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Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
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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