resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 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.
April, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 04
How Should We Teach Assessment?
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are some of the most commonly occurring causes of pain and disability in this country. They are treated by a wide variety of practitioners, and many people with them seek the care of someone other than a physician.Consequently, massage therapy is frequently used to address this wide array of pain and injury problems.
Proper treatment of any MSD begins with identifying the underlying problem. It is only then that we can determine if we should even be working on this client. If the practitioner has determined that a MSD exists for which massage treatment would be helpful, s/he must then determine which techniques or approaches to use with the client that should be helpful. The way to make this determination is through proper and accurate assessment.
Information may be gathered in many different forms, systems or structures yet they all have several elements in common. A thorough assessment includes detailed information from the client history, observable characteristics of the client and his/her condition, as well as specific methods of physical examination.
Some practitioners shy away from any organized framework for their assessment process, stating instead that intuition guides them. Others may state they do assessment solely through what they feel in their hands. While these are very important skills and may work well for basic relaxation massage approaches, they don't provide information necessary to make appropriate clinical decisions about treating MSDs. If I had an illness or injury and went to see a physician, I wouldn't want that doctor to evaluate me based on intuition or palpation alone. Likewise, many MSDs are complex and we must engage in a more comprehensive process when evaluating them.
There are some misconceptions about what assessment entails. Some feel it is just evaluating a client's range of motion. Evaluating range of motion is important, but you must know more than your client has a limitation in a certain motion, such as abduction of the shoulder. You must do what you can to find out why that limitation exists. Others state that assessment is mainly the use of special orthopedic tests like the Phalen's test for evaluating carpal tunnel syndrome. Memorization and use of various orthopedic tests is helpful, but only when used in their proper contexts. Simply memorizing these tests does not make you effective at assessment any more than memorizing the alphabet makes you a writer.
Assessment and Learning Theory
Learning theorists have developed classifications of how we learn that describe increasing levels of complexity. One of the most common classifications still used today is Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, first published in the mid-1950s. In this classification, Bloom and his colleagues described six levels of increasing cognitive complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
The lowest levels, knowledge and comprehension, involve rote memorization. While memorization has its usefulness, it should not be the primary goal of our educational objectives. Unfortunately, most educational environments do not go past this level and assume that "learning" has occurred because an individual is able to achieve a specific score on a test that emphasizes rote memorization and, too often, little else.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn't reflect clinical reality at all. In the clinic room, the practitioner is faced with situations where memorization of facts still leaves you pondering as to what your client's primary complaint really is. In order to get past this point you must use the higher levels of the taxonomy - analysis, synthesis and evaluation. These abilities are developed through practical application of clinical reasoning activities in the learning process. Assessment is a complex procedure of clinical reasoning that has to use these higher cognitive functions in order to be even minimally effective.
Consequently, if we want to teach assessment skills in the way they will be eventually used in practice, we have to radically alter the way they are initially presented. In order to do this we have to get away from trying to have students find the "right" answer all the time. In many cases there isn't one "right" answer. There are several different paths and they each take us in different directions that may produce a good clinical reasoning process. Therefore, to accomplish this goal we must create educational activities that encourage a degree of cognitive uncertainty and encourage the practitioner to go through the reasoning process to figure a problem out. It is only through this kind of practice that these skills are developed.
So, when learning assessment, don't get stuck on trying to memorize a large group of special orthopedic tests or performing range-of-motion evaluations and call that your assessment. You must look at the entire picture of gathering information from the client's story and physical examination, process the importance of what you have found out, and construct a model for explaining your findings. When you can do this, you have moved into the higher levels of cognitive complexity, used advanced assessment strategies, and performed a much more thorough service in seeking care for your clients.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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