resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Creating Sacred Moments Through Compassionate Touch
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
"When we touch another with a compassionate heart, it creates a sacred moment." These are the words that filled my awareness several years ago as I was leaving the care facility after having had a particularly poignant Compassionate Touch session with an elder gentleman suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease. I noticed that in that moment, my heart was wide open and I felt deeply moved and changed in some profound way. The truth embedded in those words has been with me ever since. They guide my way, teaching me about what it really means to touch those we serve. Here is what I've learned so far.
The Nature of Compassion
Compassion is not something we learn how to do, nor is it something we call forth when we think we should. It flows naturally from our humanness and is something we all share. We each may define compassion using different words or phrases: love, empathy, being open to the suffering of others. Although the definitions vary, I believe the experience of compassion is universal. For me, it's when my own healing presence emerges and my heart cracks wide open. I especially like the words of Judith Lief: "Cultivating compassion does not mean injecting some new, improved element into ourselves so we can work more effectively. Instead, we simply uncover the compassion that is already there."1
Helping Is Different Than Serving
I've asked many people, "Why did you become a massage therapist?" Many answer with, "Because I want to help people." Perhaps what is really calling us to this profession is a desire to serve. There is a core difference between helping and serving the elders we touch. Helping implies inequality. When we help, we are doing something to or for the person which places us in a position of power over them. We subtly convey that they are needier than we are, helping perpetuate "separateness" in our relationships. Helping is about doing, and we may cling to or hide behind our techniques or our roles, which actually distances us from the one we think we are helping. I've noticed that when I approach someone with an attitude of helping, the intention and energy flows only one way - from me to the one I am helping. Helping can leave me feeling depleted and burned out.
To serve is to become a part of the experience of the person we are serving. It is a relationship of equality and a dynamic interaction that flows both ways. When we serve, we give and receive. The benefits are mutual and our hearts and souls are expanded in the process. Serving is not about doing; it's about being. It's about being authentic and allowing our innate healing presence to shine forth. In service, we offer our support in whatever way is called for in the moment, allowing our client to receive whatever is needed at the time for healing and well-being. To serve is an opportunity to explore the meaning of the self and what it means to be human. Rachel Naomi Remen reminds us that: "We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected to that which we are willing to touch."2
Relating to the Individual
For more than 25 years, I have worked with elders who require care because of the debilitating effects of aging or illness. Caregiving is certainly complex and there are many things that must be done. Personal care needs, mobility assistance, medical treatment, social activities and safety are all important. However, I've seen that so much emphasis is placed on what must be done that the caregivers often relate more to the condition rather than the individual inside that aging body.
The individual is the core essence of each person. It never changes, regardless of age or the condition of the body or mind. When my attention is focused on the individual, my hands naturally follow to touch with compassion. I've witnessed hundreds of times what happens when I, the caregiver, stop doing to simply be present and touch the individual. In these moments, I truly serve and a space for healing opens. Not healing in terms of a cure, but a sense of wholeness, acceptance and well-being. These are the sacred moments when pain and suffering are eased and we are both uplifted.
A Sacred Moment
For two years, I provided Compassionate Touchsessions for a gentleman I'll call Mr. Edwards. He resided in a skilled nursing facility and his condition included dementia and the residual effects of a stroke, which left him unable to walk. The facility's staff struggled with him because he would become combative when he felt overwhelmed or confused. He only left his room for meals, refusing to attend other activities. He asked to have massage because of back pain, but it became clear during our first visit that he yearned to be touched and to be accepted. He told me about how his mother would soothe him as a child by rubbing his back.
During our sessions, he loved to tell me about his career as the president of a large loan company, while I massaged his back or feet. He often would fall into a peaceful sleep. Although, his physical and mental condition gradually diminished, he consistently seemed to find comfort from massage. One day the facility was having a party. After giving Mr. Edwards his massage, I was preparing to leave when he sat up as straight as he could in his wheelchair, held out his hand and said to me, "May I have the honor of your company at the party?" That was a sacred moment I will never forget. And, by the way, yes, I went to the party and we had a lovely time!
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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