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A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
August, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 08
Developments in Oncology Massage
By Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
For decades, the world of Swedish-based massage therapy followed a flat, absolute massage therapy contraindication for people with cancer, and this contraindication took root in other bodywork modalities as well.To the relief of professionals, teachers and clients, this practice has fallen out of favor. Helped by two books, Massage Therapy and Cancer, by Debra Curties, and Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer, by Gayle MacDonald, the profession has challenged an old myth - that massage promotes the spread of cancer by increasing circulation. This myth was based on a primitive understanding of how cancer spreads and on uneven research on the impact of massage.
Fortunately, a much more thoughtful view has come into being, a perspective that makes room for massage with cancer patients, people at the end of life and cancer survivors. More sophisticated thinking about cancer itself and the impact of massage on the body have restored massage therapy to its rightful place in the care and support of people with cancer. Indeed, contraindications still exist, but more careful analysis of those contraindications has replaced the old, single contraindication. There is a sharper focus on which elements of massage are contraindicated for which clinical presentations of cancer. After years of practice, research and teaching in this special discipline, I've noticed developments along the way. I will share developments in two major areas: one in the area of research and professional conferences, and the other in education on cancer and massage.
Research and Conferences
In my last column, I wrote briefly about research on massage and cancer, and highlighted one of the strongest controlled studies available, involving patients in chemotherapy (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/05/13.html). People with cancer are a focus of research, as a search of massage research databases will show. Research papers are great, but it's especially exciting to learn directly from the researchers themselves. This is why I like attending conferences, or, if I missed a conference, reading the abstracts and proceedings afterward.
In fact, the first U.S. conference devoted entirely and exclusively to cancer and massage will be held in Toledo, Ohio, May 11-12, 2007. Titled "The Oncology Massage Healing Summit," it features Gayle MacDonald as the keynote presenter and diverse sessions on massage research, lymphedema, oncology massage program development and pediatric massage. Eastern approaches for symptom management, medical ethics, scar work and case studies also will be presented. Oncology massage therapists are eager for this meeting of the minds, hearts and hands. For more information, contact Mercy College Continuing Professional Education department at (419)251-1799 or .
Other national gatherings foster dialogue among researchers and clinicians. The Society for Integrative Oncology holds its third annual conference in Boston, Nov. 10-12, 2007. There will be a special Satellite Symposium on Massage Therapy on Nov. 9. Visit www.integrativeonc.org for more information. At this fall's AMTA National Convention in Atlanta, I will offer one session on massage and chemotherapy, and another on recent massage and cancer research. The conference details are at http://amtamassage.org/education/NationalConvention2006.html. Recently, the May 2006 North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine was held in Edmonton, Alberta. An impressive array of presentations included a large handful of presentations on massage research, and several of those included or focused on cancer. Abstracts from the conference are viewable at www.imconsortiumconference2006.com. Last year, the Massage Therapy Foundation presented "Highlighting Massage Therapy in CAM Research" in Albuquerque, N.M. A large number of people presented on massage therapy and cancer. The proceedings from this conference can be ordered on CD-ROM from the foundation at www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
Several years ago, there were just a few educators and training programs in existence; now, the list has more than doubled. Moreover, I notice training is getting longer. Now that we've refuted the old contraindication and put a finer point on things, there is a lot to say about cancer and massage. Changes in length, focus, setting and implementation are evident in the following trainings, which is just a partial list of those available. Contact information for each is at the end of this article.
First, Cheryl Chapman has added a course in mastectomy massage to her offerings, believing that the specific aspects of breast care after surgery and reconstruction deserve special focus.1 Debra Curties offers training in breast massage, including breast pathologies following cancer surgery.2 This focus is needed in a profession that counts many breast cancer survivors among its many consumers.
At Beaumont Hospitals in Michigan, Charlotte Versagi offers a five-day course at the School of Oncology Massage.3 In general, hospitals are offering more training. MD Anderson Cancer Center offers a course in Houston, as well as a review of complementary therapies on its Web site.4 And Houston Community College offers a course, including practical work, at nearby Baylor Breast Care Clinic.5 Two extensive certificate training programs exist. A 300-hour program is at the Scherer Institute of Natural Healing in Santa Fe, N.M.6 A 274-hour program is at the Colorado School of Healing Arts in Lakewood, Colo.7
These offerings suggest therapists welcome more instruction and hands-on time. Indeed, many of us who offer shorter courses have lengthened them or added additional levels of training. After years of offering "Medical Massage for the Cancer Patient," Memorial Sloan-Kettering added Level II training to its offerings.8 Led by Wendy Miner, this course is offered in New York. Likewise, I have added advanced training to my own course for additional work on case studies, research, hospital work and marketing.9 Moreover, the AMTA has responded to the need for information on the topic by offering an online course, "Cancer and Massage: Essential Contraindications," which I put together with them in two parts.10
As I said before, this is by no means a complete list of educational offerings, and the list is getting longer. These expansions in the field come as no surprise to me. Massage therapists have wanted and needed to work with people with cancer for a long time, and they have faced various barriers to this important work, including the old contraindication. The surge of growth in oncology massage is satisfying an old need, a backlog and a sacred calling in the massage profession.
It seems that each time I touch a client in my private practice, I learn something new from their experience. It might be about cancer itself, new treatments or the things my client learns along their path and chooses to teach me as I walk with them. Whatever it is, it's always compelling and I am eager to share it with other therapists. Conferences, research and education offer chances for us to share our stories and hear what is going on in massage treatment rooms around the country. It's an exciting time to be in the work.
Click here for more information about Tracy Walton, LMT, MS.
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