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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.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
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.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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.
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.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
June, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 06
Surgical Intervention Averted with CranioSacral Therapy
By John Matthew Upledger
Imagine going from a diagnosis for which brain surgery is recommended to a diagnosis of perfect health, all within a three-week period. That's what happened to one young man named Matt after receiving just two sessions of CranioSacral Therapy.At the time of treatment, Matt was 14-years-old and had been suffering from a category 9-10 headache for nine months. He had been to see several medical doctors, but none could determine the cause. Extensive testing provided only one conclusive finding: Matt's cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure was far too high.
The doctors gave Matt a diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri, which basically means that his body was acting as if he had a brain tumor, but he really did not have one. Drugs had no effect. The only treatment that provided some relief was a spinal tap to draw off excess fluid. The procedure was repeated every two to three weeks with progressively diminishing results. The doctors were at a loss for what else to do. That's when they proposed brain surgery to insert a shunt to drain off the excess fluid. There was no assurance that this would help, however, since they still did not know what was causing the problem.
Good fortune intervened in Matt's life at this especially pivotal time. One of the nurses in the ICU where Matt received his spinal taps just happened to be a client of Tim Hutton, PhD, LMP, CST-D, a certified CranioSacral Therapy practitioner. Pulling Matt's mother aside, she suggested that Matt try CST before they resorted to surgery.
Problem Six Years In The Making
By Matt's first visit to CranioSacral Therapist Tim Hutton, he had endured 23 spinal taps along with 23 sedations with a general anesthetic. Tim recalled, "Matt had a horrendous headache; his low back felt like a pin cushion; and his liver and kidneys were struggling to detox all the drugs he had been given. Needless to say, he was not a happy camper." The first order of business was to assess Matt's craniosacral rhythm. What Tim discovered shocked him. There was no discernible rhythm anywhere. "It felt as if the craniosacral system did not even exist," Tim said. "I have never felt that on a client before or since."
Placing his hands on top of Matt's head, Tim felt his hand pulled strongly into Matt's left parietal. That's when Tim asked the pivotal question, "Did you ever hit your head?" The reply was yes. When Matt was 9-years-old he was riding his bicycle when he hit a rock and took a dive over the handle bars. The impact broke Matt's right arm and shattered the helmet he was wearing, directly over his left parietal. A possible connection had been made. This could be the source of Matt's headaches. Tim continued to follow the pull into Matt's jammed left parietal, assisting the bone to unlatch.
"This only took a couple of minutes," Tim said. "Once the parietal released, Matt immediately had good craniosacral rhythm throughout his body. I spent the rest of the session just encouraging things to move." When Matt returned a week later, Tim said, "Things were still moving, so I simply encouraged everything to move a bit further." Within three weeks of his first session of CranioSacral Therapy, Matt was headache free. As you can imagine, Matt's parents were more than a little curious to know what was going on in Matt's body. They scheduled an appointment at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where Matt received a full medical work-up. After a thorough examination and testing, the doctors declared Matt to be in perfect health. There was no evidence to indicate any problem.
Key To Healing
From a CranioSacral Therapy point of view, Matt's headache is easy to understand. It is founded in the pressurestat model, a theory developed in the mid-1970s by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger with neurophysicist Ernst Retzlaff.
By design, cerebrospinal fluid is a filtrate of the blood. It is filtered out of the high-pressure arterial blood and reabsorbed into the venous system. Through their research, Dr. Upledger and Dr. Retzlaff discovered that the body controls CSF pressure by a mechanism called a pressurestat — a semi-closed hydraulic system with a regulated inflow and outflow — located within the craniosacral system. They theorized that within this environment, fluid reabsorption is constant while fluid production is intermittent.
When fluid production is occurring, the pressure in the skull rises, causing the skull to expand to a very small degree. This stretches the sagittal suture ever so slightly. When the pressure has risen to a certain level, stretch sensors within the suture send a signal to the brain to stop fluid production. Once the production stops, the pressure drops and the sagittal suture closes slightly. Because the CSF is constantly draining away, the pressure receptors eventually trigger the brain to resume fluid production. This entire process is repeated every 5 to 10 seconds.
During each cycle, only about 0.01 ml of fluid is produced. This slowly pushes the CSF through the system, replacing the entire fluid volume three or four times a day. As the fluid moves through the brain and spinal cord, it carries away metabolic waste from the tissue. If the fluid is prevented from doing this, a buildup of waste occurs in the tissue, ultimately resulting in inflammation.
When Matt hit his head, he jammed his sagittal suture, shutting down his pressurestat system. The signal to shut off fluid production was never sent, so the fluid production continued as long as it could. When the CSF pressure matched the arterial pressure, no more fluid could be produced, and the system shut down. The CSF became stagnant and there was a buildup of metabolic waste in the central nervous system, causing inflammation and ultimately Matt's headache. Once Matt's system was freed up and the fluid could move again, it took a few weeks for the body to eliminate all the waste. Once the waste was removed, the inflammation died down and Matt's headache went away.
Tim said, "The most fascinating thing about this case is that Matt hit his head when he was 9 years old, but his headache did not start until he was 14. His sagittal suture was jammed the entire time, but he obviously was able to get enough signal to run his pressurestat. Something happened when Matt was 14 that rendered his pressurestat incapable of compensating any longer." Tim suspects it was puberty — a process that is difficult under the best of circumstances!
"I believe that all of Matt's hormones got stirred up and his body was no longer able to maintain the pressurestat," Tim said. "To me, this one case provides strong evidence for the validity of the pressurestat theory." Matt's case is also a prime example of how our bodies hold tension from every trauma we have ever experienced. So long as we can compensate around those tensions there will be no symptoms. Only when we can no longer compensate do symptoms appear.
John Matthew Upledger is the CEO of Upledger Institute International. For 25 years, he has been actively engaged in all aspects of the organization — from education to clinical services. For more information about CranioSacral Therapy and other modalities offered for study through Upledger Institute International go to www.iahe.com.
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