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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.
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.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
We Get Letters and E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be edited for space and clarity, and published in a future issue or online.Please send all correspondence by e-mail to or regular mail to:
The following two letters are in response to Janine Ray's article, "Updating Texas Massage Regulation" (Nov. 2004, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/11/04.html).
"Please stop pushing for more hours"
Why stop at 500 hours? Why not create an Associate's Degree in Massage Therapy Services (ASMTS) or better yet, a Bachelor's Degree in Touch Therapies (BSTT), then a Master's Degree in Specialized Touch Therapy Techniques (MSTTT), and eventually a PhD in Healing Arts (Dr. of HA)! If professional massage therapists wish to be doctors or physical therapists or other specialized healers, by all means go to college or get the education you need to be better and more validated. There are certainly unending opportunities out there. But please stop pushing for more hours and more continuing ed hours and more regulation within our industry.
I have been a "professional" massage therapist for over 10 years. I graduated with 500-plus hours. I could do a great massage before I ever went to school - the only thing the school did for me was give me the documentation required to sit for the licensing tests. My massages are soothing, relaxing and healing not because I am well versed in massage techniques and anatomy, but because I do not try to fix anything. I don't need more massage education (especially CEUs) even though I do seek out information and classes that I am interested in or feel may help me be better at what I do.
Yes, I want to help my clients feel better and I know that massage therapy can often do more to provide relief for many ailments than doctors, medication, psychotherapy, physical therapy, etc. It also complements other healing arts; however, I think too many massage therapists are playing doctor now.
CEU credits are a joke and a rip-off. Either you pay $300 or more for a class that teaches some "new," "revolutionary," or "simple" technique that will stretch, release, relax, fix and repair, or you opt for the cheapie $99 or under anything-you-can-get-to-qualify-as-six-CEUs-with-the-massage-licensing-board-class that doesn't really provide anything but a piece of paper to validate the time spent in class. Point being: There are some excellent training classes out there; I think it's great that massage therapists want to improve their skills - I certainly want to improve mine - but I don't want to be required to do so, and I don't think it is necessary.
Those who wish to accept personal injury and workers' comp claims and "treat" their clients' ailments are the ones who need to do whatever it takes to make that an option in their practices. I certainly don't want to get involved with insurance claims. Nor do I want to be involved in litigation because I performed services outside my scope of practice, which is happening too much in our industry.
Specialization and diversity in scope is wonderful. CranioSacral, Esalen, medical massage, visceral manipulation, myofascial release, and multitudes of techniques ad infinitum are expansions of practice and all require extended educations. Bravo! You go ladies and gentlemen, but leave those of us who want to practice a simple relaxing massage to our own devices. I have a thriving business of clients who don't want me to fix anything. Perhaps if more massage therapists could give a good basic massage instead of trying to dazzle 'em with BS, there would be a lower attrition rate.
I don't think these are issues at all. They are contrived excuses for people who want to tell others how to run their businesses - people who feel a need to demonstrate their competence and abilities and who want to eliminate as much competition as possible. What do you get out of micro-managing our industry? Bah humbug to committees and coalitions promoting required increased hours for massage therapy licensing in Texas. Best wishes to those who wish to be better and do better in their chosen areas of massage - go for it. Just leave the rest of us alone.
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to Janine Ray and copied to Massage Today. It appears with permission of the author.
I am ashamed of the TAMT [Texas Association of Massage Therapists]! Ashamed as you should be for distorting the original intent and misrepresenting Texas massage therapists as an officer of the TAMT. Why should I, a Florida LMT, be ashamed of the TAMT? Who am I to say how the TAMT should be acting for its members? Because I am the founder of the TAMT, that's why! I started the TAMT to oppose the AMTA - not to sleep with it! The TAMT is supposed to represent all massage therapists, not just its school-owner members. More training at the basic level provides benefits for one group and only one group, massage schools.
To say that "The existing education requirement is limited because the current law specifies that the schools can only require a maximum of 300 hours of training in their entry-level programs" is a lie, pure and simple. There are schools that offer advanced courses beyond 300 hours. If so many RMTs wanted these courses as the poll suggests, they would have waiting lists of RMTs applying for them. Instead, very few schools offer them because they are not in demand. Of course RMTs are going to say that they need more anatomy because that is what they have been told by their schools. That's what I believed when I graduated from a Texas school. I then got my wish when I had to return to school to get my Florida license. I haven't had to use that original 75 hours of A&P yet, never mind the additional 150 hours I took here. A total waste of time and money! The fundamental truth is that you do not need any anatomy to be a qualified, safe and effective massager.
The leadership of this organization has sold out its members. It's time for the members to start voting with their feet. I encourage everyone who is sick and tired of the same lame arguments to leave their association and build another one, one that will truly represent all touch therapies and not just an elite few.
Talking Trigger Points
Although the majority of the article, "Medical Massage for Jaw-Joint (TMJ) Disorders" (Dec. 2004, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/12/05.html), by Boris Prilutsky was quite well written and informative, his information about trigger points was far from correct. Actually, it was offensively incorrect to anyone who has studied Travell & Simons, who are, without question, the experts on the subject.
