resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
March, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 03
Putting the Pieces Together
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Parenthood has pulled me into some unexpected byways of learning. One such journey came in reading about those who design imaginative constructions for LEGO®, the maker of the ubiquitous small, brightly-colored plastic bricks that fit together - the same sharp-edged bricks that I've stepped on too many times while walking barefoot through my house. While LEGO® makes many specialized pieces, those who design and make creations for LEGO® itself first have to demonstrate high proficiency with the simple basic brick. From the basic bricks spring forth the larger modules that eventually combine into thematic displays. In learning to skillfully practice the art and profession of massage, we can take lessons from LEGO® - the basic bricks are the starting points, to which we must add a larger context that guides us in joining the individual bricks into something greater.2
In teaching sports and deep-tissue massage classes, my basic bricks include evaluative skills, specific manipulation techniques, biomechanics, and knowledge of how to access and facilitate specific soft-tissue structures. Surrounding the individual kinesthetic skills and concepts is an ongoing context of client connection and communication motivated ultimately by the intent to create lasting benefit for our clients. It is this context of creating benefit that guides us consciously and unconsciously and allows each new session to evolve into something that is fresh and unique. As with the LEGO® bricks, there are countless "right" ways to create a massage from our store or conceptual and kinesthetic knowledge.
Like a good horticulturist, part of teaching the craft of massage comes in grafting the new learning onto a student's rootstock of experience, so that it will bear fruit rather than wither unused and unusable. I often start this process with exercises designed to build our kinesthetic vocabularies, initially backing off from the pressures of "doing massage" into the practice of coordination, movement and connection found in variations of tai ji push hands. This kinesthetic practice teaches us to match the movement and to become aware of the pressure and contact that we exert vis-a-vis our partner. We can maintain the contact on the physical level or loosen it into contact via a viscous visualized "energy taffy" - still maintaining the moment-by-moment connection of intent and awareness - in touch yet not physically touching. A primary effect of this practice is that we rapidly move from being a room of strangers to being a class of individuals who have moved together and laughed together into feelings of cohesion and commonality. We are practicing the nonverbal skills of perception that will allow our clients to teach us touch-by-touch what works for them.
This movement practice allows us to examine and relearn our own body usage. The exercises slow us down to practice the flow of one position into another, so that we can become aware of our proprioception of bearing our own weight and how that realization shifts as we move forward and back or side-to-side. We become aware of those places in which our movements are smooth and continuous and learn new neuromuscular patterns for those places that we previously sped or jerked through.
The movements integrate us, moving not just in our hands and wrists, but in our arms and shoulders; and not just in our arms and shoulders, but through our torsos and legs into our feet. Through our feet, we create contact with the floor. When we align our pelvis with the direction of performing our massage strokes and roll tissues using our entire body rather than just the intrinsic muscles of our hands, the strength and smoothness of our moves are palpable to our clients. Our work becomes a tai ji dance, rather than an injury inviting strain of our own muscles and tissues.
With our skills of movement and nonverbal contact accomplished, we are freer to sense and attend to our clients' needs, letting each session develop from their expressions and our own perceptions. We can glean background from our clients in words either written or verbal or by the visual means of having a client color in problem areas on a body image diagram. 3 Visually, we can look for areas of asymmetry and dislocation in the alignment of the different sections of a client's body. 1, 4 Via palpation and range-of-motion checks, we can seek areas of muscle hypertonicity and abnormal tissue texture. I've found Philip Greenman's mnemonic of ART to be useful - Asymmetry of related parts, Range of motion of joints, and abnormalities of tissue Texture. 4 Depending of the focus of a massage, we sometimes observe these implicitly within the context of an opening stretch or compressive effleurage, and sometimes explicitly in seeking the causes of pain or limitation. Our therapy also can be done implicitly by focusing on a tissue lesion within the flow of a general massage, or explicitly as part of a planned facilitation with considerable client interaction and participation. There are indeed nearly an infinite number of ways to put the pieces together to further our goal of creating long-term client benefit.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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