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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.
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!
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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?
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Thinking in Practice
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
"Experts see the world differently. They see things the rest of us cannot. Often experts do not realize that the rest of us are unable to detect what seems obvious to them." Gary Klien, author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions.
The world of learning has long fascinated me. I've taken the opportunity to walk it from a number of different perspectives: a physics graduate student; a research scientist; a massage student, practitioner and instructor; a martial arts student and teacher; a music student; and a folk dancer. My experience has thus spanned both the academic and experiential realms; both the conceptual and the kinesthetic. And out of all these experiences, one lesson has become clear (and applied in multiple realms): You cannot just pour information into a student and expect it to become magically useful.
Creating useful skills requires skill practice in context, and requires changing the manner in which the student uses their mind and senses to perceive the world. Without this context, information lies dormant, unconnected and unusable outside of the academic realm. I've had the opportunity to verify in my own experience that "experts see the world differently,"1 just as Gary Klein, senior scientist at Applied Research Assoicates, concluded from his field research. This change in perception is not a result of classroom lectures, but a result of guided participation. If we want to create skilled massage practitioners, we cannot just talk at students or be satisfied when they have memorized definitions and phrases from books. We must encourage and guide them in gaining patterns of tactile memory coupled with active awareness of what they are encountering.
From his research, Klein summarizes what differentiates the novice from the expert into three aspects: a history of experienced patterns; the ability to project the effects of an intervention; and a tuning of sensory discrimination. "These aspects of learning can be tied to the two primary sources of power we have been examining: pattern matching and mental simulation. Pattern matching (intuition) refers to the ability of the expert to detect typicality and to notice events that did not happen and other anomalies that violate the pattern. Mental simulation covers the ability to see events that happened previously and events that are likely to happen in the future. We also encounter some additional sources of power. The ability to make fine discriminations must involve some sort of perceptual learning."1
In a recent book, Think Again,2 authors Sidney Finkelstein, Jo Whitehead, and Andrew Campbell drew on Klein's research and other sources of neurological and cognitive research to better understand failures of decision. One of the things they noted is that experts rarely compare alternative actions. Instead, an expert will move directly to what experience indicates to be a viable solution. This can be both a strength and a weakness: a strength in that it generally produces a correct action quickly, and a weakness because it can also be the cause of occasionally missing alternatives or misidentifying a situation. One interesting aspect of this process is that most of the cognition happens at an unconscious level, as in the following quote taken from Think Again:
"Klein discovered that people with experience do most of their decision making unconsciously. They assess the situation by drawing on similar experiences from their memory, but much of this assessment process happens unconsciously. They then select a course of action from their memories of past actions. Finally, they test the practicality of this course of action by imagining what will happen if the action is taken. The imagining activity is the main conscious work that happens during a decision. What Klein had discovered is that we mostly make decisions unconsciously using experience, intuition, and imagination. We do not normally do much conscious analysis, such as identifying and comparing options or challenging assumptions and initial assessments."2
The conscious level of processing is primarily used only in unfamiliar situations and, for decisions where there is time, for consciously cross-checking the faster, unconscious process. It's fair to ask if this really is the case in health care. The answer provided for nursing, from over a decade of study by Patricia Benner and colleagues is a definite yes. The following is an excerpt from a book written by Benner, et al Expertise in Nursing Practice3:
"As a process, the diagnosis-treatment model was simply not apparent in the narrative accounts provided by nurses at any level, but clearly not in those by nurses practicing at the expert level. The judgments were rather characterized by immediate apprehension of the clinical situation, progressive understanding of the patient's story through his narrative accounts, and the capacity to notice qualitative changes by knowing the patient's pattern of responses; nursing actions were typically response-based, relying on whole intuitions of what had worked in past similar situations, and modified in accordance with this particular patient's responses to it. In this kind of fluid, skillful response, there was virtually no evidence of 'treatment' based on explicit nursing diagnoses."3
The above in no way diminishes the usefulness of anatomical information and abstract knowledge of techniques. What it does indicate is that, like pouring the molten bronze for a cast statue, the usefulness and integrity of the end result is only as good as the containing mold created by practice and experience. Without such a mold, all that is obtained for either statue or learning is a puddle of slag.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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