resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
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.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
June, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 06
Massage and Embodiment
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Finding myself in the full spring of the second half of the first decade of the 21st century seems cause enough for a bit of reflection on touch and training.Part of this comes from having had weeks of rain and drab grey light in central California, now suddenly giving way to blue skies, scattered wisps of clouds, warm sunlight, bird song and gentle breezes laden with hints of flowers, grasses and herbs. A spirit could choose far worse times and places to be embodied.
One of the modern paradigms of massage is to induce relaxation. The techniques required for relaxation massage are simple and easily taught, the results often depending as much on intent and connection with the client as with the technique. It's ironic that those wishing to focus only on providing relaxation massage to their clients have been subjected both to the scorn of other practitioners and to legislation requiring far more hours of training than needed simply to provide positive touch. The irony lies in missing the value of the gift of human time and relaxation in our 24/7 world. It's estimated that stress costs business $300 billion per year, contributes significantly to loss of health, increased domestic and workplace violence and loss of community connection.8 Honor those who serve the human needs of others. Enough said.
A second paradigm of massage has been to focus on massage as health care. While certifications and state regulation has been touted to address this paradigm, what has been provided is a relatively empty facade. The vagueness of massage education requirements is a major reason that two "medical massage" organizations have arisen, as well as the basis of the incapacity noted by Ralph Stephens in his March 2006 Massage Today column, "Education - Where Does Advanced Begin?" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/03/02.html). Current "standards without outcome specifics" also are the reason I've both tackled the Massage Medical Applications Project 7 and am working as part of a small group, under the auspices of the Massage Therapy Foundation, to define best practices for massage as health care. Such projects exist because guidelines, based on research and objective evidence, don't currently exist.
Ralph Stephens points out problems with corporate influence on massage training in his May 2006 column, "Put Your Hands on Your Monitor - Part 1" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/05/10.html). I differ from Ralph slightly in believing that massage schools are part of the profession, rather than just the business infrastructure, to the extent that those running programs are immersed within massage. I agree with him where massage is simply another add-on area of training. In California, dedicated massage schools continue to resist a larger vocational school organization's desire for legislative policies that would undercut their economic niche and viability.
My third paradigm, the impact of massage on the quality of body-sense or embodiment of the client, has been largely ignored by those looking at massage as tissue-specific health care. Such work, traditionally taught by holistically-oriented massage schools, is not likely to be picked up by corporate career schools. It might appeal to a massage degree program, but these are still few.
The truly amazing aspect of our embodiment is that we inherently have a cohesive sense of our own bodies. The leap from input signals from a myriad of sensors to an integrated body sense is indicative of the unconscious processing capabilities of our brains. Our abilities in spatial integration have profound consequences to our health. From research on phantom limb pain, Ronald Melzack concludes that we have a neuromatrix analog of our physical bodies, dependent both on input and on current state for its sensory output. Recent haptic research by Martin Grunwald suggests that distortions in tactile integration may contribute to anorexia and may be treatable by sensory stimulation. For some, sensory processing is challenging - the feelings of overload restricting the choices of clothing to those which minimize disruptive input4. For many others, the tactile nature of clothing and fabrics, described by terms such as hand, weight, drape, and texture, is part of the joy of embodiment.
Practicing massage as sensory reframing has no lack for material to draw from. Maurice Merleau-Ponty set out a philosophical framework more than a half century ago.6
Deane Juhan describes the sensory benefits of bodywork as "a cumulative process of [clients] getting to know their own bodies and their own sensations from a fresh perspective, a process that continues to help them discover who and what they are and to learn to exercise some measure of self-control over many of the vagaries of their physical and emotional symptoms."5 Donald Bakal lays the same stress on developing body awareness as a path to healing in Minding the Body.1 The lack we face is not in material to teach, but in the value being given to it by the profession of massage. It is material ill-suited to the concept of massage as the application of anatomical knowledge and tissue-specific techniques to a passive client. It does not fall within the circle of value, and thus the "career" teaching, set by a standardized test. We either begin to accord more value to this material and those who teach it, or we might soon count it as part of the unintended collateral damage of the rush to massage as a standardized profession. Whether it's the future consideration of massage teachers or of massage historians is our individually made collective choice in the policies we set and the values we promote.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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