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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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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