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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.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business 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.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
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."
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
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.
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.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
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.
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.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
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.
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
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.
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02
Encouraging a Call for Cure in the New Year
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
If you are reading this, the world did not come to an end or significantly awaken in December. Sorry about that, but there is still hope, so onward we go into 2013.
Change Continuing Ed
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a continuing education provider. I have been since 1988, way back in the last century when continuing education was not required by any organization. Only a few states had massage licensing laws and not all of them required continuing education for license renewal. In those ancient, more civilized times, therapists took continuing education courses because they knew full well their entry level massage school training was limited and inadequate and they desired to learn more to be able to better help their patients through the power of touch. That is still why therapists should invest in continuing education (CE) - to learn more than they currently know. This enables therapists to help more people and thus make more money. Good CE doesn't cost; it pays. It should be it's own incentive. Sadly, the reason way too many therapists take classes these days is to get CE hours, as quickly and cheaply as possible, because CE hours are required to renew a license. In so doing, many therapists then lack the resources to invest in courses that will truly advance their career. This is another example of the unintended consequence of over-regulation. It is time to end mandatory continuing education requirements for license renewal.
There is nothing to indicate or prove that massage therapists are endangering the public, and if they are, nothing proves that random CE courses provide any protection. Let's get back to encouraging, but not requiring, therapists to take CE courses that they are actually interested in to enhance their practices through more skills to help more patients. CE Hours should only be a means to improve skills, increase income and to be accumulated toward voluntary advanced certification programs or membership in organizations that promote increased and continued learning.
I know all about the argument that our entry-level is so low we need to force therapists to learn more, but are they learning more or just meeting a requirement? If they want to learn, they will invest in courses that attract them. If they do not want to learn more, they just go through the motions, taking the cheapest, quickest or most convenient course available. Some wait until the last minute and then take whatever is being offered that weekend, not caring what it is and just being there. A therapist told me she took an online, 24 CE hour, hands-on modality course that took her four hours to complete and she did not learn a thing. Is this advancing the profession or protecting the public? I think not. What do you think? Let your state board know.
Clinical Talk: Stimulus-Response
Every active movement your body makes utilizes a neurological process called reciprocal inhibition. When you flex a joint, the nervous system "automagically" tells the extensors of that joint to relax and allow themselves to be elongated. This is recognized in one of Dr. Sherrington's laws, The Law of Reciprocal Inhibition. For a brief moment during a movement, the antagonist muscle(s) is "turned off." What if we could utilize this mechanism, but make it last? We can.
Massage as well as stretching, is much more a stimulus-response effect on the body than a mechanical one. We apply a stimulus to the body's nervous system through pressure and movement and hope to elicit a relaxation or parasympathetic response either locally, systemically or both. Each massage stroke provides a different stimulus to the nervous system. Do you know what stimulus is being applied by each stroke you do? If not, you are working blindly and your results will often be unpredictable. How can you expect to create a deep relaxation response if you are applying an invigorating stimulus? The stimulus – response of each massage stroke is seldom taught.
More and more we are learning that massage is affecting the mechanoreceptors of the nervous system. If we cause pain, we activate the nociceptors which, once triggered, fire for some time. This is not desirable if you are attempting to achieve relaxation. We should be trying to only activate mechanoreceptors that cause relaxation of muscles.
What if we could activate mechanoreceptors in such a way that we elicited reciprocal inhibition to a target muscle or muscle group that would last for more than moments and would, in fact, "reset" the target muscle's tonus, allowing it to elongate as well as reducing the painful sensations? That would be pretty slick wouldn't it? I am now learning a new way of applying the law of reciprocal inhibition, which does just that. Called Neural Reset Therapy (NRT) it has been developed by a very accomplished, insightful therapist. NRT is the most amazing, fastest, easiest way of reducing pain and increasing range of motion I have ever experienced. Even more amazingly, he has discovered how to get the same effect on the opposite side of the body you are working on, all done without manipulating the dysfunctional muscle. Six technique applications based on neurological laws and kinesiology are used to stimulate various mechanoreceptors resulting in the "re-set." This is treating cause (dysfunctional tonus) at the brain level, not just the symptom at the segment level. Seminars in NRT begin in 2013. If you are curious, visit the NRT Facebook Page or my website at www.ralphstephens.com.
End Insanity or Ban It?
In 2013, we have experienced multiple events of ultra-violence, each one seemingly more horrific than the last. The allopathic mindset of the day reacts to address the symptoms. We say we abhor death and must eliminate its causes. Sadly, we are very selective in which causes of death and injury we are concerned about. We only address causes that are politically expedient and agenda advancing. Societal violence is a disease. Disease cannot be banned. Its symptoms can be suppressed or it can be cured. When symptoms of disease are suppressed, the condition arises somewhere else, usually with increased severity. We have to change the awareness of society and focus it on healing - treating causes, not symptoms. Awareness and self-love must be taught and nurtured. Compassionate touch is essential in this process. To commit acts of violence against humanity, individually or institutionally (much more horrific but not as noticeable or newsworthy) is committing violence against the Self, as we are all One.
If the massage profession could just elevate itself to its potential, instead of being content just pushing oil around, we could be the premier wellness modality on the planet. The world is waiting for us to get our act together. Will we, or will we sell out to the failed allopathic paradigm, it's brainwashing educational system model, and the myth that research on the treatment of symptoms will improve the care we provide thus gaining us "acceptance?"
If wellness were to break out it would be an economic disaster. Will we help the existing healthcare system prevent this outcome? Will we continue to help society justify human suffering in the name of profit? We have the power to change hearts and minds, to bring about wellness through the power of touch. Will we step up and use that power constructively or hide and suppress it out of our fear of being different? Different is desperately needed unless we want more of the same.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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