resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
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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