resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 10
Understanding Domestic Violence: What Massage Therapists Should Know
By Rebecca J. Razo
Author's note: Since the majority of domestic violence victims are female, the pronoun "she" is used continuously throughout this article; this is not, however, intended to diminish incidences of abuse suffered by male victims.This article is for informational purposes and not a substitute for professional training or continuing education.
October is a magical time of year: Shorter days yield to cooler nights while the leaves turn color and fall gracefully from the trees, forming yellow, orange and red sidewalk mosaics. We buy bags of candy for the invasion of trick-or-treaters (hoping we don't eat it all ourselves before the big day arrives) and generally prepare for what is sure to be another busy holiday season.
What many people don't know, however, is that October also marks a less celebrated -- but no less relevant -- occasion: Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an event first organized in October 1987 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for the purpose of focusing awareness on the crisis of domestic violence.1
Definition and Background
In Improving the Health Care Response to Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual for Health Care Providers, Warshaw and Ganley define domestic violence -- also known as intimate partner violence -- as "...a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners."2
As hard as it is to contemplate the implications of violence in the home, it is even harder for those whose reality includes living in constant fear of abuse by spouses or partners. Consider these startling statistics from the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF):
As these statistics show, domestic violence is prevalent in the U.S.; moreover, its victims are both male and female, and it can be found in every race, ethnicity, culture, social structure and income bracket, as well as within heterosexual, homosexual and transgender relationships. There is no "typical" victim of domestic violence, and "... no causative link has been found between the characteristics of battered women and their victimization ... Being a victim of domestic violence is due to behaviors of the perpetrator, rather than the personal characteristics of the victim."2
In their book, , Ben Benjamin, PhD, and Cherie Sohnen-Moe write, "On the average, one of every five clients a [massage] practitioner sees has a history of some kind of trauma or abuse."
Although not every victim of abuse has necessarily been a victim of intimate partner violence, it is likely a massage therapist will, at some point, come into contact with a client who either is or has been subjected to domestic violence. And according to the FVPF, "A recent study found that 44 percent of victims of domestic violence talked to someone about the abuse; 37 percent of those women talked to their health care provider."5
Although massage therapists are not considered health care providers , the demand for massage therapy as an adjunctive health care treatment has been increasing. Thus, massage therapists might very well see the signs of abuse before these signs are visible to others.
Sheryl Heron, MD, MPH, is an associate professor and associate residency director at Emory University School of Medicine's Department of Emergency Medicine in Atlanta, Ga. She was appointed to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence in 2002, and has dedicated much of her career to domestic violence education and awareness.
When it comes to domestic violence, Dr. Heron believes in a coordinated community response -- that every facet of the community, including religious institutions, health care providers and service-oriented businesses (like massage) must address the issue in order for victims to have easy access to help. Dr. Heron believes that massage therapists are in a unique position to help victims, since many may seek massage as a way to heal.6
The Role of the Massage Therapist
There are a number of signs a massage therapist can look for to determine if a client is a victim of intimate partner violence, most notably, the presence of bruises, cuts and lacerations on the face, head and body, or in areas usually covered by clothing, including the back, chest, breasts, abdomen and extremities. Soft-tissue injuries, sprains, fractures, eye or ear trauma, complaints of injuries lacking visible evidence, chronic illness, injuries that do not appear to heal over time (suggesting repeated abuse), or injuries that do not coincide with a client's explanation of how the injury occurred, are also key indicators of violence.2,6
Unlike medical doctors and other health care professionals, massage therapists are not typically bound by mandatory reporting laws when abuse is discovered (check the laws in your state); however, Dr. Heron says there is nothing wrong with a massage therapist asking pointedly, but gently, if a client is a victim of intimate partner abuse.
"[Therapists] can tell their clients that they are not asking to probe or pry but that they are in line in the fight against domestic violence in their community," she suggests.6
The National Consensus Guidelines on Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence Victimization in Health Care Settings suggests the following framing questions to help clients feel safe and comfortable about disclosing whether they are victims of intimate partner violence:
More direct questions include:
Should a client disclose that she is indeed a victim, massage therapists must listen and validate their client's experience without judging, laying blame, or pressuring the client to do something she is not ready for. Emphasize that the information the client shares is strictly confidential; however, try to negotiate with the client to document the disclosure of abuse in her patient chart.
Documentation of the victim's abuse could help her in court if her perpetrator is prosecuted; however, for safety reasons, it is important to chart only what the client wants documented about her injuries and/or experience. If a victim indicates she does not want the experience documented, Dr. Heron emphasizes the practitioner must respect her wishes."Say: 'I understand and respect that [choice].'"6
"Domestic violence is about power and control," Dr. Heron adds. She cautions therapists not to "exhibit another power/control situation. Victims must feel empowered." Dr. Heron affirms that listening without judgment "gives women a chance to make decisions about [their] lives without re-victimization."
Although Dr. Heron concedes that it can be frustrating for practitioners when victims decline help, she notes that if clients know their massage therapist has access to resources, they will know it is safe to return for help in the future. "You meet your clients where they are and give them autonomy with your knowledge of domestic violence," she says.6
So, what steps can massage therapists take to help victims of abuse?
For one, therapists can hang posters and display informational brochures in their rooms or offices (Educational resources are available for a nominal fee through the FVPF.) This conveys the message that the therapist is socially responsible and sensitive to the issue of domestic violence, which also opens the door for victims to confide in their therapist and/or seek help. Therapists should also have referral numbers to local or national violence hotlines, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE).
Focus on Education and Awareness
Although Dr. Heron believes that massage therapists and health care practitioners in general could benefit from more education in the area of domestic violence, she affirms there is more to education than practitioner awareness -- there is public awareness.
Tanya Brown, youngest sister of the late Nicole Brown Simpson, and a certified domestic violence counselor and co-founder of the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation, agrees; moreover, Brown believes that education and awareness begin in the home.8
"Violence starts at home with shouting, yelling, screaming," she asserts. "We need to bring respect, trust and honesty back to our kitchen tables. How about getting to really know your kids? Have them sit with you...ask them, 'How was your day?' Have conversations. By doing this you are promoting a healthy environment for children."
Though Brown advocates awareness, she notes that outsiders should exercise caution when trying to help victims.
"Domestic violence is the most dangerous call for [police] officers to go on. I strongly suggest that you don't get involved directly with wanting to 'save' the victim. You, too, could be in danger. Have those hotline numbers ready. Ultimately, it is up to the [victim] to get themselves help. You just lead them to the resources."
Irrespective of whether victims have access to resources through their massage therapists, Dr. Heron makes one point clear: "Abuse is a crime. We all need to be informed, educated and committed."
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