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Making Sense of Liver Regulation
In Chinese medicine, the liver has the function of moving and storing qi and blood. In its moving function, the liver smoothly distributes qi and blood to the tendons, muscles and flesh through microcirculation.
The Qi Focus: A Guide to Managing Stress
Stress, are you experiencing heightened stress levels? Your own, and your clients? Is Trumpitis getting to you? I recently polled a cluster of acupuncturists, Asian Bodywork Therapists (ABT) and psychotherapy colleagues on the issue.
NSAIDs No Better Than Placebo for Spine Pain
A meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials comparing the efficacy and safety of NSAIDs with placebo for spinal pain concludes that among 6,065 spine pain patients, "NSAIDs reduced pain and disability, but provided clinically unimportant effects over placebo."
News In Brief
A "Modern" Business Model. Acupuncturists may have a new professional atmosphere to consider, as a new concept is on the horizon - at least for one business.
Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Why Now Is the Time to Expand
In my January article, "Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Is It Time for Change?" I discussed the use of the term primary spine care practitioner, the loss of privileges to diagnose in Texas, and the fact that the definition of "chiropractic" varied from state to state.
Chiropractic: A Great Fit for the White House
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a New York Chiropractic College alumnus; a No. 1 best-selling author whose books include Awaken the Wellness Within and The 5 Minute Motivator; a chiropractor for professional sports teams and elite athletes; and even served as an advisor under the Clinton Administration to the President's Council on Sports & Physical Fitness.
Toxicity & Kids: The Importance of Environmental Intake
The old adage is true that children are not little adults. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long known that the physiology of children is unique, as are the diseases that plague them.
Help Save an Important Chiropractic Landmark
The chiropractic profession has a splendid and varied history. Sadly, many landmarks have been lost to bulldozers and wrecking crews, such as the Ryan Building, Little-Bit-O-Heaven, Spears Chiropractic Hospital, and Clearview Sanitarium.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter (Part 2)
Now let's discuss the clinical approach to reducing WC and implementation in today's chiropractic practice. The primary intervention centers around dietary modification and lifestyle habits aimed to reduce adiposity, improve insulin sensitivity and ultimately, diminish systemic metabolic dysfunction.
How to Correct a Cuboid Subluxation
Cuboid subluxation is a poorly recognized condition, even though it is not uncommon. It has been described in the literature under various names: cuboid subluxation, cuboid syndrome, locked cuboid, dropped cuboid, cuboid fault syndrome or peroneal cuboid syndrome.
The First (Only) Choice for Spinal Pain
The study on NSAIDs for spinal pain summarized on the front page of this issue is intriguing on a number of levels, the most obvious being the conclusion that "compared with placebo, NSAIDs do not provide a clinically important effect on spinal pain, and six patients must be treated with NSAIDs for one patient to achieve a clinically important benefit in the short-term."
Insomnia Treatment Based on the Yu Theory
In recent years, acupuncture has risen in popularity as a form of alternative or supplemental medicine for the treatment of many different types of disorders.
Give Your Patients the Ergonomic Advantage
Prolonged sitting contributes to low back pain and is a health risk. When I discuss my POLITE technique practice recommendations with patients, ergonomics may be last, but not least!
5 Ways to Enhance Your Family Practice
Every practice has a personality style. A practice that caters to athletes, PI cases or adults, for example, projects differently to patients than a family wellness practice.
Good Works at the Canandaigua VA
Faculty and students of the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (FLSAOM) of the New York Chiropractic College have provided acupuncture to veterans at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Canandaigua, New York since September of 2007.
Integrative Cardiology: The Heart of TCM & Western Medicine
Patient centered therapy is a growing trend in hospitals that are expanding to boutique services.
Treating LBP the Right Way: Think Natural
An updated clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends spinal manipulation and other non-invasive, non-drug therapies as first options for acute, subacute and chronic low back pain, rather than pain medications, as stipulated in the original 2007 guideline.
Treating the Terrain of Chronic Sinus Infections
Chronic sinus infections can be stubborn to treat, but the therapeutic path forward can be simplified when utilizing three distinct treatment principles which take into account the terrain of the body, and the way in which microbes grow.
The Chiropractor's Guide to CRISPR
Science magazine's "Breakthrough of the Year" award for 2015 was described as "the gene-editing tool called CRISPR." CRISPR stands for "clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats."
Caring for Refugees in Greece
At the beginning of 2016 I had no idea what was in store for me, but I was looking forward to a personal retreat on the Greek island of Paros; a graduation gift to myself after 22 years of motherhood, and four-plus years of Chinese medicine school.
Shedding Light on the Benefits of Heliotherapy
I can't imagine anyone not feeling good strolling in the sun on a beautiful spring day. The sun is responsible for all life on earth and is best illustrated along the equator touting the richest biodiversity on the planet, in stark contrast to the Arctic Circle and South Pole.
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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