resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12
Truthaches and Trigger Point Therapy
By Gregory T. Lawton, DN, DC
No, this is not an article about dentistry and massage therapy. It is an article about trigger point therapy that was triggered in part by an article that appeared in one of the "other" massage magazines that attempted to inaccurately explain trigger points.It's also an article about all of the past articles written on the subject, those being written at this very moment, and those yet to be written. The point of the title is that truth hurts.
If you are in a hurry and want to save yourself the trouble of reading the rest of this article on trigger point therapy, you can save yourself some time if you just read and agree with the following:
The theory of trigger points has gone through several changes in recent years. The original theory of Travell and Simons was that a trigger point was (you know this already) a palpable nodule or taut band of fibro-connective tissue in muscle. The problem with the original theory is that fifty-five years later, researchers and proponents of this concept still are attempting to find those pesky little nodules and taut bands. There is, unfortunately, a lack of histological evidence that they actually exist, which led most established members of the research community to abandon that idea all together. Even Travell and Simons dropped the idea of applying ischemic compression on the trigger point and opted for cortisone and other "exciting" chemotherapeutic drug injections.
Over the years, there have been numerous studies that have either attempted to prove or disprove trigger point theory. The Prover's have failed to prove their point and the Disprover's have made some significant discoveries that have turned the entire idea of trigger points on its head. One of the best rebuttals of trigger point theory and citations of the current literature in the field is the article by John L. Quinter and Milton L. Cohen entitled, "Referred Pain of Peripheral Nerve Origin, An Alternative to the 'Myofascial Pain' Construct." This is an excellent review of the historical development of trigger point theory and concepts and a step-by-step refutation of the theory, along with some outstanding ideas about what this painful condition really is.
The supporters of trigger point theory and trigger point therapists cite research that has been discredited as either inaccurate, having technical procedural flaws or that contains artifacts that have been caused by false positive readings in equipment such as electromyographic instruments (EMG). Needle biopsy of supposed trigger points identified by trigger point "experts" has consistently failed to show any difference between the muscle tissue within the borders of an "identified" trigger point and any other normal muscle tissue. So much for the idea of ischemic alternations in trigger point tissue. A number of states and (Medicare) insurance carriers have stopped reimbursement for medical trigger point therapy, pointing to a lack of research that supports the theory and frequent failure of the techniques pioneered by Travel and Simons.
In an article titled, "Update of Myofascial Pain from Trigger Points," Professor David Simons reviews many of the concepts of the last several decades and then ends the article by describing the newest hypothesis the involvement of the motor endplate.
So what is all this leading to? No one argues that there are area "points" that generate pain. The question remains that if this is not muscle tissue pain, what kind of pain is it? Well, this question led to the discovery that what had erroneously been labeled as trigger point pain and attributed to pathological changes in muscle tissue, is most likely (new theory) peripheral nerve pain at the motor end plate. This bears repeating so this idea can replace all of the wrong information you previously have been taught in massage school and seminars, and keep reading about in massage magazines. This is where the story gets interesting for the massage therapist.
As a medical massage instructor, I believe it's important that the massage therapist knows the truth about the conditions they treat and the techniques they use. Consider this: If trigger points are not a fibrotic alteration in muscle tissue, then what is with all of this ischemic compression, deep tissue break down of adhesions, knobbles, knuckles, rigid fingers, elbows and knees all about? If, as the current research'strongly suggests, these pain sites are inflamed and abnormal nerve endings, then what in the world are we doing poking things into excited, painful nerves? Imagine you have a painful tooth. Do you want me to poke a fork into it? Does that sound therapeutic to you?
Of course there are massage students standing at massage tables at this very moment being taught to push their elbows into that "trigger point."
As a medical massage educator, I have taught and written about the non physiological methods of massage therapy currently being taught to new massage students with wide open minds and expectations. What does nonphysiological mean? Simply that you are being taught something about a condition or the effects of a massage technique that simply is not true. This also is why there is a difference between medical massage instructors who teach nonphysiological theories and techniques and those teaching valid technique from the current research and scientific literature. As one of my teachers said to me yearsago, "You teach what you are, you cannot give a gift you do not possess and you cannot teach what you do not know."
It does not matter what a massage system is called, there are dozens and dozens of kinds and types of massage therapy and techniques. What matters is our understanding of body function based upon universal physiological principles and can our techniques effectively affect the body's natural corrective and restorative processes? From the example provided in this article, when our original theory is incorrect, that leads to unnecessarily causing increased pain and suffering in our patients.
Many massage schools that purport to teach effective massage techniques and the various groups and organizations claiming to follow the research literature, are more interested in the number of course hours in a massage program than the quality of course content and have not even begun to address the task of validating massage techniques and procedures to assure their safety and efficacy for patients. This especially is problematic when this kind of poor instruction is taught in a medical massage school or seminar because medical massage therapists unabashedly do claim to treat patient conditions.
If the truth hurts, that means there was a problem to begin with.
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