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Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
CranioSacral Therapy and the High Performance Athlete
By John Matthew Upledger
The life of a high-performance athlete has always amazed me. The grueling training schedules. The intense focus. The sheer athleticism. There is a commitment level to this kind of competitor that I can't begin to fathom.I was reminded of this as I watched the 2012 summer Olympic games from the air-conditioned comfort of my living room couch.
Of course, with that drive to excel can come a sacrifice of health as the body is continually pushed to the limits of its potential. This got me thinking about athletes in general and how they can benefit from CranioSacral Therapy. I found a prime example in a competitive athlete named Rick*.
CST keeps cyclist centered
At 49, Rick is in peak physical condition. A professional cyclist and adventure racer for much of his adult life, he maintains an extremely active lifestyle. Along with cycling, he is an avid runner, skate skier and back country skier.
Rick's training regimen is intense, to say the least. There is mountain biking and trail running, which subjects his body to severe elevation gains and losses. There are marathon sessions on a rowing machine. And there are rigorous plyometric exercises he undergoes to boost his performance. The idea of plyometric movements is to push the muscles to exert maximum force in a small amount of time in order to develop muscular power and improve overall speed. By any definition Rick is a high-performance athlete.
For six years Rick has been the client of Dominique Tardif, MT, in Boise, Idaho. He first came to Dominique looking for sports massage to keep his body "tuned up" and operating at peak performance. Then one day, Rick came in commenting that he didn't feel "centered" on his road bicycle. Chalking it up to a problem with his bike, he said he was going to take it to a mechanic for an assessment. Suspecting that Rick's bike was not the problem, Dominique suggested a new approach. She had recently taken her first CranioSacral Therapy class and thought the techniques would be beneficial given the symptoms he described.
Rick initially had a hard time wrapping his mind around the value of what Dominique described: a technique that used only about five grams of touch. How could something that gentle help him? By the end of the session, Rick was a believer. Using the CST 10-step protocol, Dominique said, "I found restrictions at every listening station! He experienced significant releases throughout his system that day, predominately at his sacrum, thoracic outlet, parietals, temporals and sphenoid." Later that week, Rick sent Dominique an e-mail saying that he was perfectly centered once again on his bike, without the help of a mechanic. "I dare say that caught his attention!" she said.
Since that time, CST has become a regular addition to Rick's sessions. During a recent appointment, Dominique began her assessment, taking Rick's heels in her hands. "I felt a strong pull cephalad on his left side," she said. "At his left ASIS I felt an anterior medial pull. I asked him if he was feeling any pulls or strains in his body." Rick mentioned that he felt a left side/off-center pull. Dominique continued through the listening stations, arcing and assessing for fascial restrictions and facilitated segments. "I used a variation on the 10-step protocol," she said. "I added in CST-based, light-touch deeper fascial work with direction of energy and nonverbal dialoguing with the tissue. The biggest releases were at his sacrum/SI joint/ hips/legs. The final polish was added with the cranial vault holds."
Immediately after the session Rick reported that he felt fully centered and evenly planted through both feet. Nine days later he went on what he called his "first hard run in a long time" — a seven-plus mile run in hilly terrain. He wrote Dominique to say, "I felt totally centered — like a metronome or a set of pistons—balanced and relentless."
Tips for working with athletes
As Dominique discovered with Rick, the application of a light-touch technique such as CranioSacral Therapy often requires a new understanding of how the body responds to gentle, directed touch — or at least a willingness to give it a try. That goes for both the client and therapist! Dominique says, "CST taught me how to have a different conversation with tissue. I find that I can get deeper releases with a lighter touch. I work with a lot of athletes, and I find them generally to have a higher awareness of their bodies than the average person. If there is a challenge it is to convince them that one does not necessarily have to dig deeply into their tissue for them to benefit from the session." Rick says, "Dominique has made me aware that a CranioSacral Therapy session can be a key part of overall maintenance and healing in addition to deep-tissue sports massage."
Appointments with Dominique now almost always include CST — even if it's simply doing a still-point induction to start the session, she says. In Rick's case, sessions average 90 minutes and are scheduled to coincide with rest days in his training. "I always encourage athletes to schedule their sessions with me on a planned rest day in their training regimen and only to do a light workout or just yoga/stretching the following day," she says. "When Rick is feeling a need for a thorough combination, I will split the session between CST and massage. At times we have gone two hours if he wants a full CST session and a full massage."
Working with other clients within a standard hour-long massage session, Dominique is still able to maximize CST's potential. She will quietly arc and assess their Craniosacral rhythm at the beginning of the session and then bring in whatever aspects of CST the body guides her to do. "CST has been invaluable in my practice," Dominique says. "It has given me another modality to expand my practice and client base. It has deepened my conversation with the body and tissue, teaching me that often less is more. And it has encouraged me to ‘get out of the way' and let the client be the guide."
This approach to bodywork can benefit people in all walks and seasons of life—whether they're an elite athlete, a weekend golfer, or a guy cheering on his favorite Olympians from the comfort of his living-room couch.
John Matthew Upledger is the CEO of Upledger Institute International. For 25 years, he has been actively engaged in all aspects of the organization — from education to clinical services. For more information about CranioSacral Therapy and other modalities offered for study through Upledger Institute International go to www.iahe.com.
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