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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.
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.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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 Continuum of Progression
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
The progressive continuum linking stress and pathology is theorized to move initially from adaptation to compensation and substitution. It then moves toward injury or illness, finally accreting in degeneration, disease and, ultimately, death.Of course, injury and illness might precede compensation and substitution.
Understanding the paradoxes of this progression allows the practitioner to serve clients with greater clarity. The central paradox is that some clients respond immediately to therapeutic touch, while others take a very long time to even begin to turn the corner and, there also are those, who are beyond our capacity to functionally assist without medical care.
Previously, I have described the physical response of the body to "stress" as the cringing of the sacs and the shortening and narrowing of its tubes (both the tubes within the organs and between them), such that the internal suspension of the organ systems is pulled toward the middle of the body. This cringing, shortening and narrowing reduces the surface area for the activities of physiology. Blood and lymph drainage becomes labored and congested. Arterial pumping requires more effort.1
Physiology struggles in its prime directives to distribute strain and allocate resources equitably. Needless to say, the external structure of the body goes into distress when this occurs. The flexor and extensor reflex systems become confused and, over time, forget how to cooperate with one another. An insidious discoordination emerges to the point where our very sense of balance in gravity is subconsciously in question with every movement we make. Succinctly, this often is the degenerative progression of the human structure in movement as we grow older.
When a client's somatic profile is principally the result of "stress-related" difficulties they will make some - no matter how slow or stuttering - progress along the dimensions of perception, energy and movement capacity. The most reliable markers for the initiation of healing are when clients shift the focus and sites of their ailments and report a positive change in their perception, energy level and movement capacity. What I propose underlies such shifts is that the body and psyche are re-prioritizing the allocation of resources and re-organizing the distribution of the internal strain patterns.
The good news is that the body can get used to damn near anything. Adaptation as a concept infers that one is able to adjust to changing circumstances internally and externally, such that all functional activities of living remain the same. Adaptation infers that one's capacity has not been drained. Compensation and substitution are notions that the body is able to maintain its function, but at a potentially high price.
The price typically is reflected by how we perceive ourselves and the world (usually more negatively); the sense of energy we experience to do what we want (usually less); and by the degree to which our movements become limited or painful. In short, the quality of our lives becomes insidiously, and sometimes drastically, reduced. It's a continuum.
Let's explore this further. When one becomes ill, we slow down, do less and rest more. This allows the body time to catch up with itself such that the surface area within the organ systems and within their tubes re-expand and lengthen again. It also allows our consciousness to reflect upon our lives: who we've become and questions related to "Do I like my life?" and "Where do I want to go from here?" Sometimes, new and radical decisions are needed.
When we injure ourselves, we discharge energy and, depending on its severity, we also reflect, slow down, do less, and rest more.2 I would propose that both injury and illness are nature's way of assisting our bodies to re-organize whatever compensation and substitution patterns have become too rigid. They function to throw the marbles up into the air so that a new pattern may emerge.
The Oriental healing arts suggest that it's very interesting where people hurt themselves and/or which illnesses emerge, and they relate this information within their philosophy and maps of healing.3 In my recent phrenic circuit articles, I was endeavoring to describe a set of relationships that has helped me to serve my clients. Other maps and systems to explore include: The Body's Map of Consciousness®, chiropractic and osteopathic spinal correspondences, applied kinesiology relationships, reflexology, Travell's trigger point maps, craniosacral relationships, visceral manipulation relationships as well as many others.
Using a map, however, can be like painting by numbers, where we have a pre-conceived notion of the outcome. Though incredibly useful as a starting point, maps are not the actual territory. Chronic problems defy such simple external representations by the fact that they persist. They keep us on our toes, searching for and distilling information from all the maps as we broaden our perceptual skills and deepen our capacity to touch with compassion as well as grace.
Degeneration and disease reflect the two prevailing theories of evolution - subtle changes over a very long time and sharp cataclysmic changes that happen abruptly. Usually the former precedes the latter and we simply didn't notice, don't want to notice, or haven't developed the perceptual skills to notice. This is what learning and education are all about for us, as well as for our clients.
I would further assert that we are actively in the process of turning nature's emphasis on survival toward a more inclusive willingness to become aware. The common sense of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is increasingly becoming cost-effective. Our profession is part of this shift in consciousness, assisting our clients to develop the ability to notice and to relate to the basics of physiological processes. We are on the "front lines" as educators in the health care delivery system not because we know so much, but rather because we genuinely care.
Let us consider death as we explore degeneration and disease. Basically, most humans expire as a result of some kind of cardiopulmonary disease, cancer or trauma. What's important to learn is how the tributaries flow into the rivers of these processes. To develop ways to describe the relationships, which are the subtle events that so often go unnoticed. Nature's emphasis on survival contributes to the veiling of degenerative and pathological declines. Consider that part of the healing partnership we forge with clients includes becoming part of their early detection team.
When a client senses that something is amiss internally or you instinctually do so yourself, become a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader for them to have a well-baby check. Swing those pom-poms. Express concern and a desire for them to be thorough. Acknowledging our limitations enhances their trust of us rather than decreasing their confidence in us. It's the information, education and compassionate reflection offered to clients that distinguishes the therapeutic touch profession. The simple process of taking the time to be "in presence" with clients, to touch with open hearts, and to listen without preconceived notions is often under-estimated in the healing process and is a necessary ingredient to assisting clients to unravel the knot of their chronic problems.
Hold the paradoxes of how problems progress over time. Place your consciousness, intent and willingness "inside the body." This is where the action really is happening. Shift from "doing to," and begin to allow the body to guide you. Build a library with each client from the "inside-out." Give their body access to your library of all that you have learned. The contribution of reflecting back to the client takes many forms. Dedicate yourself to reflecting their wisdom because it's their life. It's the inherent gift of conscious touch.
Osteopathy stuck a flag in the ground more than 120 years ago in its creative distillation that the relationship between disease and healing is largely defined by "who gets the blood." This central intention relates to any therapeutic touch style, approach or technique orientation. What's important is to assist the body's capacity to circulate its fluids, all of them, everywhere. It's at the core of physical healing. Tissues denied their fair share of blood do not heal.
In conclusion, I would like to publicly honor Dr. John Upledger, DO, and Dr. Richard MacDonald, DO, for the actual personal and professional risks they, and others, took to open the libraries of osteopathy through their personal teaching, and for Dr. Upledger's continuing commitment to invite innovative teachers from around the world to share the many dimensions of healing with our profession and others. True to another central tenet of healing, their efforts have embodied a clear intention to be inclusive of all who are sincere in their desire to assist the healing process.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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