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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
June, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 06
Directions in Massage Therapy
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Our profession is changing daily. In the past 10 years, it has entered the light of day and joined the mainstream. Massage therapists are now high on the list of caregivers in many circles of the country: wealthy and poor; white and blue collar; young and old; male and female.The change to which I am referring, however, is not a change in acceptance, but a change in precision and refinement.
Specifically, I have seen a transformation from gross motor techniques to more subtle, specific techniques. This was made even more evident to me while attending the recent "Beyond the Dura" Research Conference (see front-page article). CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and other light-touch therapies are proving their efficacy in research studies and are being utilized by an increasing number of therapists. I find it interesting that more than half of the students taking CST are massage therapists. This statistic amazed me, in part because CST is one of a handful of techniques that have a purpose beyond the realm of "relaxation": it treats conditions.
Those familiar with CST know the premise of the technique: It only takes five grams of force (the weight of a nickel) to effect significant change. The research conference included presentations of clinical data collected in the treatment of widespread issues, ranging from pediatric feeding dysfunction, breastfeeding problems and pelvic floor rehabilitation, to preparing Egyptian conjoined twins for separation surgery. The fact that this technique-which developed out of osteopathy-is taught to massage therapists on equal footing with physicians, PTs, OTs and other allied health professionals says a lot about our capabilities. The large numbers of MTs utilizing techniques such as CST may be one reason I see an industry trend toward more gentle touch.
I used to believe gentle touch could not be anything more than "soothing": useful for comfort and to ease emotional discomfort, but of little value to alleviate chronic physical dysfunction and discomfort. My mind was opened to another perspective when I experienced effective sessions that integrated energy techniques and light touch.
I recently had the privilege of participating in a fresh-tissue CranioSacral Dissection workshop, in which I got to palpate the falx cerebri (cranial membrane) and monitor changes as the instructor applied light manual pressure to the sacrum. I also was honored to participate in a study that measured the manual force required to palpate change. Almost all of the study participants could palpate change in tension of the falx cerebri with measured forces between three and 35 grams. This is good enough for me to believe that light touch can certainly be effective.
Massage therapists also regularly integrate reiki, aspects of polarity therapy and other energetic techniques into their practices, lightening the overall average force used in sessions. In my own practice, I find integration is important because I need to get the attention of some of my clients before progress can begin. The comfort and security of certain deep-pressure techniques and confident touch moves my clients to a relaxed, trusting place where the more subtle techniques can be effective. The client who has learned to accept the more aggressive techniques in our toolboxes is, in my opinion, capable of experiencing a variety of light-touch procedures. My Rolfing friends inform me that they, too, are lightening the forces they use and are losing their reputation as providers of "therapeutic discomfort."
Now, please don't think I'm saying only light-touch techniques are indicated for professional massage therapists! I'm not saying that at all. I am a firm believer in the efficacy of techniques, such as trigger point, cross-fiber friction, assisted stretching, etc., though they are not always comfortable to the client. I also am an advocate of the more subtle directions I have discussed in this article.
Ten years ago, I saw (and experienced) a lot of poking, prodding and elbow use. I now see skilled palpation and use of forearms to obtain a more comfortable myofascial modification. I think it's a trend. I hope so!
Thanks for listening!
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today.
Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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