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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
June, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 06
Key Nutrients for Maintaining Musculoskeletal Health
By Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS
As a chiropractor, I fully appreciate the amazing potential of manual therapy. Whether that therapy is a chiropractic adjustment, therapeutic massage, or some of the many other effective body work options; people generally have a wonderful response.From time to time though, we all run into an individual who doesn’t respond to our therapy as we would expect. This can be very frustrating as you are providing something to them that you know should be making a big difference, but for some odd reason they just don’t respond and they may think that massage or body work is just not the right option.
In my clinical experience, I have come to realize is that these "non-responders" are the people who need the most help, but the problem is that their body is so malnourished, there is no support for the underlying biochemistry to respond to the exact therapy they need. When their bodies are supported with appropriate nutritional supplementation, the newfound results are, at times, amazing. Think about this for your own health as well.
Nutritional support for musculoskeletal health may target many physiologic functions due to the multifactorial nature of pain, inflammation and tissue abnormality underlying musculoskeletal conditions. Sometimes, optimal support focuses on addressing a unique factor involved in someone’s disease, such as chronic inflammation underpinning rheumatoid arthritis or providing targeted nutrition for joints affected by arthritis. For this article, I will be focusing on a more general approach to musculoskeletal health support that can be beneficial to the majority of your massage clients.
One of the first concepts to consider is generalized support of the tissues. Within my practice, I have noticed that without base nutrition people cannot respond to the more specific therapies. Through the proper application of a high quality multi-vitamin mineral complex, it can be nearly assured that your client will be receiving the proper base nutrition to have an appropriate response to any manual therapies you perform.
Fish oil is another general recommendation that will benefit most of your clients. While research has shown a myriad of positive health benefits, there have also been some fairly specific benefits to overall musculoskeletal health. In regards to fish oils being beneficial for musculoskeletal health, many people understand that they promote an anti-inflammatory effect within the body, but do you really know why and how effective they can be? A study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry from 2010, discusses the endocannabinoid signaling system and its role in musculoskeletal health and osteopenia. This system is activated and suppressed by the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The standard American diet (SAD) today is extraordinarily high in harmful omega-6 fatty acids and is almost devoid of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which are primarily found in fish oil, but can also be found in cod liver oil, krill oil, flax and others). This system has been found to be more active under the presence of high levels of arachidonic acid (omega-6), which will ultimately result in muscle atrophy and osteopenia. The researchers found that when omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are balanced, this problem is corrected and healthy muscle development and bone modeling occurs.
Vitamin D supports many functions throughout our bodies, but has some significant effects on musculoskeletal health. People with adequate vitamin D status seem to benefit from a protective effect against muscle weakness and bone fractures. There are a variety of additional nutrients that support the health of the musculoskeletal system. Two which I have come to use quite regularly in practice are bromelain (from pineapple) and proteolytic enzymes, which both have a systemic effect. When used away from food (30 minutes prior to eating or 90 minutes after), the systemic effect is one that helps to break down the exudates that our cells release following any type of injury or insult. Some studies suggest that use can reduce swelling, pain and inflammation. The mechanisms that have been proposed to support this activity include a reduction in PG-E2 production and through the modulation of adhesion molecules and supporting appropriate cytokine balance.
Vitamin C is another nutrient that can be very beneficial in the support of soft tissues throughout the body. This is essential for the adequate formation of collagen and L-carnitine. Collagen is a major component of all of our connective tissues and therefore is an essential component to maintain to ensure the integrity of our musculoskeletal systems. Carnitine is also very essential as it plays a key role in the transport of fatty acids into our mitochondria. Without this nutrient our body would have a very difficult time utilizing our fat stores to produce energy to initiate muscle contraction. Research has found that vitamin C can help to decrease muscle soreness after exercise and speed up our muscles recovery to full strength.
When you successfully combine nutrition and manual therapies (such as massage therapy), the results for your clients can be absolutely amazing. Remember to stay within the limits of your scope of practice for your specific state. Suggest a client might need to see their medical provider or a chiropractor who can counsel them on proper nutrition. Nourishing the bodies of the people that you work with will provide them the extra advantage of having adequate levels of the proper nutrients to ensure an appropriate response to the therapy that you have been providing them.
Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS, is currently a medical educator on staff with Emerson Ecologics, the home of the Emerson Quality Program, as well as a 2007 graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University. Upon graduating, he started a private practice with a focus on using functional medicine to approach tissue health, adrenal health, GI health, weight loss, and optimizing sports performance. He can be reached at
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