resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.