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Anatomy Trains and Acupuncture Channels

Filed under: Anatomy,Continuing Education,physical therapy — Shon @ 12:21 pm June 22, 2012

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Neil Mathews, M.D., an excellent general practitioner who is an out of the box thinker with regard to traditional Western Medicine.  He has a burgeoning acupuncture practice and came to visit the clinic to talk shop as well as demonstrate a few acupuncture techniques.

Before we got started, I spent some time taking Neil through the clinic, including sharing with him my copy of Anatomy Trains, which he had never seen before (Anatomy Trains sits on a shelf in my exam room right next to Campbell's Operative Orthopedics, Kendall's Muscles Testing and Function, and Sahrmann's Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes).

As we were leafing through the text, I was pointing out and describing the Superficial Back Line (SBL) when Neil had an "A-Ha" moment.  He ran to his car and grabbed his copy of the Color Atlas of Acupuncture by Hecker et al. and pointed out that the SBL was almost identical to acupuncture's Bladder Channel.


 A rough outline of the superficial back line





 A diagram of The Bladder Channel


As we continued to go through both texts, there were other strong similarities between myofascial meridians/ lines and acupuncture channels.  These included:

1)  The Deep Front Arm Line and the Lung Channel

2)  The Deep Back Arm Line and the Small Intestine Channel

3) The Lateral Line and the Gall Bladder Channel (illustrated below):




The Lateral Line




The Gall Bladder Channel


So What?

I think correlations like those above make life worth living in the clinical world, especially in evolving disciplines.  Yes, acupuncture has been around a very long time, but with increasing acceptance into Western medicine, several questions remain regarding precise mechanism of action, as well as long term outcomes.  Anatomy Trains as a concept was developed as a game of sorts by Tom Myers as a teaching aid at the Rolf Institute less than 20 years ago, and fascial research is just coming out of it's infancy (this link from Tom's KMI website actually touches on the association between myofascial meridians and acupuncture channels).  Many clinicians (including myself) are undereducated and ignorant to the deeper facts about acupuncture.  Up until yesterday, I could have had a reasonable cocktail conversation about acupuncture but not much else. 

The same goes with Neil; he never heard of Anatomy Trains prior to our meet-up.  He stated however that one of the physicians who taught in the acupuncture curriculum at Harvard said fascia was an important and integral part of the discussion in mechanism of treatment.  He ended up leaving left with my copy of Anatomy Trains, swapping with me the Color Atlas of Acupuncture.  The fact that we know our clinical worlds correlate more than casually will provide both of us with subjects for further research moving forward.


More Questions

I learned a lot hanging out with Neil, and our meeting also left me with many additional questions; I'll list just a few here:

1)  Can we combine acupuncture and exercise at the same time?  An example would be if we are treating for neck pain (generic, I know), can we activate middle and lower trapezius while dry needling is going on along other channels?

2)  Would soft tissue therapy performed immediately before or after needling expedite the desired outcome?

3)  Does dry needling/acupuncture allow synergistic effects of herbal/vitamin/medical therapies? 

I am looking forward to pursuing the answers to these questions clinically, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of acupuncture and how it fits in with what we do, both from a rehabilitation and performance standpoint.



Two Awesome Continuing Education Opportunities

Filed under: Continuing Education — Shon @ 12:32 pm April 18, 2012

As I enter my twenty fourth year of professional practice, continuing education has lost some of the shine it used to have for me.  While it used to be fun to travel all over for weekend seminars and short courses, family and business commitments have taken the forefront of my life (my son turns 13 this summer, and my daughter will be driving in less than year and a half!).  I am definitely stingier with my time now, and while, yes, attending CE courses are still important for my professional growth and networking, the fact is I have" been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt" over the past 23 years and 1,000+ hours of in-person, hands on lecture/lab/workshop participation.


I've felt like this at far too many CE seminars


That said, there are still a ton of fabulous seminars and speakers I want to see (the Postural Restoration Institute, Prague School, as well as RKC are on my wish list of topics for further research) while the internet brings us the ability to digest great information and content (strengthcoach .com,, and Mike Reinold's dynamite continuing education series to name a few). 

Today I want to mention two resources, one "in person' and one on-line that I will be diving into this summer.


BSMPG 2012 Summer Seminar 


The awesome BSMPG 2012 Summer Seminar is back in Boston on May 19 and 20 that Art Horne (athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for Northeastern Basketball) has put on for the past several years.  I attended for the first time last summer and as I blogged about HERE and HERE, I couldn't have been more pleased.  Every talk I attended was excellent at minimum, and I easily learned a years worth of information in 2 days.  Speakers were approachable and attendees were very laid back and fun.


This year's speakers include Dr. Craig Liebenson, Dr. Christopher Powers, Boo Schexnayder, Sean Skahan, and the always popular Cal Dietz.  I didn't think Art could top last year, but it seems he did.  Again, there are multiple tracts (hockey and basketball strength and conditioning, sports medicine, as well as extended workshops in addition to keynote speakers) to appeal to a broad range of professionals.  Attendees also include previous speakers such as Charlie Weingroff, who still has my head reeling from his talk last year (this year I am looking forward to meeting and interacting with Patrick Ward, who always has a ton of great information to share).

If you are involved in any facet of health, human performance, manual therapy, rehabilitation or a combination thereof, it would behoove you to make a serious effort to attend.  Kudos to Art Horne for making this happen year after year, while raising the bar each time!  Registration information can be found HERE.


Bret Contreras and Chris Beardsley's Strength and Conditioning Research

What Bret and Chris Beardsley have produced is a fabulous "one stop shop" for all things as they relate to current strength and conditioning research.  Many of us are in a situation where we receive multiple journals form various professional organizations that pile up month after month without a glance.  We then end up suffering from "option paralysis" and just give up on reading anything, which hurts us as a professional and a practitioner.

With Strength and Conditioning research, the tedious work of mining and discerning excellent peer reviewed research  has been done by Bret and Chris on a monthly basis, leaving us with a tight and thorough summary of each study as well as practical applications.  Each month encapsulates fifty studies in four categories: strength and conditioning, biomechanics, physiology and physical therapy.  Other studies that weren't reviewed but deemed important are in a separate on-line catalog for monthly members.

This month, some cool studies included the effects of kettlebell training vs. weightlifting in jumping, strength and body composition, relationships between strength, sprints and change of direction, ACL strain and jump landing, and inflammatory markers following massage therapy.  There were forty six other studies as well, all easy to digest and understand.  Minimally, 60% were pertinent to my daily practice, and that was just after glancing at the table of contents.

I have been after a resource like this for over ten years, and am really grateful that this one now exists.  At $10 a month, it is a no-brainer, and it has already exposed me to over 100 papers that I probably would not have looked at if they didn't show up in my in box seamlessly every 4 or so weeks.  I highly recommend this to anyone who is a strength coach, personal trainer, physical therapist (or PT student), athletic trainer or a combination of all of the above.  To sign up, click HERE (please note, I am not an affiliate, only a fan).