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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.
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.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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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