resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
Connections Worth Making
"If most doctors are like me, [they are] isolated physically and professionally. I do not make the time to connect with other doctors and also a lot of doctors do not want to be connected for a lot of reasons. Dynamic Chiropractic keeps me grounded and connected.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
March, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 03
Hospice Massage: Easing the Pain of a Life-Limiting Illness, Part 1
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of spending a few days at a residential hospice in Washington, D.C. called Joseph's House; I was there to conduct a workshop for the staff. While I was there to teach, in the process I learned so much about dying with dignity. You see, Joseph's House takes in and cares for homeless men and women with terminal illness. Witnessing the impact of touch on the lives of these men and women was profound and has stayed with me ever since. Anxiety was eased, relationships were deepened and spirits were lifted for those receiving the touch and those giving it. I recall gently massaging the legs and arms of a young man who, it was believed, was only days away from dying. As I watched him fully receive my touch with a look of peace, I felt blessed to be doing this humble work. Those who entered the doors of Joseph's House were given the gift of living well with dignity in their final days.
I believe that is the essence of hospice care to help the dying person live well and to support quality of life. A paramount concern in hospice care is alleviating pain. As massage practitioners, we have much to contribute to easing pain and suffering on many levels. The complex nature of pain is holistic, meaning it is related to the whole person: the body mind and spirit. By acknowledging only the physical component of pain, we are disregarding a significant part of the pain experience that may have as much impact on the quality of life as the physical discomfort. The dimensions of pain obviously include the physical, however the psychological, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions equally impact the quality of life as well.
Dimensions of Pain
The dimensions of pain include:1
Massage: Why it Works
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) defines massage as "a manual soft tissue manipulation, and includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body." The intention of applying massage is, according to the AMTA to positively affect the health and well-being of the client.
A hands-on complementary approach for those in eldercare, hospice and palliative care enhances quality of life. Combining sensitive massage techniques, focused touch, one-on-one attention and specialized communication skills can be highly effective for those in later life stages. The concepts and techniques of this hands-on approach are effective as a non-pharmacological tool in alleviating discomfort associated with the dimensions of pain. What follows is an exploration of the effects of massage along with some of the rationale for why massage may be important tools in alleviating pain for individuals with life-limiting illness.
Physiological Effect: Physical sensation of pain is reduced. Massage has been shown to affect the nervous system through stimulation of sensory receptors. The gate control theory refers to the idea that pain impulses pass through a "gate" to reach the nerve fibers leading from the spinal cord to the thalamus in the brain. Pain impulses are transmitted by large and small diameter nerve fibers. Massage stimulates the large-diameter fibers, preventing the small diameter fibers from transmitting signals, suppressing the sensation of pain.2
Massage stimulates production of endorphins. Endorphins are opiate-like compounds produced by the body that relieve pain and produce feelings of euphoria.2 Massage decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands during prolonged stress. When cortisol levels are lowered it enhances sleep quality and the immune system.2
Behavioral Effect: Physical tasks are performed with greater comfort (i.e. transfers, dressing, ambulating). When the burden of pain is eased the individual may increase his or her involvement in self-care and participate more actively in daily life and level of function is improved.
Emotional Effect: Positive feelings and mood is enhanced. Massage has a generalized effect on the autonomic nervous system, resulting in changes in mood and an induced relaxation response.2 Massage seems to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurochemical that regulates mood; feelings of calm; and subdues anxiety and irritability.3
Cognitive Effect: The cycle of pain and fear may be interrupted, resulting in more positive thought patterns. One hypothesis4 states that pain has three phases: the anticipation phase; the sensation phase; and the aftermath phase. The person suffering from chronic or intermittent pain may experience fear in the anticipation phase stemming from unpleasant past painful experiences. When the pain experience is eased with massage and one-on-one focused attention, those associations may lose their grip on the belief system of the person.
Social Effect: Touch and massage is a medium that enhances the relationship between the ill person and caregivers.
Bush5 reports that substantial evidence points to the fact that the experiences of touch are laden with psychosocial as well as physiologic implications. It is a viable means of improving both verbal and non-verbal communication. Human touch creates a way for the dying person to interact and connect with others, decreasing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Spiritual Effect: Human touch enhances spiritual well-being. Nelson6 reports that when individual felt cared for by staff during and after receiving complementary approaches, the burden of disease (i.e. physical, emotional) seemed less and allowed them to feel like they had more of a desire to participate in life.
The unconditional gift of touch acknowledges the individual's worth regardless of the condition of the body or mind easing suffering on all levels. Hospice organizations are offering massage therapy as a complementary service more than ever before. We truly hold within our hands the means to make a meaningful difference in the quality of life at life's end.
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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