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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 09
Knowledge Translation in Massage Therapy
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
I recently received an e-mail from a practitioner concerned about a study he had read about massage. The study reported that massage did not aid the removal of lactic acid from the body nor did it increase circulation, both commonly reported effects of massage.He was concerned that what he had learned in school wasn't true and perhaps his work was not that helpful after all.
Are these issues true, and do they mean that massage isn't all it's cracked up to be? Well, yes and no. Research has established for some time that massage does not speed the removal of lactic acid from the body. Does that mean massage isn't useful in reducing soft-tissue pain and disability? Certainly not. On the contrary, this finding actually helps us better understand the physiological effects of massage.
What about massage not helping increase circulation? This one is a little trickier. Most of the studies investigating the effect of massage on increased circulation have focused on blood flow increases through major vessels. Massage does not increase blood circulation through these larger vessels. However, rarely do these studies investigate circulation through small capillaries in muscle tissue and skin. Increases in small capillary blood flow bring fresh oxygenated blood to muscle tissue and produce hyperemia (the characteristic redness) in the skin.
What this story illustrates is a need we currently have in all health care professions, including massage. This need is addressed by a discipline known as knowledge translation. Knowledge translation (KT) is the process of integrating research findings into clinical practice. A recent study investigating knowledge translation in medical practice noted that it takes about 20 years for advances in medical knowledge to be incorporated into clinical practice.1 This lag time is one reason that myths persist, such as the role of massage in removing lactic acid from the blood.
How Does KT Fit with Massage
There is increasing emphasis on the importance of research in the massage profession. New findings allow massage professionals to refine clinical treatments so effective care can be provided. An example of how integrating science is relevant for massage comes from recent research into the pathology of overuse tendon disorders. It is now recognized that most overuse tendon disorders involve degeneration of the collagen matrix within the tendon structure (tendinosis) and not an inflammatory condition resulting from torn tendon fibers (tendinitis).
For years, the primary massage treatment strategy for overuse tendon disorders has been deep transverse friction. Treatment protocols emphasized friction applied in a transverse direction to re-align the scar tissue from torn tendon fibers. Today, we know that the primary benefit of friction massage is actually the combination of pressure and movement in stimulating fibroblast production, thereby enhancing the tendon's healing process.
This finding has important implications for treating problems such as bicipital tendinosis in the shoulder. Deep transverse friction treatments applied to the bicipital tendon run the risk of popping the muscle's tendon out of the bicipital groove. It is now understood that tendinosis is effectively treated with longitudinal friction since pressure and movement, not pressure direction, are the key.
Challenges to Implementing Research
There are reasons why research is not more quickly integrated into health care fields, including the massage profession. The volume of information currently being published is simply overwhelming. One study suggested that for physicians to keep abreast of current findings, they would have to read 19 original articles each day.2
Another issue is the sheer complexity of the research; interpreting information from a study can be difficult. In other cases, such as the massage article mentioned above, the findings can be misinterpreted if the study's design and methodology are not more closely analyzed.
Another challenge for integrating research into practice is long-held beliefs or practices. This challenge is captured by a wonderful quote from the Canadian researcher Serge Gracovetsky. At a fascinating presentation at the 2007 Fascia Congress in Boston, he stated, "Medicine is perhaps the only discipline in which an attractive idea can survive experimental annihilation." In order to advance the health care professions, there needs to be adaptability and willingness to change practice patterns in response to new research findings.
Research Integration Barriers
The problem of integrating scientific research into massage therapy centers on several key issues. The first is access. Knowing how and where to access primary source Web sites and journal articles remains a barrier for many clinicians. It is also very difficult for full-time professionals to find the time required to look up and read material.
A second barrier is the material itself, often written in difficult medical jargon, with methodologies unfamiliar to the massage professional. The answer to this problem lies with both the source and the recipient. First, the massage professional needs to develop clinical reasoning (see my MT column March 2009) and research literacy skills. Being capable of interpreting and evaluating research, as well as analyzing methodology, is critical. An individual must be able to read an article or research study, evaluate and critique aspects of it, and then conceive how its findings may relate to clinical practice.
On the other side of the equation, those scientists producing published materials must be able to write clearly and well (which is why many choose to use technical writers). They also need to find ways to get their materials out to relevant communities. The gap between scientist and clinician is fundamentally both a communication problem and a mechanism issue. What mechanism is being used to get material to the clinician? What format and how accessible? Answering this dilemma is what KT is about.
Knowledge Translation as a Solution
The increasing complexity of our health care system and the volume of published literature require an increased emphasis on KT strategies. Finding ways to make research more accessible and improving research literacy among clinicians is critical to the profession.
Massage therapists have a wonderful resource in the Massage Therapy Foundation, which is dedicated to improving access to and expanding resources for massage professionals. There are now two peer-reviewed publications available, the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies and the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (an open access online journal from the Massage Therapy Foundation).
In addition, massage educators - both basic training and continuing-education providers - have important roles in KT. Many CE educators already make current research an integral part of their programs, but many more could improve this aspect of their teachings. There is an increasing movement to make research literacy part of the initial training programs for massage students. As more people within the field develop research literacy, the move to bring research into clinical practice will grow.
The more clinicians incorporate the latest findings from quality clinical research, the more effective and successful they become in their practice. With that, the more the profession can continue to develop as a legitimate and critical part of the health care industry.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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