resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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 Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
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.)
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
September, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 09
Spotlight on Research
By Editorial Staff
Editor's note: This periodic column keeps you abreast of the latest research documenting the benefits of massage and bodywork. Published research is summarized, with references to the full study text provided; abstracts of research are reproduced with minimal edits.If you would like your research abstract or summary published in Spotlight on Research, please contact us at .
Breast Cancer Patients' Immunity Improves With Massage
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that today, one in every eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime - a threefold increase from 1964.1
Although it is highly curable if detected early enough, breast cancer is also the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, and is the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 15 to 54.2
Previous studies have shown that women with breast cancer are more depressed than women without breast cancer, and are more likely to suffer from stress and anxiety. Stress has been linked with lowered rates of an immune cell called the "natural killer" (NK) cell in women with breast cancer, an important finding since NK cells help prevent the development of tumors, and destroy new and abnormal growths before they can proliferate.
A new study* conducted by a team of researchers at the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) examined the role massage therapy could play in strengthening the immune system, particularly in increasing the number of NK cells in the blood. The study, published in the July 2004 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, found that massage not only generated profound changes in the women's blood chemistry, it also reduced their stress and anxiety levels dramatically.3
A total of 34 women diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer were included in the study and assigned randomly to either a massage group or a control group. Women in the massage therapy group received a total of 15 massages over a five-week period. The massages were conducted in a private room on a massage table by a trained massage therapist.
The sessions consisted of three 30-minute massages per week, and employed Swedish massage, the Trager® method, and acupressure techniques over various body parts. Women in the control group received standard medical care alone, but were provided with massages at the end of the study period. Along with the massages, the researchers administered various psychological tests to the women at the beginning and end of the study session to determine changes in anxiety and mood.
In addition, all of the women provided urine samples to assess changes in hormone levels, and 27 women (15 in the massage group, 12 in the control group) gave blood samples to determine levels of NK cells and lymphocytes in the blood.
Massage was associated with a significant reduction in anxiety levels and depression, and an overall increase in the number of immune cells in the blood. In the massage group, women reported a 46 percent reduction in depression levels from the first day of the study to the last day, along with a 25 percent reduction in anxiety.
In the control group, anxiety levels remained unchanged, while the depression scores actually increased 22 percent. The improvements in mood and depression in the massage group appeared to be the result of increases in certain hormone levels. Women who received massages experienced significant increases in the levels of a number of stress-fighting hormones, including dopamine and serotonin.
"These increases complement the massage group's self-reports of improved mood and decreased depression, as both serotonin and dopamine have been noted to increase in depressed individuals following massage therapy," the scientists noted. "These and other massage findings support that massage therapy is effective in reducing psychological distress, enhancing mood biochemicals, and boosting the immune system."3
In examining the blood samples, the researchers found higher amounts of NK cells and lymphocytes in the women given massage. Comparing blood samples taken on the first and last days of the study period, the researchers noted a 12 percent increase in NK cells and a 10 percent increase in lymphocytes in the blood. In the control group, the lymphocyte level remained the same, while the NK cell count decreased 7 percent.
"NK cells spontaneously destroy a wide variety of cancer and virus-infected cells and are involved in eliminating metastases," the authors wrote. "A boost in NK cell number would be beneficial given that some cancer patients have reduced NK cell numbers."3
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and therapies like massage by the general population, has increased tremendously in the past decade. This is particularly true of cancer patients; by some estimates, up to 60 percent of all people with cancer use at least some form of CAM.4-6
The authors of the study acknowledged the need for more research on massage therapy and cancer, and recommended that future studies examine the cost of care, the use of massage to treat other conditions in addition to breast cancer, and the long-term effects of massage therapy on reducing the incidence of death and disease.
"In summary, the self-reports of reduced stress, anxiety/anger/hostility, and improved mood, and the corroborating findings of increased dopamine and serotonin levels and increased NK cell number (the primary outcome measure) and lymphocytes suggest that massage therapy has positive applications for breast cancer survivors. That women with breast cancer have lower NK cell number and that they might have higher stress hormone levels, which have been associated with tumor growth and metastases, suggest the need for further research on interventions like massage therapy that impact the neuroendocrine and immune systems while attenuating psychological stress symptoms."3
For more information on other TRI studies, visit www.miami.edu/touch-research.
*Funding for the study provided by the following: USARMMC DAMD Grant 17-99-1-9292; Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Johnson & Johnson.
Editor's note: The following abstract originally appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of the Massage Therapy Journal and was presented at the poster session during the 2003 AMTA National Convention in Richmond, Va. It appears here with permission from the authors.
The Effect of Chair Massage on Stress Perception of Hospital Bedside Nurses
Context: Studies have shown that hospital bedside nursing is a stress-loaded occupation. Massage therapy has been shown to be an effective intervention in stress management.
Objective: The goal of this study was to determine if a 10-minute onsite chair massage was more effective at reducing stress perception of hospital bedside nurses than a 10-minute break.
Design: Randomized trial with a control group, who took a 10-minute break, and a study group, who received a 10-minute chair massage.
Setting: A small suburban hospital on the maternity, medical-surgical, telemetry, and critical care nursing units.
Participants: 82 bedside nurses.
Main Outcome Measure: Stress perception was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) in an experimental pretest/posttest design and analyzed using t-tests for independent samples.
Results: Stress perception was significantly lower in the study group after the chair massage (P<.05) and not significantly changed in the control group.
Conclusion: The results of this study support the effectiveness of chair massage in the reduction of stress perception for this population. Further research is warranted to study the feasibility of providing chair massage on a regularly scheduled basis on a nursing unit, as well as its impact on other aspects of a nursing position, such as job satisfaction, retention, absenteeism, injury and workers' compensation claims.
Additionally, it would be beneficial to study the effects of chair massage with individuals in other occupations that are identified as being high stress and burnout occupations.
For more information about this study, contact M.K. Brennan at 704-536-3446.
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