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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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 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.
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?
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Putting Insomnia to Sleep: Using Cranial Techniques
By Sharon Desjarlais, CC
Have you ever been home alone late at night when a tiny creak in a floorboard suddenly becomes a gunman breaking in? That's your reticular activating system (RAS) triggering an adrenal response that's preparing you to fight or flee.
The RAS helps the body instinctively deal with issues of fear and survival. Unfortunately, it can't always distinguish between real and imagined threats. And according to Amy Lewis, LMT, an Upledger-trained CranioSacral Therapist, that dynamic is at the heart of much of the insomnia she's seeing now in her clients.
Insomnia, which means "no sleep" in Latin, is one of the most common sleep complaints among Americans. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, some 30 percent to 40 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia within a given year, while about 10 percent to 15 percent report chronic insomnia lasting months or years.
"Insomnia comes in cycles that line up with our stress levels," Amy says. "I see it a lot in clients who present with complex pain patterns. But look at the stress that's happening worldwide. Then take that down to the level of the state, the county, the city, the neighborhood, the family and the individual. Add all that up and you've got recurring cycles of insomnia."
While individual cycles and sources of insomnia may vary, Amy believes it ultimately comes down to the RAS, which Dr. John Upledger referred to as the "reticular alarm system." Located in the ventricular area of the brain responsible for regulating arousal and sleep-wake transitions, the RAS is the filter for everything in our lives that's "coming at us," she says. That's why, with her insomnia clients, she focuses on cranial techniques that are known to affect the RAS.
Three Cranial Techniques That Relax the RAS
One of Amy's favorite techniques for relaxing the RAS is the "CV4." Named for its ability to compress the fourth ventricle, the CV4 is performed at the occiput to subtly stifle the expansion of the craniosacral system as it cycles through the phases of filling and emptying cerebrospinal fluid, which therapists can palpate as the cranial rhythm.
When you bring this rhythm to a "still point," fluid pressure builds in the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. By stretching these membranes ever so slightly, the fluid gently flushes the craniosacral system and moves the autonomic nervous system from a highly aroused sympathetic-dominant state to a relaxed parasympathetic-dominant state.
"What's different about using cranial work this way is its gentle, non-invasive nature," Amy says. "If I don't plow in there with my hands, I don't create a backlash or a rebound effect in the tissues, muscles or brain. I'm simply amplifying the parasympathetic nervous system. So we're moving from the adrenal fight-or-flight response to a parasympathetic response. We're just slightly moving that little diode on the scale."
Another technique Amy uses to address insomnia symptoms is called "cranial pumping." To perform this technique, you find a place on the client's body where you're comfortable feeling the cranial rhythm. The rhythm reflects the motion of flexion and extension, which signals the filling and emptying of cerebrospinal fluid as it cycles through the craniosacral system.
Amy likes to palpate at all the cranial listening stations, which are areas of the body that can quickly give you a general evaluation of the cranial motion: the heels, dorsa of the feet, anterior thighs, ASIS, ribs, shoulders and several holds at the cranium.
After feeling the rhythm for about three to five cycles, you begin to gently "nudge" the rhythm a bit further. "But you do it so subtly," Amy says. "There's not even any physical movement. You're really doing it with your thoughts and intention to create what feels like a ripple of Saran wrap over water."
By then tuning into changes in the symmetry, quality, amplitude and rate of the craniosacral rhythm, you can bring the body into greater balance. And that helps expand the internal stress threshold so the RAS is less likely to leap into hyper vigilance.
The Rock and Glide
The third cranial technique Amy recommends for insomnia is called the "Rock and Glide." With the client lying supine, place one hand under the sacrum and one under the occiput. Then tune into the rocking motion the dural tube makes to see how it feels. "I'll follow it for a few cycles and then give it a very gentle nudge, about 1 to 5 grams, with my intention again. This helps release the transverse fascial rings of the dural fascia."
For the "gliding" aspect, place your hands in the same position and focus on the longitudinal glide of the occiput and sacrum as it moves in flexion toward the feet and then back toward the head. "As I tune into the gliding motion and it reaches the sacrum, I begin to nudge with 1 to 5 grams of traction toward the feet while I hold the occiput in neutral. Then as the motion glides toward the occiput, I give another little nudge toward the occiput with slight traction while I hold the sacrum in neutral." You may do this for several cycles.
"The glide helps with nerve roots and lengthening of the dural tube, but I think of it as a relaxing cosmic cradle," Amy says. What a soothing way to help your clients get a good night's sleep!
Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.
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