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.
January, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 01
Massage for Cancer Patients: Indicated or Contraindicated?
By William C. Handley Jr., LMT, Oncology Massage Therapist
Years of constant research have developed numerous new treatments to eradicate cancer or at least prolong the quality of life of a person living with cancer. As a cancer survivor, I can give firsthand testimony that most cancer patients feel abandoned in the time they need the most support."You have cancer" will be some of the scariest words you will ever hear in your life!
Most of the family members and loved ones of a person diagnosed with cancer will tell that person they will be with them and support them all the way through their battle with the disease. I'm sure, without a doubt, that their intentions are true. But in the eyes of the person living with the cancer, the support usually comes from a distance. Due to fallacies and myths, most people that are intending to support a person living with cancer actually will distance themselves from the person fighting the disease. These fallacies, myths, and lack of education and facts can lead the supporters to think they can hurt a person battling cancer by touching them, hugging them, or even that they can catch the cancer by being in contact with them. This simple distance is more noticeable to the person living with cancer because they need the close support and touch of their loved ones. When you have a life-threatening disease, a touch or hug develops a lot more meaning than just contact.
Massage therapy is one of the most relaxing forms of touch available. Massage therapy also has many health benefits, but there have been concerns that massage therapy actually can cause the cancer to spread. Most massage therapy schools taught that cancer was a contraindication for massage. The two main concerns of how massage therapy could spread cancer involved its effects on circulation and the cancer tumors. Research continues to dispute the original concerns that massage therapy can spread cancer. The support to dispute this myth grows each year through credible experts and numerous studies.
Oncology massage therapy actually is a combination of many styles of massage incorporated into one session. The differences in the styles and techniques used with cancer patients are noticeable, both visually and physically. Oncology massage is a non-invasive technique, specifically adapted for individuals of all ages and types of cancer. Cancer patients should only receive massage therapy from a therapist educated in oncology massage. A therapist uneducated in the adaptations of these styles and proper techniques actually can cause the cancer patient to develop different conditions and even cause the death of the patient. There are contraindications and precautions for a cancer patient to receive massage therapy. This list has grown over the years to become more complete and ensure that those who are educated in oncology massage also are educated in what they should not do and what they should be cautious of.
Acceptance of massage therapy for cancer patients from medical professionals has been a continuing educational process for the medical institutions, physicians and the oncology massage therapists. The medical institutions require credentials and protocols for treatment and procedure manuals. This means a massage therapist must be able to produce documentation and certification that he or she has had education in massage for cancer patients, in addition to the standard education in massage therapy. The therapist also must have detailed protocols for treatment that give an outline of the therapy plans for each stage of cancer, such as: pre- and postsurgical protocols, chemotherapy and radiation protocols, lymphedema protocols and scar tissue protocols. The therapist also must provide a correctly formatted procedure manual under the requirements of a joint commission.
The physicians must be educated in the benefits of oncology massage and how to properly refer patients with a correct prescription and diagnosis. This is another educational responsibility of the oncology massage therapist - to meet with these physicians and provide them with hard, undeniable evidence of medical studies. The best evidence has been patient testimony after a physician sends their first referral.
The oncology massage therapist must obtain additional education and training through qualified instructors. There are now several classes available in this modality of massage therapy. Cheryl Chapman and Tracy Walton offer very informative continuing education classes. Gayle MacDonald recently joined with Dr. Sandy Canzone and developed a 300-hour certification course in oncology massage. Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center also offers a continuing educational course in oncology massage therapy. Courses such as these are vital and should eventually be mandatory for a massage therapist to be able to provide massage therapy for those living with or surviving cancer. Mandatory requirements will help give a more credible recognition and acceptance of this therapy.
Standard massage therapy performed by a generally licensed massage therapist and without additional specialized education in cancer should be considered a contraindication for cancer patients. However, oncology massage therapy provided by a properly educated oncology massage therapist is a definite indication for those living with or surviving the disease.
William Handley Jr. currently heads up the oncology/mastectomy massage therapy program at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia and is the director of Tranquility Massage Therapy. He is a cancer survivor and the first certified cancer/mastectomy massage specialist in W.V., where he developed and implemented the state’s first oncology/mastectomy massage therapy program.
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