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Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
Covering Chiropractic as a Profession, Not a Single Service
Recently Dynamic Chiropractic published a front-page article about various state essential health benefits and referred to Oregon and four other states not currently providing chiropractic as a covered benefit.
In a previous column, I discussed the history and definition of evidence-based practice (EBP), and expressed concerns with how the concept has been narrowly construed by some academics and payers.
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
Spinal-Cord Injuries: Saying No to Steroids
With steroids, epidural and otherwise, in the news lately for their overuse when treating back pain (and their danger when tainted by fungal meningitis), it was high time for a policy change, and we've got one, from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
History Repeating Itself in Wisconsin?
Thirteen years ago, the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association (WCA) "agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that [the association] orchestrated a conspiracy among WCA members to increase prices for chiropractic services and to boycott third-party payers to obtain higher reimbursement rates."
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Telecommuting and Technology: Ergonomic and Worker's Comp Considerations
As our world becomes more and more reliant on technology, equipment becomes more dependable and we become increasingly more comfortable with e-mail, the fax machine, the Internet and the smartphone, it is becoming easier and easier to work away from the office.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Calcium Supplements and Mortality
When the National Institutes of Health's AARP Diet and Health Study reported that men who took calcium supplements had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared those who didn't, it was the third large cohort in six months with alarming findings regarding calcium supplements.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
Business Building: What's Your Strategy?
I know some in our profession love to debate about whether or not spinal curvatures change as a result of our chiropractic adjustment, but I have a question that hits a little more close to the belt than that: Are chiropractors capable of change?
News in Brief
Cancer Treatment Centers of America Continues Support of Chiropractic; ACBOH Announces 2013 Practical, Written Exam Dates; PCORI Approves Funding for Research on Spinal Stenosis; Macquarie University to Cease Offering Chiropractic Program.
The Pallof Press for Core Stability Evaluation
Many people become injured because of instability, weakness and poor neural-sequencing patterns in the core. Lack of bracing and support from the inner core cylinder during coronal and transverse movements makes the body vulnerable to compensation injuries.
Medical Payola (Part 2)
Not only has Medtronic made billions selling expensive screws and hardware for highly controversial spine fusions, but a Senate investigation also found Medtronic felt compelled to write and edit medical journal articles attributed to outside physicians that downplayed the risks of the company's best-selling bone graft, Infuse.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Wisconsin Exam in the Spotlight
You've passed your national boards with flying colors, including Part IV, the practical examination, at a combined cost of more than $3,000.
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
Exercises for Back Pain: Low-Compression Training Program
This program is intended for two groups of people: 1) those who want to engage in resistance exercises for the major regions of their body without developing back pain in the process; and 2) those who already have back pain and want to do resistance exercises, but consistently re-irritate their back when trying to do so.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
Helping Infertility Patients with the Spirit Essence
As many of you know, when it comes to treating infertility, we are dealing with a patient population that is, generally speaking, in emotional turmoil. These patients often experience fear, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, grief and anger.
Repeating Bone-Density Tests
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women older than age 65 undergo bone-density testing. However, organizations in general have not stated when repeat bone-density testing should be done.
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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