resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
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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