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A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 12
The Importance of Sleep
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
Let's be honest, when was the last time you heard someone say, "I got such a good night's sleep. I feel so energetic and refreshed!"? In my opinion, we should not even need to tell each other we are tired.I believe we have reached the point where being tired is considered normal. When we consider the implications of this fact, we should all be frightened. Missing a couple of hours of sleep here and there throughout the month is nothing to worry about, as long as we make up those hours in the future.
What is happening, and what is cause for alarm, is what researchers call "chronic sleep restriction" or "chronic partial sleep deprivation." These terms refer to people consistently getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, and people suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. The fact that these conditions have become so normal is what makes it hard for people to recognize that sleep may be impacting their lives in a negative way. According to the Institute of Medicine, 50-70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. There also is a relationship between long-term cumulative effects of sleep deprivation and increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke. Especially for practitioners who devote their careers to the wellness of others, it is important to educate yourself on the role sleep plays on your physical and emotional well-being.
Sleep scientists could agree that children might have it right when it comes to the typical response to bedtime: "Why do we have to go to bed? I don't want to go to sleep." The truth is, no one can explain why we need sleep and what exactly sleep does to us. We know that it is necessary for people to function - a human being can go longer without food than it can without sleep - but research has yet to explain exactly what the purpose of sleep is. The field of sleep research is relatively new but even in the short time it has been around it has proven that without sleep, we suffer physically, emotionally and mentally. Some recent studies are shedding new light on what the brain might be doing while we are sleeping. Unlike previous assumptions that sleep is a time for the brain to rest and recover, it appears that the brain is very much active during sleep.
A small group of neuroscientists have been researching the effect of sleep on learning and memory in both animals and humans. Their findings support the theory that sleep plays an important role in helping someone remember new information, from learning new words to mastering a back flip. An article in The New York Times discusses how REM sleep (rapid eye movement), also known as "deep sleep," seems to improve pattern recognition, and the memorization of facts.
On the flip side of this is what scientists are learning about stage two sleep, which usually occurs as people are coming out of deep sleep early in the morning. Dr. Carlyle Smith of Trent University in Canada has found a strong association between improved learning of motor skills and the amount of stage two sleep a person gets. For example, musicians struggling with a particular piece of music performed it better when they were allowed uninterrupted stage two sleep (not waking up earlier than normal). Based on these findings, Dr. Smith believes it is more beneficial to stay up late practicing and sleep in the following morning, when trying to learn motor skills; which, unfortunately, contradicts the training schedule of most sports programs that have athletes rising early to practice.
As massage therapists, this means that when taking continuing education courses or practicing on clients for your licensure exam, you will better remember techniques if you practice in the evening and get a good night's rest the following day, rather than if you were to get up early to start practicing. Likewise, if you have a client who is a musician, designer or athlete that mentions they are struggling with a gross or fine motor skill, sharing this information with them might help them out.
Now that we are beginning to understand the role sleep might play in learning and memory, what can we do about it if we are sleep deprived? I think the first step is to try and get more sleep in your life, whether that is sleeping more at night or adding a nap. I know it is hard with our hectic schedules to guarantee seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but it is truly worth it. Not only will it help your capacity to learn, but it will also diminish your risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, among other things. It will also improve your technique and give you more energy to see more clients or do something fun during the day. On its website, The National Sleep Foundation has a "white paper" on the ten best things one can do to improve sleep. I have combined and paraphrased these tips for you below. Please feel free to consult the website for all ten tips, as well as any more information you are interested in regarding sleep and sleep disorders. I hope you find this information as useful as I did. Sweet Dreams!
Maintain A Regular Schedule
If you struggle with falling asleep at night or getting up in the morning, one of the most beneficial changes you can make is to wake up at a consistent time every day, regardless of what day it is. Sleeping-in on days off is one of the worst things one can do to help with sleep issues. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a "circadian clock" in our brain and the body's need to balance both sleep time and awake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night.
Create A Sleep-Conducive Environment
One of the most universal indicators for alertness is the presence of light. Adjustments in light have an immediate effect on circadian rhythms, so diminishing the amount of light around you at bedtime naturally induces a more sleepy state. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep - cool, quiet, dark, comfortable and free of interruptions. Use your bedroom for only sleep and sex. The stimulating effects of TVs and computers in the bedroom hinder sleepiness. Make sure you have a mattress and pillows that are comfortable. If you have a sleeping partner whose sleep needs differ from yours, work together to create an environment that is as conducive as possible to your differing needs. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise," humidifiers, fans and other devices.
Avoid Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine And Eating Close To Bedtime
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol actually disrupts your natural sleep patterns. Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulants, which means they make you feel alert. Obviously, this does not help when trying to fall asleep, so refrain from nicotine and caffeine use three to five hours before bedtime. People who are especially sensitive to caffeine can feel the effects for 12 hours after ingesting it, so if you are one of those people, beware of caffeine! Eating and drinking close to bedtime can cause excessive nightime urination, which disrupts sleep. It can also cause heartburn, gas or physical discomfort, so it is best not to eat a substantial amount of food within two hours of going to sleep.
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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