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Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
January, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 01
Desexualizing the Touch Experience, Part II
By Cherie Sohnen-Moe
In the March 2011 issue of Massage Today, I wrote about the importance of desexualizing the touch experience and the proactive measures to help prevent clients from crossing your boundaries.I focused on the steps you can take to project a non-sexual image in your marketing materials (business name, email address, brochures, business cards, website) and telephone conversations (creating scripts and handling inappropriate calls). In this follow up, I would like to explore ways to create a safe space and desexualize the massage experience with clients.
Your appearance is an outward representation of your professional standards. Make sure your image projects competence and doesn't sexualize you. Dress appropriately for the working environment, maintain good hygiene, keep jewelry to a minimum, don't wear heavy perfume or cologne, and avoid provocative or revealing attire. Some examples of inappropriate clothing are: tank tops (especially for women); short shorts; shirts that show cleavage; shirts that expose the midriff; shirts that have questionable statements or provocative images; tight pants. Remember, your attire isn't meant to be a distraction or a loud statement.
Office space varies from a room in a professional complex, a free-standing building, a clinic, a spa, to a home office and mobile on-site locations. Many practitioners work in several types of office spaces.
Practitioners often choose an office location based on what's close to where they live or where they can find a good deal. From a marketing perspective, choose a location that's convenient to the majority of your target markets. Most importantly, choose a location where you and your clients feel safe. Check out the location at different times of the day. This is particularly crucial if you plan on being open in the evenings or on weekends. For instance, let's say you are considering renting space in a large complex. During the days there is a constant flow of people in and out of the building. This feels really good to you. You drive by at night and you only see one light shining in a window and a single car in the parking lot. That sight most likely doesn't elicit feelings of safety or comfort.
Establish a professional space. Sight, sound, smell, touch and imagination all have the potential to arouse. Often times practitioners attempt to set up a very relaxing space with dim lights, candles and soft music. These can be wonderful, but they can also send confusing messages — particularly to new clients or people who are in a vulnerable state in terms of their romantic relationships. Ideally, start with the room fairly well-lit and ask clients if they want the light dimmed. You can also offer them an eye pillow. Choose music that is soothing, without being sensual or romantic. You can never know what scent might trigger a sexual response in clients, but in general, avoid heady aromatherapy scents such as rose, musk and patchouli. In general, it's wise to be judicious with scents, as many people have allergies and sensitivities to fragrances.
Create a comfortable, yet professional treatment room. Use high-quality equipment and supplies. Keep extra linens handy for additional draping needs. Consider hanging anatomical charts and other posters that are health related. Limit your displays of personal photos and keepsakes.
When doing outcalls, set up a space that feels like an office. I recommend you have a hard case on rollers that holds your supplies. When you set up the table, also arrange your supplies on top of the case. This helps to make the space look a bit more office-like. Avoid setting up your treatment table in a bedroom unless you are working with an injured or ill client.
General Safety Precautions
If you feel threatened, leave the room and call the appropriate authorities. If you are in a spa or clinic, go directly to the front desk. If you are in a private office, leave the building. If you are doing an outcall session, leave the premises — you can return later, accompanied by someone, for your equipment and supplies. (See the September 2010 Issue of Massage Today, "When a Client Crosses the Line," for detailed information on this safety precautions.)
The manner in which practitioners interact with clients holds many potential cues. Depending on the actual type of hands-on treatment, the specific factors that could allude to sex include: degrees of nudity; the manner of draping; the positioning of the client; the type of touch; and lubricants such as oils and creams.
Many factors effect how a client reacts. Set the tone for professionalism from the outset. Greet clients with a smile and a handshake. Use appropriate language. Make sure that your words can't be easily misconstrued as suggestive. Choose words carefully when describing a client's body and use proper terminology for anatomical structures. Also, be conscious of body language: sometimes just a smile can make a client feel aroused or even scared. Immediately take control of the situation if a client attempts to sexualize a session verbally or physically (see September 2010 Issue for tips); don't let it escalate.
Do thorough pre-treatment interviews on first visits. Discover clients' long-term goals, as well goals for the current session. Work together to determine the course of treatment. Next, explain what is going to be done and why. Obtain written informed consent in the first session and additional consent when changing a treatment plan or working on or near sensitive areas. Keep accurate records and let clients see that you document your sessions. Give explicit instructions regarding the articles of clothing to be removed and the draping procedures. Allow privacy for disrobing.
Express confidence in your work. A hesitant touch could be easily misinterpreted. Apply lubricants with a firm touch and avoid dribbling them. Also, be careful about body contact during sessions. Avoid stray touching or movements. Position yourself in a manner so that only your extremities come in contact with clients' bodies.
Massage therapists are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe environment for clients and themselves. This is done by proactively working to ensure that the touch experience is not sexualized. While the tips in this article can't guarantee that a client won't get sexually aroused or act inappropriately, they set a foundation for a professional, safe, desexualized environment.
Click here for previous articles by Cherie Sohnen-Moe.
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