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An International Life: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield
I met Mary Elizabeth Wakefield during her class last summer in Seneca Falls, New York at the Finger Lakes School of Chinese Medicine.
Creating Relationships at Southwest Symposium
The month of May brought many interesting activities. As I have said in many previous columns this year, this profession is moving in a very exciting direction. Make sure you are getting involved. If you're not, you just might get left behind.
Desert: A Metaphor from the Study of Genetics
In most of the human lives I know about, there are stretches of time which feel stagnant, or worse. We can feel adrift, or wounded and sidelined, and these times don't seem to carry much usefulness while they are unfolding.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 2
The Da Cheng includes symptoms for the source-luo points that indicate when to use them for treatment. Yang defines the method as the guest-host (it is one of a variety of acupuncture point combinations called guest-host).
Going On-Site With Chiropractic Care
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released a position paper highlighting the financial, clinical and patient-satisfaction benefits of providing chiropractic care at on-site corporate health clinics.
News in Brief
Investigating the Cellular Impact of Mechanical Force; National Board Seats (Not-So) New Officers at Annual Meeting.
The Risks I Took
We all take risks when we choose this profession. For some, it is not knowing if you can make a living practicing TCM. For others, it is parental or cultural disapproval.
Sports Medicine 101: Surgery or No Surgery?
In the world of sports medicine, many careers are saved by surgeries that correct traumatic damage to the body. Muscle tears, ligament damage, fractures, spinal disc herniations, and joint instabilities are a few of the issues frequently addressed with surgical intervention.
Meet Cheyenne: Your Future Colleague
Allow me to introduce you to Cheyenne (Chey), the daughter of some of our family's closest friends. We attend and serve at the same church together, and have known each other for many years.
Q&A With the First VA Chiropractic Residents
As you may have read previously, a major step forward for the profession occurred in July 2014 when the Department of Veterans Affairs began piloting a chiropractic residency program at five locations.
Marketing with a Microphone
When given an option, it stands to reason that people prefer to do business with those they know, like, and trust.
Integrative Medicine for the Underserved: A Seat at the Table
Numerous organizations have risen to the challenge of providing care to medically-underserved populations and here we feature one such group.
Chinese Doctors Poke Holes in Australian Study
A recent Australian clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014 by Rana Hinman, et el., evaluating the effectiveness of both needle and laser acupuncture for chronic knee pain.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 3)
A patient with sacroiliac fixation and dysfunction ordinarily demonstrates a noticeable leg-length inequality when placed in the prone position on the adjusting table.
Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology: Version 2.0
The Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology consensus, published in 2001 by the collaborative efforts of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology, has guided radiologists, clinicians and the public for more than a decade.
Should You Change an Athlete's Natural Running Form?
Once past the ankle, impact forces travel at about 200 mph into the knee. In addition to allowing the quad to absorb force, bending the knee (E) prevents the hip and pelvis from moving up and down too much (F), which is important for injury prevention and efficiency.
Treatment of PTSD: An Opportunity for the Practice of Integrated Medicine
PTSD is widespread across America today. Not only do many of our honored men and women in uniform bring it home with them from the war zones they have been active in, but it often follows any life-threatening event people go through when their lives have been in danger.
I was sitting in a Pizza Hut in Peoria, Ill., with my friend Reggie, sometime in the spring of my senior year in college, when he started doodling on his paper placemat. In those days, the company had a picture of U.S. on the mats, showing all the locations of the "Huts" in the country.
NCCAOM Video Contest
The NCCAOM is excited to announce the launch of the second annual video contest "Because it Works!" 2015.
Free Yourself From the Pocketbook Practice
Let's take a journey together; there's an important lesson to be learned. Imagine a town or city just like yours.
Key Changes and Updates to the 7th Edition CNT Manual
Acupuncture Today recently interviewed Jennifer Brett, ND, L.Ac. regarding the updates to the CNT manaul.
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.
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