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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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
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.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
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.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
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.
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!
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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."
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Oh, The Places You Will Go
Massage therapists are notorious for not taking their own advice. Most of the therapists I know tell me they are too busy or can't afford to get regular massage. When asked, "When was your last massage?" I am often answered with a rolling of the eyes and the statement, "Way too long ago." Why is that? Schools train students that consistent massage has lasting benefits, and on an intuitive level we know it to be true. We advocate for our clients to schedule weekly, bi-monthly or monthly at the least, for their own benefit (and for the benefit of our pockets) yet most therapists don't walk the walk. In fact, I know therapists who lie to their clients so they don't have to admit they don't care for themselves the way they recommend their clients do. It's nothing short of madness.
Since the two greatest objections to receiving consistent massage are time and money, you must overcome these obstacles on a personal level if you expect your clients to do the same. How can you ask your clients to do something you are not willing to do? And if you've read any of my other articles or blog posts, you will recall that these objections of time and money are a CHOICE. After all, don't most people have the time and money they need for the things they value most? If your clients are not willing to spend time and money on massage, you haven't convinced them of the value. Moreover, you are not convinced in the value of your services and your profession if you don't receive regular bodywork yourself.
Let's drop the money argument right away. There is no reason for you blame finances on your lapse in getting regular massage care. Barter it. You have a valuable service and most therapists would be thrilled to set up a trade. Remember, as per Internal Revenue Service regulations, bartering is considered taxable income but that's a topic for another article. Look up www.irs.gov and type "barter" in the search bar for more information. Personally, I prefer to pay for services instead of bartering. The boundaries are cleaner as I usually don't work on the therapists I see for care. I also don't have room in my schedule for additional clients so fitting in a barter appointment would prove more stressful than paying out of pocket. Each situation is different, but with the option at your disposal, the money barrier is swiftly removed.
Time is a factor that you control. Sure we could all use more time. There isn't a person I know who isn't "way too busy" and desperate to find more hours in the day. Make caring for yourself a priority or sooner or later, you'll be useless to everyone. Many therapists start carrying a grudge after years of caring for clients and not caring for themselves in similar ways. These grudges can show up in your hands. Don't have time for a full hour massage? Get a chair massage or schedule a half an hour. You know the drill; find a way to fit it in. Enough said.
When asked how often I get massages, I can honestly look in someone's eyes and say, "every two weeks." I have done that for the 20 years I have been practicing with very few exceptions. Once a month I go to my regular therapist. She is consistent, works my injuries and knows my body very well. I rarely pay attention to what she is doing and often drift off to my happy place. Once a month, I go to someone I have never been to before and will probably never go back to. Even if I like the person, this experience is more research for me. Learning about the industry, picking up new techniques, I pay very close attention to every detail of the experience from the initial phone call to the exit interview. In fact, I often don't confess my profession so I can be incognito. For some reason, when it is discovered that I am a massage therapist and educator, the conversation and the treatment changes.
Moreover, I like to get massages from other places in the country and the world. Whenever I travel, I take advantage of seeing a therapist that trained elsewhere. Technique and overall approach varies dramatically based on geography and I find the experience fascinating. Because I travel so much, I often find myself in airports with time to kill. This provides an excellent opportunity for a massage. Just last week, I was blown away in Atlanta by a woman who promised to make my feet "lighter than air" and get me to my flight on time. Her attention to my schedule meant I didn't have to look at my watch or be concerned about my departure. This was all part of the experience and as a result, she received a handsome tip. As promised, I floated to my gate after the treatment.
You may not travel as much as I do, but I guarantee you'll find yourself out of town at some point. Don't miss the chance to experience someone else's work. Don't miss the chance to take care of yourself. It is sure to be a positive experience for your body and your mind. And to quote one of my favorite doctors, "Oh the places you'll go."