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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.).
December, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 12
Heating Up Your Practice Safely, Part 1
By Dixie Wall, Contributing Editor
Over the last decade, many bodyworkers have begun using stones, not to replace human touch but as an additional relaxing and leveraging technique. Traditionally used by Egyptians, Shamans and American Indians, stones have a long history of therapeutic use and spiritual healing.Today, incorporating stones in one's practice offers this ancient tool, to not only relax clients but also give our hands a rest. Hot stones are a form of thermal and magnetic therapy, requiring a unique trust between the client and practitioner. A respect for the trust bestowed in us by our clients need to be developed by a safe and meticulous protocol to perform this primal technique.
After attending a hot stone seminar this summer, I was immediately reminded how splendid hot stone massage is, not only for the client but also for the therapist. Throughout my years of practice, I was always hesitant to use any type of tool, I never cared for the way the tools felt on my skin, either giving or receiving. Yet with rocks, especially smooth and warm ones, the feeling is different. There is an instant primal connection to a real rock from the ocean or a riverbed, which is relaxing to the spirit and nurturing to the soul.
Hot stone massage is usually done with basalt lava stones, which contain high levels of calcium, magnesium and iron. These minerals can facilitate balance within our energy centers or chakras, and they can move stagnation within our channels and meridians. Many therapists use cold stones as well. These may be smaller marble stones or quartzite crystals. Cold stones are commonly used on the face.
Stones and heat are both very powerful. When not treated with respect and vigilance, they can actually injure the client. Other types of heat therapy to keep in mind include hydroculator wet packs, water bottles, herbal compress bags and infra-red heat lamps.
Last fall, I published a three-part series on malpractice and liability claims. Many of these claims frequently involve burns from hot stones, cupping and hydroculator packs.
And while we are well aware of all the benefits of hot stones and other heat therapies. Over the winter months, we will discuss several treatment procedures, contraindications and cautions of which we should be aware as we provide therapeutic heat, especially hot stones to our clients. This month, we will discuss treatment procedures, skin typing and informed consent.
It is of utmost importance to have set procedures. We must follow a methodical, yet simple, protocol in our treatment rooms to ensure the safety of ourselves and our clients. Sloppy procedures and little or no training are the number one causes of burns in the treatment room. Why do client's get burned? Usually because stones are too hot.
According to Michael Schroeder, vice president of the American Massage Council, "The most common problem with hot stones is the method therapists are using to cool down the stones. If they are too hot, therapists often use cold water to cool them down, but this only cools the external layer of the rock.
"After placing them on a client, the superficial layer of the stone quickly becomes hot again, sometimes burning the client. The therapist doesn't realize they have only temporarily cooled the external layer. This means if the stones are too hot, the only way to cool them down is time. We can put them on a washcloth next to the heater, turn down the temperature and wait for them to cool."
Additionally, always test stones on your own forearm before placing them on the client. Our own hands may not be a safe temperature gauge because they are less sensitive to heat than the rest of our bodies.
Never give a hot stone massage using silicon gloves. If you use a glove rather than tongs or a skimmer to remove the stones out of the water, never put them straight onto client. If the palm of your hand cannot hold the stone, most likely the client will not tolerate the heat. Again, test the temperature on your own forearm first.
Always use a temperature gauge in the water while heating up the stones. Warm stones (90 F - 110 F) are used for those with sensitivity to heat or for large stones that are going to compress the body without a sheet or towel. Hot stones (110 F - 125 F) are used for active massage. Temperatures will vary according to client, always test your equipment, set the heater at low without a cover and go from there.
It's better to start on tougher (yang) areas first (back and lateral portions of the body), then work toward medial and anterior portion (yin).
In general, "stones do not care for bones". We should avoid all bony clefts and spinal processes. No stones should be placed on the eyes if the client wears contact lenses.
Fitzpatrick Classification Scale
Another tool we can use to keep our clients and ourselves protected is becoming familiar with skin typing. The Fitzpatrick Classification Scale (developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, a Harvard Medical School dermatologist) classifies a person's complexion and tolerance of sunlight. The scale is used by several different health practitioners to determine how their patients will respond to heat therapies.
We can educate our clients by including a skin typing chart in our initial examination documents or by incorporating it into our informed consent documents.
Another important facet of a long-term successful practice using heat therapies is always having the client sign an informed consent document, specifically for hot stone therapy, before receiving treatment. This document may explain benefits and risks of hot stones therapy, contraindications and cautions, and explain the skin-typing procedures.
By enlightening our clients through a professional intake procedure, we further establish a foundation of love and trust that facilitates their healing.
In the chilly months ahead, heat therapies may be suitable to offer your clients as a seasonal special or a holiday gift. When incorporated into practice with a healthy respect and awareness, we can securely integrate these healing modalities into our current practices. In the coming months, we will discuss contraindicated diseases, conditions and medications for heat therapies.
I would love to hear your experiences or comments. Please feel free to contact me at .
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