resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
March, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 03
Body Mechanics and Continuing Education
By Sandy Fritz
Editor's note: Sandy Fritz, a practicing massage therapist for over 20 years, is the author of Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage and co-author of Mosby's Basic Science for Soft Tissue and Movement Therapies and other massage textbooks such as Mosby's Massage Therapy Review.She is the owner and director of the Health Enrichment Center, Inc., School of Therapeutic Massage in Michigan, and maintains a private practice for professional football players. Sandy also provides consultation to many massage schools in development. I've spent many hours pondering how I could encourage practicing massage therapists to improve their body mechanics. Because proper use of body mechanics can enhance the longevity and success of your career, continuing education regarding body mechanics should be stressed to all massage therapists.
Most research in ergonomics had focused on elements of lifting and motion. Massage application is more about the application of compressive force. Adaptation of biomechanics for those who lift and move is counterproductive for massage application. Over and over, I hear clients ask for more pressure without being poked and jabbed. The major goal for massage is to apply an appropriate broad-based compressive force to soft tissue, using the least amount of physical effort.
Massage has become a system unto itself. The historical basis for massage was as more of an integrated system utilizing movement, exercise and massage. Seldom was massage applied for a full hour. Now the one-hour massage is the expected standard for massage professionals. Five massage sessions per day is necessary for most to achieve financial stability in a typical workweek. No wonder that a recent study by Watson (reported by Gerry Pyves in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 5, no. 3, July 2001) showed that 78% of massage professionals have experienced a work-related injury. Something must be done to help our profession. A change in paradigm about how massage is delivered is necessary. The idea that the hand is the primary delivery tool is outdated. The forearm, the flat space below the knee and the foot are better suited for sustaining the abnormal loading of the joints and repetitive movement strain on the joints and soft tissue required when giving massage.
Compressive force is applied 90 degrees in relationship to the body contact. This means that the client needs to be positioned so that you can lean against an upward slope on the body and maintain about a 45-degree angle at the shoulder. When the knee and foot are used, a 90-degree angle against the tissue can be achieved easily.
The joints need to be stacked and stable; the gliding motion should be provided by moving the feet in a forward position, instead of leaning at the waist and reaching forward. Avoid petrissage or kneading movements. The same effect can be achieved by applying compression to the tissues, then moving the adjacent joint actively or passively.
Are you asking yourself, "What can I do to improve my body mechanics?" First, be aware that there could be a problem, and the problem may not be apparent to you. Just because you have your education under your belt and practice massage does not mean you are using your body in the most efficient way.
There are many objects to consider when discussing body mechanics, including the massage table, floor mats, stools and chairs.
Is your table the proper height? As a general rule, your fingertips or first knuckle should reach the top of the table when your arms are hanging at your sides. This varies depending on if you have a long or short torso, legs or arms. If your table is a little short, you will be able to accommodate by widening your stance, but will often end up bending at the waist and developing low back fatigue. A table that is too tall will cause you to use upper muscle strength instead of leaning and using leverage to apply the compressive forces. Test your table. Are you thinking it's too tall or too short? If so, experiment to see if it feels more comfortable set at the suggested height. If it was too tall and you adjusted it, at the end of a day of practice you may feel less lethargic because you used less upper body strength. If it was too short, your back will ache. More often than not, raising the table a bit helps.
One way to notice incorrect body mechanics (besides the pain you may be feeling by the middle or end of your day) is by using a mirror to check yourself frequently in different positions:
If you were unable to notice incorrect uses of your body mechanics and think you are doing just fine, wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? Ask a few other massage therapists to get together so you can evaluate each other. Watching each other will provide more objective feedback. If you are only doing two or three massage sessions per week, you may be able to get by with bad body mechanic habits, but if your are doing two or more massage sessions per day to total 10 massage sessions or more per week, injury will likely result.
Here are some ways to do a self-test:
You should have answered yes to the above questions. If these tips don't help, check out continuing education providers that offer classes in body mechanics or related classes. Choose your course carefully. You do not want to replace one set of bad habits for another. One place you can locate classes is on NCBTMB's website: www.ncbtmb.com. You can also call (800) 296-0664 to find CEU providers in your area.
Remember that the human body is designed for movement and range of motion, not for the compressive forces required when giving a massage. Appropriate body mechanics must be maintained to provide adequate pressure throughout the massage. Body mechanics systems that are based on movement, such as dance and martial arts systems, are not designed for the delivery of compressive force required for massage. Learning to effectively use your knees and feet while working on a mat as part of your massage applications can allow you to rest your arms and hands. Some applications of shiatsu and Chinese massage systems incorporate these applications of pressure delivery.
A well-trained massage professional should be able to effectively provide five to six massage sessions a day, five days per week, without excessive fatigue or pain. If you are unable to maintain this type of work pace, your body mechanics is the most likely cause. Take action now so that you can have the career you desire.
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