resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
May, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 05
Spotlight on Research: Trager Approach Shows Promise in Treating Chronic Headaches
By Michael Devitt
This periodic column keeps you abreast of the latest research documenting the benefits of massage and bodywork. Published research is summarized, with references to the full study text provided; abstracts of research are reproduced with minimal edits.If you would like your research abstract or summary published in Spotlight on Research, please contact us at .
Named after an Illinois medical doctor, the Trager approach is one of several mind-body techniques used frequently by massage therapists in the course of care. A combination of massage, mobilization and relaxation, the Trager approach relies on gentle, rhythmic rocking motions and stretching techniques that promote easy and free movement and sensations throughout the body. A typical Trager session can last from between 60 and 90 minutes, and includes not only stretching and movements, but also a form of mental exercise called "Mentastics" that helps clients remember and recreate the experiences felt during the actual Trager session.
The Trager approach is usually employed to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain. In a study published in a recent issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, however, scientists looked at the role Trager could play in the treatment of another debilitating condition: chronic headaches. The study found that the Trager approach reduced both the frequency and duration of headaches, with the added benefit of helping people cut back on the amount of drugs they needed to treat headache pain.
In the trial, 29 men and women were randomly assigned to either a medication/Trager group, a medication/attention-control group, or a medication-only control group. All of the subjects had been diagnosed with some form of chronic headache, and all were taking some type of headache medication to relieve the condition.
Patients in the Trager group were treated by a Trager practitioner once a week for six weeks. A typical Trager session lasted approximately one hour and consisted of three parts: 1) a brief, current patient history; 2) a series of movements performed by the practitioner with the patient lying on a padded table, on joint and soft-tissue areas of the patient such as (but not limited to) the head, neck, upper back and shoulders, designed to increase range of motion, ease tension, and encourage both site-specific and general relaxation; 3) teaching the client simple movements designed to help recall and recreate the movements achieved while the practitioner worked on the client, and encouraging the client to practice these movements between treatment sessions.
In the attention control group, subjects met with a physician once a week for approximately 20 minutes, during which time the physician examined the person's head and neck and recorded any pertinent findings or changes. The physician also discussed any headaches the subject experienced in the past week, and asked about medication intake, headache changes and overall well-being. Patients in the medication-only group had no scheduled visits with a health care provider during the six-week treatment period.
For two weeks prior to the start of the study and throughout the six-week treatment period, participants were required to keep a headache diary that documented the frequency, duration and intensity of headaches, and use of headache-related medications. Each participant also completed a modified headache quality of life (HQOL) questionnaire.
Compared to the attention and medication-only groups, patients in the Trager group experienced significant mean decreases in the number of headache episodes per week. Trager patients reported a 27.5 percent reduction in weekly headache frequency, while attention patients experienced only a moderate (3.7 percent) reduction in headache episodes. In the medication-only group, however, the frequency of headaches actually increased by 13.5 percent.
Significant differences were also seen in the area of headache duration. In Trager patients, the length of headaches decreased an average of 0.6 hours; in attention patients, average headache duration decreased 0.3 hours. As with headache frequency, headache duration for patients in the medication-only group increased by an average of 1.3 hours per week.
Perhaps most strikingly, "statistically significant differences" in medication use were seen between groups. In the Trager group, biweekly medication usage decreased an average of 44 percent per patient from baseline through the treatment phase of the study. Medication use among patients in the attention group decreased an average of 19 percent. Patients in the medication-only group, on the other hand, showed an average 25 percent increase in biweekly medication use.
Each of these factors appeared to have an impact on the participants' quality of life. Not surprisingly, patients allocated to the Trager group "showed a significant improvement in HQOL," a result the researchers deemed "encouraging." Interestingly, improvements in headache quality of life scores were similar between patients in the attention and Trager groups. While these scores were not significantly different, the authors noted, "[the] improvements for each of these groups were significantly better than the control group."
The investigators admitted some limitations to their study design, most notably the small number of participants (33 randomized subjects, including four people who withdrew prior to completing the treatment phase). They also observed that while the attrition rate for their study was relatively low, dropout rates of other headache trials have approached 50 percent, a situation that must be taken into account when planning future studies. Finally, the authors noted that different participants took different types of headache remedies. "In the ideal situation," they wrote, "the medication used by all participants would be the same pharmaceutical preparation, and a clearly defined increase or decrease of specific drug type would be measured."
Limitations notwithstanding, the scientists suggested that the improvements seen in headache patients given the Trager approach "support the potential efficacy of Trager in treating chronic headache."
They also recommended that the results of the current trial be used as the framework for a larger, more ambitious study. As the scientists wrote in their conclusion: "In this first randomized trial evaluating the efficacy of Trager in treating chronic headache, we have demonstrated that the Trager approach decreased both headache frequency and medication usage, and that both Trager and physician attention improved the HQOL measurements in chronic headache patients ... the patient improvement in frequency, HQOL, and medication usage while under the care of the Trager practitioner implies that properly focused attention, combined with Trager's manual approaches, is an effective and promising treatment for chronic headache.
"... Demonstration of equivalence between the Trager method and the attention control group in a randomized, controlled, pilot study such as this, is the first step in scientifically assessing the efficacy of alternative treatments. Thus, this pilot study has provided data for the design feasibility of a larger, phase III multi-site trial."
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