resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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.)
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.
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.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
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 Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
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.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 04
We Get Letters & E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Editor's note: The following two letters are in response to Ralph Stephens' December 2002 column, "No Better Time Than Now." The second letter is accompanied by a reply from Mr.Stephens.
Responding to the Call for Activism
It is not often that I comment on articles written in publications. However, as a massage therapist in Texas who is not a prostitute, I was compelled to write after Ralph Stephens' column. Ordinarily, I would have dismissed his statements as erroneous and ignorant, and felt assured that only a few people in Texas would read them. However, since your paper boasts of more than 1 million Internet hits, his published comments raise deep, genuine concern here in Texas.
I accept Mr. Stephens' challenge for each individual massage therapist to become active and "do his or her part" to correct this misconception about Texas. In particular, I ask that Mr. Stephens show documentation to support his statement that "As the emergence period ends, the co-opting period is beginning. It is going quite well in Texas. Prostitution has just about reclaimed the term 'massage' there. Many of what are called 'massage schools' in Texas crank out prostitutes faster than therapists," or retract the statement with an appropriate apology. I also ask that the above quotation (or the entire article) be deleted from your Web site.
By the way, I agree with Mr. Stephens' assessment that massage therapists must defend and protect our scope of practice through individual legislative activism. Thank you for your consideration of my concerns; I look forward to Mr. Stephens' reply (either his research or his apology).
Orbie Ratliff, RMT
"It is now time to do the right thing"
This e-mail is regarding Mr. Stephens' comments about Texas massage schools producing prostitutes. I am no longer comfortable leaving Massage Today in the reception area where I work. Mr. Stephens' comments were not supported by facts and could easily cost us accounts to provide massage services. The way I see it, Mr. Stephens has two choices. He can name names and make a report to the Texas Department of Health; if it fails to do its job by taking action against such therapists, you can complain. The system in place is complaint-driven, at least to some degree. Mr. Stephens has an ethical obligation to file a report. If not, he is "aiding and abetting." On the other hand, if Mr. Stephens is unable to provide specifics to back up his comments, they are nothing more than hearsay. In my opinion, his only other choice in this case is to make an unqualified apology; specifically acknowledge the information is hearsay; and resign his position. His irresponsible comments jeopardized a profession we have spent years building. Our most difficult struggle with our clients is in helping them get past the notion that massage is about sex. Presently, myself and others are researching legal options regarding some sort of libel lawsuit. I suspect our options will be limited, but we believe that as long as Mr. Stephens' comments stand, our practice is threatened. It is now time to do the right thing.
Lori Dupree, RMT
Getting the Toxins Out of Massage
Many thanks to Keith Eric Grant for his article, "Flushing Out Myths" (MT, Dec. 2002). For 10 years, I have heard from clients that they are "full of toxins"; most of them have this impression because they heard it from massage therapists, or from others who heard it from massage therapists. I think it is a disservice to encourage people to think they need massage because they are "toxic," and that massage therapy helps correct this problem. People who already may be anxious or uncertain about their health status do not benefit from the erroneous, alarming image that they are being poisoned by metabolic sludge. I also think some massage therapists may avoid taking responsibility for using inappropriate depth of pressure on sensitive clients by explaining that postmassage discomfort is merely from "getting the toxins out."
I'd like to see more honest and responsible discussion of the role of massage in cellular metabolism. I think we should share accurate information with our clients on the known, positive effects of massage, and we should not be afraid to say, "We don't know yet" in response to some questions. We will all benefit if we eliminate misleading, toxic claims from our interactions with the people we serve.
Margaret Caro, LMT
Editor's note: James (Doc) Clay's January 2003 column, "The Clinical Track: Introduction, With a Response to AMMA," inspired considerable letters to the editor, one of which is printed below. Massage Today regrets that it cannot publish all of the letters we received. The complete text of Mr. Clay's article appears online at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/01/12.html.
