resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06
The Essence of Palpation: How Do You Feel?
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
Palpation lies at the heart of much that we do in manual medicine and bodywork in general, and massage in particular. But how accurate and reliable is it?
What we do therapeutically commonly is determined by prior palpation and the meaning we give to what has been palpated.In other words, we assess and decide what treatment is needed and then apply techniques in order to achieve those ends. If, however, our palpation skills are limited or our interpretation of what it is we are feeling is inaccurate, then the treatment we choose to apply based on such misinformation is likely to fail.
Famous osteopathic physician Viola Fryman said: "Palpation cannot be learned by reading or listening; it can only be learned by palpation."1 Palpation represents a two-way communication between the examiner and the patient. Decisions as to what to do therapeutically often will be based on a variety of palpation and assessment methods, together with the symptoms and the patient's responses to these manual (and sometimes observational) evaluation procedures.
In other instances - I am thinking of methods such as neuromuscular technique or many massage techniques - palpation and treatment are synchronous with decisions over how we should respond by varying the degree, duration and directions of forces. These decisions are determined by what is being assessed/felt by the contact hand(s), and how this is interpreted in real time, moment by moment. What is being done therapeutically in such a setting is directly related to what is being palpated and assessed at that moment, rather than having been planned ahead.
For experienced practitioners and therapists, much of the instant decision-making that results in modifications of application of forces (compression/stretch, etc.) happens without due deliberation. The hands do the thinking - intuitively, so to speak. - in much the same way a tightrope walker makes instant, non-cognitive decisions based on the processing of multiple pieces of information.
In other circumstances, active deliberation and thought are required as to what to do next. How accurate such decision-making is will be based on a combination of experience and learned information, as well as being present in the moment and truly in touch with tissues that offer information requiring interpretation.
So, at the heart of palpation is what I termed palpatory literacy many years ago. Do we know how to read the signs and signals the body and its tissues offer us? Nowadays, with the clamour for "evidence-based" methods, a great deal of effort goes into evaluating how reliable and valid (accurate) palpation and assessment-methods are. These can be looked at in several ways. The most common are studies that try to see how reliable an examiner's findings (and therefore the methods used) are. This is measurement of intra-examiner reliability. The other major focus is on how repeatable findings are when different examiners are involved. This is measuring inter-examiner reliability.
The difference between these is that one (intra-) looks at how competent you are in making judgements about what you palpate, and whether the same findings are repeatable when you apply them to other people or other tissues that display similar characteristics. Do your current findings commonly agree with your previous findings? In this case, there is good intra-examiner reliability.
Inter-examiner evaluation looks at how much agreement there is when others palpate the same tissues. Do they come to the same conclusions you did? In that case, there is good inter-examiner reliability.
It's worth reminding ourselves that such reliability does not necessarily mean accuracy has been achieved. The interpretation of methods of palpation that can reliably be duplicated and which agree with the palpation findings of someone else, does not in and of itself mean the conclusions deriving from the palpation exercise are accurate. You may both be wrong, depending on the basis for your interpretation of similar palpation findings. For example, you could reliably aim and hit a dartboard every time you threw a dart, and this would reflect your throwing reliability. However, only if you consistently or frequently hit the bull's-eye would the dart-throwing be categorised as accurate.
So, how can we ensure better intra- and inter-examiner reliability and accuracy? I've explored ways to do this in my book Palpation and Assessment Skills, which attempts to lead the reader through multiple graduated exercises that should result in enhanced skills. Assessment and palpation methods need to be standardized, well-taught and regularly assessed for both reliability and validity (accuracy). The acronym STAR is used in osteopathic medicine to describe characteristics that commonly are present and assessable when dysfunction exists:
Some of these elements are measurable and some not. In other words, some are subjective (tissue texture, for example) and some are objective (range of motion, for example). One thing is certain: The more you practice palpation methods, the more sensitive and reliable your methods should become. What your palpation and assessment means depends on the degree of knowledge you have acquired and your particular belief system. For example, when palpating the radial pulse, your belief system might cause you to interpret findings as relating to heart rate, whereas someone else who appears to be performing precisely the same palpation might be evaluating qi levels in different meridian systems. I will return to the vast topic of palpation in a future issue.
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.