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The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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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