resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
March, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 03
Clinical Reasoning Skills
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
In the health care arena, assessment is commonly defined as the systematic process of gathering information in order to make informed decisions about treatment. We all do this any time we make a decision about how much pressure to use, which technique to employ, or how to address a particular problem presented by a client.What is different is the degree to which we use these assessment skills. As massage therapists become more involved in treating people, the process of assessment becomes increasingly important. You must be able to distinguish between conditions with similar symptoms and make vital decisions about how to approach a client's condition, or determine whether to treat the condition at all.
There are numerous systems of assessment for pain and injury conditions that share common elements, including the use of specialized orthopedic tests. These tests are used by different types of health care professionals to identify various pathological problems. Since different health professionals utilize the same tests, communication between multiple practitioners regarding the condition of a client/patient is easier. However, while these tests are a valuable part of the assessment process, a common trap can occur when using them. The trap occurs when too much emphasis is placed on using tests over other methods of assessment and evaluation. For example, if a client complains of shoulder pain, and you know about special orthopedic tests for shoulder disorders, it is a common fallacy to run through these tests to see if you can find the nature of the client's problem. This is still a shotgun approach. What is missing is an essential element of the assessment process: clinical reasoning.
When first learning about a subject, the information is often divided into separate facts or concepts. It is only after achieving a greater degree of mastery in the subject that people organize this information into usable patterns. Studies that have investigated the difference between the way experts and novices present information have found that experts put together more patterns of information, while novices tend to gather more separate details, many of which may be irrelevant to accomplishing the final task or skill they are learning. This aspect of learning and processing information is essential in assessment and clinical reasoning processes, and can be well-illustrated in the following example.
When a client complains of shoulder pain and describes the common symptoms, the practitioner must determine what information is relevant and how to proceed in the evaluation process. If the statements are considered separately, they may not lead to essential clues about the nature of the condition. This is often where the practitioner jumps to the use of several tests to see if he or she can hit on the "right condition"; however, the more skillful practitioner will pick up on statements during the initial intake and begin to form patterns. This practitioner will see connections between various signs and symptoms, and the further line of inquiry will almost lead itself in many cases. The art of reasoning is the ability to see these patterns of connection; therefore, the challenge is learning how to perfect those skills and see the patterns.
Consider the job of a detective. When investigating a crime, the detective must pick up on clues and determine which ones are important (and which ones are not). The ability to discriminate between the two can be difficult. The best way to make this choice is through a combination of subject-matter knowledge and experience.
For clinical practitioners, the more we know about various pathological problems, the wider the base of information we can draw from when searching for relevant clues. At the beginning, it will be difficult to know which clues are relevant - this is where experience comes into play. After seeing similar conditions a number of times, we develop an experiential background against which we can see similar patterns and recognize which cases are similar to others we have worked with before. As we combine our knowledge and experience, we are able to more accurately and quickly find the nature of a client's complaint.
The more skilled you become in clinical reasoning, the easier and faster the assessment process will be. Therefore, as you learn about assessment and range of motion evaluations, muscle tests, or specialized orthopedic tests, always think about why you are using a particular procedure, instead of just going through the motions. The more you understand why you are doing what you are doing, the more you will contribute to your ability to see these patterns within the clinical evaluation process, and significantly improve your skills.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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