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The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
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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