News in Brief
Parker University Launches New Open-Access Research Journal for Chiropractic; Western States, Cleveland-KC Name New Deans of Chiropractic Colleges; Sherman College Goes Tobacco-Free; Life University Wins 11 Awards.
Multi-Dimensional Acupuncture: 3D, 4D & 5D
Maggie is an intuitive healer and workshop leader who I met on a recent hike. While we were talking she told me how she had to take it easy because of her knees. She said that her doctor told her that she has the early signs of arthritis.
Prevention: Stop Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
The recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of those nuisance conditions that can play havoc with quality of life, and this particular infection is much more common than most people realize.
TCM Codes for the World
I just received an email concerning the ICD-TM11 codes. The World Health Organization (WHO) will be presenting the new ICD-11 codes to World Health Assembly very soon.
Cyber Threat Checklist: Defend Your Business With These 10 Steps
Living in an internet connected society brings many conveniences and benefits. The power of the internet to connect us with customers, store data, and find information has opened the door for many small business owners to grow and flourish.
Bastyr University: On the Front Lines of the Pain Epidemic
At University of Washington's Harborview Medical Center, the Seattle region's only Level I Trauma and Burn Center, the demands for in-patient care are dramatically different from a private clinic environment.
Missed Causes of LBP: It's the Syndrome, Not the Subluxation
When I read the chart notes of other chiropractors, I am usually disappointed. They list what vertebrae are fixated or misaligned. They may describe the involved fascia and muscles.
The Acupuncturist and the Opioid Crisis: Conquering Pain & Addiction in the U.S.
The current opioid epidemic dominates the discussion among national health leaders, recovery advocates and families nationwide. Opioids include heroin as well as prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others.
A Novel Way to Prevent Elderly Falls: Toe Strength
In any given year, nearly 40 percent of senior citizens ages 70 and older will fall at least once. Each fall significantly increases the risk of not only sprains, strains and contusions, but also fractures.
Spring Allergies & The Spleen: Looking at Pattern Differentiation
As the season of Spring fades away and we shift into the warm summer months, many patients suffer from chronic allergies. This is by far one of the most common issues I see in the clinic as well as often mistreated and misdiagnosed.
Practice Pearls: There's More to ROM Than Meets the Eye
As part of my neuromusculoskeletal examination, I perform range-of-motion (ROM) evaluations. I can "eyeball" the range and measure, I can use a goniometer and measure, I can use my phone app and measure, or I can use various other instruments to help determine degrees of motion.
Prompting Memory: How to Stimulate Cognition
Recently I gave a talk titled, The Art of Memoir – Tapping the Past to Sharpen the Present at a senior lunch event in Austin, Texas.
Chiropractic's Next Frontier: Adjusting the Microbiome
Restoring a healthy microbiome to help treat disease may be the next frontier in chiropractic offices around the country.
First World Spine Care Graduate: Hildah Molate
Hildah Molate, the first World Spine Care (WSC) scholarship student, graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic earlier this year and is now working at the WSC community spine clinic in Shoshong, Botswana.
State by State: Chiropractic Leads Changes in Health Care
Monumental legislative bills in support of the chiropractic profession were passed recently in Washington, West Virginia and Oregon. Here is a review of this important legislation, state by state...
Better With Chiropractic
While chiropractic care is receiving high levels of exposure these days, most pain patients who consult with a health provider still do so with their primary-care MD. And of course, that means in most cases, they're receiving standard medical care, not chiropractic.
Reducing Allostatic Load & Stress Through Heightened Awareness
Your contemporary mental health and psychotherapy colleagues may often approach the treatment of allostatic load as a mental health condition and use prescription psycho-pharmaceutical medicine to affect general and specific central nervous system (CNS) pathways and brain neuro-chemistry medicine to alleviate the associated symptoms.
Paving the Way to Integrative Health & Wellness
Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) launched the integrative health and wellness (IHW) caucus in October, 2018.
Transforming Exam Delivery
The NBCE Board of Directors has never wavered on its promise to deliver an excellent, on-campus computerized testing experience to students. Likewise, there has never been a compromise to the delivery of fair, valid and legally defensible exams.
