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Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
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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