resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 03
A Comparison of the Somatosensory Effects of Therapeutic and Medical Massage, Part I
By Gregory T. Lawton, DN, DC
There are many different kinds of massage therapy and massage therapy techniques. This article reviews two systems of massage therapy: therapeutic massage and medical massage, as they relate to their clinical effects on the somatosensory system, specifically, mechanoreceptors, nociceptors and the joint complex.
Medical massage is composed of a strictly delineated clinical protocol, and therapeutic massage is commonly practiced as recreational, relaxation; energy; fringe or spa massage, and is most often based on the system developed by Per Henrik Ling.Massage therapy is a form of manual therapy and may be considered to have two categories of physiological considered to have two categories of physiological effect: generalized effects and specific effects. All modes and methods of manual therapy have some degree of generalized physiological effect, whether the massage therapy is employed for medical or relaxation purposes.
However, it is in the area of specific clinical effect that systems of massage separate into different categories: medical and non-medical. Medical massage claims to be a specific system of manual therapy that facilitates connective healing relative to the pathophysiology of the condition to which it is applied and is therefore a system of medical treatment. Therapeutic massage, which is most commonly practiced as relaxation or spa massage, has numerous documented clinical effects. To date, most studies on massage therapy have employed the general techniques of therapeutic massage. Perhaps the greatest strength of therapeutic massage is its effect on the stress cycle.
Therapeutic massage may be broken down into two categories of techniques: those techniques originally developed by Ling and represented by the "Swedish massage" system, and ancillary techniques added to the Ling system by various therapists and utilized by therapeutic massage practitioners as adjunctive techniques. Examples of this latter category would include trigger point therapy, skin rolling, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), and neuromuscular and muscle energy technique.
To make the issue of definition between medical and non-medical technique even more confusing, some practitioners of medical massage, and authors of medical massage articles and books, utilize therapeutic massage (Swedish massage) technique and simply label it medical massage. Some therapeutic massage therapists do this because they do not practice therapeutic massage for relaxation massage purposes, but rather general clinical objectives. Some practitioners of therapeutic massage consider themselves to be medical massage therapists if they use therapeutic massage in a hospital or medical environment, or if they add muscle testing and range of motion techniques to their therapy.
Medical massage therapy contends that any system of manual therapy that claims a specific clinical effect must demonstrate that its techniques can achieve clinical outcomes identical to those measured in other clinical systems, or techniques that have been scrutinized in research studies and clinical settings. One example would be the ability of a series of techniques or a massage treatment protocol to effectively address chronic pain through stimulation of mechanoreceptors and inhibition of nociceptor activity, while also reducing acute and chronic inflammation and restoring normal joint range of motion. Any system of massage therapy that systematically obtains these clinical objectives is a form of medical massage. Currently, any clinical claims made by the medical massage therapist are based on "borrowing" the observations and findings of studies from other disciplines, such as histiology, chiropractic, orthopedics, physical therapy, and biomechanics. It should be noted, however, that a review of the current research in these areas offers the medical massage therapist a wealth of information. This information at least suggests the effectiveness of certain techniques, and further defines the application of certain techniques. Missing are specific studies that measure the outcome of medical massage techniques and protocols.
The massage profession at large has not seriously engaged in the labor of defining many of the issues addressed in this article because of a lack of general consensus within the massage community of the definition of medical massage; because of a lack of standardized educational curriculums in massage schools; and because of an historic rejection, by the massage community, of research-based technique and medical methodology. In addition, many schools of massage therapy teach very elementary and introductory massage therapy technique, basic anatomy, almost no pathology, and no clinically based internship programs. Indeed, the level of education in most massage schools is currently at a low level as compared to other allied medicine and professional training programs in health care.
This article does not propose to define medical massage for all practicing massage therapists, but rather to offer some insights into possible future directions and development for medical massage. Certainly, there is a wide diversity of massage therapy practice that ranges from esoteric forms of fringe massage to clinically focused manual therapy.
Studies on massage to date have been performed utilizing generalized therapeutic massage, not the controlled clinical techniques used by some medical massage therapists. As this article emphasizes, technique should not determine studies, but studies should indicate or suggest technique, or even lead to the development of new treatment approaches. When research, technique, and outcome-based clinical rehabilitation collide, medical massage is born.
One of the problems in the general practice of massage therapy is the use of theories, techniques and concepts that are not based on valid scientific knowledge or accepted clinical practice. Within the fields of histology, pathology and biomechanics, there already exists a vast body of scientific research on connective tissue that validates massage and manual therapy techniques. Rather than waiting for future studies, massage therapy can adapt current research to clinical practice. Significant current examples are the research that exists on the physiology of ligaments, the joint complex and mechanoreceptors and nociceptors.
An example of a universally accepted misconception within the massage community involves the concepts regarding the "proprioceptor." Currently, within the general massage culture, the term proprioceptor is used to describe a type of neural receptor that transmits biological impulses related to a sense of position of a body part or area. Various massage techniques and exercises have been developed by different massage therapists that claim to "reprogram" or "normalize" proprioceptor function. In medical research and scientific circles, the term "proprioceptor" is and has been recognized as an inaccurate and non-scientific term. Although first entered into use by Sherrington (1906), the term was used to describe a specific type of biological sensor, and was not accepted by the legitimate scientific community since 1926. The term is listed in Gray's Anatomy, 37th edition, as "arbitrary." Scientific literature related to the use of the word proprioceptor dismisses the term for the following reasons:
Most, if not all massage textbooks, refer to and teach treatment and technique based on the concept of the proprioceptor. Almost all massage schools and their instructors teach the concept of the proprioceptor. Several methods of manual technique and therapeutic exercise are based on the erroneous concept of a proprioceptor. If this is not a physiological term, then what terms are physiologically and scientifically correct?
References and suggested reading:
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