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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
June, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 06
Dissolving the Grip of Addiction with CranioSacral Therapy
By Sharon Desjarlais, CC
Martha Tassinari was married just a few short years when some unusual transactions in her bank account tipped her off to a major problem in the relationship. "Our money was dwindling," she says."The next thing I know the police called. My husband was arrested for possession." That's the day Martha discovered she was married to an alcoholic and drug addict. At the same time, she began suffering from severe pain in her low back and neck that wouldn't respond to traditional treatment. A physical therapist herself, she tried CranioSacral Therapy at the recommendation of a colleague. "I was amazed at what came up," she says. "My pain was subsiding. And I was able to get back into work and exercise."
What she didn't expect was the emotional release she also got out of it. "I started to see that I didn't deserve what was happening in the relationship. I tried to help the marriage. But when that didn't work, I realized I had to help myself." Martha ended the marriage and started taking classes in CranioSacral Therapy. Now in a healthy new marriage nine years later, she specializes in using CST to help women in pain and stress who have a history of alcoholism or addiction, whether their own or someone else's.
Common Trends and Techniques
What symptoms and conditions are these women presenting with that point to a history of drug or alcohol abuse? Surprisingly, they usually aren't global issues like chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Instead, Martha says they're more localized issues, like low-back pain, headaches and TMJ. "The jaw pain," she adds, "is huge. That's our avenue of expression so we hold a lot of anger there. If our father tells us to be seen and not heard, it feels like we don't have a voice. We have to keep the family secrets. We have to put on a brave face that says, 'Everything's fine. No problems here.' The trouble is, that stress builds in the tissues. And it won't go away without help."
Just as Martha sees trends in the symptoms her clients tend to show up with, she also finds certain hands-on techniques especially helpful. "Every case is unique, of course. But I almost always start a session with diaphragm releases. I also tend to do a lot of dural tube techniques like the Rock and Glide, L5/S1 Decompression and the Cranial Base Release."
Reducing the Emotional Scars
Even more poignant than the physical releases are the emotional releases Martha witnesses. "It's typical for my clients to bury their memories of an addiction for a long time, often since childhood. But if that memory or issue isn't acknowledged, it'll keep lingering in their tissues. So I try to get to the core feeling they're having around those memories." As she has her hands on her clients, if she suddenly feels their cranial rhythm come to an abrupt stop, she knows they've hit on something significant. ''What's happening for you right now?" she'll ask. It may be memory from childhood or from three weeks ago. And that's where she starts the process of therapeutic dialoguing.
As they dialogue back and forth, Martha simply mirrors what her client says, giving her space to voice the next thought. "I might say, 'Tell me more about that,' or 'Can you give me an example?'" she says. "By being neutral and non-judgmental, my clients feel acknowledged and safe. So the walls begin to come down." There's never an agenda, Martha stresses. "I've learned over the years that we may think we know what a client needs or wants. But the body knows more than we can imagine. So I never lead or try to solve anything for my clients. I just give them an avenue to express themselves and be heard."
What's critical, she says, is to resist the urge to rush past the dialogue and just get to the tissue release. "In my experience, the client can't release their memories until they're acknowledged," she says. "A lot of therapists and self-help books talk about releasing the anger and fear. But if you don't give yourself room to acknowledge that you have those feelings, they're only going to be released at the conscious level, not at the non-conscious level or the tissue level. "You have to give them space to step into their power and say, 'I am feeling this. This is real. And this is what it's doing to me.'"
To help give her clients an added level of comfort and security, Martha always starts her sessions with grounding techniques to help them relax deeply and feel what's going on in their bodies. "As they're lying on the table, I have them imagine that their feet are on the ground and they're soaking up healing energy from the earth," she says. "Then we scan their whole body, from the feet to the crown. I ask them to just notice any tension they might find. Not to judge, just to notice. That's the first step."
Once they fully get into the session, that's a different story. "They may have emotional releases like crying or anger or even laughing. As they're doing that, I stay hands on. In the past I wanted to grab a box of tissues for them. But over the years I've learned that once I take my hands off their body, we've lost the process. So now I always stay hands-on and let them go through their process completely." While every case is different, Martha says a typical client needs anywhere from 10 to 20 sessions to make a leap in their healing. "Then I like them to see me every month or so to stay on track." She's also big on urging them to connect to other healthy resources, whether they're AA or Al-Anon meetings or psychological counseling.
The most important point, however, is to give her client the experience of having a safe and sacred place for them to express themselves completely. "My treatment room is like Vegas." Martha smiles. "What happens here stays here."
Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.
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