resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
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, etc.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
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."
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
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.
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
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.
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
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.
May, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 05
Research Provides Evidence of Physiological Mechanism For Stress Reduction Resulting From Touch Massage
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
As massage therapy gains popularity as one of the most commonly, used modalities among those offered in complementary and alternative medicine, more research is addressing the physiological effects and mechanisms of massage.This month's Massage Therapy Foundation research synopsis reviews an intriguing study out of Umea University, in Sweden, that evaluated the physiological effects of touch massage and was published in the journal, Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical.
Like other massage modalities, touch massage is provided to decrease stress, anxiety and pain. Often massage therapists observe decreases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. These observations suggest massage modalities influence the autonomic nervous system and alter an individual's stress response. The autonomic nervous system is comprised of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. It controls involuntary bodily functions, such as breathing and the heartbeat. Simply put these two synergistic components act as internal stress (sympathetic) and relaxation (parasympathetic) response systems, which work to maintain autonomic balance. The autonomic nervous system and stress response mechanisms have received considerable attention for explaining a physiological mechanism of massage. Lindgren and colleagues tackled the arduous task of evaluating the physiological effects of touch massage on stress responses in 22 healthy volunteers using a battery of bio-markers to identify autonomic nervous system responses.
Lindgren and colleagues used a crossover design method to conduct this study. In a crossover design, each participant is in both groups (treatment and control). At two separate occasions, each individual either receives the treatment of touch massage or rests in the supine position as a control. Using this method, participants can function as their own comparison with and without the treatment. Though crossover design has many advantages, like requiring smaller sample sizes, the disadvantage of crossover design methods is the carryover effect, where the treatment has lingering effects. If there were a strong carryover effect, we would expect to see the participants who receive treatment first having a different baseline when they return for the control session. However, there were no significant differences between massage first and rest first in the baseline measures taken immediately before the second session, so carryover effects should not influence these results.
Participants received touch massage on their hands and feet, which "consisted of stroking movements on the ventral and dorsal side of hands and feet along with circular movements on each finger and toe. Touch massage was performed for 80 min in the following order: 20 min each on the left hand, the right hand, the right foot, and the left foot." Participants in the control group rested in the same setting. Outcomes measures included heart rate and heart rate variability (the variation in time between heart beats), cortisol stress hormone levels from saliva, blood glucose, and serum insulin. Data were collected before, during, and after touch massage or rest session.
The main finding in this study for Lindgren and colleagues was, "After 5 minutes of touch massage there was a significant decrease in heart rate lasting for 65 min, indicating reduced stress response." Though findings suggested significant changes across several measures, "the only significant differences between the groups were the decreases in heart rate after 45 minutes and in the HF component [high frequency domain of heart rate variability] after 5 minutes." Group differences between treatment and control groups are typically the focus of studies such as this one, because these differences measure the effect resulting from the treatment. Though there were no significant differences between groups in levels of cortisol, glucose, and insulin, "Saliva cortisol and insulin levels decreased significantly after intervention, while the serum glucose level remained stable. A similar pattern, although less prominent was observed in the control group." The findings from this study suggest, "Touch massage reduces the heart rate by decreasing sympathetic nervous activity and evoking a compensatory decreased parasympathetic nervous activity in order to maintain autonomic balance." These findings suggest that after receiving touch massage the participants experienced a biological relaxation response - producing the experience of stress reduction.
As with all research, this study identified limitations to interpreting the findings of this study. First, "calm music" was played during the sessions, which could have had an effect; however, music was used in both groups, therefore touch massage served as the single outcome. Second, as with most massage studies the interpersonal interaction between the therapist and recipient could have affected the treatment. We cannot eliminate the effects of this interaction especially since there was no "sham massage" or "therapeutic touch" group included as a level in between treatment and control. One other potential limitation of the study is that the authors reported that five participants' heart rate and heart rate variability data were excluded due to arrhythmias. Given the already small sample size of less than two dozen individuals, decreasing the sample size by almost 25% for these data points could impact the ability to interpret and generalize these data findings. Further, it is possible that the trend observed of a greater decrease in cortisol following touch massage than following quiet rest and insulin level in this study could prove to be significant with larger sample sizes in future studies. Larger randomized clinical trials will provide evidence for generalizable findings to inform consumers about the effects and physiological mechanisms of touch massage.
This study provides evidence that supports one of the most popular theories for explaining the relaxing effects of massage therapy. Specifically, Lindgren and colleagues found that touch massage significantly reduces cortisol, although not significantly more so than quiet rest, and that massage significantly lowers heart rate. The findings of this study warrant future research to evaluate these physiological mechanisms in larger controlled clinical trials and with more diverse populations. But what does this mean for providers and touch massage recipients? Whether in a non-clinical or clinical setting touch massage can reduce stress for clients and patients. Though this is not likely new information to many providers, as observations of stress reduction are commonplace in the massage setting, Lindgren and colleagues have provided evidence to substantiate these observations, which support incorporating touch massage in individuals' wellness and healthcare plans to facilitate stress reduction and promote personal health.
Source: Lindgren L, Rundgren S, Winsö O, Lehtipalo S, Wiklund U, Karlsson M, Stenlund H, Jacobsson C, Brulin C. Physiological responses to touch massage in healthy volunteers. Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical. 2010; 158: 105-110.
For more information about the Massage Therapy Foundation, visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
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