resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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 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.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.