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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.).
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
December, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 12
Integrating Fitness Into a Massage Therapy Practice
By Ben Benjamin, PhD
Our work as massage therapists helps millions of people. By integrating exercise into their treatment plans, we can take their healing an important step further. All exercise programs should start with a thorough assessment.There are two types of assessments that are important to getting your client well and keeping them that way. The first is an injury assessment, which we have discussed many times in this column. The second is a movement or exercise assessment--and here is where we move into new territory. Very few massage therapists are skilled at assessing movement and prescribing exercise. This is unfortunate because movement assessments can provide valuable information about why your client got injured by identifying predisposing factors. Clients are often in pain because of an underlying weakness, instability, lack of mobility, and a poor understanding of how to move properly.
For example, let's say a client is experiencing low back pain. Normally, a massage therapist would perform soft tissue work around the hips, low back, and perhaps the psoas muscle and send the client on their way feeling a sense of relief. A few days may go by with minimal pain until suddenly the person begins to feel the same symptoms that initially led them to seek treatment. In contrast, if the therapist had the ability to perform an exercise assessment they could design a specific mobilization and stretching program (based on a range-of-motion assessment), teach the client how to execute a proper bend, squat, and/or lunge pattern, then teach them how to condition their body to support the demands of their work and/or sport environment.
Understanding Movement and Functional Anatomy
Understanding movement and functional anatomy will give you greater insight into how to address issues related to repeated injury, neurological dysfunction, inefficient motor control, lack of coordination, and overall weakness. The gift of exercise also has the added value of getting the client actively involved in the healing process.
It's important to figure out which form of exercise is appropriate for the client at the present moment, and which may be appropriate as the person gets stronger. If an exercise is too easy, the client will be bored and not progress. If an exercise is too hard, they will get discouraged and quit. Think of Goldilocks -- only if the program is just right for a client will they overcome the initial challenges and take to the program.
The integration of massage and exercise is important for the long-term health of our clients. So how can you gain enough knowledge about exercise to be able to incorporate it into your practice? The best way is to become certified as a personal trainer. There are a wide variety of certification programs available, and some are more helpful for massage therapists than others. If you'd like specific recommendations, feel free to contact me directly; I'd be happy to help you find one that will work well for you.
It's also important that massage therapists exercise themselves. This profession can be demanding, and if practitioners don't develop very specific kinds of strength and flexibility, they're likely to get injured - especially in their backs, wrists, and hands. There are many strength benchmarks that all massage therapists should meet to ensure success and longevity. With sufficient strength, flexibility, and knowledge of exercise and fitness, we will be better equipped to prevent injuries both in our clients and in ourselves.
Note: In some states, massage therapists are not legally permitted to prescribe exercises - another good reason to become a certified personal trainer.
Click here for more information about Ben Benjamin, PhD.
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