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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint: headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
March, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 03
Medical Massage II
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Last month, I shared some of my thoughts and observations on massage therapy sharing space with managed care. This month, I'd like to delve into the "care" aspects of massage and medicine, rather than the payment areas.
I am writing this while attending a symposium on complementary and integrative medicine titled, "Clinical Update and Implications for Practice," sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education.The course director is David M. Eisenberg, MD, whose published findings in the early '90s on the public's usage of alternative therapies are credited with opening the eyes of the medical community to the dollars being spent on health solutions, outside the sphere of contemporary allopathic care. My attendance here in Boston gives insights I might not get in the course of my normal daily routine as a practicing massage therapist. The 400+ attendees are mostly physicians, but my fellow attendees include general internists; family practitioners; nurses; pharmacists; pediatricians; oncologists; OB/GYNs; chiropractors; acupuncturists; bodyworkers; naturopaths; psychiatrists; psychologists; licensed social workers; managed care executives; health benefits administrators; and other complementary care providers (even three veterinarians - go figure!).
Complementary and integrative medical therapies are used by an estimated 42% of the U.S. population. Visits to complementary care practitioners exceed visits to primary care physicians by over 200 million visits per year. Americans spend an estimated $30 billion a year on these services, the majority of which nonreimbursed.1 The symposium brochure states, "There is a growing body of literature that is helping to distinguish useful from useless and safe from unsafe therapies. In light of ongoing evidence that most complementary and integrative therapies are neither disclosed to nor discussed with medical doctors, 1,2 there is an urgent need for professional education and improved patient-provider communication in this provocative area."
The symposium is covering many areas of interest to physicians, and several of particular interest to readers of Massage Today. I am delighted to be entering into the discussions and interacting with course faculty in reviewing prevalence, costs, and patterns of use of commonly used complementary and integrative medical therapies; reviewing the theory, practice, safety and efficacy of:
While at the symposium, I will also be taking part in as much of the following as possible:
Specific to massage therapy, one of the breakout sessions was facilitated by Nancy Dail, owner/director of the Downeast School of Massage, Waldoboro, ME. Nancy did a great job of demonstrating the practical aspects of massage to an audience of physicians and surgeons. She provided both lecture and interactive demonstration stressing that massage therapy meets needs of health care today, evidenced by massage therapy's ability to offer tangible benefits to the average person who wants conservative, cost-effective ways to have optimum health. She pressed home the point that massage therapy generally encourages the individual to take responsibility for oneself, and that massage therapy is a companion to health care, working with the health care system to benefit the individual. The medically oriented audience was attentive as Nancy reviewed the current state of massage education and credentialing, indications/contraindications, and opportunities for referrals.
Another breakout session entitled "Massage Research - Evidence for Meaningful Integration" was led by Janet Kahn, PhD, a past president of the AMTA Foundation, and a senior research scientist for the Wellesley Center for Research on Women, housed at Wellesley College. Janet gave a nicely detailed presentation covering definitions, limitations of research, suggestions stemming from available research and suggestions for ongoing research efforts. She covered aspects of the difficulty (impossibility?) of double-blind randomized control studies that are commonplace in medicine today. She offered that existing research suggests that massage may introduce relaxation; enhance one's sense of well-being; decrease pain; provide noticeable short and long-term relief from low back pain; ease post-mastectomy lymphedema; enhance immune function; and promote development in premature infants.
Although not on the symposium faculty, AMTA President Steve Olson hosted a luncheon networking session providing information to the group of massage therapists who attended. Also present were AMTA President-elect Carolyn Talley, and John Balletto, President of the AMTA Foundation. It was a great opportunity to socialize a bit with the 30 to 40 massage therapists attending the symposium.
The message I took away from the symposium was that those massage therapists (or Asian bodyworkers, herbalists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, naturopaths, etc.) wishing to integrate their practices into the health care system need to pay particular care to evidence-based integration, and support continued research. Dr. Eisenberg stressed that in advising patients, safety will always trump efficacy; and real or potential dangers associated with unscientifically explained or non-reproduced results severely limit the ability to refer. Along this line, a lawyer presented a legal/legislative update covering topics such as a physician's liability in referring to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers. He stressed that physicians have to address questions such as what liability exists when a referral to a chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist occurs and the patient's condition deteriorates. This tied directly to a conversation on credentialing and ties to insurance and referral networks. He also revealed that referring physicians conceivably could be liable for aiding and abetting unlicensed medical practice!
I would encourage Massage Today readers who work or hope to work in concert with other caregivers and/or health care practitioners to take advantage of symposiums such as this one. The perspective gained from attending with others from multidimensional disciplines is vast! The knowledge and perspectives of the physicians present was also aided by the presence of massage therapists. Even if they choose to reject referrals to massage therapists until they become comfortable with further study results, they learn more about what we do, how we do it, and why. As a wise person once said, you must understand that which you choose to reject.
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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