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Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Singing Out Stress: A Massage Therapist's View of Singing
By Stephanie Heidemann, LMT, BA
In a nutshell, being authentic is about being entirely relaxed in the seat of who you are. Much of the world is in a constant state of frenzy, and this affects us. The amount of stimulation is overwhelming to try and filter through and keep a grasp on your sanity. Amidst all the noise, how can you unwind and uncover your authentic self?
What is Authentic Voicework?
It starts off with a calling...a longing to be heard or acknowledge a part of you that has remained hidden. Voicework is a series of tools that embraces and gently lifts a person from stress, tension, fear, grief and inhibition. Some of these tools can be but are not limited to breath work, stretching, sighing, toning, harmonizing and vocal improvisation. The intention is to peel away any anxiety or stress around the "authentic" self. As we metaphorically "open up and sing ah," singing takes us out of the mind and centers us in the heart. And, if there is any work to be done there, singing gently and lovingly massages the heart open.
Nowadays, our society suffers from an epidemic of stress. It is our job as healers to keep inspiring new ways of releasing stress, easing tension, soothing anxiety and fear. We are the mothers of this world. Unwinding fascia with myofascial release or trigger point therapy are miraculous treatments. But the knots (aka, "stress") just keep coming, don't they? We are providing a great service to the world by helping others to cope with and ease the burdens of stress on the body. I believe that we can find more ways of preventing it.
As a singer and performer for 15 years, I have something new to offer in terms of stress relief and prevention. My mentor was New York Metropolitan Opera Mezzo, Brenda Boozer, who began each of our lessons with checking the position of the feet to support the proper alignment of the body and breath, a unique practice among voice teachers. Due to this integration of voice and body, this notion of the voice as an extension of the body as one became my motto. Obviously, there is something to be said about considering the voice, as an extension of body-mind-spirit, in assessing the condition of a client. Acupuncturists look into properties of the voice in assessment of their patient's condition. If bodyworkers can treat the body, than why not include the voice in the client's healing process?
As I have massaged client after client with neck and jaw tension, I have noticed an epidemic of clients managing a storm of internal pressure. The head, neck and jaw seem to "cork" this bottled-up pressure. As neuromuscular law poses, tension rises. To me, singing would be an obvious choice as a means of popping the lid off of this rising internal pressure, and allow the steam of tension to be released from the body.
While breathing through tension is crucial to an effective release, vocalizing only takes it further. As a suggestion to LMTs, next time you are doing some neck or TMJ work, ask your client to sigh with a sound "in front of the sigh." It helps to bring the mind and body together and is a way of "dropping" the tension. Like you would ask a client to "drop their arm" while applying range of motion, sighing is a way of dropping tension around the whole upper chest and sinking breath down into the belly.
How it Works
When the voice has been shut down for very long periods of time (sometimes decades), and is finally struck (as in, a chord) or soothed with humming and sighing sounds, the client may feel an immediate rush of emotion. The process of opening the voice takes you back to the time when you last felt that freedom in the voice, when it became obstructed or inhibited and why. Clients may initially feel the grief which initially caused the blockage. Creative catharsis cleans out the cobwebs, opens the energy flow in the throat area/voice, bringing more of a sense of freedom to the individual. Voicework can bring one to an open state of awareness, acknowledging that an energetic blockage of sorts exists, and attends to it.
What Happens in a Session
Sessions begin with simple stretching and breathing exercises, grounding the connection into the body. Simple vocal warm-ups follow, drawing from classical voice techniques. Face and jaw stretches open the lining of the vocal tract, opens the breath, and draws awareness to the body as instrument. Singing games foster a place for fun exploration, bringing out the child-like essence. Improvisation is used for cutting new ground, building self trust, without harmful criticism and judgment. Much like how a massage client must learn how to relax on the table, it is a learning process to explore without self-judgment. As we vocalize, we willingly bring our selves closer to the borders of our inhibitions. When we begin to sing authentically, the heart immediately responds by melting its stiff body armor and setting it free.
Like massage, the benefits of voicework are endless, depending largely on the client's willingness to surrender and open. Among the benefits are stress release, energy revitalization, quieting the body and mind, emotional release, awareness building, deep inner listening, thinking "outside the box," intuition building, and soothing pain or trauma. A Voicework session can feel like you have just spent hours in a meditative state. Voicework helps to reset and center your life in a more authentic place, bringing you up to speed with your most cutting-edge self. It is about becoming centered, grounded in the seat of authenticity and letting the voice be a medium to this state of being. Unraveling your true nature reveals a higher perception, and ability to respond without feeling threatened. Once some of these inhibitions are worked out, they won't come back. Consider it a permanent shift.
As the quality of your inner state of being becomes centered and grounded, your voice mirrors your internal sphere to the external world. Beautiful things can happen. Your state of awareness becomes more transparent. The tone of your voice carries and transmits your energy. Gathering people together to sing from authentic vocal expression is an oasis of pure grace, which can bring others to that inner authentic place of peace and healing, too.
Stephanie Heidemann, LMT, BA, Expressive Arts Therapy, is a seasoned massage therapist, was an IMG-Artist (NY), and is a singer/voice coach. She teaches Authentic Voicework nationally and has spoken at conferences internationally. She brings her expertise as a healing and bodywork therapist to the realm of voicework; and now offers continuing education to massage therapists nationwide. For more information, visit www.authenticvoicework.com.
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