resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
February, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 02
The Tuina Treatment of Tennis Elbow
By Bob Flaws, LAc, FNAAOM (USA), FRCHM (UK)
In 1982, I was studying acupuncture at the Shanghai College of Chinese Medicine and working as an intern in the acupuncture department at the Long Hua Chinese Medical Hospital. Sometimes, during the heat of the summer, there were not that many patients to see in the acupuncture ward, so I would wander through the hospital to see what else I might learn.As a graduate of what was then the Boulder School of Massage Therapy (BSMT), I had practiced massage for several years prior to studying acupuncture. Thus, I was immediately fascinated by what I saw when I discovered the tuina, or Chinese medical massage, ward.
The movements I witnessed were unlike anything I had learned at BSMT. I was especially enamored with the idea of specific protocols lasting 15-30 minutes for the remedial treatment of specific conditions. Therefore, I arranged to study tuina the following year and to work as a tuina intern at the Yue Yang Chinese Medical Hospital, also in Shanghai. Eighteen years later, I am still as enthusiastic about tuina as I was then.
Below is the tuina protocol I learned for the treatment of tennis elbow. It is based on the rolling school (guan fa pai) of tuina popular in Shanghai founded by my personal teacher, Ding Ji-feng.1 Dr. Ding had been practicing this method for over 50 years when he taught it to me.
Western Medicine and Tennis Elbow
Lateral epicondylitis, also called tenosynovitis (and more colloquially, tennis elbow), consists of inflammation of the tendons attached to the lateral side of the elbow at the epicondyle of the humerus. Patients with tennis elbow experience pain in the lateral aspect of the elbow, which may radiate into the forearm, and occasionally into the hand. The pain occurs with grasping activities and may be accompanied by a sense of weakness. An achy discomfort may also be present at rest or at night after activity. This inflammation may be caused by a sudden violent injury, repetitive strain or microtrauma. Tennis elbow occurs equally in men and women and is most commonly seen in patients between the ages of 35-50. Tennis elbow is found not only in tennis players, but in baseball players; swimmers; carpenters; plumbers; meat cutters; musicians; or anyone who repeats an arm motion over and over.
The Western medical diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis mainly consists of physical examination of the affected area eliciting abnormal tenderness to palpation over the lateral epicondyle. X-rays may show calcium deposits on the lateral epicondyle but are not typically required to make this diagnosis. Bone spurs only occur in 20% of tennis elbow patients. The Western medical treatment of tennis elbow mainly consists of rest, anti-inflammatory medication and the application of ice. This is supplemented by stretching and strengthening exercises; straps; wrist braces; and cortisone shots. Surgery is indicated in approximately 5% of cases when all of the above measures have failed over a course of several months and pain continues to prevent activity. The success of tennis elbow surgery is generally 85-95% excellent relief of pain.2 However, patients typically require 3-6 weeks of recuperation before returning to work, and several months before returning to sports or heavy use of the arm.
Chinese Medicine and Tennis Elbow
Chinese disease categorization: Tennis elbow is called zhou lao (elbow taxation); zhou tong (elbow pain); and shang jin (damaged sinews) in Chinese medicine.
Chinese disease causes: Taxation detriment with possible contraction of wind cold evils.
Chinese disease mechanisms: Overwork taxation causes detriment and damage to the sinews and vessels of the elbow. On the one hand, there is insufficient blood to nourish the sinews; on the other hand, there is blood stasis obstructing the free flow of the vessels. This may be complicated by external contraction of wind cold evils due to defensive qi vacuity.
Treatment principles: Soothe the sinews and free the flow of the network vessels; quicken the blood and transform stasis; regulate the qi in the channels and vessels.
Other adjunctive measures may include the use of moxibustion locally on the elbow (either indirect, roll moxa or direct, non-scarring, "grain of rice" or thread moxa), or warming with a TDP heat lamp.3 Internal administration of Chinese medicinals based on the patient's individual pattern discrimination is also quite helpful.4
To get a satisfactory result with tennis elbow, the patient needs to refrain from all activities, be they work or play, that aggravate the condition. Until or unless the patient is willing to allow the inflammation of their lateral epicondyle to heal, no amount of tuina or Chinese medicinals is going to get a satisfactory effect. If the cause of this inflammation is work-related, the patient should be advised to modify their equipment or work habits. This may mean using a lighter hammer or tennis racket or seeking professional advice from an ergonomic specialist or kinesiologist.
While ice is indicated within Chinese medicine for recent traumatic injuries and acute inflammations with redness, swelling and palpable heat, it is usually contraindicated for tennis elbow. Even though Western medicine defines lateral epicondylitis as a species of inflammation, it does not usually present heat signs and symptoms according to Chinese pattern discrimination. In fact, given the common age range of patients with tennis elbow and its Chinese name, elbow taxation, this condition is usually a vacuity condition complicated by cold and/or blood stasis, all of which may be worsened by the application of cold. This is why the external application of warmth is usually so important for the treatment of this condition.
In my experience, both in China and the U.S., tuina is definitely an effective therapy for the remedial treatment of tennis elbow.
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