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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.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
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.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
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.
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.)
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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.
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.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
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.
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.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
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.
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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