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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.
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.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
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 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
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.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
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.
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.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
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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