resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
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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