"Medical massage truly is holistic medicine"
I am a graduate and a student of the Blue Heron Academy of Healing Arts and Sciences [Grand Rapids, Mich.]. In addition, I maintain a private practice in the Blue Heron Clinic and have been a member of the American Medical/Manual Massage Association (AMMA) for three years. I am a medical massage therapist, but more accurately, a manual therapist. In the article, Mr. Clay states, "We do not treat conditions according to medical diagnostic criteria, but according to clinical massage therapy assessment criteria"... and then says how he would treat it. As a Blue Heron graduate and a medical massage therapist, I treat according to medical diagnostic criteria, not the way either an medical doctor or you would treat. That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of similarities too. Tendonitis (can also be spelled correctly as tendinitis) also is called "medial epicondylitis" or "golfer's elbow." It results from injury to the common flexor tendon. A simple test for this condition is active wrist flexion against resistance. I palpate the affected area; fold the tissue; perform deep tissue to periosteum massage (not painful, because the tissue is folded and because I use a soft-hand technique); note adhesions and fibrosis; do joint physics;bony lever at the joint junctions; etc. If you could watch me, or any of my peers, do this, I suggest you would be witnessing something you have never seen anyone do, anywhere. We use a dry-hand technique and achieve unique results. Some of these techniques are original, courtesy of Dr. Gregory Lawton, DC, DN; some are 100-year-old naprapathic techniques. It's medical massage/manual therapy - what soft tissue work was meant to be before the advent of "swedish massage." It's our heritage as massage therapists.
Mr. Clay also says problems with the wrist and hand are traceable to the forearm, elbow, shoulder or chest. The first thing I do when a patient tells me he or she has wrist and hand pain is inquire about any recent or old neck injuries. If not localized fibrosis (wrist, hand, forearm, or just above the elbow), this type of pain is usually indicative of brachial plexus nerve impingement. The brachial plexus is a plexus of five nerves that grow out of the spinal cord at C5-T1and innervate the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. Pain is on the ulnar or radial side of the limb helps differentiate which of the five nerves is involved. My point here is that medical massage therapists who graduate from Blue Heron know neurology: We know where the nerves track, and what soft tissues the nerves innervate. If there is a problem with that soft tissue, we go to the nerve root at the joint and work there. We work at the nerve root. If I find adhesions in the neck related to a patient's pain, that's the area I'm going to focus on. Do you see my point? This is all medically based. You pointed out the incorrect spelling of "biceps," but more important than that, do you know that is does little good to do considerable soft tissue work on any biceps muscle belly? If a patient has pain in a biceps muscle, you would best spend your time and your patient's money by working at the joint at which the biceps attach/insert.
One hundred years ago, MDs touched their patients, and did so based on scientific findings. They were physicians, and they did soft tissue work - imagine that. In fact, some of them wrote a book called, Medical Massage. Dr. Lawton didn't just dream this stuff up; we have the book to prove it. This is what medicine used to be.
Mr. Clay also states, "I can't help feeling that the use of the word "medical" in designating our profession betrays a desire to enhance our prestige ..." As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing prestigious about being an MD these days. Certainly they want to practice medicine well, but their training has steered them far afield. If you have consulted with or been referred patients by an MD, you know it's not a real pleasant experience, but nevertheless a necessary one. I'm ashamed and embarassed by the MDs and DCs who refer patients to me. What passes for a physician is in shambles, and so are patients' bodies. The MD sends me the people he's poisoned, cut and burned, and the DC sends me the patients he's used his newfangled hammer on. They wonder if there is anything I can do for them; yes there is, thanks to my training. encourages us to get out into "the field" and deal with these real clinical issues based on our holistic training. You can call it "clinical" or "medical," but I prefer the latter term because that's what it is: medicine.
The allopaths took the word medical from us. Holistic treatment was considered medical before most of us were born. All soft tissue workers who want to practice noninvasive, holistic medicine by touching people based on the modern discoveries of science and anatomy are denied this privilege by the modern allopaths and some chiropractors.
Mr Clay says, "We would do well to maintain our independence from more traditional disciplines." Allopathic medicine is more accurately called modern medicine. What we do, as soft tissue workers and as massage therapists, is traditional medicine. We are holistic. Medical massage is science-based, holistic ... and it works. It's the way medicine used to be, and the way it will be in the future, including new techniques based on new research. What goes around, comes around.
Mr Clay says, "Massage is not inherently holistic." If it's not, then what is it? In my opinion, medical massage truly is holistic medicine. The AMMA is not frozen, petrified, closed-minded or institutionalized. We simply approach soft tissue work/massage based on the most up-to-date knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etc., the way the serious medical practitioners of old practiced.
This discussion is worth having. I enjoyed Mr. Clay's article. Thank you for providing a venue to voice our opinions.
Lisa Townsend, PMT (Professional Manual Therapist)
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