resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
When Is It Safe to Treat a Patient Taking Antibiotics?
By Charlotte Michael Versagi, LMT, NCTMB
Patients often arrive at a massage therapist's doorstep after a recent hospital release, recovering from bronchitis or another "bug." During intake, we discover they are taking some form of an antibiotic. Upon hearing these words from a client or patient, a red flag needs to pop into the therapist's consciousness. This isn't always a contraindication, but ingesting antibiotics presents certain precautions and demands certain questions are answered before proceeding with the massage treatment.
To clarify up front, in this article, massage treatment is defined as standard, full-body, Swedish-style massage consisting of effleurage, petrissage, some range of motion, perhaps some tapotement, etc. We are not referring to lymphatic drainage, energy work or other forms of bodywork. Those modalities are performed after advanced training and affect the body slightly or significantly different than normal Swedish massage.
First, what is an antibiotic? Antibacterial agents usually are called antibiotics. These medications cause irreversible and lethal damage to a bacterial pathogen or at least create bacteriostasis, inhibiting bacterial growth. You've heard of the common families of antibiotics: the penicillins, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and cephalosporins.
Here are some questions to ask when your client informs you they are on antibiotics. Why are they taking the medication? When did they start taking it? Are they suffering from an infection? Is the infection systemic or local? Do they presently have a fever? If so, is it spiking or is it low-grade? And at this point, you may be thinking to yourself, "What's the difference between inflammation and infection?" and "What effect will my massage have, based on the answers my client just gave me?" Our concern, as always, is safe treatment.
Let's clarify some definitions before discussing your treatment. An infection, according to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition, is an invasion of the body with organisms that have the potential to cause disease. Our own Ruth Werner tells us inflammation is a tissue response to the threat of bodily injury or invasion by antigens. The response is controlled by chemical, cellular and vascular functions. It's a chain of events; a reaction of injured tissue to defend and protect the body from invasion. The aim is to get rid of the pathogen, prevent the spread into the body (a massage therapist's primary concern) and prepare the injured area for healing.
Now prepare yourself for a generalization here, but it will help you with your treatment decision. Antibiotics most often are given to fight infection, something that is systemic or carries the threat of becoming systemic (although some infections can be quite local). Steroids and some other medications often are administered for inflammations; a problem we normally think of as local, yet sometimes is systemic.
You remember the cardinal signs of local inflammation, right? Redness, heat, swelling, pain and sometimes, lost function. The point is to help you intelligently understand what you are treating before you proceed. Does your client suffer from a local inflammation/infection (e.g. infected tooth socket after wisdom tooth removal) or are they taking antibiotics prophylactically before a procedure? Have they been diagnosed with bronchitis and started antibiotics three days ago? Do they have a fever of unknown origin and the doctor is simply experimenting with an antibiotic to try to allay symptoms?
Now let's put two and two together. You learned in massage school that one of the primary effects of massage is an increase in circulation, right? OK, if a one-hour massage is going to increase circulation, you must be as sure as you can about exactly what you are sending through that body. Are you potentially spreading infection or are you helping with waste removal and lymph flow to assist the body's fight toward health? The effects of massage are vast and wonderful; just keep reminding yourself that one of those effects is vascular. With infection and inflammation, you are dealing with the body's vascular (and immune) response.
As for the answer to the question of whether to treat a client, according to Werner, acute inflammation is a contraindication for circulatory massage. But massage may be appropriate for subacute conditions. (Think of a twisted and swollen ankle, for example. No massage therapist in their right mind would massage locally, but effleurage proximal to the injury, as well as massaging the rest of the body, would be completely appropriate.)
The mantra I learned in massage school was: "An antibiotic has to be taken for three full days for the patient to achieve a blood level (of antibiotic) before a massage can be safely given." Although this is generally sound advice, Jane Brown, director of the 1,000-hour massage program at Carnegie Institute in Troy, Mich., reminds us, "All antibiotics have different saturation levels in the blood; so although the three-day rule holds most of the time, you never really know which antibiotic has reached its height of effectiveness and when."
Jen Green, a naturopathic doctor and researcher practicing in Shelby Township, Mich., offers massage therapists a holistic view of treating patients who are taking antibiotics: "Antibiotics generally help control the bacterial population. But tell your massage therapists that the antibiotics are not doing the whole job - the immune system is still working. It needs a boost to work effectively and massage gives it that boost. I'd agree with waiting a couple of days (from the onset of taking the medication) to begin massage but after that, it would help the patients to stimulate the immune system by increasing circulation." Dr. Green continues, "Antibiotics, too, have a bacteriostatic effect; they can keep the bacteria from growing - but the body has to move. Increased blood and lymph flow helps get the problem out of the system."
It is probably safe to treat your patients after they have been taking antibiotics for two or three days and are manifesting none of the cardinal signs of heat, fever, swelling or pain. Remember, ask all the right questions, determine in your mind exactly what effect your increasing circulation will have on the body, and then proceed with intelligence and compassion.
Charlotte Michael Versagi is a medical journalist, national speaker and educational director of the School of Oncology/Hospital Massage in the Beaumont Hospital system in Michigan. Her private practice focuses on oncology patients.
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