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The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02
Helping Babies Heal from Difficult Births with CranioSacral Therapy
By Janine Blanchard
Newborns and infants express themselves by gurgling, crying and wailing. But what if you feel like you can't satisfy their needs or simply don't know what's going on? In CranioSacral Therapy, we "listen" to what a baby has to say with our "thinking, feeling, seeing, knowing fingers," a term that the founder of Craniosacral Therapy, W.G. Sutherland, coined. We use touch to learn how trauma or difficult experiences have left their mark on the baby. This gives us important information about what's happening with a baby who seems upset or unhappy.
As a CranioSacral Therapist, I work with different tides in the body associated with a child's nervous system. I am able to palpate subtle rhythms in the body, similar to, but more subtle than the breath and heart beat. This helps me discover what might be inhibiting a child's balance or state of well-being. For example, with my knowing hands and fingers, I can find restrictions in parts of the skull. These can occur where a complicated or long birth process causes cranial bones to move and position themselves on top of each other. I can then help the body correct these problems.
Take newborn Amelia, for instance. Her family brought her into my office because she was in respiratory distress after birth. She spent weeks in the newborn intensive care unit so that her breathing could be monitored. After examining Amelia, I concluded that her breathing was shallow. Her little lungs felt like they were not using the room they had to unfold and breathe deeply. Her ribcage was not expanding all the way. We call these "underinflated" lungs. I see this in cases when the baby will attempt her first breath while the torso is still in the birth canal and only the head is delivered.
I worked to settle Amelia's lungs. First, I placed my fingers on her sternum and confirmed the "under-inflated" feel of the tissues under my fingers. I sensed the shock and trauma involved in this part of her body. I could feel pent-up energy, which I worked to release. After this, Amelia took a deep breath and fell into a deep relaxation. To help heal Amelia's trachea, which was irritated by medical procedures, I brought the tissues involved into a "point of balanced membranous tension," a physiological process that allows the tissues to relax. The next time I saw Amelia, the newborn didn't show symptoms of respiratory difficulties and all family members were less worried about their baby.
When newborns like Amelia experience difficult births, they can move away from what CranioSacral Therapists view as the ideal state: to be in the here-and-now, grounded in the present. Babies can move away from this state before and during the birthing process if they're exposed to fear. Fear can cause infants to disconnect from the present moment and function in the "fear" mode — worried and unsettled. They operate under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the system that kicks in the fight-or-flight response when in danger.
This process can begin in the womb. Imagine your baby in your womb. The close physiological connection between mother and her embryo influences the unborn and may set the stage for how the baby perceives and responds to challenging situations throughout life. This connection is known as prenatal programming. It is possible that a mother with constantly raised levels of cortisol, released under stress during her pregnancy, may well produce a child with hyperactivity or behavioral problems.
For this reason, it's important for pregnant mothers to reduce stress during pregnancy. What's more, creating the right birth environment is critical. Leaving the womb is an intense process and, ideally, babies should enter an environment that's as similar as possible to the physical environment of the womb. Babies should be welcomed by soft light, familiar voices and the warmth of the mother's arms. Such conditions stimulate the production of oxytoxin – also called the "love hormone" – to reaffirm the bond between mother and child.
A baby's first moments have an enormous influence on the weeks and possibly years or decades after labor. Ideally, we want mother and baby to feel as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. This also will release oxytoxin, a neuro-hormone that is naturally released in an intimate relationship. It is the hormone produced during orgasm, and it is an important hormone for breastfeeding mothers. This magical love hormone is stimulated in the mother by her infant's scent or by pheromones (chemicals sensed by smell).
When we don't provide a nurturing birth environment, the baby can experience trauma, physical problems and emotional imbalances. When baby cannot be close to mom after birth and is exposed to strangers, sharp light and loud noises, baby falls into a state of fight-or-flight. But the child is too small to react the way adults would. The baby's sympathetic system stays in high alert and the newborn in high stress and anxiety. This can result in symptoms like restlessness, digestive problems or sleeping difficulties.
Since a baby's nervous system is growing so rapidly at this point, the negative experiences can biologically follow the child through life, making it hard for the child to adapt comfortably to change and new beginnings. It is always amazing for me to see and feel how infants can slowly let go of their history of trauma and move back toward health. In a CranioSacral session, babies can unwind, which is a term for moving one's own tissues into a more adaptable state. Babies can literally re-experience parts of their birth process, "telling" us their birth story. Sometimes they will move their bodies the way they did coming through the birth canal, but this time giving their tissues the opportunity to avoid getting stuck or traumatized.
Tony, for example, had to be delivered by vacuum extraction because of birth-related complications. He was a rather fidgety, restless newborn and had digestive problems. Medical findings were inconclusive. In our first session, I noticed tension in his cranial bones. There was also an irritation on the vagus nerve, which is the major nerve for controlling our digestive system and parasympathetic nervous system. I treated him by releasing tension in the cranial bones, freeing the vagal nerve and regulating the autonomic nervous system to function freely. During the session, Tony's system settled and his little body relaxed.
The tension in Tony's system was most likely caused by direct pressure on his head from the vacuum extraction. A natural birth usually involves less direct and more equal distribution of force. After a few more sessions working with other birth-related issues in his system, Tony became more content in everyday life and his digestive system started to settle. It's possible this therapy helped him avoid problems later in life. For example, we often find food sensitivities and attention disorders in children who experience births like Tony's.
In a therapy session, we have the opportunity to provide the most nurturing environment, correcting the initial traumas the body innocently embraced. In this way, babies' sense of presence is strong and healthy again. They no longer operate in the fear state. By re-establishing proper states in the body, old, unhealthy patterns fade and the infant is set to welcome new experiences and opportunities for growth and love.
Janine Blanchard is a European Osteopath and CranioSacral Therapist in Portland specializing in pre- and postpartum care, infants and children. For more information about her work, visit www.janineblanchard.com.
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