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Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
March, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 03
The Silent Progression of Kidney Infections and Stone Formation, Part 2
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
The first article in this series postulated that kidney stone formation and chronic kidney infections may be possible causes of your clients' chronic ailments, especially those that relate to the low back, groin, knees, ankles and feet.This article will add more depth and breadth to your comprehension of these two disorders and how we may encourage our clients to seek appropriate medical testing. One point to consider is that individuals who seek out massage therapy on any regular basis may be subconsciously driven by an instinctual sense that they possess an anatomical anomaly or an avoidance of regular medical check-ups. It is our collective responsibility to make referrals when our common sense suggests it.
Let's begin by noting that there are five different kinds of kidney stones that have been identified. These include: calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid, struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and cystine. Knowing the type of stone may be especially helpful with an individual who experiences recurrent stone formation. The most common types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate.1
There are some questions we might ask to determine if clients have a greater-than-average susceptibility to kidney stone formation.
Have you or other family members have ever had an attack of gout? Kidney stones caused by uric-acid crystals occur in approximately 15 percent of people with gout. This compares to an 8 percent risk of kidney stones in people without gout.2
Have you had any surgery involving the large or small intestine? Conditions that increase the absorption of oxalate from the gastrointestinal tract (short bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea, previous bowel surgery or gastric bypass surgery) may contribute to kidney stone formation.1 People with Crohn's disease also often have more susceptibility to kidney stones.3
Have you ever been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism? This is a condition where one or more of the parathyroid glands becomes overactive. As a result, the blood calcium rises to a level that is higher than normal (called hypercalcemia).1 Once a person is identified with this condition, the usual medical protocol is to check for kidney stones via ultrasound or CAT scan of the kidneys. By asking if these tests were done, we can serve our clients.
Another question that is pertinent to ask clients is whether their urine has a foamy head like freshly poured beer? This is a sign that the kidneys are leaking protein.7
In hot weather, we all sweat more, which concentrates urine. "Concentrated urine is a breeding ground for kidney stones."4 Encourage clients to drink more fluids and eat more vegetables, fruit, and grains, which naturally contain water. The goal is to increase the amount of urine that flows through the kidneys and ureters and to lower the concentration of substances that promote stone formation."1 One suggestion is for clients to drink half of your weight in ounces per day. Thus, if you weigh 180 lbs., drinking 90 ounces of water is recommended.5
Two ironic items turned up in my research, suggesting that coffee drinkers have fewer kidney stones whereas those who drink excessive amounts of grapefruit juice have more kidney stones.4 This reminded me of a client from about 20 years ago who came to me with a right knee problem. I asked him if he had ever had a kidney stone and he replied, "about 50." I asked how much grapefruit juice he drank, to which he responded, "about two gallons a day."
Human physiology is an integrated whole. I postulate that few instances of kidney stones express themselves without a tendril of connection to other subtle physiologic progressions. According to NYU's David Goldfarb, director of the Kidney Stone Prevention Program At Saint Vincent Medical Center: "I tell my patients that the kidney stone that brought them to my office may be the least of their problems, and that any stones are the harbinger of their increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis."4
Remember that the physiologic role of the kidneys includes re-absorption of glucose, amino acids and other small molecules; regulation of sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes; regulation of fluid balance and blood pressure; maintenance of acid-base balance; and the production of various hormones including vitamin D and erythropoietin (a hormone produced by the kidney that promotes the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow).6 The kidneys also allow surplus concentrations of excess calcium or protein to be excreted in the urine. In this case, the most important question is why isn't the body absorbing and using these substances in a balanced metabolic fashion? An excess or shortage of biochemicals in our bodies can push our homeostatic capacity over the edge into the beginnings of pathology.
Statistically, more men will develop kidney stones, but my clinical experience is running 50-50. This variation may be a function of my specialization in working with chronic problems. An important revelation for me in researching this article is that kidney stones in children are on the rise.8 Children are less able to describe what they feel inside, so we are challenged to let their behavior and bodies speak to us.
Let's shift our attention to some pertinent anatomy. The functional workhorses of the kidneys are the nephrons. The two kidneys contain about 2 billion nephrons, each capable of forming urine. The nephron is basically a glomerulus through which fluid is filtered from the blood and a long tubule in which the filtered fluid is converted into urine on its way to the pelvis of the kidney. Most kidney difficulties relate to the destruction or damage of the nephrons so that they simply cannot fully perform their normal functions.9
There are many progressive disorders that may lead to this deterioration of nephron function: chronic glomerulonephritis, traumatic loss of kidney tissue, congenital absence of kidney tissue, congenital polycystic disease (in which large cysts develop in the kidneys and destroy surrounding nephrons by compression), urinary tract obstruction resulting from renal stones, pyelonephritis (infections) and diseases of the renal vasculature.9 Many of these difficulties can brew for years until pressure, obstruction or infection begins to affect the capsule of the kidneys or the ureters, or until infection spreads beyond the kidneys.
Chronic kidney infections may also morph into chronic kidney disease. A number of my clients have been medically diagnosed with kidney infections. These clients tend to be between the ages of 50 and 75, and often note that they have one or two of the conditions often associated with the decline of kidney function, kidney disease in their family, urinary tract infections, hypertension, diabetes or a beginning decline in their bone density. If a client says, "yes" to two or more of the questions from Parts 1 and 2 of this series, encourage them seek regular medical check-ups.
Medical tests that may be more sensitive to the early stages of progressive kidney disease include a 24 hour urine collection, a creatinine clearance test and a microalbuminuria test. These tests may be more appropriate because the standard screening for creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) for analyzing blood plasma "will not be raised above the normal range until 60% of total kidney function is lost."9
If a client's somatic complaints are consistently associated with the low back, groin, knees, hips or feet this raises my alert flag. Such complaints will often move between these areas during a series of sessions. I translate this as the body's attempt to distribute the internal strain of vascular and neurological congestion. It is also not uncommon for clients to respond quickly to bodywork only to have different, similar or the same complaints return. The quicker the reassertion of somatic difficulties, the more urgently I encourage clients to seek medical testing. My interpretation is that the body is signaling from the "inside-out" that there is more afoot than meets the eye.
Yes, people do have lumbar disc problems, accumulated strains, injuries or previous surgeries. However, if their history suggests that they have already been to competent physicians, orthopedists, chiropractors or physical therapists, this is another alert flag. By educating our clients to what possible difficulties exist empowers them with the capacity to choose, to select among the options to improve their quality of life.
Editor's Note: Join Dale as he teaches the pre-convention workshop (The Inside-Out Paradigm/Visceral Mobilization/Gall Bladder Dysfunction/Disease) for the AMTA National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn. Register at www.amtamassage.org after April 1. Inquiries can be sent to . Reading his Gall Bladder Article Series via www.masagetoday.com is a pre-requisite to attending the course.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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