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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
June, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 06
Is Dancing a Way To Beat Alzheimer's?
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
We all know that dance is fun. Even those of us with two proverbial "left feet" have a hard time resisting the universal foot-tap or leg-shake when certain music comes on. As it turns out, that involuntary physical response to music is deeply rooted in our evolution as human beings.Examining the relationship between music and dance takes us back to the beginning of both. Researchers today believe that dance began as an early form of communicating, before our vocal chords were sophisticated enough to produce any type of language. In its earliest form, "dance" consisted of hand clapping and foot-stomping, to create a pattern or rhythm. People began attaching things to their arms or legs (beads, shells) that made noise when they moved to help keep tempo and voila! music was born. Of course, it wasn't that simple or quick, but the point I am trying to make is that music and dance have been instrumental to the evolution of our species. Our emotional and physical response to both are not things we should fight or restrain, but rather embrace as a necessary and healthy element of who we are. In addition to making us feel good or keeping us active, examining the science of dance can also help us as practitioners.
An article in Scientific American caught my attention when researching this topic, because it discussed what happens in the brain when people are dancing, or observing dance. A team of researchers at University College London conducted a study to examine the brain activity in dancers observing others dance. In particular, they wanted to know if the brain would show a difference in activity when the dancer watched their own specialty and when they watched another form of dance. For example, would the brain of a tap dancer react differently when that person watches someone else tap dancing, versus someone else break-dancing. According to their results: "Investigators have found that when people watch simple actions, areas in the premotor cortex involved in performing those actions switch on, suggesting that we mentally rehearse what we see - a practice that might help us learn and understand new movements. Researchers are examining on how widely humans rely on such imitation circuits. The ability to rehearse a movement in your mind is indeed vital to learning motor skills."
Therefore, the brain of tap dancers watching someone tap reacts differently than when they watch someone break-dance, because tap is what their body and brain has spent the most time learning. It would be helpful to take the results of this study and apply them to massage therapy, since it is also a so-called motor skill. In essence, when we observe someone else giving a massage, we are unconsciously rehearsing the moves in our mind. While actually practicing massage is the best way to teach and learn, this provides evidence that observation also is a valid and useful teaching tool.
Speaking of learning, I came across an article that spoke about the evidence that dancing helps protect against dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. In this study, researchers wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity . They had seniors aged 75 and older participate in certain activities (reading, doing crossword puzzles, bicycling, swimming, golfing and dancing), and measured the reduced risk of dementia these activities produced. The results were surprising: bicycling, golf and swimming offered no protection, the mental activities offered minimum protection, and dance offered the greatest protection of all. They theorize that because dancing - in particular, the freestyle social dancing most seniors participate in - requires rapid-fire, split-decision making skills, it increases our cognitive reserve and builds new neural pathways.
By increasing the number of neural pathways, we are providing our brain with multiple ways to access information, instead of just one way. The key finding here was that teaching yourself how to do anything differently, or learning anything new - whether or not it be dance - helps build these neural pathways, which in the long run, will keep your mind more healthy. I found it fascinating that dancing, an activity that is so much fun, not only makes you physically more healthy, but can also make your smarter.
Another article discussed the theory that dance can serve as a type of falls-prevention tool among the elderly. The results of one study conducted in Italy concluded that an exercise program consisting of dance improved balance among the elderly, which ultimately can help reduce the number of age-related falls. I do not think I need to spend much more time discussing the physical benefits of dancing. We all know it is a fun way to exercise and can help lower blood pressure, improve coordination and balance, lower bad cholesterol levels, and help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. However, did you know that dancing can provide an alternative to the monotony of weight lifting? According to the American Council on Exercise, in addition to being an aerobic activity, dancing is also a weight-bearing sport, with your body weight serving as the load. Therefore, you can salsa or line dance, and build bone density at the same time!
There are psychological benefits to dancing, too. "Engaging in regular physical activity, like dancing, is an important component of overall health and well-being - including psychological health. We know that physical activity helps to alleviate some of the physiological symptoms of depression and the benefits of exercise can help combat the negative impacts of stress. In fact, research has proven that dancing can act as a natural anti-depressant. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter related to mood, and dance has been found to raise serotonin levels in people with depression, which is what anti-depressants are designed to do," said Dr. John Stachula, a professor of psychology at St. Ambrose University. "It can be especially important for people suffering from isolation or loneliness because it also creates a venue for interaction with others because of the intrinsically social nature of dance. This is why it is both a popular and beneficial activity among singles or the elderly: it provides that social connection we desire, and need, to live healthy, satisfying lives." These statements bring me back to the theory that dance and music evolved as an early form of language. Maybe this is why our brain responds so strongly to dance; because we have been hard-wired to associate it with communication and expression for thousands of years.
Whether your preference be tango, tap or line dancing, if you enjoy it, do it. It will tone your body and mind. In the long run, dancing will help you more than you realize, so keep it up as long as you can. And if you wake up sore after a night out dancing, just call one of your colleagues to give you a massage!
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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