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Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
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 previous articles by James Waslaski.
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