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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.
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."
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
April, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 04
The Danger of Hidden Toxins
By Ann Brown, LMT
As a massage therapist, your job is hands-on wellness. Every client that comes to your massage table wants to feel better, and as a massage therapist, you are trained to use your time with that client to their benefit. If you do your job well, that client will want to come back, but there is always competition ready to turn your client's head. You have to be different – better in a memorable way – than your competition.
As you consider how you develop your brand and what you are known for in your client's mind, think about how the wellness service you offer can go beyond the massage table. Think about how your focus on holistic, natural health can help your client to lead a life of wellness. Sharing knowledge of how to lead a cleaner, non-polluted life at home will give added benefit to your client and may be the differentiator you need to build even tighter guest loyalty and more repeat business.
When the client comes to the massage table, you connect with the guest through the skin, the body's largest organ. The strokes and techniques you apply may provide immediate relief and lingering benefits, but what happens after the massage session is over? Do you ask your client about what is coming into contact with his or her skin? Many hidden toxins linger in everyday products. By educating yourself on research and risks, you can share valuable information on how to avoid toxicity with your clients who seek a higher level of wellness.
The quality of drinking water is a common concern, and you may already be using a filter to eliminate pathogens or contaminants. Your bathing water, however, may also have a negative impact on your health. A chemical commonly used to disinfect public water supply, chlorine reduces the level of pathogenic bacteria in the water we drink, but it may also damage beneficial bacteria in our bodies. Several studies connect chlorinated drinking water with toxicity issues. According to Chris Kresser, an internationally known integrative medicine practitioner, chlorine in your water supply can combine with organic matter to form compounds called trihalomethanes (THMs), also known as disinfectant byproducts. A common THM, chloroform is a known carcinogen. THMs are toxic when consumed, inhaled, or applied to the skin.
Several studies of communities with chlorinated drinking water show concerning results, such as increased risk of bladder, kidney and rectal problems, poor birth outcomes, spontaneous abortion, birth defects and low birth weight, among others. More studies are needed to provide substantial research, but Kresser argues that it is reasonable to assume a harmful relationship between chlorinated water and beneficial intestinal flora. For example, a strong connection exists between asthma, acne, autoimmune disorders and the health of our intestinal flora.
While you may try to protect yourself with filtered water, your daily shower or bath may be allowing the chlorinated water to adversely affect your body's systems via skin absorption. Kresser cites studies from Rutgers University and Kyungpook National University in South Korea to provide supporting evidence that the health risks of chlorine may be related to dermal and inhalation exposure. A single, 10-minute shower equates on average to ingesting two liters of water. Chlorine-filtering shower heads and bath filters will remover chlorine from your water, but be aware that another toxin, chloramine, may not completely be removed by such a filter. Very potentially damaging to the lungs, chloramine may also release ammonia. Whole house water filters address chlorine, chloramine and other toxins, or look for a Vitamin C shower filter – an effective and inexpensive way to remove up to 99 percent of the chlorine and chloramine in your water.
Educating Your Clients
Suggest that your clients check with their local water supply company and ask about the disinfecting agents used in the community water supply. Advise them to pay attention to the toxins that may be entering their bodies via skin absorption and to limit their chlorine and chloramine exposure.
Laundry detergent is also another very common and hidden source of toxicity for many households. A 2008 University of Washington study found that 99 percent of laundry detergents released cancer-causing chemicals – substances deemed as hazardous and toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency. Among the most damaging of these chemicals, nonylphenol ethoxylate is also used as an ingredient in pesticides and, through your skin, can enter your blood stream and cause serious damage to heart and muscle function.
Formaldehyde is also a cancer-causing ingredient found in many detergents and those pleasant fragrances many consumers enjoy are phthalates, which can build up in your skin and body. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, phthalates are linked to liver cancer. In addition, the chemicals in laundry detergents may damage your reproductive systems and interfere with your hormones.
You can find simple recipes for homemade laundry detergents on the web (check out www.motherearthliving.com, for example). Making your own detergent saves money, the environment and your health. Make up a batch and give small packets of the powder to your clients as a gift, reinforcing your dedication to their health and your expertise as a wellness provider.
More studies are needed on the subject of toxins in our water and common household products, but based on what we do know, it is wise to protect ourselves from toxicity risks as much as possible. Share your own passion for natural, toxic-free living with your clients and solidify your position as a true wellness provider in their minds.
Ann Brown, a licensed massage therapist, is a member of the International Spa Association's board of directors and serves as spa director at Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Mo. She also provides management consulting services through Spa Insight Consulting.
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