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The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
February, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 02
The SMARTER Approach to Achieving Goals
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
If you are anything like me, you have a to-do list of projects you are never quite able to finish -- or even start. Perhaps some of these items have been on your list for years, but a lack of time or other circumstance prevents you from moving on them. This article will review the SMARTER way to organize and complete those items on your to-do list.
S = Specific
A = Attainable
R = Reasonable
T = Timely
E = Evaluate
R = Reorganize
To focus your efforts and begin moving in the right direction, you first need to be specific about each of your goals. Thinking about your goals is good, however, writing them down in specific detail is the only way to clearly define them and solidify them in your mind. When putting your goals to paper, make sure they are straightforward and free of ambiguity. For example, instead of: "I want to lose weight," try: "I will lose 10 pounds over the next 10 weeks." Instead of: "I want to make more money," try: "I will increase my income by $2,500 over the next 12 months."
We've heard it said that if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Reviewing your goals and documenting or measuring your progress daily will help you to make the choices that continually point you in the right direction.
For example, documenting your workouts and the foods and drinks that pass through your lips, as well as using the same scale to weigh yourself are ways to measure your progress toward your weight-loss goal. You'll also confirm your measurable progress by noting how well your clothes fit, the numbers on the scale and how you feel about your accomplishments. To measure your financial goals, you'll have to track your spending versus your income or find measurable ways to track what draws more business to your practice. Paying off debt, opening a savings or retirement account, or investing in tools and/or seminars that increase and improve your knowledge, thereby aiding your treatment sessions, are all effective methods of measuring your financial progress.
Is your goal realistically attainable? If you are naturally stocky or big-boned, for example, setting a weight-loss goal that would be difficult for a super model to achieve isn't realistic and probably not attainable. In fact, setting unrealistic goals likely will result in burnout and failure. However, losing 10 pounds and improving your all-around level of fitness are definitely attainable goals. It's also important to identify realistic, attainable actions that you can take to move you toward your goal. For example:
Problem: Sweets and snacks pose a weakness for me.
Problem: I tend to overeat when I dine out.
Financial goals can be attained easily by realizing that consistent efforts can produce big returns. For example, making or saving an additional $50 a week x 4 weeks = $200 a month x 12 months = $2,400 a year. Another $200 a week x 50 working weeks in a year = $10,000 additional in annual income.
Instead of working twice as hard to earn more, it's easier to improve your bottom line by simply spending less. Is this an attainable goal? Sure! Buy in bulk from wholesalers and save on items like detergent, linens, face-cradle covers, lotions, oils, creams and topical analgesics. Watch for special offers and use discount codes whenever possible and re-evaluate what you have purchased in the past and then ask yourself if purchasing the same item(s) is the best choice moving forward.
How about implementing realistic, attainable methods to make passive income such as selling products like topical analgesics? One company offers complementary educational brochures personalized with your name and contact information with a sample pack of the product attached.
Don't reinvent the wheel, just model what works for others. Is there something you could offer to distinguish your practice from the competition and attract new patients? Medical doctors often offer free screenings or educational classes, chiropractors offer free X-rays and spinal exams. Massage therapists can offer a free evaluation that includes postural analysis, muscle and range-of-motion testing, orthopedic assessments and a trigger-point educational session. Offer these services at a value to new patients who purchase a series of treatments. By adding to your menu of services or making some minor adjustments, attaining your financial goals is within reach. For more practice-building tips, read Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists (MT, May 2009).
Now that you know what it takes to attain your goals, you must know that your goals, and the steps toward achieving them, are reasonable and sustainable in both the short and long term. Create a separate "do-able" action plan for each project by making a list of two short-term and two long-term goals related to the project. Next, list the tasks required to complete each short-term and long-term goal. By outlining your goals and each task needed to achieve them, you will have created a detailed blueprint to navigate your course. The key here, of course, is to make sure you are using reasonable methods to attain your goals.
Part of your action plan for losing weight might include getting some form of exercise every day, drinking more water and using smaller plates. Are these lifestyle changes reasonable and sustainable? If so, you are on your way to permanently achieving your goal. If not, you'll need to determine what steps are reasonable to you. Perhaps it's more reasonable if you allow yourself one "cheat" day a week.
Is setting aside $50 a week reasonable for moving you toward your financial goals? If not, how about $20 a week? Again, you must find what works for your situation. For more on creating lists to help you achieve your goals, read The Power of the List (MT January 2008).
To successfully achieve your goals, you must set completion dates. Setting timelines for each task gives you clear targets and deadlines. Without completion dates, your goal will always be open ended. To learn more about finding the time to achieve your goals, read The Power of a Minute (MT, June 2007).
To determine if you are on track toward accomplishing your goals, you should review and evaluate your efforts many times a day; at least at first. The more you review your goals and focus on the actions you need to take to achieve them, the sooner your goals will become a reality. Continually evaluating your progress will also help you find your weak points and identify the areas that need improving. This process also helps you evaluate if your time and efforts are being spent wisely. One rule of thumb is to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on 20 percent of the things that produce the greatest results. This is also known as the 80/20 rule. For more about the 80/20 rule, read The 80/20 Rule: Maximizing the Return on your Investment (MT, March 2008).
Once you have determined what works and what doesn't, make the necessary adjustments to your approach to maintain focus and stay on track. Continue to regroup and reorganize your efforts until you know you are on a stable path toward success.
The SMARTER approach to achieving your goals is similar to cooking. First you need to know what you are cooking (Specific). Then you pull together the amounts (Measurable) of each ingredient (Attainable), and bake everything at a specific temperature for a determined (Reasonable) length of time (Timely). Then you taste (Evaluate) the food and finally decide how you will modify (Reorganize) your recipe to improve on your next attempt. Have fun with the process, and please let me know about your progress as you apply the SMARTER approach to achieving your goals in all the areas of your life.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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