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Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
April, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 04
The Importance of Remembering Gentleness
By Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
I focus my hands-on work with people with cancer or cancer histories. My massage therapy practice is small but earnest, edged out a bit by other professional activities, but nevertheless a vital part of my professional and personal life.I spend part of Tuesdays in my massage therapy office. Tuesdays are sacred. Some have suggested I give up my practice. But no, I say, these clients need the work. Couldn't they go to someone I've trained? Of course, yes. They do, sometimes. But I recognize, too, that I need to do the work. I need to offer up my hands to them. It is a calling as much as it is a vocation.
My clients come battle-scarred. They have endured countless needle sticks, scalpels and markings. Beams of radiation have crossed their tissues, from front to back. They have swallowed strong medication, counted days until the end of treatment and endured unimaginable side effects. They have survived endless tests, re-tests and long waits. They teach me about grace during uncertainty, and trust amidst the mystery. These clients lead me by example. In offering them skilled touch, I am reminded of the body's vulnerability and strength, all at once.
Twenty-two years ago, I completed my massage training with Ben Benjamin and his staff at the Muscular Therapy Institute. I remember one particularly important moment, close to graduation, when I was learning one-on-one from Ben. He brought me back to the first strokes I'd ever learned. I practiced them, over and over. He said to me, "It's more important to learn to work gently, than deeply." His words still ring true, today. They ring true because working gently is working deeply. Our kind hands touch people on the surface, in the muscles, but they also touch deeply.
This truth overtakes me each time I supervise an oncology massage clinic. Watching a roomful of massage therapists work, I see deep engagement in every exchange. Therapists train for four days, earnestly preparing for this clinic of client volunteers with cancer and cancer histories. It's a massive amount of work, plenty of paperwork and information, and not a little bit stressful. But once everyone is interviewed and settled in and the hands-on work begins, a great peace settles over the clinic classroom. I look around and take it in. I can tell that, for each therapist, for that hour, the person on the table is their whole world. Nothing matters more than this person.
That kind of focus is a rare thing, and our clients notice it. One client left me a voicemail message from the parking lot, right after bidding us goodbye. As is sometimes the case, she had been interviewed and massaged by two therapists working in tandem. She spoke of a heart filled with gratitude. Of her two therapists, she said, "they touched a chord in me that nobody was able to touch." That kind of experience of massage cannot be forced, it can only be welcomed when it occurs. It can be invited in by a therapist's gentle work, which, according to the client whose chord was touched, is deep work. It is called forth by our full attention, and our hands of kindness.
At times, such kindness elicits a flood of feeling. I recall one client who would weep every time a member of her health care team was kind to her. It was not that she wasn't used to it — she had many moments with compassionate health care professionals. But each caring gesture or kind word reminded her of how badly she needed it, and how alone she felt. Another client had a hard time scheduling massage because it involved stopping long enough to feel something, when it was easier to just keep going, getting through the months of cancer treatment. She told me she couldn't stand the kindness of skilled massage, she just wanted to press on and get through. We honor and respect these needs, as well as all others.
It's a bit circular, but I suppose even our resistance to kindness deserves kindness. People with cancer are not the only ones to appreciate gentle depth of work. I've worked with robust clients and strong muscles, I've followed muscle tension around after athletic injuries, and I've noticed how all of us seem to appreciate hands of kindness. Many times, I have circled back to Ben's words, and always, they have sent me forward again, into territory that is achingly real, ripe with connection, and deeply satisfying.
Click here for more information about Tracy Walton, LMT, MS.
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