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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.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
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.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
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.)
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
November, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 11
Economic Crisis: Be Aware, Get Prepared
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Many businesses and industries have run aground because they had the wrong perception of their place and purpose in the market, especially during times of economic change and crisis. For example, at one time railroad companies thought they were in the railroad business.They didn't realize until it was almost too late that they were really in the transportation business. Once they adapted to that larger paradigm, the ones that survived did much better.
The massage profession faces a similar situation. I think we, as a profession, believe we are in the massage business. This is a very narrow, focused, myopic view. We are really in the people business and the health business. We serve the public with alternative health care not available from any other source in a manner to bring about better health, wellness, movement and relief of pain. Massage is the primary tool we use to accomplish that, but we also use related techniques, education and products.
We are confused about who our customers really are. Our customers are not the allopathic medical community, not the AMA, not the insurance companies, not HMOs and not the government, but the public, people, individuals. We must reach out and promote to these individuals in such a way that they demand that our services, techniques and philosophy be accepted and included by health care on our terms, not on the allopathic system's terms. We can do this, but we have to change our focus, and we have to be ready to state what our terms are and stick to them.
We are going through a time of economic change, and the turmoil during that change looks a bit scary. Be assured, massage has survived thousands of years and many elections, disasters, economic crises, wars, global changes, etc., and it will continue to survive. Massage will continue to be in demand because there is nothing that can accomplish what massage can do as efficiently, effectively and pleasantly.
The current economic crisis will present some challenges, but I assure you the answer is not to sell out to the failed traditional medical system. The answer is to provide a cost-effective alternative. People may not be able to afford insurance or traditional health care, but they will need pain relief and wellness care. It is cheaper to stay well than to get sick. It is cheaper to prevent/eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome with massage than to have surgery for it. Both people and businesses will be looking for cost-effective alternatives to unaffordable crisis medicine, and we are sitting pretty to provide it to them. Well, at least some of us are.
The small percentage of us who have invested in ourselves beyond entry-level and learned how to assess and treat specific conditions, relieve pain and, most importantly, prevent injuries and illness are very well-positioned. The general relaxation side of the profession will likely see a more serious downturn, except possibly chair massage, the most cost-effective version of relaxation. The good news about chair massage is that when given by a properly trained therapist, chair massage can also provide specific therapeutic treatment, especially for upper-body complaints affecting the shoulders, wrists (carpal tunnel syndrome), low back and neck.
Invest in yourself by acquiring the skills, knowledge, and techniques that enable you to help people in pain. Practice them until you are really good and you will most likely do very well in the coming years. You will be able to really help people, and people are really going to need help. Wouldn't you like to have people begging you to work on them instead of you begging for work?
Canada's Health Care Ship Sinking
Have you by chance heard of Claude Castonguay, the "Father of Quebec Medicare"? In the 1960s Castonguay chaired the committee whose recommendations became the glorious Canadian health care system of which we are told. He is now the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care. He has concluded that the Canadian system is in "crisis."
"We thought we could resolve the system's problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it," says Castonguay. This money would have to come from significantly higher taxes. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: "We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice." Freedom? What a concept.
Castonguay advocates contracting out services to the private sector, even going so far as suggesting public hospitals rent space during off-hours to entrepreneurial doctors. He also supports co-pays for patients who want to see physicians. Castonguay, who once championed public health insurance in Canada, now urges for the legalization of private health insurance.
What would drive a man such as Castonguay to reconsider his long-held beliefs? Try a health care system so overburdened that hundreds of thousands in need of medical attention wait for care, any care. Try a system in which people in towns like Norwalk, Ontario, participate in lotteries just to win appointments with the local family doctor. Years ago, Canadians touted their health care system as the best in the world. Today, Canadian health care stands in ruinous shape, according to Canadian Dr. David Gratzer, MD.
If Castonguay is abandoning ship, why should Americans bother climbing on board a similar ship? Will we pass each other going in opposite directions? English economist Alexander Tyler documented that the downfall of democracy, usually within about 200 years, comes when voters realize they can vote themselves something for "nothing" from the public treasury. Once people become dependent on government, they are one step away from tyranny.
Someone gets the bill for free health care, and that someone is the average middle-class taxpayer. Sadly, no one is talking about getting government completely out of health care, which is too bad, since government is the problem.
Chew on This
Earlier this month in an unprecedented U-turn, the FDA dropped much of its reassuring language on amalgam (silver) fillings from its Web site, substituting: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses." It adds that when amalgam fillings are "placed in teeth or removed they release mercury vapor," and that the same thing happens when chewing. Mercury is the sacred metal of allopathic medicine. By placing it in our bodies through vaccines and fillings, they make billions treating the resulting conditions that manifest from the damage it does to our nervous systems.
The FDA is now reviewing its rules and may end up restricting or banning the use of the poisonous heavy metal, at least in fillings. It's about time. Want to bet that the law passed by the new Democratic Congress and signed by President Bush, giving drug companies immunity from damages caused by drugs and vaccines, includes mercury? If the drug companies can get off free, the FDA can tell the truth. Who are they really protecting? Both parties and the bureaucracy of government agencies are completely controlled by the giant corporations. By definition, this is fascism. They justify human suffering in the name of profit. How does it feel?
As we are soon approaching the completion of another trip around the sun, I want to thank you, the loyal readers of this column, for your support throughout the past year. I wish a Happy Holidaze to all and remind you that this time of year is about something far bigger than shopping. See you back here in January. Bring hot (dark) chocolate. We'll talk more about a paradigm shift in health care only we can provide.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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