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A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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.
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.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
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.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
June, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 06
The Importance of Research
As massage continues its trend of mainstream integration, the importance of "homegrown" research can't be overlooked.
By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor
The massage and bodywork profession has experienced tremendous growth in recent years.Qualified therapists truly are making their presence known in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, retirement communities, spas and the world of professional sports and theater. Therapeutic and noninvasive in nature, more and more individuals - both men and women - are looking to massage to relieve a variety of health issues from back and neck pain to headaches and stress relief. No longer just a luxury, consumers are making massage a part of their health care regimen.
According to the most recent AMTA consumer survey, almost one in five adult Americans (19 percent) report discussing massage therapy with their doctors or health care providers; of those 19 percent, more than half (58 percent) said their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged it; and more than half of massage therapists (63 percent) receive referrals from other health care professionals.
This could prove to be an important trend. As the baby boomer population looks to extend their active lifestyles, massage has the opportunity to become a major component in the health care of aging America. However, this also leads to some interesting questions regarding the future of the profession. How do consumers know when to use massage therapy as an option? More importantly, when do health care professionals know to recommend massage to a patient? The answer to both of these questions lies in research. More research into the effectiveness of massage can educate both the public and mainstream medicine, which can then lead to more referrals and more business for individual therapists.
The Massage Therapy Foundation recognizes the value of massage research and has provided support for such projects through conferences, funding and educational resources. Recently, the foundation announced the launch of a peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: Research Education & Practice. The journal has the potential to open up several doors for the profession in terms of providing a forum for the discussion and presentation of valuable research.
Several organizations also have provided financial assistance to the foundation's efforts for more research. In the fall of 2007, ABMP presented the foundation with a $10,000 grant in support of research, as well as making the lead grant of $15,000 to help gain medical recognition of massage therapy as a treatment for low back pain. The latter gift represented one-fourth of the funds needed to advance a review under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Medical Applications of Research. The NCBTMB recently donated $50,000 to the foundation's research efforts.
The AMTA has been providing financial support to the foundation since its inception in 1990. In fiscal year 2007-2008, the AMTA donated a total of $383,809 and in fiscal year 2008-2009, it donated a total of $494,229 in both cash grants and in-kind donated services.
"AMTA remains committed to supporting scientific research on the use, safety and efficacy of therapeutic massage. We look forward to massage therapy practice being informed by an expanding body of quality research. The Massage Therapy Foundation is a valuable source for research information and AMTA is proud of its financial support of the Foundation's work," says AMTA President M.K. Brennan.
"The AMTA and the Massage Therapy Foundation share an interest in advancing the massage therapy profession through evidence-informed scientific research, research literacy and research capacity. As a core funder of the Foundation, AMTA is acting on its mission to serve our members while advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy," adds Glenath Moyle, AMTA representative to the Massage Therapy Foundation and member of the foundation board of trustees.
An argument certainly can be made that research has helped advance the profession. Evidence of this can be found in the increase in therapists hired at hospitals utilizing massage for both inpatient and outpatient services. According to the AMTA consumer survey, the number of hospitals offering massage therapy has increased by 30 percent in two years (from 2004 to 2006); of the hospitals that have massage therapy programs, 71 percent indicate they offer massage for patient stress management and comfort, while more than two-thirds (67 percent) utilize massage for pain management; and 67 percent of hospitals with massage therapy programs offer massage to their staff for stress management. The consumer survey also found that more than half of adult Americans (59 percent) would like to see their insurance cover massage therapy.
The Touch Research Institute also provides relevant research to the public and the massage profession. Director Tiffany Field, PhD, shared the two most current projects TRI is working on: massage therapy to prevent prematurity, and massage therapy to increase bone density and growth in preterm infants. "We need to continue conducting underlying mechanism studies to persuade the medical community and the insurance companies that every pregnant woman needs massage and every preemie needs massage," said Dr. Field.
The current trend in research these days is that findings must be evidence-based. This can sometimes cause conflict within the profession, as many see massage as a fluid process that changes as the needs of the client change during a session. Those in allopathic medicine might not understand this argument, as they generally look only at the hard data to determine their opinions and recommendations.
It's important to recognize that massage therapy is not the only profession to experience this gap in clinical understanding. Chiropractic was in this same position in the 1970s and, to some degree, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine faces this dilemma as well. So, how does the massage profession bridge this communication gap?
With the forward momentum of this research trend, it might be time to take a page out of the chiropractic playbook and learn to speak the clinical language so popular with allopathic medicine. With more and more consumers finding their research on the Internet, it might be the right time for a digital repository for massage research. As more consumers become armed with this relevant, research-backed information, it will become increasingly difficult for their general practitioners to discount the relevance of massage therapy to a patient's health and well-being. Therapists already know massage is much safer and less invasive than prescription drugs or surgery.
What would the profession look like if MDs, public health officials, biologists and chemists became certified massage therapists and began incorporating massage modalities into their research on cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic pain? What if more and more therapists advanced their education and incorporated massage and bodywork into their postsecondary educational goals? Could working with the NIH and receiving sought-after grant money be far behind?
As more "homegrown," evidence-based research becomes available to the general public and to the mainstream medical community, consumers are going to demand the best health care they can get their hands on. Wouldn't it be great if massage therapy was near the top of the list?
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