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It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
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.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Prone Position Syndrome
By David Lauterstein, RMT
How many times have you been receiving a massage and noticed after 40 minutes that you are still lying face down? Your sinuses have filled up. Your face and jaw are being deformed by the face cradle, leading to a related symptom, "cradle face." Your pelvis has been stuck in one awkward position for the much of the session.If you're a knowledgeable receiver, you may already be wondering what will be left out of the massage, because, after 40 minutes prone, receiving mostly back and shoulder work, there is no way the lower body, front torso, arms, hands, head and neck can be adequately addressed. How many times has a therapist apologized for leaving something out because they "didn't have enough time" or they simply ignored it? How many times have you gotten off the massage table and found some symptoms worse from being prone too long or sore from certain areas overworked or underworked?
Much of this can be traced to what I have named, "Prone Position Syndrome" or PPS for short. I'm being both funny and serious in bringing this up. This syndrome is obvious, but I've not often heard it identified as one of the major problems with massages these days. Why do therapists cause PPS so often? What are the causes and problems of PPS and what is the cure?
The first poblem is the lack of education regarding the importance of timing in a massage. What's the cure? Take a better history and determine a game plan for what body segments you will emphasize and approximately how much time you will spend on them. Get client agreement regarding your plan. Then monitor your timing as you go.
The belief that more is better – especially when it comes to working tense areas. The assumption that more force or that more repetitions will improve the session especially affects therapists' work with the back and posterior shoulder girdle. What's the cure? Realize less is often more! The thing that relaxes muscles' tensing is the nervous system. So honestly in massage we are not so much doing soft tissue manipulation (in spite of what most state laws say), instead we use manual suggestions to talk the nervous system into initiating the relaxation response. More repetitions do not do a better job of convincing the nervous system to relax – anymore than verbally telling the person to relax again and again and again.
Therapists are sometimes taught or get into the habit of always working at the same tempo, often doing all their strokes somewhat slowly. Frankly, if the massage is all slow, the client is often just put to sleep. When the client sleeps, there is no body-mind learning. The cure? Work that truly honors the nervous system, the mind and the body's needs – will vary in tempo. It is important to slow down in places of tension. It is equally important to speed up where things are relatively fine. I often think of Muhammed Ali's famous exhortation to "Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee."
To repeat a stroke more than three or four times generally dishonors the client's nervous system. The nervous system GETS the message pretty quick! It doesn't need to be forced to relinquish its tension through brute force or excess repetitions. We need to remember that the client's awareness accompanies our touch and that a really good massage often will nonverbally impart important information to the client about their body and mind and emotions. I recently received a student session and I pointed out that the nervous system gets the message pretty quick and, if it's all slow, it's like assuming talking slow will improve communication.
Excess preoocupation with addressing the back, shoulders and neck and especially in the prone position. This often is a habit reinforced by frequent client requests to "just work on my back and shoulders." Clients do not realize that where their pain ends up is not necessarily where it's coming from. The most common example of this is back pain due to chronic forward flexion of the torso. As long as the front isn't lengthened, the back cannot let go. The cure?
Ida Rolf had an important saying, "Go where they're not." Explain to your clients, if they are willing listen, that you are happy to emphasize their backs and shoulders, but that often their back tension is related to posture and to stress elsewhere in the body. Therefore, in order to give them even more thorough and longer-lasting relief, in addition to giving the back, shoulders and neck lots of attention, your work will help them even more by addressing tension in the legs and feet which give critical support to the back; and addressing tension in abdomen and upper chest to help with the hunched over posture so many of us adopt at our desks and driving.
Boredom - the therapist just won't be bothered to individually plan the timing in the session. The cure? If you are bored in your work, you need to re-examine your attitudes and the environment you work in. Often in school, students say the subject they find most boring is business. But in graduate surveys, they often say if there was one subject they needed to pay more attention to it was business. If you are bored in your work, it is time re-examine your business plan; or, if you don't have one, it is high time create it. This can be fun and it certainly is necessary – look at Business Mastery by Cherie Sohnen-Moe or some other good business text written for massage therapists/health professionals.
Even more serious - lack of care. Sometimes one may be the sixth or seventh client of the day or the twenty-fifth of the week! The therapist, sadly enough, may just not care a whole lot at that point. The cure? Similar to boredom, lack of care may result from your attitudes or from being in an environment that is discouraging. Re-visit your business plan! Every business owner and/or employee needs to make sure that they keep on finding ways to activate their care for themselves and others in their work.
Not having the anatomical knowledge or technical skills to address the client's problems. The cure? Re-visit your anatomy and the most effective techniques you learned in school. Take continuing education that gives you efficient ways to address tension. Learn particularly how to pleasurably and effectively address the myofasical structures which keep the torso in chronic flexion – among them, especially rectus abdominis and pectoralis major.
Together we can overcome this pervasive problem. Let us free ourselves and our clients from the dreaded effects of Prone Position Syndrome!
David Lauterstein is Co-Director of Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in Austin, Texas. He is author of "The Deep Massage Book" and "Putting the Soul Back in the Body." David has been inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame, received AMTA's Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2013, was recognized as "Educator of the Year" by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. For more info, visit www.TLCschool.com.
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