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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.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
A Promising Future Comes From Serving Special Populations
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
I bring good news to those of you wishing to expand your practice to special populations! Massage is finding an accepted place in traditional settings that care for our elders, individuals with life-limiting illness or disability. Many of your peers are discovering opportunities in eldercare facilities, hospice and hospitals:
This is good news for us all. And thanks to the increased public awareness of the value of massage, the success these massage therapists are enjoying is being repeated across the country. But there are other influences at work here, too. Societal trends lend promise to this ever-growing specialized market for massage therapists.
Current Trends Support the Growth of Massage Therapy
We live in a society that loves to keep track of facts and statistics. Many of us in the massage profession don't get too excited about this kind of detail. We like to experience the world through other means, kinesthetically, for example. But my own experience and observation as a therapist and an educator prompted me to ask a key question: What are the forces driving the increased opportunities for massage therapists to serve elders and other special populations? Part of the answer to my question can be found in demographic and society changes occurring at the same time that massage therapy is being recognized as a valuable, if not essential, form of service. Call it synchronicity or just old-fashioned good timing, but the end result is that we are in a good place at the right time. Here is what I discovered about current trends.
There are increasing numbers of older adults. In 2006, there were 37.3 million people in the U.S. over age 65. By the year 2030, it is estimated there will be 71.5 million.1
People are living longer. The fastest growing segment of our population is 85 years and older. In the last century, our country has experienced enormous change in how long people live. In 1900, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47.3. Today it is 78. Advances in medicine and health care along with lifestyle changes have contributed to people living longer.2
The types of diseases have changed. In 1900, the leading cause of death among adults was infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza, as well as accidents. Today, adults are affected by more chronic illnesses and living for years with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.2,3
More people are turning to complementary and alternative therapies. Individuals are using complementary and alternative therapies in growing numbers. Studies have shown that common reasons for this trend include: increased desire to participate in one's self care; concerns regarding side effects of medications; concern about health care costs; and consumer dissatisfaction with conventional medical care. One study showed that adults over 65 were most motivated to use complementary modalities for pain relief, to improve quality of life and to maintain health and fitness. The complementary and alternative therapies most commonly used by these older adults were chiropractic, herbal medicine and massage therapy. According to a 2006 consumer survey by the AMTA, the use of massage therapy among those 65 and older has tripled since 1997.4,5
There is greater public access to hospice care. Hospice is a relative newcomer to the health care system. Hospice today refers to specialized care of dying patients and can be traced back to 1967 when Dame Cicely Saunders founded the first modern hospice near London. She, along with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, introduced holistic hospice care to the U.S. and the first hospice in America, the Connecticut Hospice, was opened in 1974. Today, there are more than 4,000 hospice organizations in the U.S.6,7
Hospitals are developing palliative care programs. (To palliate means to make comfortable by alleviating symptoms from an illness.) Hospices have traditionally provided palliative care to individuals suffering from terminal illness. Now, more hospitals are turning to palliative care for patients with advanced chronic or life-threatening illness, emphasizing symptom management, communication and other means to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Larger hospitals, university medical centers and not-for-profit hospitals are where most palliative care programs are found.7,8
Hospital-based massage programs are growing in number. A 2006 national survey by the AMTA showed the number of hospitals offering massage increased more than one-third over the previous two years. Of those hospitals, 71 percent indicated that massage therapy is offered for patient stress relief and comfort; 67 percent utilized massage therapy for pain management; 52 percent provided massage for cancer patients and 37 percent offered massage for end-of-life care.9,10
The Culture Change Movement is impacting nursing home care. This is a grass-roots movement, transforming the culture of aging in America and bringing person-centered care to the nursing home industry. Spearheaded by the Pioneer Network, this movement is about fundamental change in nursing homes, creating a less institutionalized and more humane environment that supports the elder's life, dignity, rights and freedom.11,12
So, what does all this have to do with you? If you are a massage therapist who feels drawn to work with elders, the ill or those in end-of-life care, it has a great deal to do with you. As our population ages, greater numbers of older adults will be seeking ways to live well longer or to find relief from the symptoms of the conditions affecting them. If you have the knowledge, skills and sensitivity to meet their needs, there is potential for your practice to thrive. Many elders will require the assistance of a care facility due to debilitating illness or injury.
The doors are opening for massage therapists to work in long-term care facilities as evidence shows that skilled touch improves the quality of life for the individuals who reside there. Public awareness and access to hospice and palliative care will continue to expand; and massage is an effective, non-pharmacological approach for comfort care. Keep in mind that nursing homes, hospice organizations and hospitals are businesses too, and they are continually looking for innovative programs to attract customers in their changing and competitive market. Bringing a massage therapist on board does exactly that.
The good news is that the potential for you to successfully expand your practice will only increase. What's more, working with individuals in this special population gives you the opportunity to serve others in a way that is profound. It can be the most uplifting and deeply rewarding work you will ever do. Now that is really good news!
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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