resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
August, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 08
Lymphatic Self Care: Boosting Your Body's Ability to Heal Itself
By Eileen Laird, LMBT, LTC
As massage therapists, we spend our days caring for others and often arrive home too tired to take care of ourselves. What if there was a simple self-care protocol that you could do in 15 minutes, while you lay in bed at night, one that was relaxing as well as healing? Lymph drainage is just such a therapy.The majority of lymph nodes are located on the front of the body, making them easy to reach. It's gentle work, so it doesn't strain over-tired hands and you can cleanse the main lymph nodes in just 15 minutes, which is plausible at the end of a long workday. The results are relaxation, detoxification and healing on many levels. I use this self-care sequence myself and have taught it to both clients and colleagues.
The Effects of Lymph Drainage
By manually stimulating the lymphatic system, you:
So how do these broad changes specifically affect the body? The most famous application for lymph drainage is its effectiveness in treating edema and lymphedema. However, this therapy is profoundly effective for supporting our health overall. The Chikly Health Institute lists more than 100 indications for lymph drainage, from relieving pain to regulating digestion to treating skin conditions. "The curriculum has evolved, since we started," says Dr. Bruno Chikly. "We have seen over 10,000 students and have developed both a lymphedema and non-lymphedema certification." Their training includes applications for organs, joints, trigger points and fascial restrictions.
Isabelle Mender, a massage therapist in Eugene, Ore., gives herself a lymphatic boost seasonally. "During hay fever season, I usually treat myself twice a day. The treatments help to alleviate my sinus congestion, runny, itchy eyes and overall inflammation in my head." David Doubblestein, a Lymph Drainage Therapy Instructor, uses lymphatic self-care to prevent illness and treat injury. "At the first sign of a cold, I do lymph drainage on myself and typically avoid the illness," said Doubblestein. "I've also smashed my fingers more than once. (I admit I'm not the most graceful with tools.) Draining the area gets rid of the pain and throbbing sensation, and quickly too." However, Doubblestein stresses that you don't need to be sick or injured to practice lymphatic self-care. "I personally love the neck sequence anytime. In particular, it's an excellent finish to yoga practice. You can do the neck sequence when you're relaxing in corpse pose, and it puts your body in a parasympathetic state." Mender agrees, "it's a great way to simply chill out!"
Self Care Protocol
The lymph nodes are the powerhouses of the lymphatic system, and you have more than 500, located at pivotal points along your lymphatic vessels. The majority of your lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpits, abdomen and groin. These are the areas we'll be addressing in this simplified self-care protocol. Stimulating the main lymph nodes of the body has a global effect on the lymphatic system, increasing lymph flow body-wide.
Lymph drainage is very different from traditional massage therapy. Here are some things to know:
Step 1: Clavicle (Collarbone)
Hand Placement: Place your fingertips at the base of your neck, on the superior edge of your clavicle. Direction of Stroke: Using the lightest touch possible, stretch your skin medially, toward the sternal notch. This is a slow, three-second stretch. Release your touch completely for three seconds. Repeat four more times.
Step 2: Back Chain (Trapezius)
Hand Placement: Place the pads of your fingers on top of the trapezius muscle at the back of your shoulders. Direction of Stroke: Using the lightest touch possible, stretch your skin in a curving motion, laterally toward your outer shoulders and then slightly forward. Picture a candy cane. The long part of the candy cane is the stretch laterally across your trapezius muscle, then finish the stretch forward, like the hook on a candy cane. The total stretching movement lasts three seconds. Release your touch completely for three seconds, and then repeat four more times.
Step 3: Neck Hug
Hand Placement: Although this photo looks a bit like a choking hold, this hand position is very light, more like a butterfly's wings. Place the pads of your fingers on your sternocleido-mastoid muscles. The rest of your hands shouldn't touch your neck at all. In fact, there should be a gap between your hands and the front of your throat. Direction of Stroke: Using the lightest touch possible, stretch the skin over your SCM muscle directly down (inferior), toward your clavicle. This is a slow, three-second stretch. Release your touch completely for three seconds. Repeat four more times.
Step 4: Spinal Chain
Hand Placement: Place the pads of your fingers along the sides of your neck. Direction of Stroke: Using the lightest touch possible, stretch your skin slightly forward (anterior) and then down (inferior) toward the clavicle. The total stretching movement lasts three seconds. Release your touch completely for three seconds, and then repeat four more times.
Step 5: Waterwheel
Hand Placement: This is a small but very important lymph node area. The entire head and face drain through these nodes. Place the pads of two fingers behind your earlobe. You'll feel a soft spot. That's the waterwheel. Direction of Stroke:
Stretch the skin over the waterwheel directly down (inferior). It's a small area, so the stretching movement will be short – approximately one inch. Stretch for three seconds, release for three seconds, and then repeat four more times.
Rinse the Neck
Now that you've opened up all the lymph nodes of the neck, it's important to encourage free flow back to the clavicle. To do this, repeat the steps in reverse order (4, 3, 2 and 1). Then continue on to step 6 below.
Step 6: Axilla (Armpits)
Hand Placement: Lift your left arm slightly, and place the fingertips of your right hand in the peak of your left axilla (armpit). This is a very important region. The lymph of your arm, breast and part of your torso drain through here.
Direction of Stroke: Gently push inward, toward the center of your body. You are encouraging lymph flow back to your heart. Gently push in for three seconds, release for three seconds, and repeat four more times. Be sure and repeat this process for your opposite arm.
Relax the Abdomen
The next steps treat the lymphatic vessels of the deep abdomen. They are located beneath the abdominal muscles, so it is helpful to relax those muscles first. This can be done through deep belly breathing, or a few minutes of massage, your choice. After you have relaxed your abdomen, continue to step 7.
Step 7: Cisterna Chyli
Hand Placement: Place the pads of your fingertips on the center of your abdomen, between your rib cage and navel. The rest of your hand is lifted off your skin, so that your fingertips are the only part of your hand touching your abdomen.
Direction of Stroke: Gently push inward and upward. The pressure here is a little bit deeper. The rhythm, however, is the same: a three-second stretching movement; release for three seconds; repeat four more times.
Step 8: Abdominal "V"
Hand Placement: Place your hands flat on both sides of your lower abdomen. They'll form the letter, "V." Direction of Stroke: Gently push inward, and then upward on a diagonal, toward the sternum. (The movement is supero-medial.) The movement is a three-second deep stretch; release for three seconds; repeat four more times.
Step 9: Inguinals (Crease of Leg)
Hand Placement: Bend your knee and feel the angle that forms between your leg and pelvis. Place your fingertips on this crease.
Direction of Stroke: The pressure here is very gentle again, because these lymph nodes are just under the skin. Stretch the skin upward (superior). The length of the stretch is short – approximately one inch. Stretch for three seconds; release for three seconds; repeat four more times. Be sure and repeat this process for your opposite leg.
Rinse Back to the Heart
Now that you've opened up all the lymph nodes of the abdomen, it's important to encourage free flow back to the heart. Repeat steps 8, 7 and then finish with step 1.
The same contraindications that apply for massage therapy also apply for lymph drainage. Professional course curriculum goes into these in more detail.
Eileen Laird, LMBT, LTC has been a massage therapist for 10 years and has a private practice specializing in Lymph Drainage Therapy. She is certified through the Chikly Institute in Lymphatic Techniques, which is the holistic branch of their curriculum. She is also the author of two books.
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