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Massage Today
April, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 04

Alternative Medicine Added to NIH Database

By Editorial Staff

As of February 2001, more than 220,000 references, abstracts and full-text articles on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) have been made available on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.

PubMed, a service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a massive online version of the library's Medline database, which covers 4,500 journals published in the U.S.

and overseas. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine joined with the library to create the new CAM section.

Speaking on the new database, library director Donald Lindberg enthused: "This joint venture will offer health professionals, CAM practitioners, researchers, educators and consumers ready access to a comprehensive database of journal citations directly related to complementary and alternative medicine."

Chinese Dancers Feel the Power of Touch

In mid-February, members of the acclaimed Beijing Dance Academy were involved in a crash while on tour in Portland, Oregon. Two team members, Zhang Li and Sun Rui, were aided in their recovery by a massage therapist.

Dr. Shizeng Yang, a licensed massage therapist and a doctor of Chinese medicine, worked on the two teenage dancers using tuina, a massage technique that incorporates the same principles and energy points as acupuncture, but using fingers and hands instead of needles.

In the accident, Sun suffered a partially dislocated hip; Zhang was pinned under the troupe's van, suffering a badly bruised leg. However, both dancers have improved dramatically under Yang's care, along with the assistance of a local acupuncturist and herbalist. After the first week of treatment, Sun said his body felt "awake" and could walk without crutches; Zhang said her pain had eased to the point where she could stand.

Dr. Yang, who worked for the Chinese gymnastics team until 1992 and has taught at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, currently maintains a practice in Portland.

American Specialty Health Networks Stays Busy: More Agreements to Provide HMO Members with Massage

California-based American Specialty Health Networks (ASHN) has contracted with Tufts Health Plan, one of the country's largest HMOs, to provide discounts on massage therapy and acupuncture. Under terms of the agreement, Tufts Health Plan members have access to massage therapists and acupuncturists credentialed by ASHN.

The agreement between ASHN and Tufts Health Plan is the latest in a series of contracts between ASHN and HMOs across the country. In the February 2001 issue of Massage Today, we reported on several recent agreements making the news. (See "When Massage Meets Managed Care," in the February issue).

Commenting on the agreement, ASHN President and CEO George DeVries said: "Many Americans now use some form of complementary health care each year - chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, vitamins or herbal supplements. We are pleased to support the efforts of Tufts Health Plan to develop quality-driven, cost-effective programs for their members."

Bringing Complementary Care into the Mainstream

At some of the nation's leading hospitals, physicians and their staffs are increasingly providing patients with access to complementary and alternative care. A few recent examples of this trend:

  • Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, now offers complementary treatments for cancer patients, including massage therapy, meditation, yoga and art therapy.
  • At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, psychiatrists are prescribing herbal medicines to help patients overcome depression.
  • Beth Israel Medical Center (New York City) recently opened a "Center for Health and Healing" where physicians work alongside chiropractors and other practitioners specializing in homeopathy, clinical imagery and various alternative treatments.
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles just completed testing on the efficacy of alternative programs to heart surgery.

Dr. William Jagiello, an osteopathic physician and chairman of the Mercy Center's integrative medicine committee, says that the growing popularity of alternative treatment is confirmation that "illness doesn't exist in a vacuum."

"At some point in the future, there won't be conventional and unconventional treatments," predicts Dr. Jagiello. "They'll all be melded into one system. The important thing will be identifying the best treatment for each patient, rather than whether it's mainstream or alternative care."

Merging Massage Programs

Corinthian Colleges, Inc., of Santa Ana, California, recently announced that it has completed the acquisition of Grand Rapids Educational Center, Inc. (GREC) and its three campuses in Michigan and Indiana. In addition to programs in allied health, health insurance, and medical and dental specialties, GREC also offers a diploma program in massage therapy.

Corinthian Colleges, Inc., is one of the largest for-profit post-secondary education companies in the U.S., now operating 54 colleges in 19 states. For more information on the massage program offered at its newly acquired campuses, contact Corinthian Colleges, Inc., at 1-888-741-4271.

The Healing Powers of Chocolate

There's a new addition to the landscape in Hershey, Pennsylvania, home to the world-renowned Hershey Foods Corporation. The town already overflowing with chocolate now features a chocolate spa.

Earlier this year, the Hotel Hershey opened its $7 million spa, featuring chocolate baths, fondue wraps, and a variety of food-related therapies. The spa also offers more traditional spa conveniences, including massage, facials, pedicures and scalp treatment.

Believe it or not, the Hershey spa is just the latest in a continuing trend of food-related spas in the United States and abroad. For years, spas in Asia and Europe have featured soothing body baths blending milk, saffron and honey. In the United States, several hotels provide food-related spa services, including hotels in Texas and Arizona that offer barbeque and cactus wraps, respectively.


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