resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11
Medical Massage and More, Part I
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
I believe medical massage is an advanced discipline of massage therapy. In reality, medical massage is more of an orientation than a particular set of techniques. It is not general relaxation massage; it is anatomically precise and patient specific.The medical massage therapist combines education, training, experience, dedication, humility and intuition to create an integrative manual-therapy approach to reducing the patient's soft-tissue related complaint(s).
Initially, I resisted the term "medical massage;" however, I realized that as massage therapists we do treat medical conditions when they are soft-tissue related. Of course, we cannot say we do - we have to play little word games, more in some states than others - but the truth is we do treat medically related conditions like "frozen shoulder" and "medial epicondylitis." So, why not call it what it is: medical massage? If we stay within the scope of soft-tissue manipulation and joint mobilization there is no reason not to call it medical massage. It seems to be accepted without protest from the allopaths. Hopefully, using the term is the first step toward openly and honestly describing what we do when we move from a relaxation paradigm to a therapeutic, corrective and restorative paradigm.
Actually, the term "therapeutic" massage says it all, but it is an old term that no one attaches any significance to these days. And the public does not understand terms that have been coined to describe massage if the word "massage" is not included (terms like somatic re-education, bodywork, structured touch, neuromuscular therapy, myo-skeletal-kinestic-neuro-biological-rearrangement, blah, blah, blah). But it is clear to the public that medical massage will address their pain or problem. It doesn't sound relaxing, and it doesn't sound like adult entertainment. It is a term that allows us to better reach the public and our allopathic colleagues. Isn't that the idea - to help more people? If this is the term that facilitates the needed communication to bring us together with the public and the health care community, then it is the term to use.
Some authors who have recently written about medical massage believe a physician's diagnosis is a requirement to perform medical massage. I strongly disagree. Do you realize where this will lead us? Do you want to be a slave in a physical therapy department for $10 an hour and maybe benefits? Not me!
Massage therapists are currently first-door providers. This means that the public can come directly to us for help first, and we can do whatever we know within certain limits to help them. This is the same privilege and patient-provider relationship that physicians have. We do not need a physician's permission to help someone. Most PTs, OTs, ATCs, nurses, etc., do not have first-door access to patients. They only see a patient after a physician says they can, and then they can only do what the physician says they can do - their hands are tied. They cannot use all of their skills and resources to help the patient. They cannot treat the whole person; they can only treat a knee or an elbow for a set period of time, and in a certain number of visits.
We do not need gatekeepers (physicians) to control the flow of people to our practices. First-door providership gives us an incredible opportunity to help people. We need to defend this privilege above all else. Never surrender it! If we do, patients will only be allowed to get massage if it is prescribed, which will prevent many of the people we now help from having access to our services.
This is not to say that we should not work with physicians, or that patients should not get a diagnosis and/or a referral and bring it to us. The more information we have, the better we can help; however, we should work with doctors as colleagues, as fellow first-door providers, not as subservient slaves. First-door providership is an incredible opportunity, but it is an equally incredible responsibility. We need higher quality entry-level education, including more assessment skills and standard terminology for strokes and techniques so we can communicate better among ourselves and with other disciplines. We need to take advantage of this privilege to help more people. You do not need a physician's diagnosis or referral to perform medical massage, but if the patient has it, so much the better. More on this in my next column.
Got Impressive Credentials?
I get some great mail in response to this column. Here's some recent feedback that I hope will inspire you to personal excellence:
Amen. Become the best you can be. Learn to help people get out of pain, and you will always be busy.
If the presidential elections are not over by the time you read this, hopefully they will be shortly. It's been a long and entertaining campaign. Whichever way it turns out, we will go to work on Wednesday morning. Let go of it. We survived the last four years and the eight before that. Our politicians are merely a reflection of our society.
What's really important is the difference each of us makes in the lives of those we directly interact with. Each one of us has control of what we do. So get good and do good. As massage therapists, we have a unique opportunity to change the awareness and lives of everyone we touch. May our efforts bring about a healthier and more peaceful world.
Happy "Holidaze!" My best wishes for success, health, happiness and prosperity to you all. Thanks for your continued support. May you sell lots of gift certificates and have a joyous holiday season. See you next year!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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