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East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Body Mechanics: Back to Basics
By Teresa M. Matthews, LMT, CPT
Have you ever played softball or baseball? Have you ever heard a coach tell a young player the proper way to field a ground ball? If the young player does not continue with the fundamentals of fielding a ground ball properly, they might not make it in years to come as a ball player.At first, it might not be easy to get into the right body position, but the player needs to repeat the body mechanics to perform well. We are not much different from that ball player.
Many authors have written massage texts and other books about proper body mechanics for massage therapists. They are our coaches! Getting the basic fundamentals of a proper stance and application of the stroke will allow massage professionals to work smarter, not harder, while avoiding occupational injury, stress and burnout. The term body mechanics is used to describe the optimal alignment of our body for free-flowing movement. Ease and efficiency of movement will protect us from unnecessary stress and pain. Work-related injury is a major reason why bodyworkers drop out of the massage industry. I have seen bodywork professionals develop bad habits in their treatment room over years of practice and find themselves injured or even retiring.
As a general rule, your fingertips or first knuckle should reach the top of the table when your arms are hanging at your sides. If your table is a little short, you want to widen your stance. A bad choice is to bend at the waist and develop low back fatigue. A table that is too tall will cause you to use upper muscle strength. We do not want to muscle our strokes.
When clients ask for more pressure, it is more about the application of the force and using the least amount of physical effort, without poking and jabbing. The joints need to be stacked and stable. Instead of leaning at the waist and reaching forward, let your hips bring your hands through the stroke. I find that being low in your stance allows the stroke to be at the proper angle and the depth applied without muscling it.
What You Can Do
Using your body in the most efficient way might mean that we have to strengthen our legs and core. Having a solid base, our body mechanics will take the stress off our back and arms. Two of the most common stances are the horse stance and the lunge position. Using these stances, the power and balance comes from the legs and core. The horse stance can be strengthened by performing a wall squat. The lunge position can be strengthened by doing, that's right, a lunge. For core strength, I suggest a plank. This is an isometric exercise holding a push up position.
The Position of Your Feet and Head Does Matter
Your feet should face the same direction of force being applied to the body. Low back pain will result if your foot is externally or internally rotated, such that your pelvis rotates. Your head should not drop to look down at your work, as you will experience neck, shoulder and low back tension. If your torso is twisted, you could feel muscle ache, fatigue, shoulder or low back pain. You will also want to keep your shoulders square in your stance to avoid twisting your back.
Keeping a straight back and neutral neck helps you avoid injury. Many therapists bend over a lot during their massages and use their strength to apply pressure to their clients. If you're using good body mechanics, your pressure doesn't come from your strength, it should come from your body weight. If you're bending at the elbows, your strength is coming from the wrong place. Changing old habits can be difficult, but as you improve your body mechanics, you'll notice that you'll feel less fatigue while you work. Using good posture will help you have a long massage career ahead of you.
Appropriate body mechanics must be maintained to provide adequate pressure throughout the massage. A massage professional using proper body mechanics should be able to effectively provide 15-30 massage sessions a week without excessive fatigue or pain. Take appropriate action now so you can have the long career you desire.
Teresa M. Matthews, fitness expert and world champion athlete, has 30 years experience in the fitness industry. She is the president and founder of Health, Wellness & Fitness Professionals, Inc. and is the owner of Arlington School of Massage and Personal Training in Jacksonville, Fla. She is a sports massage instructor for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association and was awarded the FSMTA 2009 Sports Massage Therapist of the Year award. Teresa travels the country teaching self care and wellness classes. Contact her by e-mail at
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