resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
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.).
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06
Mapping Body Into Motion
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
"I found that when I made certain expressions, I was flooded with strong emotional sensations. It wasn't just any expression, only the ones I had already identified as universal to all human beings. ... Over the next ten years, we did four experiments, including one in a non-Western culture, the Minangkabau of Western Sumatra.When peopled followed our instructions about which muscles to move, their physiology changed and most reported feeling the emotion. Again, it wasn't just any facial movement that produced this change. They had to make the muscular movements that our earlier research had found were universal expressions of emotion."3
There is a deep and seemingly inherent connection between our bodies and our emotions. Based on more than 40 years of research into human emotions, Paul Ekman characterizes many of our emotional responses as unconscious reactions to triggers that affect (or may have once affected) our welfare.3 Some are inherent, but the differences in individual responses to similar situations indicate many are learned. Ekman and his colleagues discovered that the process of mentally revisiting events from memory retriggered the emotions and bodily responses (such as increased heartbeat, blood pressure, respiration and sweating) that occurred during the original event. The memory "movies" we run in our heads - the events we habitually revisit in our mind's eye - have profound effects on the state of our bodies.
Perhaps even more interesting, from the perspective of massage practice, Ekman found that making various facial expressions would bring forth strong emotional responses. The associations between the expressions and the emotions were observed to be universal across cultures, indicating they are an intrinsic part of how we are "wired" as human beings. There is thus strong support from research that the muscles we activate and the bodily sensations we experience are as much generators of our emotional state as our emotions are influencers of our bodily state.
The ability to positively affect emotions via massage appears to have an extensive foundation in the research literature. In a meta-analysis of previous massage literature, Moyer reported consistent emotional benefits.5 "Reductions of trait anxiety and depression following a course of treatment were MT's largest effects. The average MT participant experienced a reduction of trait anxiety that was greater than 77 percent of comparison group participants, and a reduction of depression that was greater than 73 percent of comparison group participants."
Similarly, in a previous column, "Searching for Medical Massage" (October 2005), I noted that a large number of applications of massage in a medical context were reporting psychological and emotional benefits leading to increased well-being.4
In their recent book, The Body Has a Mind of Its Own, Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee report on neurological research that touches on the mechanisms of such body-mind interactions. The research concerns both how the mind creates our inherent sense of our body and how we map the space immediately around our body into extensions of our body. For example, we use tools as if they were actual parts of our body, extending our sense of touch to include our tool's contact with the outside world. Such mapping may form the scientific basis for the "connection" of touch and for the healing powers of touch.2
"The scientific method has never been able to confirm that qi flows or other mystical vital energies are real and present in the mind and body. Yet the experiences of these things are so palpable for so many people that it would be a cop-out to dismiss them out of hand as 'nothing more than' wishful thinking. Perhaps science, having banished these energies from the account of reality, can nonetheless explain the sensory awareness that people have of them. The brain's touch, movement, and peripersonal space maps go far in explaining many key elements of these beliefs and experiences."2
The Blakeslee's accounts of body maps are in congruence with my own observations from multiple forays into research. There are features and reactions of the body that are not explicitly physical, but stem from the immense pattern-matching and mapping processes of our brain. In some cases, what we perceive might be both a mapping of the peripersonal space and a mapping from one sensory mode to another. Abbott, for example, reports recent research on mirror-touch synesthesia, in which a touch seen literally is felt by the observer.1
The bottom line is that, as humans, we are neurologically wired to respond to and be part of the sensory world immediately surrounding us. As massage practitioners, this opens the door to helping our fellow humans cope with transitions and traumas, and for sharing their joys. Our emotions map into our body, but just as surely, our bodily experiences map into our emotions.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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