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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
By Linda Riach
Once upon a time there were many farmers all over the country with dairy cows producing milk of every variety. Some milk was from Jersey cows; some from Holsteins; some from Guernseys; some was organic; some not so organic, and so on.Some farmers mixed their milk with chocolate to create another offering for milk connoisseurs.
The diversity of the products was almost endless: one percent, two percent, with and without acidophilus, and more. Enterprising dairy farmers worked hard to meet the varied needs of their markets. Then, one day, the farmers realized that dairy consumption was going down; Pepsi, Coke, Snapple, Starbucks, orange juice (thanks to the efforts of the Orange Growers Association), Budweiser and Red Bull all competed for the attention of a thirsty public. The farmers realized that they'd have to do something for their industry to continue its growth. That's when the dairy farmers' organizations got together to determine how they could raise consumer awareness and the desire for all things dairy.
Thus, the (now) famous National Milk Mustache "Got Milk?"® Campaign, which is jointly funded by America's milk processors and dairy farmers, was born. The goal of the multifaceted campaign was to educate consumers on the benefits of milk and raise milk consumption by creating a single identity for milk. The industry created a brand - and it's working.
For the past 26 years, I've been lucky enough to be part of the massage therapy profession and to watch it grow. During that time, the industry has matured; it has created a standing and recognition of which it is rightfully proud. Endless success stories about high-profile sporting events, inspiring studies, expanding educational programs, and certification development ideas are tossed around to help meet the needs of the future by massage action leaders, as well as hardworking organizations. The opportunities and challenges in these areas are as vast as the inspiration these people and their efforts offer their individual communities.
Expanding equally fast is the volume of opportunities presented to the massage therapy industry by professions, including pain medicine, sports medicine, athletic training, physical therapy and spa communities, which are all part of growing global markets. There are opportunities for massage therapists to secure their scopes of practice in sports and sports medicine, pain medicine and pain management, rehab, psychotherapy, and more. But with growth comes expansion, sprawl and diversification. The industry has become so spread out, so disparate, that many of us hear only snippets of those accomplishments or the potential opportunities. This growth has also meant that many practitioners now only identify with their individual communities and not with the idea of a unified interest.
None of us presume to have the one "right" form of massage or the one "best" response to the needs of a touch-thirsty public. Each facet of the industry is an important part of a gleaming gem. One facet may shine especially brightly in a certain light, but the strength and durability will best be recognized if the whole gem is swathed in flattering light so that it gleams. So now, as we turn to face new challenges (much as the milk industry did), there are questions that we need to ask ourselves in examining what next steps should be taken to showcase the whole massage therapy industry and to keep it thriving.
For me, the answer about how to best respond to the burgeoning opportunities on the horizon is straightforward: Put more focus on communications as a practitioner and as a community, in our organizations and as a whole. Why? Because much of the public is not aware of the power and efficacy of massage therapy in all of its forms. Few are adequately educated to be able to identify how to find a therapist qualified to meet their needs, expectations and personal preferences. Few understand that it will require a series of visits to experience lasting results. And, on a more technical note, most consumers are not aware of all the research that has been done to establish the credibility and efficacy of massage in many situations.
The truth is that the market for the services of massage therapists is boundless; in fact, it's booming.
There are 77 million aging baby boomers primed to hear the message about your services. There are as many varying needs for therapeutic touch as there are people in the world. And yet the industry is so disparate, so spread out, that it is not seen as a single entity to consumers. We in the industry are missing an opportunity, which, by harnessing our combined strength, can corral the full potential of growth for the good of all. So, how can the massage therapy community promote itself within these venues? What needs to be done to teach to these opportunities? How do we establish credibility and working relationships with those who might be sources of referral?
A powerful unifying force lies in the creation of a brand for therapeutic touch - to use the brand to educate the masses, drawing them in for individualized pursuits of health and wellness. Promoting the use of massage therapy for pain and wellness management is easier than promoting the products made by the drug companies if for no other reason than there'd be no long laundry list of side-effects and contraindications. In a day and age where stress-related illnesses are at almost epidemic proportions, with such a potent tool in our tool box, don't we have a responsibility to promote what we have to offer and to find the resources to do what it takes to invest in, create and promote the brand as a whole? We also owe it to the students who will be attempting to make a living. As school graduation numbers increase, so must the numbers of people needing, desiring and pursuing the use of their services.
The world of massage therapy is as diverse as the universe of clients who need its services. There is room for all under the tent. To that end, we must all work together to solidify and hold in even higher esteem our expectations for each modality through modality-appropriate accreditation so that the end user can be ensured a positive, consistent experience. As the experience is unified, word-of-mouth increases and awareness goes up. Simply put, a rising tide lifts all ships.
While we are not producing a single product, we should be working to promote a unified experience, a brand called "massage." That brand should embody the experience for the customer of the personal pursuit of wellness and the role of the practitioner as partner in that ongoing endeavor. If we can get behind that, there's no end to the people we can reach.
Click here for previous articles by Linda Riach.
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