resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
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.
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.
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.
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.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
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.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
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.)
August, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 08
Facing Down the Mystery
By Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
In my clinical work with people who have cancer, and my classroom work with massage therapists, I am periodically faced with not knowing enough. We don't have a complete picture about how massage affects the body, and the research is still evolving into a solid base of evidence. We do know that our clients report symptom relief after massage, and that is enough for us to continue our work, but we don't know, for sure, how and why massage works to bring this about.
In massage therapy, we are still sorting out our own clinical thinking about which modalities and techniques work best for which clinical presentations. Even the language we use about massage is not universal: two therapists or two teachers can describe the same modality very differently, and work differently within it.
We also don't know as much as we would like about cancer. Medical science is an evolving body of knowledge, as well, and is still filling in the gaps about how cancer begins, how it spreads, and the best cancer therapies to use.
Spend Time in the Unknown
In oncology massage, we work at the edges of what we know about these things, and this can be unsettling. This not knowing can actually lead to deeper understanding. The realm of not knowing can be a fruitful place to spend time. Sometimes I ask my students, directly, "Have you spent time in your confusion? And if so, what have you learned there?"
The question inspires sacred silence and thought, and it invites a reflective rather than a reflexive answer. The answers I get are many and varied, and they come from the deepest places. Even without a clear answer, sitting with the question gives us good pause.
I ask this question because it is worth asking, and because the experience of being lost and confused can serve us and deepen what we have to offer our clients. I have noticed that my own confusion comes in cycles, or seasons, and that each time that it comes around, the pain eases once I've surrendered to it. I give up knowing what will happen since knowing this is relatively impossible, for any and all of us, even on a good day. I even give up understanding everything. In this process of surrender, I follow and mirror some of my clients' and students' experiences.
A student of mine, reflecting on her own experience of cancer, told me once that her experience was one of being lost. Each day, she lived not knowing what her future would be, or whether she would become sick or well, or die from the disease. Later, she lived not knowing whether it would come back. She said that as painful as it was, it opened her up in ways she hadn't imagined, and she had become stretched out in the process, able to accept and even embrace the mystery of it all. Her words have reminded me, again and again, how much we can learn in the face of how little we know.
Click here for more information about Tracy Walton, LMT, MS.
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