resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
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.
December, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 12
An Introduction to Aromatherapy
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
This column will examine the practice of aromatherapy to increase reader knowledge about the use of essential oils in the practice of massage in therapeutic and spa settings, and for a range of client issues.I have taught continuing education classes in aromatherapy for over 10 years in Florida and across the U.S. Many massage therapists who take the introductory class have had little formal training in aromatherapy.
They are excited to learn that essential oils are not just for relaxation and that there are a large number of essences they can use to enhance their practices. They discover they don't need to rely on a few blends purchased from a supplier; with some knowledge, awareness and good intent, they can create blends more directly suited to a particular client's immediate needs.
Practice Issues: Appropriateness, Contraindications and Technique
Diagnosing and prescribing is not in our current scope of practice, but at this time there is no regulation on using essential oils in massage oils or air diffusions. It is common practice for spas to offer clients a choice of relaxing, cleansing, stimulating, or pain relieving aromatherapy blends. Some go further and have the client fill out an intake form that narrows down the complaint and helps the therapist select essences for an individual blend. I doubt you will have much to consider in this respect when using aromatherapy as part of your practice, though you might avoid sentences like "It sounds like you have a cold. I will make a blend of Eucalyptus, Lavender and Tea Tree for you." A way to deal with a scope of practice issue, should it arise, is to educate.
If you have a book like Aromatherapy, an A-Z by Patricia Davis (or any other standard text in the field), you can look up a condition and show your client what an author says. The client can then choose to follow the author's advice. Or you can use a personal example like: "When my Aunt Martha had this, she found relief from using..." Again, the client can choose to follow Aunt Martha's example or not. These approaches fall under the heading of "education," which we are all free to do.
The issue of contraindication is a bit controversial in the aromatherapy community today. Aromatherapists like Sylla Sheppard-Hanger (author of Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Vols. I and II) list the contraindications for certain essences and specific conditions, such as pregnancy or high blood pressure. Others, like Australian Aromatherapist Ron Guba, follow the French medical model that believes any danger from essential oils comes from the ingestion of fairly large amounts. If you read current trade publications like The Aromatherapy Journal or Aromatherapy Today, you will see articles from both sides. My own belief falls somewhere between the two. I feel that it is always best to trust your instincts about using some of the more powerful essences, like sage, thyme or oregano.
Because the most direct and effective method for aromatherapy is inhalation, as you give a treatment, you, too, receive a treatment. As a therapist, you have more exposure to the essences than your clients. Essences can remain in the body for up to 24 hours, and are eliminated in our usual ways of elimination. With daily use, essences can build up in the system, so it makes sense to vary the oils you use and reserve the stronger ones for situations that truly require them.
Most aromatherapists would agree that essential oils, with the notable exception of lavender, should not be used "neat," or undiluted, on the skin. Essential oils are highly concentrated and applying one directly to the skin can cause mild to severe irritation, depending on the essence and a person's sensitivity. Eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, sweet orange, juniper, oregano, sage, black pepper, thyme, clove, and sweet birch are some of the more commonly used oils that are known irritants and should be used in high dilution (only a drop or two in an ounce of carrier oil) and not on sensitive tissue areas.
Some people can have allergic reactions to essential oils. If a person is allergic to pollen, you might avoid using essential oils that come from various pollen producers: flowering plants, trees and grasses. Likewise, some people are allergic to fruits. It's a good idea to clear those issues on your intake sheet before you blend. What does an allergic reaction to an essential oil look like?
Take heart, there are no reported cases of death due to anaphylactic shock in the extensive medical literature on essential oils (a great deal of research has been done by the food and cosmetic industries who use most of the essential oils produced.) An allergic response can include headache, sneezing, upset stomach and skin rash. The good news is that the reaction is not usually long lasting.
Phototoxicity means that the skin cell membrane is weakened, making it more permeable to ultra violet (UV) light. Some essential oils are considered phototoxic. Expressed bergamot, cedarwood, cinnamon, ginger, grapefruit, expressed lime, mandarin, expressed orange, and patchouli should be avoided prior to prolonged exposure to strong sunlight. The distilled oils of lime, orange and essence of bergamot that have had the furocoumarins (FCF) removed are not considered phototoxic. This is important to remember if you practice in a resort area or anywhere people sunbathe and partake in outdoor sports and activities.
Making a Blend
To make a treatment blend, use a cold pressed nut, seed or vegetable oil as your carrier. Choose something with no other ingredients or fragrances added. Never use mineral oil. Some kind of oil, fat or emulsifying agent must be present in your carrier to absorb the essential oils. I recommend fractionated coconut oil, which has had the solid white, smells-like-coconut component removed. This is a light, colorless and odorless oil that does not oxidize. And because it consists of saturated fatty acids - the closest substance to human subcutaneous fat - you have almost complete skin penetration.
While there are no hard and fast rules, generally speaking, for regular massage you would use up to seven drops of up to five different essences in one ounce of carrier oil. This number can vary due to the essences used and with need. For example, a blend for muscle ache might contain three drops of lavender, two drops of geranium, one drop of Roman chamomile, and one drop of Clary sage. You might double this recipe if the pain is chronic or severe. But if a blend for muscle pain included two drops of spike lavender, one drop of peppermint, one drop of helichrysum, and one drop of thyme linalool, you might increase the spike lavender, and maybe add one more drop of peppermint, but the intensity of thyme and helichrysum would limit them to one drop each. The intensity of the essence will be very clear to you from its smell.
I base my blends on information about properties and from information about inhalation. In this area of work, "the nose knows" is a true saying. When you inhale essential oils, the volatile molecules are carried via the olfactory nerve to the limbic region of the brain where the properties are recognized. The response of pleasure - yes, attraction - is an indication that the properties will be useful and helpful. A response of dislike, like nose wrinkling, would indicate that you shouldn't use that essence at this time. You get information for yourself and for others this way. Try it and see. Some of the best-laid blend ideas can be undone when inhalation is the judge.
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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