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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.
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
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."
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?
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.
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.
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.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01
Positional Release Techniques: What are the Mechanisms?
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
At its simplest, positional release techniques as used in manual therapy settings, involve the unloading of tissues, placing them into less-stressed, "ease" positions. In such a comfort state, a number of beneficial changes may emerge including reduced pain perception and reduced inflammation,15 greater local muscular strength, reduced fascial stiffness,1,2 reduced pain-medication use and number of days of hospitalization, as well as enhanced peripheral circulation, post-surgically.11
There are four main forms of PRT methods:3
The benefits of reduced stimulation, applied to the whole body may help us to understand the effects of PRT. For example, time spent in a flotation tank, immersed in neutral temperature water, of high salt concentration to increase buoyancy - described as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) – reduces anxiety, depression and pain in individuals suffering chronic pain.
In 2001, Kjellgren et al, described 37 patients suffering from chronic pain who were randomly assigned to either a control group (17) or an experimental group (20) who received nine REST treatments over a 3-week period. The most severe pain intensity was significantly reduced, but low perceived pain intensity was not influenced. REST treatment elevated optimism, reduced the degree of anxiety or depression, and improved sleep.
In another study, Edebol et al (2008) reported the benefits of the REST method in the management of the chronic effects of whiplash injuries. And of course, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation approaches – are all known to be useful as means of reducing general over-sensitive states, whether mental, or physical. Here are some suggested mechanisms for manually induced stimulus reduction.
Neurolophysiological changes might involve muscle, fascial and joint mechanoreceptors (e.g. Ruffini corpuscles, Golgi tendon organs, muscle spindles),10 as well as pain receptors. To explore the role of muscle spindles, and the hypothesis that sensitivity of the deep tendon stretch reflex contributes to range-of-motion restrictions, Howell et al. (2006) measured stretch and H-reflex latency and amplitude before and after strain counterstrain treatment. The results suggest that SCS affected the sensitivity of the muscle spindle, thought to be heightened by the existence of tendonitis.
Proprioceptive theory is probably the most commonly discussed explanation for the efficacy of SCS. It is suggested that when a disturbed relationship exists between muscles and their antagonists, following strain, the positioning of these tissues into an unloaded, ease, position, may allow spindle resetting and partial or total resolution of inappropriate motor impairment.9
Mechanotransduction: Altered fibroblast responses resulting from changes in the shape and architecture of cells through mechanotransduction can be anti-inflammatory. Meltzer et al.14, observed that traumatized fascia disrupts the normal functions of the body, causing myofascial pain and reducing ranges of motion. Resulting inflammatory responses - involving fibroblasts - can be reversed in as little as 60 seconds by changes in load on the tissues, delivered either by counterstrain or myofascial release. In 2007, Standley & Meltzer observed that "fibroblast proliferation and expression/secretion of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory interleukins may contribute to the clinical efficacy of indirect osteopathic manipulative techniques..." such as SCS. Standley and Meltzer (2008) also reported that "it is clear that strain direction, frequency and duration, impact important fibroblast physiological functions known to mediate pain, inflammation and range of motion."
Ligamentous reflexes: Solomonow13 identified the sensory potential and major ligamento-muscular reflexes that have inhibitory effects on associated muscles. He states, "If you apply only 60 to 90 seconds of relaxing compression on a joint... an hour+ of relaxation of muscles may result. This may come not only from ligaments, but also from capsules and tendon" (personal communication 2009). A possible clinical application of this ligamentous feature may be seen when joint "crowding" is induced as part of Facilitated Positional Release and/or SCS protocols. Such effects would be temporary – 20 to 30 minutes – but this would be sufficient time to allow an enhanced ability to mobilize or exercise previously restricted structures.
Wong16 summarizes current thinking regarding ligamento-muscular reflexes and SCS: Ligamentous strain inhibits muscle contractions that increase strain, or stimulates muscles that reduce strain, to protect the ligament.7 For instance, anterior cruciate ligament strain inhibits quadriceps and stimulates hamstring contractions to reduce anterior tibial distraction.7
Hydration: Crowding (compression) of soft tissues – as used in SCS and Facilitated Positional Release (FPR), has an effect on the water content of fascia, leading to temporary (20 to 30 minutes) of reduced stiffness of fascial structures – with the potential for enhanced mobility during that period. This window of opportunity can be usefully employed to enhance function and for the individual to experience less painful movement.
Hysteresis: In a study at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Barnes 2012), 240 subjects were palpated for cervical articular somatic dysfunction. This was followed by use of a durometer to objectively measure soft-tissues overlying each cervical segment pre- and post-intervention, using a single consistent piezoelectric impulse, quantifying hysteresis (tissue stiffness/densification). Various soft-tissue techniques, including SCS, myofascial release, muscle energy technique and high velocity manipulation were tested. The results showed that all methods - but not the sham intervention - improved symptoms and stiffness of tissues but that SCS resulted in the most significant beneficil changes.
To what degree all, or any, of these mechanisms are operating during application of PRT in general, and StrainCounterstrain (SCS) in particular, remains to be more definitively established. Meanwhile positional release methods are among the safest and most effective ways of easing painful symptoms and inducing a healing response.3
Click here for more information about Leon Chaitow, ND, DO.
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