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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.
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.
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.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
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.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
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.
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.
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?
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
December, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 12
By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President
In January 2001, the first edition of Massage Today was released, and my first Speaking of Pathologies column was in the inaugural issue.It was an introduction to a new concept: readers could send me their interesting questions and challenges around pathology topics, and I would pull together some information for responses that might benefit the rest of the profession. Since that time I have written more than 50 columns on topics ranging from herpes simplex to bariatric surgery to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Most of the time, my articles were stimulated by your input; sometimes I had no direction from readers and simply pursued my own line of interest; this led to a series on neurological conditions including ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries, about which I'm still getting letters several years later, and to a lively discussion about student clinics that established great connections with massage educators around the country.
I have saved every edition of Massage Today since the first one. As I look through our recent history, I see headline after headline tracking legislative issues; massage outreach programs to underserved groups; controversies between our trade organizations; reports on educational and political meetings that influence our professions; and, more and more, articles about the science of massage and how it can be applied in the context of clients who live with imperfect health.
This is the long way around of saying that the time has come for me to step aside. My own career is about to make a major shift. Between this and other commitments, along with the fact that Massage Today is now packed with the kind of content that used to be hard to come by, means that this is one obligation that I can let go. I do it with some reluctance. Massage Today has been very good to me, providing a venue through which I have been able to communicate with thousands of colleagues, and I feel a sense of loyalty to it and to the people who work there. However, as we all know, there is a point where our commitments can become overwhelming and our ability to fulfill them can become compromised. Rather than see that happen, I am happy and proud to leave at a time that I know information about massage and bodywork in the context of disease is more accessible than ever before, and that readers who want to find information or guidance about specific conditions won't be left without resources.
When I started as a pathology writer, I would sometimes do internet searches for "Massage and XX," filling in the name of some disorder or condition. Often, there were no results. Just as often, I would find an advertisement for a practitioner who worked with that disease but no information specifically on the science of massage in that context.
Nowadays the options are so much broader! General information about diseases is still available through the old stand-bys (Mayo.com, WebMD.com, CDC.gov and branches of the NIH are some of my favorites), but we have arrived at a point where we can raise the bar to include academic-level research specifically about massage and bodywork. I have three resources that I feel are especially useful in this context, and I would love for readers to keep these for future reference:
The International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (www.ijtmb.org): This is the academic, peer-reviewed publication of the Massage Therapy Foundation. It is published electronically every quarter and is completely free. The IJTMB recently celebrated its first birthday. Because it is just getting started, its archives are not yet deep but I would love for readers to start here in their search for information.
Google Scholar (www.googlescholar.com): This is an easy-to-use resource for gathering technical content while weeding out the majority of websites that are selling products in the guise of offering information.
Pubmed (www.pubmed.gov): This is run by the government and gathers academic articles about health care from all over the world. My last Pubmed search of "massage therapy" yielded more than 9,000 articles in which massage was studied as primary or comparative intervention. The problem with Pubmed is that while the abstracts of most articles are available, the full text of each may be harder to access unless, like articles in the IJTMB, they are made available through an open-source publisher.
Several other great sources for information exist, and I encourage practitioners to explore them and share them with others. Perhaps the most important point to stress is that what it takes to gather value from this information is patience, persistence and possibly a good medical dictionary. My own background and training is emphatically not in the sciences. If a theatre major from a small liberal-arts college can make sense of a Pubmed article, so can every person reading this column.
Massage Therapy Foundation
Which leads to my next point: one reason I am leaving Massage Today as a regular columnist is to serve as president of the Massage Therapy Foundation, starting in March 2010. Massage Today has been tremendously supportive of the MTF, so most readers are probably familiar with the basic idea. The Massage Therapy Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has been created to advance the massage therapy profession through education, community service and research. We accomplish these goals in many ways, but we rely on donations so that we can fund research projects, help massage therapists set up outreach projects for underserved populations, publish the IJTMB, host research conferences (the party is in May 2010 in Seattle at the Highlighting Massage Therapy Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine conference!), sponsor student and practitioner case report contests, and send educators out to teach principles of research literacy to massage school faculty all over the country. We do this because the future of the massage therapy profession is in research.
Credible, well-designed research that yields clear information about how massage affects human function allows us to build bridges with the rest of the health care community. It allows us to market massage as a self-care strategy rather than an occasional luxury. It supports massage therapy with qualified practitioners as a safe, cost-effective and powerful health care intervention. Not every massage therapist will become a researcher, but we all need to develop some basic skills so that we can find research, interpret it and apply it to our practices. I hope every reader here will use the Massage Therapy Foundation (www.massagetherapyfoundation.org) to help with those goals, and I further hope that every Massage Today reader will consider making an annual donation to the Foundation to help pay for those services.
Writing a reader-led column has richly fed me as a writer and an educator. As I scan my list of articles, I have distinct memories of interactions with some readers:
These questions and experiences, so generously shared by our colleagues, have opened conversations that I hope have benefitted everyone who read the columns they inspired. Those conversations aren't over, but they have to take place in a different setting now.
It has been my honor and my privilege to work with all of you here. Please rest assured that the other Massage Today columnists will, with great talent and skill, seamlessly fill the small hole I leave. Thanks for all of your support over the years, and please know you have my very best wishes. Many thanks and many blessings.
Editor's note: While Ruth Werner says farewell as a columnist, she will not be far from your readership. Ruth will be part of an exciting new online format with Massage Today. Stay tuned!
Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB, Massage Therapy Foundation President.
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