resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
October, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 10
Reflex Mechanisms of Massage Therapy, Part I
By Ross Turchaninov, MD
Editor's note: Dr. Ross Turchaninov graduated from Odessa Medical School in the Ukraine in 1983. He supervised the rehabilitation program at the Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine, and later served as chief scientific researcher at the Kiev Orthopedic Institute.Dr. Turchaninov is the author of more then 25 articles in Ukrainian, European and American medical and massage journals. He is also the author of two textbooks published in the USA: Medical Massage, Volume 1 and Therapeutic Massage: A Scientific Approach. Dr. Turchaninov currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. In the past several years, massage therapy has developed with great speed in the United States as a form of alternative medicine. According to a statistical survey conducted by Eisenberg, et al. and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, the probability of a patient visiting an alternative health practitioner increased from 36.3% in 1991 to 46.3% in 1998. Among these patients, massage therapy was second only to chiropractic care in terms of popularity.
The work of scientific institutions such as the Touch Research Institute in Florida has created a scientific background for the clinical application of massage therapy. More and more insurance companies cover the cost of massage therapy, and more and more doctors refer their patients to massage practitioners. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover methods of preventive therapy; their major concern is the clinical effects of treatment. This is also a major expectation of patients and other health practitioners who recommended massage therapy. Consequently, it seems apparent that the further development of massage therapy may lead in the direction of its medical benefits.
Therapeutic massage alone does not necessarily deliver stable clinical results. This type of massage therapy was originally created for healthy people, to enhance their health and improve their well being. Some of the methods of medical massage therapy are already widely (e.g., lymph drainage massage) or partially (e.g., connective tissue massage) incorporated into the arsenal of American massage therapy; some methods remain to be rediscovered or more fully explored (e.g., segment-reflex massage or periostal massage).
The medical massage practitioner occupies a special place in massage therapy. What distinguishes a massage therapist from a medical massage practitioner? First of all, medical massage demands more education and, perhaps more importantly, a commitment to permanent self-improvement. Second, the massage therapist who studies and practices for example, lymph drainage massage, cannot be considered a medical massage practitioner, but rather a lymph drainage massage practitioner. The uniqueness of medical massage therapy is in its integrative approach. In other words, the medical massage therapist has to know all major methods of medical massage therapy, and be able to blend them together to create the unique treatment protocol of the treatment for each patient. Only in such a case can stable clinical results be achieved. We do not expect surgeons to conduct an operation by knife only; they utilize a wide set of different tools. The methods of medical massage therapy are tools massage therapists use for the health benefits of their patients. With such an integrative approach, the medical massage practitioner can treat different somatic or visceral disorders using the local and reflex mechanisms of massage therapy.
The local mechanisms of massage therapy are widely known -- they play an important role in the formation of the clinical effects of massage treatment. However, in this article I will discuss the theoretical foundation of reflex mechanisms of massage therapy. These mechanisms are key elements of the major methods of medical massage therapy: segment-reflex massage; connective tissue massage; periostal massage; and neuromuscular therapy.
The human body has two major anatomo-physiological components: soma and viscera. Soma includes skeletal system and all soft tissue structures: skin, fascia, muscles, etc. Viscera includes the inner organs and systems of our body. The soma provides our locomotion, interaction with environment and also serves as a protective envelope for the viscera. Somatic and visceral structures are perfectly united together by the nervous system. The different somatic structures also interconnect with each other through the nervous system. This interconnection can be seen between different visceral structures or systems of the body. These interconnections are possible because of several principal reflexes:
The medical massage practitioner is able to use soma-somatic, viscero-somatic and viscero-motor reflexes for the treatment of various somatic and visceral disorders. The reflex mechanism of massage therapy allows the practitioner to dramatically increase the results of the treatment of somatic abnormalities, and to participate in the treatment of visceral disorders. Soma-somatic, viscero-somatic and viscero-motor reflexes are responsible for the formation of local abnormalities in the areas of soft tissues, innervated by the same segment of the spinal cord as the original somatic or visceral disorder. These areas in the soft tissues are called reflex zones. The reflex zones do not form as soon as clinical picture of original disorder is established. In cases of somatic abnormalities, the formation of reflex zones may take an average of two-to-three weeks. In cases of visceral disorders, the reflex zones are formed after approximately three months. Thus, the reflex zones in the skin, connective tissue, skeletal muscles and periosteum are formed secondarily, as the body's response to chronic various somatic or visceral abnormalities.
