resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
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.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
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.
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.
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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