resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.