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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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
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.
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.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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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