resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
Turning Tragedy into Triumph: An Interview with Nancy Schmitt, Creator of Mindful Touch Therapy
By Rebecca J. Razo
If you ran into Nancy Schmitt on the street, you might never guess that less than a decade ago, the petite woman standing in front of you was fiercely fighting for her life against breast cancer.
After successfully beating the disease, Nancy, a trained massage therapist and creator of Aviana Body Products and Bodywork, set out on a mission to use her experience to help others.And though Nancy's peaceful demeanor gives way to a radiant warmth that seems to envelope those around her, it was her strength and resolve that led her to create Mindful Touch Therapy (formerly Mindful Massage), a unique form of bodywork focused on providing touch to those suffering from cancer and other critical illnesses. Massage Today had an opportunity to talk to Nancy about her experiences and Mindful Touch Therapy.
Massage Today (MT): You created Aviana's Mindful Touch Therapy after facing some very personal challenges. Can you tell us about that?
Nancy Schmitt (NS): After remarrying and acquiring four stepchildren that precipitated a premature retirement from managing nearly 800 employees and $5 million in annual volume for a chain of 65 ladies ready-to-wear stores, I elected to return to school to enter the healing arts and become a massage therapist. Shortly after graduation, as I was planning to open a small hands-on business, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I realized at that moment, according to my massage therapy education, that I was considered a contraindication for massage - just when I needed the many benefits of touch the most! That's when I decided to research and develop a touch therapy that was safe and effective for people living with cancer and other critical illness.
MT: In the past, you have referred to your cancer as a "gift from God." How so?
NS: It's hard to imagine calling cancer a gift, especially for those who are newly diagnosed or living through the treatment of cancer at this moment in time; however, without the impetuous [ness] of cancer, I would not have been driven to search the world for touch therapies that would turn no one away from the benefits of a magnificent healing therapy. I would have missed the pleasure of being touched by beautiful people: clients, students and other like-minded individuals who know we are much more than a physical body and quest for quality of life. And I would not have been driven to expand my perception of daily living to better know the truly important small things life has to offer. I often encourage my student body to learn what is really important in life from those individuals whose lives have been threatened.
MT: How is your health today?
NS: Today I celebrate nine years as a bodyworker and nine years as a cancer survivor! Life is good.
MT: Can you describe exactly what comprises Mindful Touch Therapy? What are its core concepts related to healing?
NS: The heart of the Mindful Touch Therapy program is based on the philosophy that the power of touch can have a profound impact on an individual's health and well-being. Our mission is to impart knowledge that increases awareness and usage of therapeutic bodywork techniques that can be applied easily and safely to improve the quality of life for all individuals in every stage of wellness, dis-ease and disease. Mindful Touch Therapy is a unique synergy of energy bodywork, mindful meditation and touch therapy with influence by Native American, Hawaiian and Ayurvedic healing concepts.
MT: What are some of the key benefits of Mindful Touch Therapy, particularly for critically ill or cancer patients?
NS: The value of touch with loving intention is well documented for all individuals, including those who are critically ill or living with cancer. Mindful Touch Therapy goes a step further by incorporating very specific energy, trigger point and mindful concepts that provide a deeply relaxing and restorative feeling that doesn't require some of the physical detoxifying processes that will follow a muscle massage, which can be especially taxing on an individual who is already depleted of energy. There is an ease about the experience and the "after" experience. Many clients have described that there is something about the Mindful Touch process that they can call upon during painful and stressful situations that assists them in getting through the process with less anxiety and discomfort.
MT: What kind of feedback have you received about Mindful Touch Therapy from the medical community?
NS: Aviana's Mindful Touch Therapy has been very warmly received by so many medical institutions. It surprises me. Initially, I imagined this body of work being more easily incorporated into day and destination spas and private practices to begin to provide a sense of comfort and welcome to all individuals, not simply those living with good health. But, I have had some students in my classes enrolled and funded by their community hospitals, breast cancer centers and other integrative institutions. I have also been invited into a few medical communities to discuss and teach core concepts of energy medicine and other related modalities to medical students and nursing students. Mindful Touch Therapy is absolutely perfect as an integrative tool for complementary medicine supporting traditional medicine.
I now have advocates in several states assisting Aviana with attaining certification for nurses and nurse massage therapists to receive CEU's. We see Mindful Touch as the perfect touch therapy for all patients in every stage of wellness, dis-ease and disease, including cancer.
MT: What separates Mindful Touch Therapy from therapeutic or relaxation massage?
NS: Therapeutic and relaxation massage are so highly beneficial, and it's wonderful when a Mindful Touch Therapist is able to provide both, allowing the right modality to be selected at the right time. Mindful Touch Therapy is all about intention. I teach our student body very specific energy and touch techniques, with focused and particular intention on each area of the body. There's a synergy that can't be described but is profoundly experienced when one is touched with both open heart and skilled hands. Another very distinguishing concept is how restorative this technique is for the therapist - physically, mentally and spiritually.
MT: What is the format of a typical Mindful Touch Therapy workshop?
NS: Mindful Touch Therapy is a highly experiential class. We move from lecture and demonstration to hands-on giving and receiving in each phase of the technique. We also incorporate a few fun learning experiences that indirectly relate to the body or work. On the final day, we move through the routine in sequential order. My voice talks and walks you through the experience every step of the way. I provide the intention as you work through the routine so that as you give or receive, you are learning why to touch the way you do. I have found in my years as a teacher that every student learns differently; therefore, I provide a classroom with a variety of teaching methods so that every individual can walk away with confidence in the process.
In a three-day class, we "squeeze" in an unbelievable amount of unique information. It's really a summation of wisdom that has taken me a lifetime to learn. I'm excited to share the best of what's been passed down to me by very special individuals, many of whom prefer to go unnamed. There is a lot of information and experience shared in a short period of time, so you also walk away with instructional materials to take home. Reflection; practice, practice, practice; and expanding oneself in recommended areas of study provides ways to continually enhance your skills. I am currently working on an advanced class for those who have trained and practiced Mindful Touch Therapy for a select period of time. I also hope to offer "refresher" day classes for graduates.
MT: Does one have to be a massage therapist to learn Mindful Touch Therapy?
NS: No; however, the difference in what you [literally] "bring to the table" in class does determine your ability to provide this body of work professionally or casually. For example, in a very few classes, I have had partners of people living with life-threatening illness there to simply get a sense of how to contribute to quality of life for their loved one. Others have come with an understanding that the class teaches more than just a technique, and they want to learn an expanded perspective of life.
MT: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
NS: Over and over again, my student body has told me they received so much more than they expected and dreamed of in a hands-on class. I have tried to better portray the class in small ads in our massage publications and in verbal description, yet I always seem to come up short when expressing the true essence of Mindful Touch Therapy. I suppose it is simply something you must experience if you are driven to want to practice your bodywork in a holistic fashion or feel called to work with an expanded population of people - those who might be "contraindicated" for your other forms of massage and touch therapy.
Lastly, I would love to send a special thank you again, to those who have blessed me with their presence in every Mindful Touch class!
MT: Thank you so much for your time, Nancy.
For more information about Mindful Touch Therapy, visit www.avianabody.com or contact Nancy at .
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