resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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 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.
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.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 02
Will Research Prove Our Point?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
There is a belief in the massage profession that research is needed to validate massage and gain acceptance from the medical industry. Some feel the public will participate in greater numbers if research "proves" the efficacy of massage.These are false assumptions. The number of people paying for massage out of their own pockets has doubled in the last three years (from 8% to 16% of the population), proving that massage works.
Research is a business. Thousands of people make their living doing research. To expand their business, they have promoted the notion that nothing is valid until it is proven with a double-blind study. This is a lie, but it has become accepted as truth. The truth is, double-blind studies are a mechanism to restrict entry into the marketplace. One of the primary places the double-blind research industry has established itself firmly is in the field of human health. This is unfortunate for both humans and health.
The medical/pharmaceutical industry, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., uses double-blind research to control the marketing of products and procedures. According to their agents, nothing is valid without a double-blind study. If something goes wrong, they say, "We did a study that shows this is OK." If some "new" product, like an herb, or a procedure, like massage, is offered to the public, they will attack it and attempt to suppress it by saying, "There is no valid research to prove this." It doesn't matter that the herb has been used for hundreds of years with consistent success. It is irrelevant that massage has been a predominant health care system for thousands of years.
If enough research is done to prove massage is valid, massage will be accepted at last. Maybe those gleaming insurance dollars will come to therapists who are drooling over them. Sorry, you do not understand research.
You can prove almost anything with a double-blind study. Studies can be created to prove almost anything causes cancer. Alter the diet of the subjects, put them in the right environment - and presto - whatever is being tested causes cancer, especially in rats. It can be proven that virtually everyone who has gotten cancer has eaten lettuce sometime in their lives!
Invalid research? No. Under a certain set of circumstances, a certain thing being tested can cause a certain result. Unfortunately, we are seldom told all the circumstances. We are just told the desired outcome.
"Oat bran doesn't lower cholesterol." We were not told that the test subjects had normal cholesterol levels and high blood pressure in that study. Of course oat bran didn't lower cholesterol in people with normal levels. This study was used to counteract the study that proved oat bran did lower cholesterol, in people with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Confused? Good, that's the idea. What do confused people do? Nothing. They avoid the cheap, nontoxic nutritional remedy and, in this case, go back on the drugs like good patients.
The research industry keeps itself busy by replicating results. If someone proves something that is not desired, the establishment says, "One study doesn't prove something. You have to wait until others have replicated your results." Now another study must be funded, and another, and another. Then someone else will conduct a study and set it up in such a way to disprove the initial study. Research will never bring about the acceptance of something the establishment doesn't want accepted. Research will always bring about the acceptance of anything the establishment wants accepted (i.e., aspartame.)
Massage is particularly difficult to research. It is difficult to control all the possible variables, and there are many different massage techniques to use. A study was done that supposedly disproved the theory that sports massage reduced lactic acid in athletes after competition. The study was done by a college that has no expertise in massage. There were no sports massage therapists in the area. Who did sports massage on the subjects? That didn't seem to matter. The press ran with it. There are lots of great massage techniques that, even if done by experts, would not reduce lactic acid levels. Further, the appropriate techniques, if done incorrectly, would not work either. Double-blind research may be too blind.
The point here is not to argue against the massage profession supporting research. There is much to be learned by double-blind research. Excellent research is being done by Dr. Tiffany Field (of the Touch Research Institute), among others. Their should be commended and supported. However, we need to remember that if the results become threatening to the medical/pharmaceutical industry, they can and will be easily disproved.
Research may be a huge potential danger to the massage profession. If studies done by well-trained massage therapists indicate benefits from massage, the public will go to therapists expecting to receive those benefits. Unfortunately, there are so many poorly trained therapists out there that most of the public will be disappointed. This has the potential to cause a huge backlash against our profession. If capitalized on by opposing forces, it could set massage back years in efforts to legitimize the profession in the eyes of the public.
Let's not pour every available dollar into research, hoping it will legitimize massage. It won't, in and of itself. What will legitimize the profession is the public receiving consistent, high-quality services from well-trained professionals. We must work to establish more consistent levels of education and expertise at the entry level. Continuing education in advanced levels of massage therapy should be encouraged, if not mandated.
Only when the public can receive similar benefits to those proven in studies will research become an effective marketing tool to the public. It will never be an effective means of gaining acceptance from the medical/pharmaceutical industry. The public has already voted positively on the efficacy of massage. If we as a profession work to meet the public's expectations, we will be unstoppable. If we work to prove ourselves to the sickness industry, it may well be our downfall.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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