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Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
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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