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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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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
A CranioSacral Therapist's Story
By Sharon Desjarlais, CC
It was nothing more than a clerical error. But it was enough to allow Don Ash to die, an experience that transformed his CranioSacral Therapy practice for life.As a hospice volunteer in the mid-'90s, Don was required to get a physical, which included a test for AIDS. In those days, it was standard protocol for the results to come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Don quickly got the lab work back from his doctor. Everything checked out fine. There was only one report missing. The one from the CDC.
A week went by, but he didn't think much about it. Two weeks went by and he began to wonder, but he brushed off his concerns. After five weeks with no word, it hit him: "I have AIDS."
Usually an easygoing, open-hearted man, Don quickly became an introvert. "I had heart palpitations," he says. "I lost weight. My cranial work suffered and I pulled away from my wife and kids. I couldn't burden them." After eight weeks he found himself erupting in tears at odd moments. "This overwhelming feeling would come over me. Deep, dark depression, loneliness, isolation, and so much sadness."
Finally, he couldn't bear it. He went into his office, closed his door and placed a phone call to his doctor. Holding his breath, Don informed him he never got the results. "Oh no," his doctor replied. "I thought that went out months ago. The test was clear. I hope you weren't concerned."
Don thanked him, hung up the phone and realized, "This is what it feels like to die."
Completing the Biological Process
That painful experience opened Don up to a new understanding about his therapeutic work. "Dr. John Upledger talked a lot about using CranioSacral Therapy to complete the biological process," he says. "But he was usually talking about a birth that's interrupted. I saw how that same principle could apply to healing a body into death."
Don soon had the opportunity to test that theory with his grandmother at the end of her life. "I was monitoring her cranial rhythm, inducing little still points here and there, when she got quieter and quieter. In the moment of her death, her breathing stopped, then her heartbeat stopped, and then I felt nothing but the cranial rhythm until that slowly, gently trailed away."
In the end, Don says, there's nothing left but a great quiet, a great peace. "It really is an amazing grace. If you can help a person witness their own grace with softness and relaxation and acceptance, it's a beautiful thing."
Healing the Family Dynamic
Don has since worked hands-on with hundreds of dying patients. "It's very different than working with anyone else," he says. "You often don't have many body parts to hold onto. You can't uncover them to hold their feet. You can't get to the head of the bed to hold their head. And you can't turn them on their side to do a diaphragm release. So you may have only three fingers on a forearm. You learn to monitor the cranial rhythm and feel what's happening from there."
Using the cranial rhythm as a "significance detector" also becomes an important tool. In the Upledger model of CranioSacral Therapy, when the cranial rhythm comes to a sudden stop, it indicates that something physiologically significant is happening for the client.
"When I'm monitoring a patient and someone comes into the room and the cranial rhythm stops, that's significant," Don says. "I might ask the patient how they feel about that person. It may be that the patient needs them close or needs them to stay away. This understanding can help the family provide the best environment for the patient."
Don insists that as a therapist, you still don't project or direct in any way. "But you can support the family, if they choose, to do some tremendous healing together. That can help everyone discharge a great deal of apprehension and anxiety, so the patient can take a deep breath and relax into the experience."
Facing Big and Little Deaths Hands-On
Don has been teaching his techniques on facilitating the process of suffering, loss and death in a class he calls "CranioSacral Therapy Around Death and Dying." (You can learn more about it at www.donashpt.com.) "We go deep into the skills it takes to help a person relax into their body and mind so they can get to a place where they can set their soul free, if that's what they need at the time."
Yet these skills are every bit as effective with what Don calls the many "little deaths" we each experience throughout life. "We all have moments of successes and failures, of giving and receiving, of gathering in and letting go. It could be from a divorce, a relocation, a job change, the death of a pet. You can use cranial work to help a patient ease through those little deaths, too. When they do, that's when they can really cherish living."
Ultimately, Don's best advice to CranioSacral Therapists who want to support the death and dying process is to "become a very good listener. And follow Plato's advice. Just before his death his disciples asked him, 'Do you have any last words?' 'Yes,' he replied. 'Practice dying.'"
Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.
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