Catch the Workplace Wellness Wave
Do you offer workplace wellness services to local businesses? If not, you might want to consider this lucrative channel for expanding your practice. Workplace wellness programs and wellness-related benefits have grown in popularity over the past several decades.
Regenerative Medicine: How to Do It by the Books
The "lay of the land" for regenerative therapies, including but certainly not limited to adult stem-cell treatments, seems to change almost daily.
Dropping Insurance: 4 Steps
My office manager just got off the phone with the secretary of a long-standing patient. I have treated this woman and 10 members of her family for more than a decade. She has, as have all of my patients, paid my fee at the time of service since I dropped insurance in 1997.
Old Trend, New Risks: Heavy Weight Training
With more opportunities to exercise than ever, a greater selection of exercise options, and the subsequent opinions supporting and challenging their merits, it's easy to be confused as to which approach is best.
Acupuncture's Standard of Care
Both a concern and critique of acupuncture, frequently espoused by the bio-medical community is, "there is no standard of care in acupuncture." The following is why I believe this statement is disingenuous at best.
Is Primary Spine Care the Answer for Chiropractic?
Recently, we sat down with Mark Studin, DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP, to discuss the state of chiropractic and why primary spine care may hold the key to chiropractic's future. Read what he had to share in this exclusive interview.
Diagnosing & Treating Aggressive Energy
Recently, there has been an article, and subsequent discussion, about the subject of Aggressive Energy (AKA "AE"), including ways to detect its presence and an alternative method of treating it.
NBCE to Reinstitute Computer-Based Exams
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) has announced it will reinstate computer-based testing in January 2019 courtesy of a partnership with testing and assessment solutions provider Prometric.
New Opportunities for DCs
For decades, the model chiropractic practice has been the single-doctor practice. Recent surveys have found that approximately two-thirds of U.S. doctors of chiropractic still practice this way, with another 20 percent practicing in multiple-chiropractor practices.
It's Time for a Functional Approach to Chronic Illness
It seems one of the more modern buzzwords is chronic, referring to diseases – that is to say, "ongoing and incurable." However, we can take a different perspective and recognize that, although the body may have been traumatized and injured, healing should always be viewed in the realm of possibility.
February, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 02
The Indefinite Body
By Lauren Robins, MS, LMT
The scope, practice and progression of bodywork have burgeoned over the past 20 years. Each modality has created a menu of alternatives for both client and practitioner. Our palettes have broadened. Although different in techniques, there is a thread that connects all of these modalities. They all remind us to bring awareness to and then change repetitive patterns that can exacerbate ongoing discomforts. This awareness can mitigate distress.
Three repetitive patterns spotlighted here are breathing, thinking and moving. Indeed, one's breathing patterns are distinct markers for holding or releasing tension. Thinking contributes to physical restraints or open investigation. And finally, we can move with consistent uniformity or with an exploratory vocabulary, opening a gateway to change.
Breathing patterns are primary markers in noticing how we engage with stress in our body. If breathing is tense, shallow or ragged, the internal body is constricted. The jaw, temporomandibular joint and neck tighten, thus tightening the conduits running through the occiput. The phrenic nerve leading from the cervical vertebra to the diaphragm is constricted. Usually the tongue muscle tenses as well; thus, the occiput is tightened. Oxygen is not as available for the other systems of the body since the overstimulated sympathetic nervous system captures most of the oxygen. The body then becomes more acidic since the carbon dioxide levels have risen; an acidic body is uncomfortable. Sometimes it is the body's overly acidic pH factor that causes aches and pains. Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of internal medicine, points out, "The simplest and most important technique for protecting your health is breathing."
Acids are heavier than oxygen. They accumulate at the bottom of the lungs where the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. When blood passes into the lungs, it picks up and transports these accumulated acids throughout the body. To stir up and begin to rid the body of excess carbon dioxide (change our pH), full, deep breathing is suggested. Focusing on the exhale displaces the buildup of carbon dioxide. Further, let us not forget that laughter remains as healthy medicine; gymnastics for exercising the diaphragm.
Our connection to the exhale and inhale keeps us present. When we recognize that our breath is our internal, primary food source, we can actively and consciously nurture the core body with more consistency. Indeed, when we go to the gym, take a body-centered class, or go on a long walk to enhance wellness, our breath becomes more present. However, what are our breathing patterns when arising, answering the phone, driving, working, interacting with others, or when we're going to sleep? Are we allowing it to become more acidic or are we creating it to be more alkaline?
