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News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
June, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 06
Reflections on the Two-Person Biology
By Sharon Desjarlais, CC
Daniel Goleman was only a toddler when a momentary encounter in a grocery store mirrored a neurological concept that's subtly advancing the nature of CranioSacral Therapy today.
As Daniel wandered down the aisle with his mom, a woman passing by gave him a warm smile. Instantly, he felt his own mouth involuntarily curving up to match it. "It felt as though somehow my face had become puppet-like, drawn by mysterious strings that widened the muscles around my mouth and puffed out my cheeks," he says in his latest book, Social Intelligence. "I distinctly felt that my smile had come unbidden – directed not from within but from outside of myself."
That inexplicable mirroring of smiles is now recognized in scientific circles as the reflection of "mirror neurons" in two brains synchronizing, a development that has promising implications in the light-touch treatment room.
According to Michael Shea, author of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, this synchronization between two people reflects the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology. "When two brains come together like they do between an infant and caregiver, their neurons synchronize to create a two-person biology that enables the child to begin processing emotions effectively."
Remarkably, those same neurological dynamics take place when two adults come together in a therapeutic relationship, creating a brain-to-brain bridge in the treatment room. This phenomenon emphasizes the need for clear and healthy boundaries between practitioner and patient. And, in Michael's eyes, that's the therapist's primary responsibility. "You have to spend more time paying attention to your own body in session, because a self-regulating therapist literally creates the neuronal pathways for a self-regulating client."
The new science on the subject also stresses the need to balance focused attention – what you're doing when you're tuning into a client's body hands-on – with unfocused attention, because that's the way the autonomic nervous system of the client develops, Michael says. "There are periods of approach behavior, like the contact and attachment that occur when your hands meet a client's body, which is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. And then there are periods of withdrawal, when attention is moved away from the client, which is mediated by the parasympathetic nervous system. So, what we're doing as therapists by balancing focused with unfocused attention is mimicking the way the nervous system develops, which increases empathy and compassion."
Three Focal Points
How can CranioSacral Therapists make good use of these scientific developments in practice? Michael recommends incorporating three focal points in every hands-on session:
Focal Point 1: The Slow Tempo
In Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy, the therapist attunes to a very slow body tempo called the "long tide." Michael believes you should start each session by synchronizing your attention with this slow tempo. "Tuning into yourself to activate the circuits of a two-person biology cannot be done quickly," he says. "It's a function of tuning in to the rhythmic balance interchange between the slow tempo and the natural quiescence that inherently exists in and around the body. Embryologists now recognize this natural stillness for its organic ability to bring order and integration to the human body as a whole." In a cranial session, he suggests you start by looking at the whole and synchronizing your attention with this natural stillness, because "that's how the whole gets organized. Then there's a dynamic later in the session when you can focus on parts that are holding a restriction."
Focal Point 2: Your Heartbeat
Next, Michael recommends tuning into your own heart. "As you sit by your client's side, take a moment to orient to your body three-dimensionally, like sensing the total surface of the skin. Then gradually shift your attention to the center of your chest and the movement of your heart and blood, a process called 'interoceptive awareness.'"
There's no need to take your pulse manually, he adds. "It's more important to sit still and feel the motion of the heart and blood as it moves through and around the heart and fluid body three dimensionally from head to toe." If your mind begins to wander (and it will), simply bring yourself back to your heart. "That alone changes brain structure and gives you the ability to differentiate yourself and your own internal processes from that of the client, and again, it deepens empathy and compassion."
Focal Point 3: Nature
Another natural way to balance focused and unfocused attention is by intentionally connecting with nature during each session. As you're working hands on, "move your attention out the window to the sky or to a tree for a minute," Michael says, "then bring your attention slowly back to your hands and your own body." When you're able to do this rhythmically, it helps reset your autonomic nervous system, which in turn resets your client's.
If you don't have a window in your treatment room? Bring in a potted plant or hang nature pictures on the wall. Michael says images of the horizon, like a sunrise or a sunset, are especially powerful. "It triggers the neurological head-righting reflex, which supports the vestibular system." And when you support your vestibular system, you naturally support that of your client's.
As new advances in interpersonal neurobiology appear on the horizon, science likely will continue to confirm that hands-on therapists have a deep and enduring impact on clients, in and out of the treatment room.
Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.
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