resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09
Navigating Ethical Boundaries
By Suzanne Scurlock-Durana
In the next decade, as a profession we would be wise to cultivate the deeper level of ethical action that occurs when we are more embodied. Most of us currently have a good basic knowledge of ethics that clearly delineates both what we do and don't do, in and out of the treatment room.I want to explore the territory beyond that – what we find when we move into the integrity of the navigational system of the body as the ground of our knowing about what is ethical in any given situation. This means knowing when someone has crossed a line even if we cannot put it in words at that moment. It is also what tells us when something is "spot on" in terms of our confidence and creativity.
What I am referring to here is the process of embodiment as a primary tool for navigating ethical boundaries and establishing and maintaining ethical therapeutic relationships. This requires that we have the basic skills to be connected to our environment, our clients, etc. And that we connect in a healthy manner, that we know how to connect with, but not invade another person's personal space and that we know how to hold our own boundaries firm when needed so that others respect and honor our personal and professional space.
Building from this foundation is the deeper level of integrity and ethical behavior that emerges as we ourselves become more grounded in our own bodies and in our own inner wisdom as practitioners. In my three decades in bodywork and teaching, my experience is that we all have access to this innate wisdom, but many have never consciously recognized it. Let's explore how to bring this inner wisdom to conscious awareness, and to engage with it.
STEP 1: Dropping In
To engage this inner wisdom, first allow yourself to drop your awareness down into your body, doing so with an openness to discovery and a willingness to meet whatever you find inside with as little judgment at possible. Any meditative system that helps you explore your inner landscape will work here. Not a guided visualization, which tells you what to find inside, but a system that helps you ask questions of your internal landscape and then encourages you to notice what sensations, visual hits or inner knowing show up. So questions like, "What is the temperature of the air as it enters my nostrils; and is it effortless to breathe today, or is there a catch anywhere in my inhale or exhale? And, what sensation would feel most nourishing to my lungs right now?"
When you ask yourself these "sensation questions," you are engaging parts of the brain that Dr. Daniel Siegel names as the cutting edge of conscious awareness. Our neurons fire in a more integrated, full-brained manner when we open up to bodily sensations and drop in to explore what is there.
Step 2: Expand Your Internal Awareness
Next, allow yourself to expand to a more full body awareness. If the container of who I am – in my body and mind – is fully present, it means that I am actually conscious of my boundaries. I am "at home" at the border where who I am ends and the rest of the world begins. If someone tries to cross my boundary, I am a lot more likely to sense it immediately. If, on the other hand, I live primarily in my head or only by the dictates of external sources and rules, then I am not as available for the wisdom my boundaries may be signaling to me. I am not able to self-reference.
Another example of this is when we fail to do the basic self-care that keeps us full and energized as therapists. When we are "running on empty," it is easy to miss signals from our deep wisdom (or any other part of us for that matter). Most of us intuitively know this, but the stressors of life can cause us to forget these important facts.
Step 3: Own Your Inner Wisdom Places
So what does this deep wisdom of the body have to teach us about integrity and ethics and how can we tap into it more regularly? First of all, we now know that every cell in the body has its own intelligence that when healthy, operates in conjunction with all the other cells in our bodies. In this dynamic process, I have found that certain areas of who we are seem to have certain kinds of wisdom. Let me give you a few simple examples.
There has been lots of research recently on the "gut brain" or the intelligence of the lower torso area of our bodies. Think of how powerfully it signals you when something is really "off" in your world. "My gut sense is that this is a bad idea." Or alternately, "I don't know why, but this feels really right!" The pelvis/gut area of the body has it's own wisdom and when you listen to it, it can keep you safe and move you in more life enhancing directions.
How about our hearts? This area is the center of our cardiovascular system and also what makes us human. Deep inspiration often emerges from our hearts. We fall in love through our hearts. Our hearts register our inner world and how we are feeling in any given moment. When something in our life touches us deeply, you hear the expression, "Oh, my heart!" "Or, "My heart aches for you."
Our feet and legs seem to have wisdom about how to move through life's thorny issues if we engage them. When I am mulling over a problem or wondering how to resolve something, if I can take a walk (engaging my feet and legs), I often come back with the issue resolved even if I didn't think about it on my walk!
And so, we have three examples of different general areas of the body, each with their own flavor of wisdom. If you can learn to engage them, you are on your way to having the integrity of full body presence, and navigating in your world from the wisdom of your inner landscape. How can we do this?
First, by engaging the heart. Allow yourself to relax and breathe naturally into your heart area. Notice what whispers of wisdom are there, without judgment. The signals can be quiet initially. Do not let your linear mind over rule what you are hearing. Best used in conjunction with the wisdom of the gut.
Second, engage the gut. When you enter the treatment room, notice what your gut is signaling to you about this person's situation. Do they need you to approach them firmly or gently? Do they need you to engage verbally or remain silent? It is often as clear and simple as that. Again, do not let your linear mind automatically override what you are hearing. Once you have a clear hit from your gut, you can assess the facts of the situation as you know them and decide on the wisest actions to take in that session.
And third, engage your feet and legs. As you enter the treatment room, feel the sensation of your legs supporting your upper body. Feel your feet under you. Wiggle your toes if you need to feel more sensation. As you go through the session, return your awareness to your legs and feet and to the ground under you for support and steadiness.
The key here is to remember that optimally all our cells - and thus all parts of us - should be connecting with each other. My heart may tell me what is going on inside of me emotionally, but my gut will tell me the truth of the situation, and my feet and legs will help me "walk in the world" in a more powerful, clear manner. Think about falling in love with the wrong person - your heart may feel so full in the moment, but when you ask your gut it gives you a big internal "no – this person is a schmuck." Your feet and legs can help you take action with our inner wisdom fully manifesting. So if engaged, we can take an action and walk away from that circumstance that was bad for us.
When we are more fully embodied, it means that there is more communication between all the parts of who we are. In that, there is a synchronicity that is far greater than the sum of the parts. Navigating from within ourselves – mind, body and spirit – only makes sense with what we do for a living. Ethical actions follow naturally when we are fully present. Isn't it time you stepped into the integrity of your full body presence?
Suzanne Scurlock-Durana is a 20-year veteran in the field of conscious awareness and its relationship to the healing process. An expert at integrating right- and left-brain understanding, she teaches therapists around the world how to develop their therapeutic presence through her Healing From the Core training series offered by The Upledger Institute.
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