resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
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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