The concept of reflex zones was first proposed by Prof. A. Sherbak, MD, in works published between 1910 and 1936. He developed one of the most effective methods of medical massage therapy: segment-reflex massage. The conception of reflex massage therapy continued to develop in different countries. In Austria, E. Dickle and Prof. W. Kohlrausch proposed connective tissue massage in the 1930s. In Germany, Dr. P. Vogler and Dr. H. Krauss developed the concept of periostal massage in 1950s. In 1955, Drs. O. Glezer and V.A. Dalicho reshaped segment-reflex massage by publishing maps of reflex zones in cases of different somatic and visceral disorders. In Russia, Prof. O.F. Kuznetsov developed asymmetric segment-reflex massage in 1977 for the treatment of patients with pulmonary disorders.
After World War II, reflex zones were intensively studied by American scientists (Beal, 1985). Experimental studies conducted by Prof. I. Korr in 1940s allowed scientists to more deeply understand the intimate mechanisms of reflex zone formation.
What mechanism is responsible for the formation of reflex zones in the skin, connective tissue (e.g. fascia, aponeurosis), skeletal muscles and periosteum (i.e., thin connective tissue membrane which covers bones and supports their metabolism)? Let's discuss this matter with the help of figure1.
Take as example a patient suffering from a chronic gastric ulcer. The patient complains of pain in the epigastric area, heartburn, gas, belching, etc. The symptoms worsen with stress and consumption of spicy or fatty foods. The flow of these pathological impulses (solid arrows in figure 1) travels from the peripheral receptors in the stomach, through the afferent sensory neurons, to the posterior horns of the spinal cord, where all sensory information arriving at the spinal cord is primarily processed. As soon as ascending sensory information reaches the spinal neurons in the corresponding segments of spinal cord, these neurons are stimulated. The posterior horns of the spinal cord act as a computer to analyze sensory input, then transfer it to the brain. Simultaneously, these sensory impulses from the stomach are conducted to the lower motor centers, located in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. As a result of stimulation of lower motor centers, the motor commands are sent to the area with original pathological processes in the stomach, causing changes in gastric function such as increased peristalsis, decreased gastric juice production, etc.
The stimulation of lower motor centers also produces the flow of motor impulses to the areas of the skin, connective tissue, skeletal muscles or periosteum, which are innervated by the same segments of the spinal cord as the stomach. Reflex zones start to form in these soft tissues, as a result of their permanent bombardment by motor impulses. However, these motor impulses were not produced originally by the stimulation of peripheral receptors in soft tissues. They are a radiation of sensory impulses from the stomach to somatic areas innervated by the same segment of the spinal cord as the stomach. The constant flow of unnecessary motor commands to the somatic areas causes the increased tension in these areas, and reflex zone formation.
Pathological changes in the reflex zones appear in different clinical forms. As soon as the reflex zones are formed, they start to emit their own pathological impulses through the afferent sensory neurons to the posterior horns of the spinal cord (dashed arrows in figure 1). These stimuli also activate the spinal neurons, which transfer sensory information up to the brain and stimulate the lower motor centers in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. Stimulation of the lower motor centers elicits the flow of motor stimuli back to the areas of reflex zones and, at the same time, the flow of motor stimuli to the stomach. This unnecessary flow of motor impulses to the stomach accelerates the original process of ulcer formation by increasing vasoconstriction, cellular edema, and abnormalities in the gastric secretion. Thus, a vicious circle is formed which supports further development of the chronic gastric ulcer.
Segmental-reflex massage, connective tissue massage, and periostal massage can interrupt this vicious circle - by eliminating local abnormalities in the areas of reflex zones, and by blocking a reverse flow of pathological impulses from the reflex zones to the spinal cord, brain and stomach. Essentially, this is the primary goal of medical massage therapy: to evaluate, then eliminate reflex zones.
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