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Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
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