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Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
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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