resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Have We Created a Touch Deprived Society?
I recently attended a memorial service for a long-time friend of my husband's. There were lots of people there; some I knew well, others were strangers. Mingling at the reception I noticed how much people were touching. I bet I gave and received 25 hugs, not to mention handshakes and greetings that included touching an arm or shoulder. Since I was in the midst of writing this article, I wondered why we are so much more open to touch in this personal situation when, as a society, we're disconnected from it. Come to find out, I'm not the only one asking. Scientists and researchers in neuroscience and human behavior are, too. Touch is getting its due attention. Bit I wonder, have we created a touch deprived society?
Hard wired for touch
It's long been acknowledged that touch is the first sense babies develop in the womb and that holding the baby at birth cements a bond between mother and child and that babies need physical contact to develop and thrive. My training in occupational therapy included how to assess and treat tactile and sensory dysfunction, a common symptom of disease or trauma of the nervous system. I could tell you all about a patient's ability to feel a pin prick in precise tactile tracks in the body (dermatomes) or distinguish a comb from a fork just by feel (sterognosis). But I don't recall ever discussing the emotional impact of human touch. Denworth (2015) tells us, [Scientist's] growing body of research has uncovered another dimension of touch that is separate from its discriminative function. This newly recognized system, known as affective or emotional touch, consists of nerve fibers triggered by exactly the kind of loving caress a mother gives her child. It is possible that these neurobiological foundations of attachment might play a far more significant role in human behavior that has been recognized, forging connections and increasing our chance of survival. "Hertenstein et. al., (2009) investigated our ability to distinguish or decode distinct emotions from touch alone, without the context of facial expression and body language. They found that people reliably decoded emotions of anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude and sympathy when touch was the only means of communication. I wonder if our current social habits detach us from this potent means of communication and human connection.
I've thought some about the use of various technologies and how they enhance the lives of our elders. Many grandparents have discovered the "Skype visit." These long-distance visits can help families stay connected or help family members monitor how grandma is doing. While I believe that these "Skype-visits" are a good thing, I do question if some families will skip the trip to grandma's and substitute a Skype-visit instead. There's no substitute for a real visit where people share an experience; where grandparents feel and touch their grandchildren who then can remember what grandma's wrinkly skin felt like or the smell of her Jergen's lotion; where grown children take time to simply show up and be present. Technology will play a huge role in aging baby boomer's lives, but maybe we should keep some good old fashioned visits along with it. As a new grandmother, I can tell you there's no substitute for holding that little baby boy who will someday call me Nana.
The Daycare Dilemma
I was a working mom and was really lucky that my workplace had an excellent daycare center and preschool on-site. For the babies, they had volunteer "grandmas" whose only job was to sit in rocking chairs and hold the kids. One grandma took a liking to my baby son and held him a lot. I loved that! Even the older kids swarmed around these women. I would like to think those ladies would still be there. But I wonder when the notion of touching kids in daycare and schools is laden with fear and anxiety in today's risk-avoidance culture. Piper, H. and Stronach (2008) examined this issue in depth and found that daycare workers and teachers "hands are tied" by policies aimed at protecting children but their sensible instincts suggest the rules are an unnatural way of caring for kids.
The Doctor/Patient Relationship
A favorite story of mine is told by Dr. Abraham Verghese in a 2013 TED talk. Dr. Verghese appeals to physicians the importance of a hands-on physical examination of their patients at a time when MRI's, CAT scans, blood tests, and tele-medicine have replaced the ritual of palpating and listening. I share an excerpt from his presentation as he tells it because I think his words are so powerful.
"I recall one patient who was at that point no more than a skeleton encased in shrinking skin, unable to speak, his mouth crusted with candida that was resistant to the usual medications. When he saw me on what turned out to be his last hours on this earth, his hands moved as if in slow motion. And as I wondered what he was up to, his stick fingers made their way up to his pajama shirt, fumbling with his buttons. I realized that he was wanting to expose his wicker-basket chest to me. It was an offering, an invitation. I did not decline. I percussed. I palpated. I listened to the chest. I think he surely must have known by then that it was vital for me just as it was necessary for him. Neither of us could skip this ritual, which had nothing to do with detecting rales in the lung, or finding the gallop rhythm of heart failure. No, this ritual was about the one message that physicians have needed to convey to their patients. Although, God knows, of late, in our hubris, we seem to have drifted away. We seem to have forgotten as though, with the explosion of knowledge, the whole human genome mapped out at our feet, we are lulled into inattention, forgetting that the ritual is cathartic to the physician, necessary for the patient, forgetting that the ritual has meaning and a singular message to convey to the patient. And the message, which I didn't fully understand then, even as I delivered it, and which I understand better now is this: I will always, always, always be there. I will see you through this. I will never abandon you. I will be with you through the end." I relate to this story very much. I have a hospice client now that I've seen for three years. We have a ritual to our session. She likes having her back massaged with lotion or powder and, although it's an effort for her, she lowers her robe so she can feel my hands on her skin covering her emaciated back. After the massage, her face, and my heart, is filled with gratitude.
I believe that perhaps our real work as massage therapists, regardless of your clientele, is to help usher in a new age where human touch returns to its rightful place in our world. There are lots of signs of hope such as these telling lyrics in Greek electropop band the Berlin Brides' song, Ballad for the Touch Deprived:
I'm living my life in perfect bliss