resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
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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