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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
April, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 04
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
Hello readers, and thank you for your wonderful responses to the first article of my Dealing with Pathologies column in the January 2001 edition of Massage Today!
Several people wrote in with interesting questions that they wanted to bring to public discussion.Some of these were fairly simple, like, "Is shingles contagious?" (Not if you've ever had chicken pox, but shingles can be extraordinarily painful, so take care!), and "What are the rules for working with high blood pressure?" (If it is manageable with diet and exercise, go to town; if it requires medication, use more caution with circulatory massage).
One of the most complex questions was raised by a massage therapist from the South, who wrote that she had worked for a short time in a salon. Her employer made all her appointments and controlled all the initial contact with her clients. The owner of the salon, not understanding the profound impact massage can have on health and disease, expected her to work with clients with a variety of conditions that could contraindicate Swedish massage: advanced atherosclerosis patients, clients with unexplained dizziness, and clients with unregulated diabetes. When the therapist repeatedly voiced her concerns, her employer didn't seem to grasp the seriousness of the problem. The working relationship was short-lived, and the therapist found another situation in which she could have more control over her choices.
How could this problem have been avoided? I see a need for three related areas of education:
1) Therapist-Employer Education
Any therapist who works as an employee has an obligation to meet the commitments outlined in that relationship, but those commitments need to be clearly stated from the beginning. This is obviously true for financial matters, but it also applies to how the therapist manages clients. In other words, massage therapists need to make clear that they may refuse to do circulatory massage with any client if they feel it is not in the client's best interest - regardless of whether the client or employer agrees. (And of course, therapists should also be able to refuse to give service to any client who abuses the client-therapist relationship; this is a safety issue.)
Many employers of massage therapists, especially those working in the "relaxation" aspect of the profession rather than in "clinical" settings, don't know the risks that circulatory massage may have. It is the therapist's job to educate these employers for the benefit of all their clients. For this purpose, it might be useful to make up a brief list outlining cautions and concerns for Swedish massage; circulatory and sensory disorders, contagious diseases, certain medications, and undiagnosed problems are all cause for concern. Of course, any such list needs a disclaimer explaining that decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Other client management issues include being able to interview clients before they come for a first appointment; being able to take a thorough health history; and being able, when necessary, to consult with other members of a client's health care team.
The better we become at educating massage therapy employers about the risks and benefits of massage, the safer the profession will be for therapists and clients.2) Therapist-Client Education
Another front-line education target is our clientele. Swedish massage is our industry standard. It is what most people expect when they pay money to receive massage. The vast majority of massage therapists use Swedish massage with most or all of their clients. However, we all know that whole worlds of bodywork have been developed that lack the circulatory impact Swedish massage has. When we, the therapists, are better able to educate our clientele about alternatives to Swedish massage that can yield outstanding benefits with minimal risks, we will have more options when people come to us with conditions that contraindicate Swedish massage.
I have found that when I discuss bodywork choices with clients, in terms of their own health and safety, they are usually open-minded about receiving work outside of their expectations. Not all clients will enjoy non-circulatory bodywork, however. Some may leave to find therapists who will do Swedish massage, regardless of their medical conditions. But every therapist needs to define boundaries for keeping clients safe. Beyond legalities and the threat of litigation, we need to keep the health and well being of our clientele first and foremost in our judgment.
3) Therapist Education
Finally, we ourselves have an obligation to be continually learning and adding to our skills. An old saying goes, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." If all you know is Swedish massage, every client looks like a good candidate for circulatory work! But if we have, in addition to our Swedish hammer, a craniosacral screwdriver, reflexology pliers, a Bowen technique drill... you get the picture. The more tools we have in our tool belt, the more versatile we can be. This benefits not only ourselves, keeping lively and interested in our work as we incorporate new skills, but also our clients, who will have therapists with skills that apply even when medical situations preclude circulatory massage.
This whole issue of making decisions about bodywork when our clients are not completely healthy, brings up a few more questions I'd like to put to you:
How do you talk to your clients about their health? When you see or notice something that requires attention from a medical professional, what do you say or do? Have you ever had to send a client away because his or her medical situation was too precarious? How did you convey your concerns? Did you feel you did a good job?
Send me your feedback, along with any other questions about massage and pathology, and I'll discuss it in a future article in Massage Today! Until then, good health and happiness.
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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