resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 05
A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle, Part 2
By Erik Dalton, PhD
Editor's Note: Part 1 of "A Reflexogenic Relationship: The Muscle/Joint Battle" appeared in the April 2006 issue of Massage Today. To access the online version, visit www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/04/07.html.
Myoskeletal Muscle Manipulation Through Joint Mobilization
A confounding situation arises as the therapist's fingers attempt to pry between joint surfaces to contact the short rotators, intertransversarii, and intertransverse muscles.Although these tiny, one-joint rotators/side-benders typically are the tightest in the presence of joint dysfunction, application of direct localized pressure sometimes is impossible, given the limited space between articular surfaces. Here's when the myoskeletal technique comes in handy. The therapist utilizes sustained manual pressure on the superior fixated vertebra as the joint is taken through a specific range of motion. Basically, bones are used as levers to create a Golgi tendon organ (GTO) release in all fourth-layer muscles, causing the joint blockage. The question then arises as to the nature of the fixated joint: Is it locked, open or closed? And which side of the spine is stuck?
Using the myoskeletal approach, the therapist's fingers and thumbs wade through the paraspinal laminar groove tissues, scanning for lumpy, wiry and knotty transversospinalis muscles. Once the hypertonic little muscles are found, what information is revealed about the nature of the dysfunctional joint? Not much! By Greenman's definition, it's obvious that joint dysfunction exists, but what type? Is one side of the joint jammed closed and unable to open during forward bending, or is a superior facet not closing on the vertebra below during backward bending?
In Figure 5, the therapist's thumbs apply sustained pressure to the bony knot where the fibrosis was found, as the side-lying client flexes and extends the spine through the affected area using a chin-tucking enhancer. If the bony knot pushes back into the thumbs as flexion is introduced, the joint on the ipsilateral side is not opening. The joint's axis of rotation is forced to revolve around the fixated facets, causing the superior transverse process to push back against the therapist's thumbs. The thumbs hold a gentle, sustained headward pressure on the superior transverse process as the client flexes the chin toward his chest. This produces a GTO release in the deep groove muscles and stretches the fibrosed spinal ligaments and joint capsule, allowing the fixated facets to open. In the myoskeletal method, bones are only applied as levers to release adhesive spinal soft tissues that cannot be liberated directly with traditional deep-tissue techniques.
During the fourth-layer assessment, if the bony knot does not push back into the palpating thumbs or fingers as the client flexes through the area, the joint is not closing on the contralateral side. To free the hypertonic tissues preventing closure of the superior facets on their inferior neighbor, the client assumes a prone position. The therapist's fingers, thumbs or elbow slowly glide down each side of the lamina groove as the client rhythmically raises and lowers his head. In Figure 6, the therapist uses the elbow to traverse down the groove while the client extends and lowers his neck and upper thoracic spine. If a bony knot is palpated, the joint is not closing on the contralateral side. Gentle, sustained pressure (with client-enhancing movement) releases fibrotic groove muscles, joint capsules, and spinal ligaments, allowing the superior facets joints to glide inferiorly and close on the vertebra below.
Scope of Practice
As with all treatment protocols, exceptions occur that can render the myoskeletal method ineffective. Damaged joints often create stubborn fixations that cannot be released by working muscles alone. Vertebrae that have undergone adherent cartilage degradation, apophyseal joint swelling and facet "nipping" due to prolonged microtrauma, typically will not regain lost motion simply by releasing the fibrotic muscles, joint capsules and spinal ligaments. True adhesive joint-fixation problems point to a more serious condition. However, massage therapists who regularly work in conjunction with chiropractors and manipulative osteopaths can enhance therapeutic outcomes by "prepping" the affected area, so that high-velocity thrusting maneuvers are more effective. Manual therapists must develop a good complementary health care referral base so prompt referrals can occur if soft-tissue approaches do not alleviate all the client's pain and/or posture problems.
Combining muscle and joint modalities increases therapeutic efficiency and encourages referrals as therapists resolve stubborn, long-standing pain/spasm/pain cycles. By incorporating holistic-minded reflexogenic routines, today's touch therapist can help solve America's epidemic musculoskeletal pain crisis. Therapeutic outcomes are enhanced as assessment and treatment routines are expanded to include all soft tissues forming from the mesoderm, including muscles, fascia, joint capsules, spinal ligaments, nerve dura, and intervertebral discs.
Although myoskeletal therapy delves deep into body structures, the intent is still slow and sustained soft-tissue work combined with specific client-initiated enhancers, such as chin-tucking, eye movements, deep breathing, pelvic tilting, etc. The client's experience following a myoskeletal session should be one of invigoration, pain relief, increased range of motion and postural improvement. Bones are assessed and treated as soft tissues in the myoskeletal system, with pressure often applied directly to myofascia overlying transverse processes. It's of the utmost importance to stress that bones only are used as levers to release hard-to-access, fourth-layer muscles, ligaments and fibrotic joint capsules (much like frozen shoulder work). Therapists always must remember that joints should never be taken into a nonphysiologic range of motion, which remains outside the scope of practice for most massage and bodywork practitioners.
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