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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint: headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
Introduction to the Sinew Meridians
Many of you may not have had much training in the topography, physiology, psychology and treatment of what are commonly called the "secondary meridians," a term that refers to the sinew meridians, which I will discuss in this series of articles, as well as the Divergent meridians, the Luo vessels and the Extraordinary vessels. We usually do not find much in our texts or training on this subject. Even the name implies they are not as important as the 12 "primary" meridians of which we are more familiar. Indeed, all of the meridians in Chinese medicine are important and worth learning and utilizing. Hopefully, these articles will broaden your awareness of these meridians, and you can start integrating them into your practice.
The body and its meridians in general can be compared to a musical instrument like a guitar or piano. Where we place our fingers on the frets or keys - like pressing the acupoints - will adjust the song or melody, heard as the client's life music. But if the instrument is out of tune, we can't produce any lasting harmony. The client needs to be brought to a place where he or she can change the "tuning" and mind set that created the disharmony. We can work on or "play" the meridians and points that we believe will allow our clients to heal. But the same vibrations or consciousness that produced the disease will not heal it; we have to alter the client's perspective. A client must be willing to change his or her way of thinking to encourage healing.
Metaphorically and, even, literally, this can be thought of as the Chinese medicine concept of Wind. Wind brings change and can be thought of as the ability to change. Since Wind is called the "root of a hundred diseases," we can think of the inability to change as the cause of illness. Fundamental to Chinese medicine is the idea that everything changes, and the lack of a willingness to change causes disease.
All of the above meridians and vessels work together as an energetic network. They can be thought of as roadmaps of not only the terrain of the body, but of our lives. The body can be divided into three levels: the external-wei-defensive qi level, the internal-ying-nutritive qi level and the constitutional-jing essence level. In one sense they are literal, as seen in our charts and texts. They can also be used philosophically or metaphorically as pathways connecting to different aspects of ourselves. The external level of our body is where our wei-defensive qi circulates. Strengthening our exterior prevents us from getting ill, according to one paradigm. At this level resides concern for our physical appearance as well as what is going on in the politics of the world. The wei qi level is our extension into the world and our judgments about how the world should be. This is a somewhat defensive state - "me against the world" - but it is our attitudes that create our relationship to the world that lead to imbalances in that level. The sinew meridians' terrain is on this level, specifically conducting wei qi.
The internal level concerns our emotions and mind that nurture us physically, as well as emotionally. Our digestive system relates to this level. It's where we digest information as well as nourishment for the body. This is the blood level, where consciousness is anchored. We make conscious choices concerning our lifestyle, including diet and the emotions we choose to feel. The Luo vessels are specific to this level; conducting blood and developing additional networks, as needed.
The Primary meridians circulate both qi and blood, which go to both the external and internal levels. Though useful, they are not specific to an area where a person may be working in their life. It could be more helpful to directly target the place where they are primarily functioning.
The Extraordinary vessels relate to our congenital factors, our constitutional level. They represent what we are born with and form our physical blueprint and purpose in life - our curriculum. The Extraordinary vessels were considered beyond our reach until as recently as the Ming Dynasty when the opening/master points were developed. Interestingly, the same debates occurred then (as they do now) with the morality of genetic engineering. Working on the constitutional level with the Extraordinary vessels was considered altering our genetic code, and the ethics of that was questioned.
The Divergent meridians go from the exterior, right to the source - the constitutional level. They divert potentially dangerous pathogens away from the internal organs to the joints and bones. Damaging experiences that we may not process well, such as sexual abuse, can be diverted by these meridians away from our heart or other organs that can be damaged. Then the pathology goes to our joints, lodging there, sometimes manifesting as arthritis or other types of pain.
I suggest becoming more familiar with these meridians from the "inside, out" through self-cultivation. Traditionally, this would mean Dao Yin, now called Qigong, or the more internal martial arts, such as Taiqi. Meditation and yoga can also bring a conscious awareness to the meridians and their flow. It's one thing to see the meridians in charts, finding and palpating them; it's a whole other experience to become acquainted with them through inner knowledge - some would say this is crucial. It is through self-cultivation and reflection that we become aware of our own path in life; which meridians we are emphasizing; and where our own curriculum is leading us.
Carl Jung said, "Our vision will become clear only when we can look into our own hearts. He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, wakes."
By exploring the depths of our lives we can extend the invitation to our clients. And how much more exciting, energizing and revitalizing can that be? The ultimate satisfaction is to be working with people on that level, with the unfolding and discovery of their lives.