resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.)
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 05
The Art of Palpation
By Michael McGillicuddy, LMT, NCTMB
I remember learning 20 years ago in massage school that therapists could specialize in working with athletes. Since I lived in Florida and spent most of my high school years playing whatever sport was in season, becoming a sports massage therapist was a no-brainer for me.
Additionally, I learned that working with people who were active was a lot of fun.It is a lot easier to discover where the body is most likely to develop aches and pains when you work with active people; however, you soon learn that applying Swedish massage strokes in the order you learned in school is not usually satisfying to most athletes. The great thing about being a massage therapist is that you get immediate "feedback" from your hands as to what tissue feels like; based on this feedback, you move from one massage stroke to another to get the greatest effect.
Years ago, I took a sports massage workshop with Jack Meagher. He had written a book, Sports Massage, in which he described the common sports massage techniques and the texture of healthy and injured muscle tissue. I read the book before attending the workshop, but it did not make much sense to me. Being in the workshop and watching Jack work made all the difference in the world. He would actually take your hand and position it so you could feel the texture of the tissue he was describing. All of the sudden, the light turned on for me! Sometimes I think one of the things missing in our profession is a universal vocabulary that describes the texture of tissue. We should be able to describe what healthy and unhealthy tissue feels like.
I usually describe healthy tissue as feeling smooth and consistent. Jack described unhealthy muscle tissue as muscle that felt like it had a piano string running through it. Sometimes, just a few strands of muscle fiber will remain in spasm giving the muscle a "piano-string" feeling. At other times, the whole muscle will become hypertonic and feel thick or ropelike. Some muscle tissues become inflamed, which causes them to feel spongy. Each of these muscle problems would require the application of a different sports massage technique to resolve the problem. The ability to palpate the texture of tissue is a skill a sports massage therapist must develop in order to achieve excellent results.
So, how do you get to the point where you can "feel" the texture of tissue? Having a highly skilled massage therapist as a teacher sure helps. Developing a skill usually takes a lot of practice, and it usually requires working on numerous people for experience in comparative assessment. Working slowly with your eyes closed while applying a specific technique on a specific muscle, also helps a therapist focus on what the tissue feels like. And asking for feedback from the athlete can help the therapist zero in on the specific texture of tissue. After practicing techniques this way for a while, I believe a sports massage therapist begins to "see" with the fingers.
A sports massage therapist that has developed very sensitive palpation literacy is often asked, "How do your hands know exactly where to go?" Most athletes sense this skill very quickly in a therapist, and this tells them that the therapist knows exactly what he or she is doing. Surely palpation literacy is not the only skill required for a sport massage therapist to provide effective treatment, but it is one I think should be high on the priority list. I hope this information has been helpful, and that you enjoy being a part of the massage therapy profession.
Click here for previous articles by Michael McGillicuddy, LMT, NCTMB.
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