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The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
May, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 05
By Rita Woods, LMT
As massage therapists, we are constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest products to benefit our clients' various skin types. One client has sensitive skin and so only a certain lotion or oil will do. Another prefers lotions that don't give off any scent, while another wants to smell like a garden after a treatment. While there are some great products on the market, there are others that might contain chemicals some clients are trying to avoid at all costs.
So, what ingredients should we look for when preparing to purchase the various lotions, oils and topical creams we use in our practices? What does the federal government have to say about these chemicals and what is the research behind the movement to limit or eliminate our exposure?
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines cosmetics as items intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering one's appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions. This definition includes skin-care creams, lotions, powders and sprays, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial makeup, permanent waves, hair colors, deodorants, baby products, bath oils, bubble baths and mouthwashes, as well as any material intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product.
The products we use every day in our practices could fall under this definition. As you can imagine, we are exposed to hundreds of these products daily. How do we know if what we are using is harmful? That question would appear to be simple to answer. As it turns out, however, it's one of the most complicated issues we face today.
Several ingredients in our personal care products have come under fire recently thanks to the work of avid watchdog groups such as the Environmental Work Group (www.ewg.org). One chemical in particular comes from the family of "phthalates" (pronounced THAY-lates). This one has prompted the state of California to ban its use in toys and baby products beginning in 2009. This is important to you because it can be hidden in the products we use.
In general, phthalates are known as plasticizers. There are eight members of this family, and they are used in just about every industry in the world to make plastic pliable. Another important thing they do is make scents last longer in products. This characteristic puts them in our personal care products: makeup, nail polish, body washes, lotions, air fresheners, laundry soap, dryer sheets and shampoo, just to name a few.
But here's the catch - you won't see phthalates listed as an ingredient. They often are included as a part of the fragrance ingredient, which is exempt from the same labeling laws. Full disclosure of "fragrance" may jeopardize company trade secrets, so a company doesn't have to divulge that information. The real problem here is that this loophole can be used to "hide" other potentially harmful ingredients. Reproductive and birth defects are the main concern for people highly exposed. Some advocates are trying to get phthalates removed from all cosmetics and products that fall under the personal care definition. The loophole is under investigation.
Another area of concern is the use of preservatives such as "methylparaben" and "proylparaben" in cosmetics. The same preservatives often are used in foods. The food supply is under even greater scrutiny. As you can image, it affects everyone, not just those who use personal care products. If you eat a lot of processed foods, you could be increasing your exposure. According to most scientists, we just don't know the long-term effects of many chemicals. While there still is no concrete evidence they pose a health threat, there is some supportive evidence that they can elicit an allergic response in some people.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board (CIR) Expert Panel issued an amended final report in 2006, concluding, "Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, and benzylparaben are safe as used in cosmetics." The CIR provides information on the safety of chemical ingredients and issues safe recommended percentages of each chemical it tests. Some chemicals will be banned altogether, while others must be used only within certain levels. Formulating chemists use these guidelines when they make certain products.
Some factors in daily living can complicate the exposure issue. For instance, people exposed to "toluene" (a harmful chemical found in nail polishes) are at higher risk of toluene toxicity if they drink large amounts of alcohol or take over-the-counter pain-relieving salisylates such as aspirin or acetaminophen. Toluene is processed in the liver (as are most chemicals), which then overworks the liver. The overburdened liver can no longer do a good job and toxicity can occur.
Healthy people with healthy lifestyles are better equipped to deal with the onslaught of chemicals to which they are exposed. Unfortunately, people with certain diseases or sensitivities are at greater risk of having adverse reactions. Most adverse reactions are classified as allergic reactions. Regulations from other countries actually may put U.S. companies on the fast track to changing their ingredients. The worry is that the substitutions used may be as harmful as the ones they remove. We may not know about their toxicity until they start showing up in tissue samples a few years down the road.
So, what's a body to do? Here are some tips to help minimize your exposure to chemicals in the products you and your clients use.
Learn to Read Labels
Now is a good time to start reading cosmetic labels, if you don't already. The list of ingredients must appear on the label in descending order of predominance. The lower an ingredient is on the list, the less there is of it in that product. I have seen "fragrance" listed as high as ingredient number 22 out of 45, and I have seen it as the last ingredient. The same concept is true for parabens as well.
You don't have to be a chemist to figure out that either the raw product smells really bad and the manufacturer used a lot of fragrance to cover it up, or the fragrance may be hiding other chemicals. While it might not be an exact science, it's still your best defense in the cosmetic aisle.
Watch for "Greenwashing"
Some companies are trying to jump onto the green wagon train when it comes to naturals and organics. You'll see them supporting cancer research and yet continuing to offer some of the most toxic cosmetics on the market. Again, www.ewg.org has listings of products and companies. Watch out for the color green and natural scenes in ads. It's an attempt - and an effective one - to get you to see them as part of the natural movement. Their ad may say one thing, but their ingredients could say another. It's becoming increasingly difficult to pick out green abusers.
Check Out Other Sources
Be open-minded and look at all sides of the story. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have Web sites with consumer-friendly information. You'll also find links on their sites that will lead you to lists of known and probable carcinogens. Look to current research from other countries, as the U.S. government doesn't exactly lead the pack on these changes.
Get Healthy and Stay Healthy
Make healthier choices about the foods you eat. Reducing your overall exposure is key. Get plenty of exercise. Reduce your use of perfumed and dyed laundry soaps. Use dryer balls instead of dyer sheets. Dryer sheets coat your clothes with chemicals. By the way, this also makes your towels less absorbent. Wear less makeup. Become aware of the chemicals in your home and work to reduce their impact on you, your family and the environment. And share all this information with your clients. We may not be able to control what goes in products, but we can control what products we use.
Click here for previous articles by Rita Woods, LMT.
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