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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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.).
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 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.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Learning the Right Way to Get Started in this Business
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
So many students of massage ask me, "How do I get started?" To me, it is not how to get started, it is IF you get started. You have to start where you are with a goal and start working toward it.Most of the time, new therapists "just want to help people" and because of the lack of emphasis placed on entrepreneurism and self-promotion in massage school curriculums, they are at a loss as to how to reach the people they desire to help. Often, instructors in massage schools are teaching because they could not create a successful practice for themselves. Another common path to teaching is they destroyed themselves physically using poor body mechanics and now are teaching those to their students.
We handicap our students with unqualified "educators." We shouldn't be surprised at the outcomes. We so desperately need instructor standards but that gets in the way of several different cash flows, so the focus is on hours.
To students of lousy massage schools – it is now up to you to acquire the skills you are lacking on your own. Keep the faith and keep focused on your desires and goals. Find the resources, magazines, DVDs, continuing education programs, the Internet, etc., and get the skills you need to market yourself and your services.
An Aquarian Paradigm
When I came into the massage profession, way back in the last century, the paradigm was (as one of my favorite instructors called it) "Piscean." It was from the Age of Suffering. The "no pain-no gain," philosophy applied to massage as well as to athletics. This was somewhat understandable for the more dense bodies of the time, when everything required more physical effort. Cars required strength to drive. Keyboards of the day, called typewriters (or pianos), required strength to push the keys down. Vacuum cleaners were very heavy and not self-propelled. People needed to endure the therapy to get better. One had to suffer for one's mistakes. While we are still tied to the Laws of Cause and Effect today, people are less dense physically. We now have more mental-emotional stress on our systems and fewer physically exertive requirements. (This is why we now have to "work-out" to stay fit, as opposed to a couple generations ago that "physically worked" and thus were fit.) However, about that same time, a more "Aquarian" paradigm was arising. This was lighter, softer, more energetic ways of changing the body and relieving pain. Some systems were grounded in the physical sciences of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. Others were more esoteric, subtle, or energetic.
As we learn more about the body, we have come to realize that pain-causing therapies are not as productive as once thought. Pain activates the nociceptors and causes contraction, not relaxation. We have learned that stimulating the mechano-receptors, adequately but not excessively, will cause the most "relaxation" of muscles. While "deep tissue massage", which has become massage sold by the pound - usually ineptly applied - will satisfy some patients' masochistic needs emotionally, it is far from the best way to relax either muscle tissue or the nervous system. In addition, such therapies are physically demanding on the therapists and sadly many skilled therapists are forced to give up massage after a few years due to massage related injuries of thumbs, fingers wrists, shoulders, backs, etc. While many of these injuries are directly related to poor body-mechanics training in massage schools, many people who are drawn to the profession just do not have the physical capacity to perform strenuous, repetitive techniques. It is so sad to see therapists who have worked so hard to learn great techniques and built up a successful practice, then have to give up the work they love due to occupational injury.
Throughout my 28 year career, I have performed and taught many very physical forms of massage and my students have done very well with them because I was blessed to have been taught good body-mechanics at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics and passed them along to my students. However, even with the finest of body-mechanics, repetitive activity can take its toll.
I have always appreciated the "physicalness" of massage. But I have felt and taught for some time that what we are doing is really just a game of stimulus-response with the nervous system. Muscles are very good soldiers. They do exactly what they are told to do by the nervous system. They can contract or relax and they do so very precisely on command. You cannot beat a muscle into relaxation, try as some might. Even if you can, and some believe you can - okay fine - but why put the patient and yourself through that unnecessarily when all you have to do is give a gentle, quick stimulus to the mechano-receptors and let them cue the nervous system to relax a particular muscle?
Actually, the body does this every time we move. It is called reciprocal inhibition. Sherrington's Second Law says that when a muscle is contracted, its antagonist is inhibited (relaxed). Now, this inhibition only lasts for the moments of movement, but why can't this mechanism be utilized in a way that does last and in fact "resets" muscle tonus to "normal" or "default" levels? Many therapists have asked this question and some have experimented with ways to accomplish it. However, their methods were sadly lacking, inconsistent, unpredictable, incomplete and short lived.
Finally, someone who happens to be a good friend and colleague, has taken the time to do the research and put in the thousands of hours of clinical time to perfect a system to accomplish the desired results. His name is Lawrence Woods and he calls this system Neural Reset Therapy® (NRT). As I mentioned in my last column, this is the biggest advance in massage technique I have found in my 28 years as a therapist. It is the equivalent of the impact St. John Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) had on my practice and the profession in the late 1980's. It is a game changer.
Imagine having a patient contract a particular muscle against a simulative resistance for a few seconds, resulting in the "resetting" of the tonus of a target muscle. Imagine being able to relax a muscle by stimulating the same muscle on the opposite side of the body, thus not having to press into or stretch the tight or painful muscle at all! Imagine that you can accomplish this with large movements, without much strength, no holding tender points or deep stripping through tissues, straining your thumbs. The patient gets almost instant pain relief without experiencing any pain during the process. This is NRT (www.neuralreset.net) in action. It has completely changed my way of addressing soft tissue, has taken virtually all the load and strain off my body and brought about relief from a variety of problems from athletic injuries to neurological disorders for my clients.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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