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The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
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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