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Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
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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