resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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 Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
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.).
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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!
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07
Before Your Client Arrives, Catch Your Breath
By Teresa M. Matthews, LMT, CPT
The room temperature is ideal. The table height is optimal. The music is just the right genre and volume. The linens are clean, crisp and perfectly prepared. The lighting is soft and natural.The barely-perceptible essential fragrance rests upon a gentle current of fresh air. All stands ready for your client's arrival. Now, what do you do? Please ... catch your breath!
Both literally and figuratively, the best thing you could do for yourself and your client right now, is to take a moment (or two) and just breathe. I mean, RIGHT NOW, while you are reading this, become aware of your diaphragm and consciously direct your next breath deep into your abdomen. Feel better? Of course you do. Need me to remind you to breathe? Of course not, but don't you feel just a little more calm and centered? This is the beauty of the act of breathing.
The process of respiration is thought by many cultures, both Eastern and Western, as the essence of being. Look at the word itself: re - spiration. The root is from the Latin spiritus which means both "breath" and "spirit." Many other Indo-European languages use one word to describe both as well. For example, in Sanskrit, prana; Hebrew ruach; and Greek. Is there deeper meaning in deeper breathing? Perhaps, so let's explore.
A rhythmic process of expansion and contraction and the only bodily function we do both involuntarily and voluntarily, it is the bridge between the two components of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the sympathetic and parasympathetic. As such, we can consciously use our breathing to influence the involuntary processes of our heart rate therefore aiding circulation, blood pressure, digestion, as well as other bodily functions. Consider the physiological responses our bodies have to stressors of any type or intensity; heart rate rises, we perspire, our musculature tenses and our breathing becomes rapid and shallow. "Flight or fight," right?
If this process continues over a long period of time, the sympathetic system becomes over-stimulated which could result in conditions such as high blood pressure, oxygen deprivation, inflammation and muscle pain, to name a few. By mindfully controlling our breathing, we can mitigate and in fact, reverse these negative effects. Just as chronic stress can lead to restrictions in the connective and muscular tissues in the thorax (and resultant decrease in the range of motion (ROM) of the chest wall, regular breathing exercises can gently address these restrictions, strengthen the musculature and increase ROM. Obviously, this is true for our clients as well as ourselves. Learning and using proper breathing techniques will lead to optimizing physical and emotional health in both the short and long term for practitioners and others.
Perhaps the first and most important consideration should be efficiency in breath control. This is best illustrated in the distinction between "chest breathing" and abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. Chest breathing is inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs. The more oxygen in, the greater the transfer and better circulation of blood-borne nutrients to all of the tissues. The key here is conscious and controlled.
Rapid, shallow breathing or worse yet, unconsciously holding one's breath are obvious and profound health challenges. The good news is you can train yourself to become a "belly breather" and with regular practice will be doing so all of the time, even in sleep. Adapted from the audio book Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing, by Andrew Weil, MD., the following exercise can be used for relaxation whenever and wherever you fell the need.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. It may seem subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. A small disclaimer here: This information is intended for your self-care. If prescriptive exercise is out of scope for massage therapists in your jurisdiction, consider bringing these exercises into your beautifully designed and executed treatment room as part of the session, not as any type of prescription. Breath-work can be seamlessly integrated into any modality. The benefits can be felt immediately and can hardly be overstated. So go ahead, take a moment and catch your breath. Stay healthy and enjoy!
Teresa M. Matthews, fitness expert and world champion athlete, has 30 years experience in the fitness industry. She is the president and founder of Health, Wellness & Fitness Professionals, Inc. and is the owner of Arlington School of Massage and Personal Training in Jacksonville, Fla. She is a sports massage instructor for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association and was awarded the FSMTA 2009 Sports Massage Therapist of the Year award. Teresa travels the country teaching self care and wellness classes. Contact her by e-mail at
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