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Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
The Existential Question and Talking the Walk
By Gerry Pyves
You don't need to be a psychotherapist to talk to your clients or find out why they are coming for a treatment. This is perfectly within your legal "scope of practice." By training to become a psychotherapist, I learned to say much, much less to my massage clients.I learned to let the touch really do the work. I also learned to let the client define their own reality.
You can get plenty of "psycho babble" at every coffee shop in the land. However, I do need to know just why my client is here.
Eric Berne, the founder of Transactional Analysis called this, "asking the existential question." He asked himself: "Why is my client here and not having fun doing sex, drugs and rock and roll?" He also asked himself: "Why am I here and not somewhere else, having fun doing sex, drugs and rock and roll?" It was the sixties, after all. But you probably get the point.
If the client has a tight shoulder, what difference will it make to their life if it is alleviated? How important is it to them? What caused that structural problem? They are made of soft tissue that is more affected by energy, emotion and thoughts than any other substance on the planet. Do we just ignore this fact? If they have a knee problem, what was happening when they injured it? Were they under stress? Was life hard?
Is any of this psychotherapy? Of course not - it is simple human interest. It only becomes invasive if it is done invasively. If you cannot tell the difference between a client keen to share their story and one who is uncomfortable talking about themselves, then it is time to take up another profession. The art of all healing therapy is to know when the time is right to invite the client to share more about themselves.
Symptomatic Or Causative?
Asking questions is how we care for another human being. It is also discovering the essential causative factors of their symptomatic pains. To simply accept a tight shoulder as a structural problem is no better than calling poverty "a shame." These things all have causes and history. Like Sherlock Holmes, we must trace each symptom back to its historical cause, if we wish to be more than some kind of "Mr Fixit dullard." That is not healing touch. It is squashing human beings into a tiny "physical only" box.
Every human deserves to be seen and heard and to be touched. Do you really know why they have invested this money and this time in coming to see you? Do you dare to ask the existential question? Likewise, at the end of the session, do you dare ask, "Did you get what you came for?" In my previous article, I talked about asking the client to walk around at the end of the session. To do this well, requires three basic protocols.
Getting Out The Way
The first protocol is to get myself out of the way both physically and psychologically. Some clients are uncomfortable at first with the idea that they should know anything at all about their own bodies. The harder they find it to put words to their experience of walking, the more important it is to both therapist and client that they do this. If they want you to be the expert on their body, you better plan on moving into their house and living with them, and help them get dressed in the morning.
Listen To The Body
The second protocol is to encourage the client to feel how their body wants to walk. Most illness and tissue compression simply arises out of "the head" dominating "the body." If people rested when they were tired and ate when they were hungry and stopped eating when they were full, we would have a much healthier nation. The key here, is to follow the body.
We encourage the client to feel from the inside just how their body wants to walk. Some clients have had such massive structural shifts from the massage, that they actually walk like babies learning for the first time. The cerebellum has not yet caught up with the changes in muscle, tendon and ligament configuration. Some wobble as they walk. Some notice that they are more than mere structure. Some will connect with their energy or their emotions. Others will feel their spirit or discover a new clarity of thought.
The Rest Of The Day
The third protocol is to ask, "How will this walk affect the rest of your day, compared to when you came in?" If our touch does not make a difference to people's lives then we should probably do something else. Touch done well always make a massive difference - if only we let the clients really feel the power of beautiful healing touch.
Soft Magical Tissue
Once clients start to "talk their body's walk," they start to describe how their body is actually feeling. It is very different from some kind of intellectual chiropractic structural analysis. It is a feeling thing. Nothing connects us with the truth of our deepest inner feelings better than massage.
Find out why your clients have really come. Challenge them if they think they are just a mechanical problem waiting to be fixed by experts. We are not cars. We are human beings made of the most incredible and magical soft tissue that will find its own balance if touched with gentleness and respect. So please stop prodding and poking me. I do not need fixing. I need respectful, gentle touch. Then I will release my compressions - if I am ready.
Whose life is it, anyway?
Gerry Pyves lives in West Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. He holds an MA from Oxford University and qualified as a massage therapist in 1984. He became a UKCP registered Transactional Analysis psychotherapist in 1999. He is the founder and creator of NO HANDS® Massage. He is currently looking for instructors to teach NO HANDS® in the U.S. For more information, visit www.nohandsmassage.com.
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