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Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
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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