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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
December, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 12
What About My Brain?
Staying Mentally Fit
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
Being a massage therapist, I am aware of how my body sometimes feels, in terms of muscle soreness, fatigue, illness or general aches and pains, since all of these symptoms can affect my ability to work.Recently, after an extended period of traveling in which I became quite sleep deprived, I began to focus on the other aspects of our health: the mental component of it. After all, without our brain functioning properly, none of our muscles would function properly, either. Information on keeping our brain healthy has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, as advances in medical equipment have helped scientists learn more about how this mysterious organ works. Recent research has demonstrated that one's exercise, diet, sleep, and career can impact the health of one's brain. There is also growing consensus in the medical community that certain choices about exercise and diet can impact the likelihood of being challenged with memory problems and Alzheimer's disease.
Sleep On It
A study headed up by Matthew Walker, PhD, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, examined how sleep, specifically, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, impacts our ability to read emotions in other people's faces. In the study, recently reported in Time magazine, 36 adult volunteers were asked to interpret the facial expressions of people in photographs, following either a 60-minute nap, 90-minute nap or no nap at all. Participants who had reached REM sleep (when vivid dreaming mostly occur) during their nap were better able to identify expressions of positive emotions like happiness in other people than participants who did not achieve REM sleep or did not nap at all. In fact, those volunteers who did not experience REM sleep, were more sensitive to negative expressions such as anger and fear.
According to Walker, dreaming (REM sleep) allows the brain to sift through that day's events, process any negative emotion attached to them, then strip it away from the memories: "(REM sleep) tries to ameliorate the sharp emotional chips and dents that life gives you along the way." Walker continues, "Sleep not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap."1
So, what does all this mean to you? Our success as massage therapists largely depends on our ability to perceive and connect with our client's emotional state during a massage. If a client does not feel a "connection" with his therapist, he is less likely to benefit from the massage, and less likely to return to that therapist. Likewise, the more connection a client feels with his therapist, the more likely he is to become a repeat client, and the more likely he is to recommend massage to someone else. Therefore, going to bed one hour earlier, or taking a quick nap during the day really can have an impact on the success of your business.
We all know the importance of exercise for maintaining a healthy weight and healthy heart, increasing the longevity of life and improving the quality of sleep. It now appears that exercise also effects the brain, in particular the regions that relate to Alzheimer's. In August 2010, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published findings from research led by Dr. Art Kramer at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. The research team was interested in examining the effect of exercise on neural connectivity between regions of the brain that function together in a kind of "network". For example, the default mode network (DMN) is responsible for people passively engaging with their environment, such as day-dreaming. The DMN and other similar networks seem to lose activity with age, and Kramer's research has shown that the brains of people with Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and older adults struggle to control the DMN. This study demonstrated that just moderate exercise (40 minutes a day, three times per week), can increase connectivity in the DMN, which aids with planning, strategizing and multitasking.2
It is beginning to seem like the benefits of exercise are endless! While some are vigilant about exercising regularly, others are easily bored by it. For those of you who aren't fans of working out in the traditional manner, there are plenty alternative activities that will not only exercise your body, but ALSO your brain! The following are some great activities (found in a recent article "Everyday Ways to Stay Sharp"):
To Read or Not to Read?
That is the question. There seems to be good reason our educators thrust British Literature upon us in high school. We have known for a long time that reading keeps the brain active and encourages good writing skills. However, we now know that reading Shakespeare has a particular effect on the brain that goes beyond the normal benefits. New studies link Shakespeare's linguistic technique known as "functional shift" (e.g. using a noun to serve as a verb) with positive brain stimulation. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work differently in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say.
According to Philip Davis, an English professor at the University of Liverpool, "The brain reacts to reading a phrase such as 'he godded me' from the tragedy of Coriolanus, in a similar way to putting a jigsaw puzzle together. If it is easy to see which pieces slot together you become bored of the game, but if the pieces don't appear to fit, when we know they should, the brain becomes excited."4
With that information in mind, I would recommend inquiring at your public library about any Shakespeare book clubs. If you have the financial means, and a community college nearby, you could consider taking a literature class on Shakespeare. OMG, there is so much I can do to work on my brain! There are many more things one can do to keep the brain healthy and active: switch hands when writing or play sports, do crossword puzzles, eat well, journal, and just play.
We have just recently begun to understand the relationship between our external environment and its effect on the brain. It is an exciting area of study, especially when thinking about the connection between wellness and brain function. I look forward to learning more about the link between massage and brain function, and the possibilities it will lead to in our profession.
Sharon Puszko is the owner/director/educator for Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute. She may be contacted at
or through her Web site: www.daybreak-massage.com.
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