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Treatment of PTSD: An Opportunity for the Practice of Integrated Medicine
PTSD is widespread across America today. Not only do many of our honored men and women in uniform bring it home with them from the war zones they have been active in, but it often follows any life-threatening event people go through when their lives have been in danger.
News in Brief
Investigating the Cellular Impact of Mechanical Force; National Board Seats (Not-So) New Officers at Annual Meeting.
The Three Heater Official
This Official, belonging to the element Fire, is responsible for maintaining and regulating the heating system of the body, mind, and spirit. It is named for its function. The trunk is divided into three "burning spaces" or "jiaos."
Going On-Site With Chiropractic Care
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released a position paper highlighting the financial, clinical and patient-satisfaction benefits of providing chiropractic care at on-site corporate health clinics.
Should You Change an Athlete's Natural Running Form?
Once past the ankle, impact forces travel at about 200 mph into the knee. In addition to allowing the quad to absorb force, bending the knee (E) prevents the hip and pelvis from moving up and down too much (F), which is important for injury prevention and efficiency.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 3)
A patient with sacroiliac fixation and dysfunction ordinarily demonstrates a noticeable leg-length inequality when placed in the prone position on the adjusting table.
Chinese Doctors Poke Holes in Australian Study
A recent Australian clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014 by Rana Hinman, et el., evaluating the effectiveness of both needle and laser acupuncture for chronic knee pain.
Free Yourself From the Pocketbook Practice
Let's take a journey together; there's an important lesson to be learned. Imagine a town or city just like yours.
NCCAOM Video Contest
The NCCAOM is excited to announce the launch of the second annual video contest "Because it Works!" 2015.
Desert: A Metaphor from the Study of Genetics
In most of the human lives I know about, there are stretches of time which feel stagnant, or worse. We can feel adrift, or wounded and sidelined, and these times don't seem to carry much usefulness while they are unfolding.
The Risks I Took
We all take risks when we choose this profession. For some, it is not knowing if you can make a living practicing TCM. For others, it is parental or cultural disapproval.
An International Life: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield
I met Mary Elizabeth Wakefield during her class last summer in Seneca Falls, New York at the Finger Lakes School of Chinese Medicine.
Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology: Version 2.0
The Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology consensus, published in 2001 by the collaborative efforts of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology, has guided radiologists, clinicians and the public for more than a decade.
Sports Medicine 101: Surgery or No Surgery?
In the world of sports medicine, many careers are saved by surgeries that correct traumatic damage to the body. Muscle tears, ligament damage, fractures, spinal disc herniations, and joint instabilities are a few of the issues frequently addressed with surgical intervention.
I was sitting in a Pizza Hut in Peoria, Ill., with my friend Reggie, sometime in the spring of my senior year in college, when he started doodling on his paper placemat. In those days, the company had a picture of U.S. on the mats, showing all the locations of the "Huts" in the country.
Marketing with a Microphone
When given an option, it stands to reason that people prefer to do business with those they know, like, and trust.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 2
The Da Cheng includes symptoms for the source-luo points that indicate when to use them for treatment. Yang defines the method as the guest-host (it is one of a variety of acupuncture point combinations called guest-host).
Q&A With the First VA Chiropractic Residents
As you may have read previously, a major step forward for the profession occurred in July 2014 when the Department of Veterans Affairs began piloting a chiropractic residency program at five locations.
Creating Relationships at Southwest Symposium
The month of May brought many interesting activities. As I have said in many previous columns this year, this profession is moving in a very exciting direction. Make sure you are getting involved. If you're not, you just might get left behind.
Key Changes and Updates to the 7th Edition CNT Manual
Acupuncture Today recently interviewed Jennifer Brett, ND, L.Ac. regarding the updates to the CNT manaul.
