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Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
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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