The trigger point is not usually found in the area of greatest pain to the patient. A major characteristic of trigger points is that they refer pain to another area. This is well documented and has been understood for many years. Travell & Simons first book was published in 1983, and this fact was stated in that volume. In fact, the trigger point causing the pain is elsewhere 70 percent of the time. This type of information is the major reason why many people think that trigger point therapy is not very effective. Massage therapists are constantly getting incorrect information such as this. They are being taught part of the picture of what trigger points are [and] how to effectively treat them. My other point is that ischemic compression is no longer the standard form of treatment.
In Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction (Vol. I, 2nd ed., pg. 140), Simons states that TrP pressure release is much preferred to IC: "The pressure release approach seems to be equally or more effective and is not likely to produce appreciable additional ischemia."
As a certified myofascial trigger point therapist, I feel that you should be more careful about allowing people without proper training to speak about techniques that they don't know enough about.
There is an entire organization of people who are well trained in trigger point therapy, and studied from the Travell & Simons medical text. Please contact the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists; I'm sure that you could find someone there to write articles with correct information about trigger points.
Mary Jo Smiley, CMTPT
Boris Prilutsky Replies:
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to respond to Mary Jo Smiley's comments. I'm glad that Ms. Smiley believes "the majority of the article was quite well written and informative."
Ms. Smiley: You stated that my "information about trigger points was far from correct." More than this, you felt "it was offensively incorrect to anyone who has studied Travell & Simons, who are, without question, the experts on the subject." I am familiar with Travell & Simons' book. In my article, I introduced the readers of Massage Today to a protocol of medical massage that was developed by Drs. Sherbak, Glezer and Dalicho. After extensive research, they published their first book, Medical Massage, in 1955 - a text written for massage therapists, physical therapists, and other physical rehabilitative specialists who utilize medical massage in their treatments.
Medical massage procedures consist of skin mobilization techniques, periosteal massage, connective tissue massage, trigger point therapy, muscular mobilization techniques, and post-isometric relaxation techniques. Incidentally, in many of Dr. Travell's papers that were published in the 1960s, she referenced the works of Sherbak, Glezer and Dalicho.
To your comment that "a major characteristic of trigger points is that they refer pain to another area," I would like to refer you to Travell & Simons, page 16, paragraph eight. It describes the trigger point as a pinpoint localization of a sharper level of pain. You can find a similar definition of trigger points within my article.
To your comment that "this type of information is the reason people think trigger point therapy is not very effective" and teaches "part of the picture of what trigger points are [and] how to effectively treat them," I again refer you to my article where I highly recommend discovering all trigger points and eliminating them. It is true that some acute, active trigger points can refer pain to other areas, in which case, satellite trigger points (which are on the pathways of referring pain) must also be treated. Latent/sleeping trigger points that respond to palpation in a higher sharpness of pain but do not produce pain unless compressed, must be palpated (discovered) and eliminated by ischemic compression, as well. Patients can develop acute active points, which can potentially (but not always) have satellite trigger points as well as latent/sleeping trigger points. Detailed explanations of how to perform ischemic compression can be found in my article.
To your other point, "ischemic compression is no longer the standard form of treatment," I ask you to refer to Travell & Simons, page 34, and look into descriptions of morphology of trigger points. On page 86, you will find an explanation of mechanism of ischemic compression. Furthermore, under the sentence "Travell 127," you will find that only ischemic compression applied by our own hands allows us to eliminate trigger points. Your reference to Vol. I, 2nd ed., pg. 140, contains a description of TrP pressure release, which parallels my article description of proper ischemic compression. These same descriptions of ischemic compression were first written by Sherbak, Glezer and Dalicho in the book I referenced above.
You suggest to the editor of Massage Today "to be more careful about allowing people without proper training to speak about techniques that they don't know enough about." Ms Smiley, I am the fourth generation of a family of physical rehabilitative specialists who extensively utilizes medical massage therapy. I graduated from two professional schools and have more than three decades of clinical experience. I think that I am entitled to have my professional opinions based on research, education and clinical experience.
I could refer you to another text, not less reliable than Travell & Simons, but because you have sworn by this text, I have decided to use it. The pages that I referred you to are from the 1983 edition. I can assure you that trigger point therapy alone is not enough to achieve consistent results in cases of support and movement system disorders, as well as inner organ disorders.
If you carefully read the explanation in my article on post-isometric relaxation techniques, you will understand the way in which development of trigger points in muscular tissue occurs and the necessity of utilizing other modalities in addition to trigger point therapy.
Our bodies do not carry myofascial tissue. We have an alliance of fascia and muscles. We as massage therapists have to take into consideration that the fibers of fascia have no capability to contract, but the fibers of muscles do have this ability. In order to release tension in the muscle-fascia alliance, we must apply connective tissue massage followed by muscular mobilization. This is another reason why we should apply more modalities in addition to trigger point therapy.
Ms Smiley, you call yourself a "certified myofascial trigger point therapist." If you perform trigger point therapy by hand and you are not a physical therapist, chiropractor or medical doctor, to me you are a massage therapist. For the last 30 years, I have been a massage therapist. My grandfather, who was an MD and PhD, used to be very proud to personally incorporate medical massage in his treatments. Believe me, we have many good reasons to be proud of being such practitioners. In these days of massive recognition of massage therapy by the general public, as well as the medical society, we should stop creating new alternative names for massage therapy. I am very proud to be a massage therapist, and so should you be, as well as all of us who practice massage therapy.
Boris Prilutsky, MA
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