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Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
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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