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Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
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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