resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11
Reflex Mechanisms of Massage Therapy, Part II
By Ross Turchaninov, MD
Editor's note: Part I of this article appeared in the October 2001 issue of Massage Today, available on line at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/10/05.html.
Why do stimuli from the stomach that are delivered to the central nervous system (CNS) radiate to somatic structures, and why in turn are the stimuli from reflex zones activated by the flow of motor impulses to the stomach? The phenomenon of convergence is responsible for this effect. The number of afferent sensory neurons delivering information from peripheral receptors to the spinal cord is greater than the amount of spinal neurons in the posterior horns of the spinal cord. The posterior horns accept and primarily process this information (see figure 2).
In other words, there is more than one sensory neuron in contact with each spinal neuron in the posterior horns of the spinal cord. In this instance, the information brought to CNS by sensory neurons from the stomach excites the entire neural plate of the spinal neuron. The sensory information delivered by sensory neurons from the peripheral receptors in the skin or skeletal muscles also excites the entire neural plate of the same spinal neuron. This stimulation by sensory stimuli from the stomach or reflex zones activates the lower motor cells in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. They generate motor input not only to the location of the original abnormality (the stomach, in our example), but also to the somatic structures innervated by the same segment of the spinal cord.
Simpler mechanisms of reflex zone formation are applied in cases of somatic abnormalities. This mechanism is responsible for the reflex zones' formation along the pathway of irritated or compressed peripheral nerves. For example, the chronic irritation of the sciatic nerve by overtensed piriformis muscle will produce pathological symptoms through the entire lower limbs. In this manner, irritation of peripheral nerves in the upper part of the body will cause the formation of reflex zones in the lower extremities, supported by the affected peripheral nerve.
Finally, reflex zone formation can be caused by direct compression of the spinal nerve by a herniated disc. As a result of irritation or compression of the spinal nerve, various areas of pathological excitement develop in the spinal cord, especially in the lower motor centers in the anterior horns. Abnormal impulses flow from the spinal cord to the inner organs, and to other parts of the body that are innervated by the affected spinal nerve. Further development follows the same pattern of relation between reflex zones and inner organs or parts of the body as mentioned previously.
Let's now look at another important issue, and ask another important question: "What local events lead to the formation of reflex zones?" First, let's briefly review the physiology of excitation and the conduction of nerve impulses. A nerve impulse or "action potential" is a propagated electrical disturbance originating in the peripheral receptors or in the upper nervous centers; it is conducted through afferent, ascending sensory or efferent, descending motor neurons. Both ascending information to the central nervous system about any kind of peripheral receptors activation, and descending motor commands from the central nervous system, are delivered as a series of action potentials. Any single action potential is the result of changes in the conductance of sodium and potassium through the membrane of the nervous cells. Every action potential has a threshold. A threshold is the firing level of the action potential. This means that if applied stimuli are weak, they are unable to evoke an action potential. In this case, full action potential is replaced by a local response.
A local response is a weak electric excitement that stays within the stimulated receptor, rather than propagating along the neuron. As soon as the stimuli are strong enough, the action potential is generated and conducted through the neuron. This mechanism protects the nervous system from overflow with useless information. Normally, the threshold activation of peripheral receptors has stable electrical magnitude. The continuous radiation of motor impulses to the reflex zones in skin, connective tissue, muscles, or periosteum evokes unusual phenomena in these tissues. The magnitude of the threshold is reduced in all receptors located in these areas. As a result, receptors start to generate action potentials as a response to even the weakest stimulus, even those that normally had subthreshold levels and have never produced action potentials. (Korr, 1947). This phenomenon is called hyperirritability. The affected soft tissues respond by building up tension, especially in contractile elements. Vasoconstriction and local edema are formed, further diminishing blood circulation and decreasing tissue metabolism.
The decrease of the threshold of peripheral receptors, i.e. the condition of hyperirritability, is the starting point of reflex zone formation (Korr, 1947; Glezer, Dalicho, 1955; Kunichev, 1985; Shterngertz, Belaya, 1994; Loginova, 2000). Figure 3 shows how the action potentials are generated, both in the receptors of the normal parts of the body and in the areas of reflex zones.
In 1947, in a series of brilliant clinical experiments, Prof. I. Korr showed that hyperirritability is a key to understanding reflex zone formation. In his experiments, Korr inserted microelectrodes in muscles with clinical symptoms of hypertonic abnormalities, then exposed his subjects to different types of stimulation: physical activity, decreased and increased temperature, loud sounds, bright light, etc. When subjects were exposed to each of these stimuli (even visual and auditory) the skeletal muscles in the area of reflex zones reacted with increased tension, which was detected by electromyography. This caused the additional decrease of peripheral circulation in already-affected areas. Thus, as Prof. I. Korr showed, any type of sensory stimulation of the CNS causes the further development of reflex zones in the tissue which are no longer protected from theactivation of peripheral receptors by subthreshold stimuli.
A number of clinical abnormalities can be found found in the areas of reflex zones in the skin, connective tissue, skeletal muscles and periosteum. During diagnostic examination, the practitioner should detect all abnormalities and record them on prepared diagrams of the body. At the end of the diagnostic examination, the practitioner will have a complete picture of somatic abnormalities for the patient. Such an approach to diagnostic examination allows the practitioner to formulate the optimal treatment protocol.
I. Cutaneous Reflex Zones
II. Connective Tissue Zones (CTZ)
Connective tissue zones are also examined by palpation. Several diagnostic techniques target the CTZ in the each level. In general, the practitoner is looking for following abnormalities in the areas of CTZ:
III. Reflex Zones in Skeletal Muscles
Reflex zones in the skeletal muscles are examined by palpation and direct compression. The moderate compression of muscular tissue elicits sharp pain in the area of hypertonic muscular abnormalities. Patients show the so-called "jump symptom." Sharp pain elicited during moderate compression is another example of hyperalgesia.
IV. Periostal Reflex Zones
The periosteum is the thin connective tissue membrane covering all bones. It supports bone metabolism and remodeling. The periostal reflex zones are available for diagnostic examination only in the areas at which bone structures are covered by skin only. Examination of periostal reflex zones is conducted by palpation and direct compression.
Following diagnostic examination, the practitioner will able to formulate the proper protocol of medical massage therapy. The formulation of a correct protocol is of course key to successful treatment. As mentioned, this protocol is a combination of different methods and techniques. For example, connective tissue massage is the best way to work on the connective tissue zones, but it is useless in the areas of periostal reflex zones, where periostal massage is the most effective therapy. The practitioner must utilize the particular methods and techniques created for the treatment of particular type of reflex zones. For example, if the patient does not have abnormalities in the periosteum, periostal massage techniques must be excluded from the protocol. However, if one measures the clinical validity of different methods of medical massage, I believe that segment-reflex massage is as appropriate as all known methods of Western medical massage therapy. The major advantage of segment-reflex massage is its integrative approach to treatment.The modern protocol of segment-reflex massage includes therapeutic massage, connective tissue massage and periostal massage, as well as its own therapeutic techniques and approaches. This unique combination allows the practitioner to target the reflex zones precisely and deliver an effective therapeutic impact to the affected areas of the body. In any case, the protocol of medical massage therapy must be individually adjusted to each new patient, because there are no two identical cases.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that reflex mechanisms of massage therapy allow the massage practitioner reach a completely new level of professional expertise. At first, the clinical application of reflex mechanisms of massage therapy is a challenge. However, the professional benefits are far more rewarding than the time spent by the practitioner to achieve this level of expertise.
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