resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
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.
March, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 03
Working with Multiple Sclerosis Patients
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
You've done it again: I put out a request for input, and you came through in a big way. December's article on central nervous system dysfunction seemed to hit a cord with many therapists, so for the next couple of columns I will respond as best I can.(Editor's note: Ruth's December 2001 article is available on line at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/12/16.html.)
Although I had feedback on several issues related to central nervous system disorders, the majority of respondents requested information on multiple sclerosis (MS). This is a mysterious disorder; its population distribution is unusual, its progression is unpredictable, and its diagnosis is often a particular challenge. Patients with MS can benefit greatly from carefully managed massage, however, and most therapists probably have some clients who live with this disease.
This article will provide some brief information about how this disease develops and whom it affects, followed by a discussion of how various types of bodywork might and might not fit into the picture.
MS: who gets it? The highest incidence of MS is among Caucasian people who live in Northern or extreme Southern latitudes, or who lived there for the first 15 years of life. It is generally diagnosed in patients somewhere between 20 and 40 years old. Women are diagnosed with the disease approximately twice as frequently as men. It affects about 300 thousand Americans, with about nine thousand new diagnoses each year.
MS: what happens in the body? MS often works in cycles of inflammatory "flares" followed by periods of remission. During flares the myelin is damaged, probably by specific types of white blood cells, and is replaced by scar tissue. MS usually affects the optic nerve, brain stem, cerebellum, and spinal cord. During remission, inflammation subsides, and some regeneration of myelin may occur. In this way, MS patients may lose some neurological function during flares, but regain some or all of it during remission. The cause or causes of MS remain a mystery. Leading theories suggest that a combination of factors is at work: exposure to some pathogen that stimulates an ongoing immune system attack, environmental factors, and genetic predisposition may all be part of the picture. At this point no specific genetic, environmental, or pathogenic factors can reliably predict the incidence of multiple sclerosis.
MS: what does it look like? This disease is sometimes called The Great Imitator because its initial symptoms can look like a variety of other diseases, depending on what area of nerve tissue has been affected. The order with which symptoms appear also varies greatly from one person to the next. Some of the most dependable signs and symptoms include:
MS: how does it progress? The progression of MS is highly unpredictable. It has a few characteristic patterns, but some patients move from one pattern type to others within their disease process. Some of the basic patterns are as follows:
MS may also present as a combination of the R/R and P/P varieties.
MS is not a terminal disease in and of itself. MS sufferers generally have a lifespan about six years shorter than the average, although that statistic may improve as new medications prolong the time between flares and limit central nervous system damage. People who die prematurely from MS are usually immobile, and they fall prey to an opportunistic disease such as a kidney infection, urinary tract infection or pneumonia.
MS: what about massage? This is where it gets interesting. I've received letters from some people asking, "what do I do for this type or that...?" and letters from others saying, "I've had success with this approach..." I couldn't be happier to put all of this information together here in this article.
First of all, let me offer some words of warning. In its acute, or "flare" stage, MS is an inflammatory condition. True, the inflammation is happening in the CNS where we don't have access, but the general rule for massage and acute inflammation is to let it pass.
During an MS exacerbation, the body has a lot of activity to process. In my opinion (and absolutely anyone is invited to disagree), I think it's a better idea to let the dust settle before adding any more input in the form of massage. Some varieties of energetic work may be appropriate during MS flares, as long as the process is respected and the client is not overwhelmed or overchallenged by the stimulus being supplied.
During remission, however, we have a different story. The level of function a person achieves during remission depends on the severity of the flare, and how deeply the myelin was affected. If it was only a superficial attack, the damaged myelin may grow back and no permanent changes may occur. If it was a more intrusive flare, however, some amount of permanent damage may accrue to the nerve tissue, resulting in muscle weakness, sensory changes including parasthesia ("pins and needles"), or even complete numbness. This is where massage (as well as other therapeutic modalities) may have a profoundly positive impact. While we generally say, "if a client can't feel it, we shouldn't try to change it," some massage therapists have found that working deeply and specifically on the antagonistic muscle groups of isolated numb or weak muscles of MS clients yields exciting results.
Here is what one therapist (Jim McFarland of Virginia) has found:
Another reader, Michael Eisenberg of Washington State shared with me that Thai massage, which he describes as being just as beneficial to give as it is to receive, has helped him to manage his own MS:
And yet another reader has a client with very advanced MS who has lost most of the function in his legs. This is what she has to say:
All of these wonderful stories point in the same direction: massage has a lot to offer clients who live with MS, as long as some basic principles are kept in mind: avoid mechanical or manipulative work during periods of flare; respect numbness; only work deeply where the client has sensation; and monitor your results carefully so that you can continue to make positive choices for your client's needs.
Readers who are interested in learning more about MS, either for themselves or for their clients, would do well to visit this website: www.mic.ki.se/Diseases/. This site has an extensive list of recent articles on just about any disease you could think of. MS is listed under Neurological Diseases as a demyelinating disease.
In next month's article, I plan to discuss another aspect of CNS dysfunction: working with spinal cord injury survivors. I've had several questions from readers about "do's" and "don'ts" for these clients; what advice do you have for massage therapists?
Ruth Werner, LMT, NCTMB
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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