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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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.).
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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