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The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
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.
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.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
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.
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 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
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.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
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.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
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.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Giving a Big Thumbs Up for Healthy Thumbs
By Judith DeLany, LMT
The thumb is one of the most practical and necessary implements of the body. It is the first self-comforting tool to be used, often seen thrust into the mouth of a fetus in the womb. Throughout life, the thumb is constantly used without conscious thought, making it easy to forget just how vital the thumb is in daily life. That is, until it is injured.
Imagine holding a glass of water without a thumb, or pulling up your pants, writing with a pencil or using a paintbrush. Although those who are thumb-challenged can usually improvise, one can readily experience the difficulties by simply duct-taping the thumbs to the palms for a day.
The thumb pad is richly endowed with sensory receptors and is associated with more brain receptors for receiving information than most other body parts. This makes the thumb a particularly useful palpation tool. While articles abound excluding the use of the thumb in massage, this article offers insights as to how to protect the thumb in order to use it for a lifetime.
Anatomy of the Thumb
The osteo-articular column of the thumb is comprised of five bones – scaphoid, trapezium, first metacarpal and two phalanges. The four joints within the column allow for flexion–extension, abduction–adduction, rotation and circumduction of the thumb. Only a ball and socket joint offers more range than the saddle joint of the thumb, which permits angular motion in almost any plane. Because the thumb is attached more proximally than the fingers, it also offers the hand an inherent architectural advantage, particularly in grasping, opposition and apposition.
In contrast to its profound mobility, the thumb can also be used as a solid structure for compression of myofascial tissues. As a solo instrument, the columnar thumb can statically compress muscle fibers into underlying tissues. In conjunction with the other digits (particularly the index and ring fingers), it can be used to grasp the tissues and to apply pincer compression (like a C-clamp), flat compression (like a clothes pin) and manipulation (the international hand signal for money). Each of these techniques offers ample opportunity to assess the tissues and also a standing opportunity for injury, repetitive strain and subsequent dysfunction of the thumb joints.
While the thumb is undoubtedly a useful tool in massage therapy, it can be misused and abused by poor mechanical habits. Gliding strokes applied with thumbs placed side-by-side (ulnar surfaces touching) project pressure through the osteo-articular column and onto the joint surfaces in a manner that is protective of the ligaments. However, gliding strokes applied with the thumbs touching tip-to-tip produce valgus forces on the thumb joints and can lead to a slow, insidious stretching of the thumb's ulnar ligaments.
Skier's thumb (also known as gamekeeper's thumb) develops due to a sprain or strain of the (usually strong) ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint. This may result in instability and weakness of the thumb, painful joints and, ultimately, arthritis and joint deterioration. This type of injury can happen abruptly, such as when falling onto the outstretched hand (particularly if gripping something, like a ski pole), or it can occur over time due to chronic repetitive stretching of the ligament, as occurs with poor biomechanics when performing massage.
Following an abrupt injury, the thumb may swell and be bruised, however, sometimes pain may not occur until a day or two later, or even over a period of weeks. When ligaments are torn, surgical repair may be necessary or treatment might consist of splinting or casting and rest. Exercises might be required to regain range of motion, although it may take weeks or even months for complete range and strength to be restored. This type of injury is usually more tangible than the similar results that occur with a repetitive overstretching of the ligaments through poor habits of use. Nevertheless, their outcomes may be similar, with painful loss of function being the ultimate consequence.
Besides sprains associated with falls and poor thumb mechanics, thumb dysfunction can also stem from hitting with clenched fist, bowling (which can also produce neural damage to the digital nerve from the edge of the hole of the ball) and chronic strains associated with excessive use when texting and playing video games. The following tips may be useful in preventing injury.
Judith DeLany serves as director of NMT Center, writes textbooks for Elsevier Health Sciences, and lectures internationally in the field of neuromuscular therapy. For more information regarding her work, visit www.nmtcenter.com or call toll-free at (866) 571-7942.
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