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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
May, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 05
Cranial/Structural Soft-Tissue Releases
By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT
For the past 15 years, I have been working with a paradigm that has greatly expanded the effectiveness of my soft-tissue therapy. When I began applying the cranial/structural releases to initiate structural balance, there was a quantum leap in the effectiveness of my treatments and long-term rehabilitation for my clients.The cranial/structural releases initiated an unwinding of the body out of its collapsed spiral that had been the cause of so much soft-tissue compensation and pain; and corrected the weight-bearing separation between the rotated iliums and tipped sacrum.
With weight-bearing support quickly established in the first 20 minutes of treatment, the old compensations and myofascial holding patterns in the soft tissue began to release, resulting in more efficient soft-tissue treatment and allowing the structure to move more easily into balance. Before the cranial/structural releases, it would usually take at least five to 10 sessions for any noticeable improvement in the client's structural collapse. Even then, the weight-bearing separation of the sacrum and ilium was not completely resolved. Let's look at the difference between craniosacral and cranial/structural soft-tissue releases.
Cranial/structural techniques are very different from craniosacral techniques in intent and application. Craniosacral techniques are applied within the soft-tissue restrictions of the normal cranial motion to achieve homeostasis. Cranial/structural techniques release the soft-tissue restrictions of the distorted cranial motion, resulting in structural balance throughout the body. Let's take an in-depth look at the need for cranial/structural techniques.
Within the structure of every client's body there exists a core distortion pattern. Many liken it to a spiral that runs throughout the structure, resulting in an anterior/posterior rotation of the iliums, a tipped sacrum and a degree of classic scoliosis. This spiral is evident from the top of the head down to the feet and, not surprisingly, also is found in the relationship of the bones and soft tissue of the cranium. When clients are experiencing musculoskeletal pain, there is an observable increase in the degree of this distortion. This can be viewed as a degree of structural collapse or a lack of structural support. The resulting pain can be evidenced in the compensation for this increased distortion, the strain in the musculature or the actual distortion of the skeletal structure. Thus, the key to relieving the painful symptoms and balancing the structural support system lies in releasing this exaggerated core distortion.
For years, in developing my soft-tissue protocols, I struggled with the major components of this core distortion, in an effort to relieve my clients' painful symptoms. Whether it was whiplash flexion/extension injuries, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, degenerative disc disease, bulging disc, carpal tunnel, nerve entrapment, sciatica, low back pain, hip pain, knee pain or foot pain - it was related to structural collapse. Therefore, addressing and releasing the core distortion pattern appeared to be the most direct way to achieve pain relief, homeostasis and a return to normal function.
Within every collapsed structure, I found an anterior/posterior rotation of the iliums, stretched ligaments between the sacrum and the ilium at the SI joint, and a tipped sacrum. The degree of distortion was directly influenced by the degree of the rotation of the iliums, the degree of stretched ligaments and the degree of tippage of the sacrum. Further, the degree of distortion in the body was directly proportional to the intensity of the pain and symptoms the client was experiencing. The longer the client remained in this distortion, the more the entire musculoskeletal system distorted into the lack of support, which usually resulted in an extended recovery process.
One of the greatest challenges was stabilizing the SI joint. While the client was on the table, the position of the iliums could be shifted through soft-tissue releases, and the feet and legs could be aligned to support the shift. However, when the client became weight-bearing, the weakened ligaments would not be able to stabilize the SI joint and the sacrum would again slip and tip, re-creating the structural collapse.
A missing link in the treatment to stabilize the pelvis was found in the relationship between the cranial bones, reciprocal tension membrane, dura and the myofascial planes of the body. Dr. G. Dallas Hancock, a chiropractic physician, discovered the relationship between two of the cranial bones (the sphenoid and the occiput), the sphenobasilar synchondrosis (SBS) where they meet, and the torsion of the pelvis. He noted that the rotation of the iliums and tippage of the sacrum were in direct relationship to the rotation of the wings of the sphenoid and the tippage of the occiput. I had the privilege of working with him to develop the techniques of releasing the cranial torsion of the SBS that successfully released the torsion of the pelvis.
One of the ways to understand the effect of this incredible discovery of Dr. Hancock's is to view these two cranial bones (sphenoid and occiput) as handles for the reciprocal tension membrane, dura and the entire myofascial plane of the body. The distortion found in the SBS joint is supported by the restrictions in the reciprocal tension membrane, dura and fascia, which affect the entire structure of the body. The techniques that were developed to unwind the torsion of the SBS released the restrictions in the reciprocal tension membrane and dura, which, in turn, released the restrictions in the myofascial planes of the body that related directly to the dura. In addition to the release of the restrictions in the dura, its relationship to the sacrum allowed the sacrum and the iliums to balance.
The greatest significance of this was that the weight-bearing separation of the SI joint was corrected, even though the ligaments had been stretched. Another exciting discovery was that clients would not return to this weight-bearing structural collapse unless a very severe trauma was experienced. With the balancing of the SI joint and iliums, the myofascial planes of the body down to the feet also were beginning to unwind and balance, bringing support into the entire structure.
The torsion found in the cranium also was the principal cause of problems such as TMJ. When the torsion was taken out of the cranium (SBS), a balancing of the bite took place. Most clients who suffered TMJ symptoms would have an immediate improvement. Even without focusing on the usual TMJ soft-tissue treatments, clients would continue to improve and often become pain-free.
Cranial work that focuses on this structural shift is called cranial/structural due to its direct relationship to structural balance. Prior to having these techniques to balance the SBS and correct the weight-bearing collapse found in the core distortion pattern, I was not able to achieve a long-term correction of the distortion in the pelvis. However, with the cranial/structural techniques, my clients showed dramatic changes in the initial session and I was able to achieve long-term correction of this distortion throughout the body in only a few treatments by integrating my soft-tissue protocols.
Jerry, 33, an avid weekend basketball player, had been developing low back pain for five years. He was then rear-ended in an auto accident, resulting in a cervical flexion/extension injury and excessive soft-tissue damage. His chiropractor referred him for soft-tissue therapy, as he was having difficulty stabilizing his neck. At Jerry's first session, evaluation revealed a structural collapse of the core distortion with an anterior/posterior ilium rotation, tipped sacrum, scoliosis, reverse curvature of the neck and a jammed C1. Applied kinesiology evaluated the weakened strain patterns of the structural collapse and revealed weakness in the legs down to the feet.
The cranial/structural soft-tissue releases were applied and Jerry noticed an immediate improvement in the range of motion of his neck, less neck pain, a flattening of his back on the table and reduced back pain. Upon becoming weight-bearing, Jerry also noticed that both feet felt like they were directly under him with the weight evenly distributed. He was standing straighter, his arms were more equal along his sides, and the top of his left shoulder was no longer hurting. It was obvious there had been substantial improvement in Jerry's structure. It was now time for soft-tissue treatments to release the myofascial holding pattern and address shortened fascial fibers, adhesions and scar tissue from the auto accident, and the structural collapse from basketball. Jerry's neck stabilized in just two sessions.
Cranial/structural is most effective when applied at the beginning of the first session to release the core distortion pattern and balance the SI joint. However, the soft tissue (dura, reciprocal tension membrane and fascia) will only release so far using the cranial/structural techniques alone. The structure of the body is then trying to move into balance, but the soft tissue that was tightened and forming adhesions and restrictions in the holding pattern of the core distortion will impede the process. To complete the balancing process, it is necessary to include specific myofascial releases, myofascial unwinding, and scar and adhesion fiber work to allow the whole body to move into structural balance.
Click here for more information about Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT.
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