resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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 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!
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.
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.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
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 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.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
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.
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.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
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
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.