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How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
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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