or medical centers that utilize the cadavers for their students first, before allowing visiting students to see the already-dissected human form. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to get lots of cadaver lab time, and it never ceases to amaze me how those who have already passed on can make anatomy come to life!
I realize though, that many do not have access to a cadaver lab and the learning opportunities they present. I was pleasantly surprised to find an alternative that falls between the two-dimensional planes of a textbook and the three-dimensional hands-on medical school cadaver lab. Anatomical exhibits of actual bodies are touring throughout the world. Preserved in a special way that enables the tissue to maintain its color and appearance for "eternity," the bodies and body parts are arranged in poses and displays to allow for study. Explanatory material is part of the exhibit so the accumulation of knowledge is easy to grasp. In many ways, the visual depiction of nerve paths or the relationship of agonist and antagonist muscles was superior to the cadaver lab! I currently am aware of several touring anatomical exhibits in North America, and I think it a good use of professional time for massage therapists to visit them if a cadaver anatomy class is not easy for you to take.
"Bodyworlds," "Bodyworlds 2," and "Bodyworlds 3" are being exhibited in Dallas, Chicago, Montréal, and Phoenix. (I recently saw "Bodyworlds 2" in Boston.) A competing exhibit called "Bodies ... The Exhibition" is on display in South Miami, Las Vegas and New York. Other than the fact that you can't touch or photograph the exhibits, the learning opportunities are almost endless. (Caution for sensitive viewers: Eyes and genitals remain, and a section of the exhibition highlights prenatal development and includes embryos and fetuses.)
These exhibits certainly are not without controversy. Many question whether these shows are art, exploitation or science. They ask if they speak to our innate fascination with the human body, a voyeuristic desire for a cheap thrill or our fear of death. From my own visits, I can surmise that all of the above are true to some extent, but that most truly are seeking a deeper look at the human body. For more information on these exhibits, visit www.bodyworlds.com and www.bodiestheexhibition.com.
If you are able, however, I think there is nothing better than being able to get "hands-on" instruction on cadaverous tissue in a laboratory setting. Massage schools are more frequently establishing partnering roles with medical schools for this purpose. There are continuing education providers who are leaders in training others on actual dissection techniques. Gil Hedley, Dianne Polseno and David Kent are pioneers in this respect. The Upledger Institute has a first-rate program of dissection with an emphasis on CranioSacral Therapy concepts or Visceral Manipulation, and all the actual dissection is on fresh-tissue cadavers instead of embalmed tissue. That's better than most medical students can accomplish!
The keys to truly knowing and healing the human body lie within the body itself. Throughout history, anatomy has provided thousands of these keys. The study of anatomy and the practice of human dissection have proved invaluable in understanding the human body, its systems and their functions, and to treating, curing, and preventing disease. Without dissection, modern medical science would remain in the Dark Ages: We would have no idea how to remove an appendix or replace the valves of a heart, or the best way to perform a kidney transplant or operate on the brain. Without dissection, we would have a hard time setting a bone so it could properly heal. Almost all medical discoveries and advances made in the past 25 years owe a debt to anatomical study and human dissection; the same will be true of those in the future. It's my gut feeling that almost all advances in the practice of massage therapy - from the simplest ways of facilitating relaxation to the most complex ways of treating dysfunction - also will come from anatomical study and human dissection. I hope to see you in the lab!
Thanks for listening!
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters related to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue or online. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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