resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
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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