In our day-to-day life there is a patterned tendency to give our breath away to situations that arise. In doing this, we compromise our health. When clients come with shortness of breath, even before the individual gets on the table, we breathe together, slowing the breath, deepening the breath, and coming home to the breath. This also serves as a reference point for us to return to during our time together; I find easier access into the client's body from this. I am calmed and nurtured in the present moment as well. I give them signs to post that say, "Breathe Deeply, Breathe With Ease."
On the exhale and inhale, internal tissue massage is activated by the movement of the diaphragm, lungs and spine. Because of this action, circulation and digestion are enhanced as the aorta, vena cava and esophagus pass through the diaphragm. In addition, since there are muscles connecting the pericardial sac to the diaphragm, any tightness at the diaphragmatic area will tighten the heart muscle. A full breath reaches deeply, aerating the new-found spaciousness, lowering blood pressure. Loehr and Migdow, in their book Breathe In Breathe Out,1 state: "for high blood pressure,the Meninger Foundation in Kansas uses deep breathing ... 90 percent of the Foundation's high-blood-pressure patients shift their pressure to normal range using this technique." Swelling in the liver is also decreased by slow, deep breathing. The large vein that supplies blood to the heart from the liver is partially emptied through mechanical suction developed by the lungs through breathing. Shallow, irregular breathing slows the process, blood accumulates in the liver, and swelling results. Easy concentration on full exhales and inhales can shift this situation.
Thinking patterns also change our emotional and physical balance. The endocrine system is affected by our thinking patterns. Thoughts create chemicals that pour into the rivers and streams coursing through our body. Within 20 seconds, the chemical composition of the body is altered by a thought, having an acid or alkaline effect on our body. Patterns of positive thinking, added to the attention of the breath, can serve to enhance our health and well-being. As we perseverate on limiting negative thoughts, our nervous system sends chemicals to muscles; our physical body contracts and thinking becomes foggy. On the other hand, spaciousness in thinking is creative and life-enhancing. Neurotransmitters balance. As the Zen monk Seng-ts'an reflects, "Step aside from all thinking and there's nowhere you can't go."
As a suggestion, think of an acidic experience for 20 seconds; notice the effects. Then breathe into an alkaline experience and notice the body's response. Also, notice the effect on muscular tension and diaphragmatic action when focusing on these thoughts. Mahatma Gandhi offers, "A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." There exists that sweet spot of thought where there is a core quieting. The body then can self-regulate. Conscious thoughts respond well to conscious breathing. Deep self-massage occurs when the thinking, breathing body is awake to its thought patterns.
Finally, repetitive movement patterns often can embed discomfort into the body. The form of our body is not fixed in space. Emilie Conrad reminds us in her book Life on Land2 that "Once our world is encapsulated we become closed systems, recycling the same information and/or insisting on only one kind of information. Without knowing it we become self-limiting, and all that we encounter will be engraved with that limitation." As we open to new movement vocabularies, and as breath spirals through the body on an alkaline thought, nerves are calmed; there is less muscular tension and greater circulation. The flow is easier through opened, aerated muscles.
Opening into the laterality of the body expands internal spaciousness. Raising the rib cage, extending the heart upward, increasing the spaciousness of the diaphragmatic area with creative playful movements originating from bone, muscle and fluid systems, add to breathing awareness, thought patterns and the internal movement vocabulary. We can enjoy the interesting interplay between gravity and levity. Conrad mentions that the essence of fluid is to expand. Since we are mostly fluid beings, it is natural to expand breath, thought and movement. This loosens patterns. Potential now exists in this transformation of internal space. Playful exploration into the potential of breath, the awareness of thought patterns, and the vocabulary of movement teaches us the body can fulfill itself. As the late Carl Sagan wrote, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." That "somewhere" is the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self that can spiral away from patterned debilitating responses and move us into a creative, spacious realm of being.
Lauren Robins, MS, LMT, is the author of The Palette of Breath: Facts About Breathing. She has been a LMT in Wimberley, Texas for 23 years along with being a teacher of movement exploration. www.laurenrobins.com.
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