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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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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."
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
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.
Relax...the Thai Way!
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By Rebecca Wilkowski
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, people make more visits each year to alternative care practitioners (629 million) than to primary care physicians (386 million). With the cost of health care in the United States estimated to reach $2.2 trillion by 2008, it is no wonder Americans are looking for alternative ways to manage their health.
Recent studies show consumers visit massage therapists 114 million times each year, spending between $4 and $6 billion annually, making massage is one of the fastest growing segments of holistic health care in America today. It can be found everywhere from day spas and chiropractic offices, to health clubs and employee break rooms. The massage explosion can be attributed partly to the growing population of tired and aging baby boomers, and partly to an increased awareness of the effects of stress.
Research has shown that massage therapy has numerous benefits. It can reduce a person's heart rate, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, boost the body's immune system, improve flexibility and range of motion, and assist with relief from stress, chronic pain, anxiety, tension, and depression.
For the majority of Americans, massage is simply a technique for inducing relaxation and stress relief. However, to the nearly 290,000 massage practitioners and students in the U.S., it is much more.
Massage is a generic term, which encompasses a wide range of techniques and styles of bodywork. They can range from relaxing to invigorating and may include hot stones, cold and hot packs or other tools to facilitate the therapeutic effects. While some types of massage use oils or lotions, others are given with the client fully clothed. Depending on the style, massage can be applied with a practitioner's feet, elbows or knees in addition to their hands.
The bodywork technique commonly known as Thai massage is an important component of an entire traditional medical system. Traditional Thai Medicine is a 2,500-year-old system of natural healing developed in the ancient kingdom of Siam, now modern Thailand. Traditional Thai medicine is composed of four major branches: herbal medicine, food cures and nutrition, spiritual practices and the manual therapies of Thai massage, or Nuad Bo'Rarn.
Examining the term Nuad Bo'Rarn is helpful in developing an understanding of this type of bodywork from the Thai perspective. The Thai word Nuad means to touch with the intention of imparting healing. The word Bo'Rarn, derived from the Sanskrit language, means something that is ancient, sacred and revered. Clearly, the intention is to describe something that encompasses a Western notion of massage, but extends far beyond a description of a series of techniques applied to the surface of the body.
Influenced by the rich, ancient traditions of India and China, Thai medicine's development and history are woven into the fabric of the spiritual tenets of Buddhism. Thai medicine was transmitted orally from teacher to student in the same way the treasured texts, or Sutras, of Buddhism were transmitted. Historically, the practitioners of the medicine were Therevada Buddhist monks who practiced their healing at the monasteries, or "Wats".
A key aspect of Buddhist philosophy that is expressed through Thai massage is the concept of Metta. Translated as "loving kindness," Metta is a core component of daily life for each individual seeking awareness on the path described by the Buddha. The practice of Thai massage and other healing work is understood to be a practical application of Metta. Thai massage demonstrates the Four Divine States of Mind as taught in Buddhism: Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Vicarious Joy, and Mental Equanimity. In Thai Therevada Buddhist philosophy, significant emphasis is placed on the practical application of spiritual philosophy; that higher ideals should be brought into everyday life activities and decisions.
Traditional Thai massage is based on an energetic paradigm of the human body/mind. Energy is thought to travel on pathways throughout the body called Sen, with specific points of energy on these pathways called nadis. Thai massage moves energy freely along these pathways, thereby facilitating balance and health.
Thai massage is an interactive therapy involving the gentle stretching of muscles with pressure from a practitioner's palms, thumbs and feet. It is usually performed with the recipient wearing loose fitting clothing while they lay on a cotton mat on the floor. No oils or lotions are used during the 90-minute session. In Thailand, it is not uncommon for sessions to last up to three hours!
In addition to stretching, Thai massage also emphasizes deep abdominal procedures. In Thai medical theory, all the major energy pathways of the body have their origins in the abdomen near the navel. It is believed that the health and vitality of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth are dependent on the health of the abdominal organs and the unobstructed flow of bio-energy through and away from the abdomen. Whereas most Western massage instruction begins with technical procedures and specific anatomical information, Thai massage instruction begins with the imperative that the practitioner work in a concentrated and meditative state of mind, fully present in each moment. It is believed this level of consciousness can then be imparted to the recipient through the practitioner's touch.
The techniques of Thai massage are applied very, very slowly. It is impossible to work too slowly as long as there is some movement. The slowness of the practice facilitates the tendency toward mindfulness. Because many of the techniques require heightened flexibility of both the practitioner and recipient, the slowness significantly diminishes the chance for injury. With the practitioner working in such a way, they immediately become acutely aware of resistance and any discomfort for the client and are able to stop or amend the procedure before injury occurs.
Proper body mechanics are key in the application of Thai Massage. Often referred to as "assisted yoga", many aspects of a Thai session resemble those of yoga postures. While anyone can receive Thai massage, certain procedures should be eliminated if they are not appropriate for the recipient (i.e., certain stretches of the back and legs would be avoided for individuals with lumbar disc problems).
Thai massage has been utilized for centuries as an important healing tool in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments such as musculoskeletal problems, internal medical problems, neurological complaints and emotional distress. Its benefits include structural alignment, increased flexibility, and decreased muscular and joint tension.
Even for a novice, Thai massage can provide a good opportunity to achieve a state of deep mental and emotional equanimity, profound stress relief, and moments of sweet bliss.
(Published: June 2004)