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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
August, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 08
Freeing the Heart: Enhancing Central Circulation
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
Enhancing central circulation is a notion that has emerged over many years from my work with clients who typically present with exceptionally difficult chronic somatic difficulties. It's combined therapeutic intentions have been to:
Here, we seek to identify the what and where of these therapeutic intentions. Many possible "how to's" are possible when one's treatment goals are clear.
It is postulated that this orientation of enhancing central circulation can serve to reduce the workload required of the heart and may slow the build-up of plaques within the coronary arteries. Further, it is postulated that a dedication to assisting cardiac output, neurological balancing and venous and lymphatic return in each bodywork session will assist the autonomic nervous system to more equitably deliver fresh blood to ischemic tissues associated with stubbornly chronic problems.
From our common training base in Swedish massage, we were taught stroking patterns and a general sequential protocol that was intended to assist systemic venous and lymphatic return. Little attention, however, was given to restoring the underlying mechanism(s) by which the body can reset its efficiency of facilitating the flow of these fluids within itself nor, to balancing the functioning of the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system or to enhancing diaphragmatic and ankle/foot range of motion. Absolutely no attention was given to reducing the resistances to the heart's expansion. That is what makes this construct of enhancing central circulation both useful and unique.
To my sensibilities, there are three great pumps which are designed to move the fluids of the body (arterial, venous, lymphatic and interstitial). These include:
Now, add the notion of equalizing the pressure between the body's three great cavities which is proposed to allow for the natural flow of fluids back to the heart based on restoring normal pressure gradients.2,3 Full credit is given to Dr. Jean-Pierre Barral, DO, for introducing me to this golden anatomical nugget in 1987.
Consider the importance of enhancing the movements of these mechanisms which are the prime pumps of fluids and the importance of restoring the appropriate pressure differentials which assist these fluids to more efficiently move back toward the heart. Consider how therapeutic attention to these factors may together "reduce the need" for the heart to work harder or for the arterial system to narrow. Consider how these intentions might be a contribution our profession could make toward the prevention of high blood pressure.
The notion of reducing sympathetic tone and enhancing parasympathetic outflow is a core construct of craniosacral therapy as was taught by Dr. John Upledger, DO. I was first introduced to this foundational premise in 1986 and my years of clinical practice since vivify the effectiveness of this treatment goal. This relates to all aspects of activating the body's self-corrective capacities and especially to the regulation of a normal heart rhythm as it is the sole duty of the vagus nerve to slow the heart.4,5
Let us now consider the equally important therapeutic intention of reducing or removing obstacles to the flow of fluids back to the heart from below the diaphragm. Obstacles may be many and varied in their presentation but in distillation, they slow the return of raw blood products either by making the fluids take alternate routings, by adding resistance to the speed of normal drainage or by building congestion as the fluids are held back from moving. Similar to being stopped by a traffic snarl, we either seek another route around the tie-up, crawl our way along hoping the problem will clear itself, or when traffic is completely stopped, we wait in frustration for the road to open ahead of us.
My clinical experience suggests that congestion around or inflammation within the liver, gall bladder and pancreas complex is one of the most common obstacles to blood return. Let us appreciate that the liver is suspended from the inferior surface of the diaphragm muscle and its portal vein is the main tributary for venous blood returning to the heart through the inferior vena cava. Together with the gall bladder, its common bile duct and the sphincter of Oddi which is shared with the pancreas, any inflammation in these organs or their tubes can impair venous and lymphatic return. This is why learning to mobilize and gently stretch these organs and tubes, along with others, is such an important skill for touch practitioners to add to their therapeutic tool boxes.3,6,7
Above the diaphragm, another common area where blood seems to become congested is at the cranio-cervical junction. This is a crucial area to evaluate and treat with whatever therapeutic tools you possess. My experience supports another notion that Dr. John Upledger postulated some 26 years ago: that the brain sometimes holds onto blood. And that the bilateral jugular foramen openings in the cranium serve to drain 85% of the fluids leaving the cranium.4 It is through these same openings that the vagus nerves, who have the task of helping to regulate the heart, exit the cranium.8 A simple way to evaluate this notion of vascular congestion is to lift your client's head and feel for its weight in your initial evaluation. Later, if your bodywork has successfully normalized the flow of fluids leaving the cranium, their head will kinesthetically weigh less.
The Inside-Out Paradigm continues to explore the inner workings of how we may assist our clients to both maintain or to regain their functional capacity and quality of life. Enhancing central circulation is proposed to not only to assist the heart itself but may be a key component toward facilitating the autonomic nervous system to increase its delivery of fresh blood to stubbornly chronic somatic tissues as well.
Click here for more information about Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD.
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