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Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Positional Release Techniques: What are the Mechanisms?
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