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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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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