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Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
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.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Advanced Stretching: Using Neural Inhibition to Enhance the Stretch, Part 2
By Joseph E. Muscolino, DC
In part 1 of this series, we discussed contract relax (CR) stretching, which involves neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.Here, in Part 2 of this series, we will discuss agonist contract (AC) stretching, which also uses neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.
Similar to CR stretching, AC stretching also relies upon a neurologic reflex. However, whereas the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) reflex is the proposed neural mechanism for CR stretching, reciprocal inhibition is the proposed neural mechanism for AC stretching. The mechanism of RI is that whenever a mover muscle contracts and shortens to create a joint action, the antagonist musculature (that is usually located on the other side of the joint) must lengthen to allow that motion to occur. RI reflex acts to facilitate the lengthening of the antagonists by inhibiting them from contracting. This inhibition causes a relaxation so that the antagonists more effectively lengthen. As with the GTO reflex, we can take advantage of this reflex to create a better stretch.
AC stretching is performed by creating a scenario in which the target muscle that will be reciprocally inhibited is the antagonist to the joint motion that is performed. The usual AC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The right lateral flexor (RLF) musculature of the neck are used as the example (Fig. 1):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to actively concentrically contract the left lateral flexion (LLF) musculature, moving the neck into LLF. By doing this, the target RLF musculature is the antagonist of the motion. Their stretch is begun and the RI reflex is triggered. The client usually exhales during the contraction (think "e" for exhale and "e" for exertion).
c. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF. The client usually completes the exhale during this step.
d. The client continues to relax as we passively bring the client back to the starting position. The client inhales during this step so she is ready for the next repetition.
Typically eight to 10 repetitions are performed, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition. Because a large number of repetitions are performed with AC stretching, each repetition is usually performed fairly quickly. An entire repetition takes approximately 3-5 seconds.
Comparing CR and AC Stretching
To more easily learn these techniques, it can be helpful to compare CR with AC stretching. With CR stretching, the target muscle group isometrically contracts against our resistance. (Note: Part 1 of this series, the target right lateral flexors isometrically contract.) With AC stretching, the target muscle group is turned into the antagonist of the joint motion. Note that in Figure 1a, the left lateral flexors concentrically contract (again the right lateral flexors are the target musculature). It can help to remember that with AC stretching, the client's contraction actually begins the stretch of the target musculature.
Contract Relax Agonist Contract Stretching:
CR and AC stretching can be combined to create contract relax agonist contract (CRAC) stretching. As its name implies, a CRAC stretching repetition is done by sequentially performing the CR and then the AC stretching techniques. The benefit of CRAC stretching is that it triggers both the GTO and the RI reflexes, therefore potentially creating a more powerful inhibition/relaxation of the target musculature. The usual CRAC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The RLF musculature of the neck are again used as the example (Fig. 2):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to gently isometrically contract the target RLF musculature against our resistance for approximately 5-8 seconds to trigger the GTO reflex. The client holds in the breath during this step. This is the CR portion of the stretch.
c. Then ask the client to concentrically contract the LLF musculature to move into LLF. This begins the stretch the RLF musculature and it triggers the RI reflex. The client exhales during the contraction. This is the AC portion of the stretch.
d. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF.
e. We then passively bring the client back to the starting position as the client inhales. This completes one repetition.
Three to five repetitions are usually performed, each one beginning from the same neutral starting position, as is done with AC stretching. Typically, the client is asked to increase the force of contraction with each repetition, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition.
Most every stretch can be performed as a CR or an AC stretch, or even a CRAC stretch. Both CR and AC advanced stretching techniques are equally effective. Which one you choose to use will most likely depend upon client preference and which technique is logistically easier for that particular muscle and the position that the client is in. Advanced stretching techniques might take a little more time, effort, and practice to master, but the benefits to your clients are well worth it.
Joseph E. Muscolino, DC, has been a massage therapy educator for 24 years, teaching both core curriculum and continuing education classes. He currently teaches anatomy and physiology at Purchase College, SUNY. He is the owner of The Art and Science of Kinesiology in Stamford, Conn., and is the author of The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual, with Trigger Points, Referral Zones, and Stretching; The Muscular System Manual, 3rd edition; and Kinesiology, The Skeletal System and Muscle Function, 2nd edition (Elsevier, 2009, 2010, 2010), as well as other publications. For more information or to contact Joseph, visit www.learnmuscles.com.
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