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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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
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.
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.
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Essential Oil Quality and Education
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
It is important to understand that since there is no regulation on essential oil production and sale in the U.S. and in many other countries, the buyer must find ways to assure to the best of their ability that the essences purchased are of good quality.And because this is important, there are also many claims made by certain companies that suggest exclusivity on quality which include misleading information about regulation. We'll examine some of those claims and discuss the best way to resource quality essential oils.
Claims and Misleading Information
The first "red flag" claim currently in use is the phrase "Therapeutic Grade". This idea is going to appeal very strongly to those in healing professions like massage. And, of course, it is best to work with essences that are of a high quality to get the effects desired. However, there is no grade system in the aromatherapy industry. An essential oil is either a pure product extracted from a plant in a traditional way ... or not. As leading aromatherapy experts point out, why would anyone want to purchase something that wasn't of high quality? Would there be a market for essential oils labeled grade B, C or D if that product actually existed?
It is true that essences grown in certain countries are considered more desirable. For example, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can be grown in many places but the oils from France, Bulgaria and England are preferred and lavender grown in high altitudes gives its enhanced chemistry created by growing conditions and lower temperatures used in distillation a "preferred" nod. Also, unlike most essential oils, ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) can be purchased in four different qualities due to the distillation process itself, which pulls the oil at different stages. The first pull is called "extra" and has the most potent and pleasurable fragrance. Next is ylang-ylang I, which is slightly less expensive than the first pull but is still desirable for fragrance and properties. The two other distillation pulls, II and III, have had more heat exposure, are much less expensive, have a less impressive aroma and are used mainly to fragrance laundry powder and other cosmetic and cleaning products.
However, these two examples do not suggest there is a Therapeutic Grade in the aromatherapy industry. All of the lavenders and ylang-ylangs are either pure essential oil or they are not. The term "Therapeutic Grade" is a marketing term and nothing more. One company has advertising that includes the phrase "Certified Therapeutic Grade" but investigation reveals that is a trademarked logo. The Federal Trademark agency is not interested in the truth of the statement. One possibility that exists if the price of an essential oil is a lot higher than the average for the same product and there are exclusive and "Therapeutic Grade" claims for the essences, is that the claims are an attempt to justify the higher cost.
Another group of claims to watch out for is that the oils meet standards set by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or AFNOR (Association francaise de normalisation) or the idea that the essence contains the sanction of being designated GRAS ("Generally Recognized As Safe") by the FDA. The details to clarify this would require more space than the Aromatic Message column can contain, but I will be happy to send that information to anyone who wishes to contact me.
The use of the gas chromatography mass spectrographic analysis (GC/MS) and the component profile it provides is employed by many companies to test for purity. It is reassuring to know that a supplier is taking the time and spending the money to have this testing done. However, it is helpful when the provider has the test done by an outside company and is willing to provide the result sheets for each essential oil. Still, because this is a test that depends on the skill, experience and knowledge of the individual who does the analysis, we should not rely on this to exclusion of the personal olfactory experience and knowledge of the intent and reputation of the company.
Guidelines for Good Quality
So then, how can one pick a company to resource essential oils? The following are some suggested guidelines to find a company providing good quality:
Despite the issues around finding good quality essential oils, I am happy to say that the industry contains many good companies sourcing their product from reputable growers and distillers. Some are even concerned with sustainability, some with sourcing organic oils. It may take some time, certainly helped along by having a quality education with a registered aromatherapist who is not motivated by selling their own oils, to find the company that will work best for personal and practice needs. It is time well spent.
Along with taking a course with a qualified and objective professional aromatherapist, becoming a member of an organization such as NAHA (www.naha.org) gives access to e-journals, e-newsletters, tele-seminars with a large number of reputable authorities in the field. Advertisers, authors and speakers are in alignment with quality standards. This access broadens both perspectives and resources and helps create the confidence needed to use this wonderful art and science in a safe and effective way.
Editor's note: Shellie is currently creating a Professional Aromatherapy online training that will qualify the student for Professional Membership in NAHA and to meet the requirements of the Aromatherapy Registration Council and their exam leading to the title, Registered Aromatherapist. Please contact Shellie for details.
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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