resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
June, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 06
Defining Medical Massage
By James Waslaski
I disagree with the segment recently shown on national television claiming that massage can cause more harm than good ("Setting the Records Straight: Massage Gets a Bad Rap in National Report," www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/06/02.html).Statements like these are usually based on turf wars in the health care profession. If there were substantial truth to these accusations, I would not be traveling 40 weekends a year teaching orthopedic massage!
My first article, "Medical Massage vs. Orthopedic Massage" (Feb. 2004, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/02/03.html), was intended to bring leaders of advanced massage disciplines together to create a unified definition of "medical" massage; now, it has become a mission to set a unified standard for medical massage "certification."
The best short definition I gathered from medical massage therapists is: "Medical massage is performed with the intent of improving conditions or pathologies that have been diagnosed by a physician; a wide variety of modalities or procedures are utilized to focus the treatment based on the diagnosed condition." I was determined to prove that advanced disciplines, such as neuromuscular therapy, CranioSacral Therapy (CST), myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, massage for cancer patients, orthopedic massage, etc., fall under medical massage disciplines, and certification in many of these disciplines usually requires a minimum of 100 hours of training.
Interestingly, when I teach orthopedic massage, it is a blend of many of these disciplines, and I believe that orthopedic massage is an advanced discipline of medical massage. It involves therapeutic assessment, manipulation, and movement of the locomotor soft tissues to reduce or eliminate pain or dysfunction. A unique multidisciplinary approach is utilized to restore structural balance throughout the body, which allows focus on prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal dysfunctions, chronic pain and sports injuries. Primary modalities include functional assessment, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, scar tissue mobilization techniques, neuromuscular re-education, PNF stretching, strengthening, and specific client home-care protocols.
I encourage participants to be cross-trained in as many advanced disciplines as possible, and constantly research which discipline works best in each particular situation. I firmly believe that disciplines such as lymphatic drainage, CST, myoskeletal alignment, energy work,etc., may be better modalities than orthopedic massage for a percentage of patients; therefore, they are a critical part of the toolbox for elite-level medical massage practitioners.
Still, I question whether fewer than 100 hours of medical massage training without an internship and written and practical exam, can properly prepare therapists for the vast array of medical complications that could be made worse by improperly applied massage. For example, one massage instructor recently challenged my February article claiming that a patient with an aneurysm (like that of my mother) would be pale and too weak to get onto the massage table. My mother's aneurysm was leaking and ready to burst, but she did not have pale skin, diaphoresis or weakness. Other than slight kidney pain (often diagnosed as back pain) and small traces of blood in her urine, she had no other symptoms. Some therapists do not complete a thorough medical history, which is why an internship and direct medical training with a doctor is beneficial. In Canada, for example, many therapists spend two years in a hospital setting, following 2,000 hours of initial massage training to intern in neurology, cardiac physiology, etc.
I am blessed to be able to teach with some of the leading educators in the industry. Most recently, I taught with Dr. Erik Dalton (the founder of Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques) in Costa Rica, and was impressed with the emphasis he placed on assessing the cervical spine prior to beginning any treatments. He is highly concerned about the possibility of compromising the vertebral arteries during therapy and about pressing into the soft spot at the base of the skull when treating the suboccipital muscles. In another seminar, Dr. Dalton and I taught together with David Kent, a specialist in neuromuscular therapy and practice-building. He also emphasized the same precautions, as well as the importance of conducting a thorough assessment prior to treatment. He also stressed the need to refer some patients out to avoid complications from certain treatment protocols.
I am determined to point out those educators that mislead students into taking their courses, stating they will "certify" therapists in medical massage in as few as three days. One Texas chiropractor claims to grant a "certification" in medical massage if you take his six-hour continuing education course. Is it ethical to give a certification without a unified examination? Many of the therapists entering these courses have as few as 300 hours of massage training, with no medical background; most have only 500 hours of massage training. I think the word "certification" is misleading. I do not think a massage therapist with little medical background and training should be certified in medical massage without an intense clinical internship, or at least proof that the therapist can competently perform the skills he or she has learned.
I do not certify anyone in orthopedic massage for this exact reason; in fact, I am waiting for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) to create "advanced certification" in massage before I set the standards to certify people in orthopedic massage. Then I will require a written and practical exam, and at least one year of experience in treating orthopedic conditions, prior to granting orthopedic massage certification.
Sure, I could probably sell more courses if I told people they would be "certified" after two weekends and a five-day intensive course. But we need to attest to the competency of the learned skills of our students to avoid complications when new therapists apply advanced skills. There are so many incredible advanced disciplines that we see as specialties of medical massage. I know many of those specialties usually require a minimum of 100 hours to be recognized as practitioners of that work. People excel much faster in seminars if they are already certified in other disciplines. But only a small percentage of our students come into the advanced courses with adequate prior training.
I look back on my many years in a hospital setting as a gift to what I now bring to orthopedic massage. It is also the reason I reference medical massage, but do not generically call my work "medical massage". Little did I know how valuable that type of hands-on learning would be in professional debates within the industry.
My intense medical background tells me we may be in a danger zone, unless we come together as a profession, clearly define medical massage and determine how it relates to the many advanced disciplines in our rapidly advancing profession. This will lead to a unified standard in our industry, and consistency among the true experts in the various advanced disciplines of massage. Then we can finally have a true certification in medical massage, and it will attest to the competency of those well-deserved advanced therapists.
Click here for more information about James Waslaski.
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