Integrative Medicine for the Underserved: A Seat at the Table
Numerous organizations have risen to the challenge of providing care to medically-underserved populations and here we feature one such group.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Laughter: It Just Might Be the Best Medicine for You
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
We have all heard this saying before, and I am sure we have all experienced the "pick-me-up" a good chuckle provides when we are feeling down. However, did this adage become common simply due to parents trying to calm their children when sick or angry? Or, is there a more primal, subconscious reason that we associate laughter with feeling better? It was not until recently, when I ran into an acquaintance of mine who has always had a rather serious disposition, that I started thinking more deeply about laughter.
I am sure we all know someone like him, the kind of person of whom we say to ourselves, "He/she needs to laugh more." Therefore, I started to wonder what research, if any, has been done on laughter, and what can we learn from it. After all, when was the last time you read or saw a press release about the latest findings from a NSF or NIH sponsored grant on the benefits of laughing? Probably never, since most people are more interested in research pertaining to cancer, tobacco or AIDS, then on laughter.
As it turns out, the science of laughter is still in its infancy, however what we have recently learned about it is fascinating. In fact, just ten years ago, I would not have had much to say other than the following: We know laughter is an evolutionary vocalization passed down from our primate relatives in order to aid in social communication, and it also seems to be contagious. While we have proven the former to be true by studying the behavior and vocalizations of our primate relatives, thanks to modern science we have also proven the latter to be true. In 2006, researchers at University College London conducted a study to determine why observing laughter usually causes someone to laugh in return.
Using MRI images of the brain, they were able to prove the existence of auditory "mirror" neurons; neurons that cause our body to produce a reaction to something we hear. Just as we have visual "mirror" neurons that activate when we see certain things (when we watch traumatic events, our brain responds as if we are experiencing that event ourselves), our auditory mirror neurons trigger our facial muscles to smile in response to hearing laughter. In fact, the more laughter we hear the more signals our neurons fire, causing us to smile and laugh in return. So whomever first coined the phrase, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you," turned out to be absolutely correct!
What about the theory that laughter is the best medicine? While I cannot assure you that laughter can cure all ills, I can say that it does indeed make you feel better. This past fall, a new study was published addressing this very issue. A group of European scientists studied the pain threshold of people before, during and after watching funny programs, such as a stand-up comedian show and episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Friends." The results revealed that people who laughed during these programs (not just listened to them, but actually laughed) had a much higher tolerance for pain after laughing than before, because laughter triggered the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals which protect us from stress and make us feel good; as you well know, the biological reason massage feels so good is because it, too, releases endorphins. Therefore, while laughter may not be the best medicine, it really does make you feel better. Since it is also contagious and innate in primates, I can understand why laughter is considered one of the most primal methods of social bonding.
Now that we have proven that those serious people would indeed feel better if they laughed more, how can we, as massage therapists, incorporate more laughter into our days? I think the answer to that question will vary according to our own personal preferences. Some of us would rather reserve humor, jokes and irony for our personal lives only, and others will feel more comfortable incorporating laughter into both our professional and personal lives. Robert Provine authored a book on the science of laughter and in it suggests creating a "library" of humor. Start a collection of your favorite funny materials (books, comics, magazine, movies, TV shows, toys, etc), and make them easily accessible in your home or workplace. If you train yourself to reach for them when you start to feel angry or sad, you will notice those negative feelings diminish faster. This "library" is also a great conversation starter for parties and social gatherings, since everyone likes to laugh! Making some of these materials available to clients might help some of them relax more quickly before a session and feel more comfortable. If you choose to share this library with others, just make sure you have materials that represent a variety of humor, since we all find different things funny.
Fortunately, there is a plethora of information available on the internet and in magazines on how to incorporate laughter into your life; I have started listening to funny books and programs on CD while driving, and I can tell you that getting stuck in traffic no longer bothers me the way it used to! In closing, I’d like to remind the reader that just like massage, laughter does not require anything other than your own body in order to make yourself and someone else feel good, so try to do it as often as you can!
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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