resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
April, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 04
The Structural Component of Soft-Tissue Rehabilitation
By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT
One of the most important factors in understanding and treating clients in pain who need therapeutic massage is evaluating the cause of the discomfort. We often look directly to the area of discomfort and find inflammation, swelling, ischemia, trigger points, buildup of fiber, scar tissue and adhesions, and think treating this is the key factor in our client's recovery. However, when we treat only the symptomatic areas, we are doing our clients a major disservice. There always is a reason for any area of the body to be in distress. One factor that is ever-present is the relationship of structural imbalance to the area of pain.
Structural balance allows the body and its musculature to function with strength and flexibility. When there is an imbalance in the structure, specific areas of the structure will overwork or be weakened to the point of injury or distress. This can be understood when looking at muscles moving bones in a lever relationship. When the structure is balanced, the lever and fulcrum are in an optimal performance relationship. With structural imbalance, the fulcrum/lever relationship is, at worst, totally dysfunctional and subject to breakdown or, at best, weakened and in need of additional support from surrounding soft tissue. This is inefficient and, in essence, the muscle that is supposed to be doing the work only has a third to half of its strength. This leaves that muscle very susceptible to strain or injury. In addition, the joint or spine is unstable and weakened and subject to strain or injury.
Thus, in therapeutic massage, a major treatment goal is to release the structural imbalance. Let's look at what happens when this is not factored into the treatment protocol. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to look at an area where most clients experience pain - the top of the shoulder, which includes the trapezius, levator scapula, supraspinatus and rhomboids. When this area is hot, inflamed, spasmed or strained, clients will present wanting relief ASAP. If the massage treatment is focused only within this area, there might be short-term relief; however, in the long run the condition could worsen. If the soft tissue in the top of the shoulder is released without balancing the shoulder, the muscles in the front of the chest will have less resistance and pull the shoulder farther forward into additional imbalance. The long-term result is that the client will most likely have more pain, discomfort and dysfunction in the area due to the increased distortion. To make matters worse, the soft tissue in the top and back of the shoulder actually are counterbalancing and actively working to hold against the stress in the soft tissue in the front of the shoulder.
So, when therapeutic massage techniques are applied first to the spasmed tissue on the top and back of the shoulder, which is invested in maintaining its holding pattern, the area will be resistant to the technique being applied. The sensation for the client is intensified and the client will experience greater discomfort because of the difficulty in relaxing that musculature. Plus, it will take two to three times the amount of work and pressure by the massage therapist to achieve results in the area. This obviously is a lose-lose proposition.
If the theory of releasing the shoulder into structural balance is applied, the muscles in the front of the shoulder are treated first, releasing the shoulder back into structural balance, and allowing the muscles in the back and top of the shoulder to release their compensation holding pattern that was counteracting the tension from the muscles in the front of the shoulder. The massage therapist will achieve greater results with much less work. In addition, the client will experience less discomfort and will be able to maintain structural balance and long term homeostasis.
Neck problems. Most clients will complain of pain in the back of the neck and at the base of the cranium. The majority of them will be holding the head forward, resulting in a reverse curvature of the cervical spine. In order to achieve structural balance, you will need to first release the soft tissue that is responsible for pulling the head and neck forward before releasing or treating the tissues at the back of the neck where the pain is located.
Low back. When clients present with low back pain, there is an imbalance in the pelvis that includes the legs and feet. This imbalance is not only front to back, but also involves torsion where one ilium rotates anteriorly, and the other rotates posteriorly. The most effective way to move the client into structural balance to relieve the pain is to release the leg and ilium that is rotated anteriorly first, and then the posteriorly rotated ilium/leg side.This concept of structural balancing to achieve long-term results, while working within client comfort levels, can be applied to any musculoskeletal imbalance found in the body.
Click here for more information about Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT.
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