resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
August, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 08
Pediatric Massage Makes a Difference
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
When I began my massage career, one of the first populations I started working with were those affected by HIV/AIDS. A majority of my clients were infected adults, but there were children, too; babies born with HIV/AIDS and others infected in a variety of ways.It was always an amazing opportunity to provide nurturing touch for a young child, but it became so much more when you realized that the child was not receiving this care outside of their home because people were scared to touch them.
One of my special experiences was having the opportunity to work with Cristina. Unknowingly, during the early 1980s, the HIV virus was passed from Cristina's father to her mother. Soon after, her mother became pregnant. Her father learned he had full-blown AIDS and only months to live when Cristina was just two years old. A round of tests revealed her mother also harbored the deadly virus, and that her new baby had been born positive as well.
Days before her third birthday, Cristina's father succumbed to the virus. AIDS still carried a deeply negative connotation, and talking about it was taboo. Her mom was advised to blame her father's death on a heart attack &mdash and keep their new reality hidden. Cristina remained unaware of her HIV diagnosis until she was nine years old. Her mom believed she was too young to understand and wanted her to just be a kid. It didn't take long for Cristina to notice something was different. She was always visiting doctors, taking more and more medications and her mom was deeply overprotective. One day she blurted out, "What's wrong with me?" That's when Cristina learned of their fate and took hold of a secret life.
After learning the truth, she riddled her doctors with questions, theories and proposals. She became involved with one of the first Los Angeles pediatric AIDS support groups, where she not only learned about friendship and love but also loss and death. Over half of the young "group" members eventually lost their battles with HIV. Living in a world hardened by negative stigma and fear, they chose to remain undisclosed to the majority of friends and family, creating a double life. As just one of 20 babies to be identified with HIV in the Los Angeles area, she was battered by enormous amounts of medical observation, testing and treatment. However, while this kept her alive, it failed to provide what Cristina needed to heal.
Untouchable. This is one of the first words that haunt infants and children affected by HIV/AIDS. In today's day and age, this seems unfathomable, especially when their life is complicated by such a diagnosis that cuddling and nurturing seem so appropriate. For children with HIV/AIDS, a lot of the touch they experience is medically administered pokes and prods. Necessary, possibly, but wouldn't a hug do some good, too? Unfortunately, for many infants and children living with AIDS, they also live with a stigma that hands-off becomes a part of their day-to-day life experience. Misconception and confusion surrounds the diagnosis. Many still believe you can contract AIDS via touch – you cannot.
The stigma surrounding the diagnosis itself can impart many negative effects on the mind and body. Unfortunately, one of the first reactions of friends and family to a diagnosis of HIV is a reluctance to touch the person. People living with this disease are often viewed by some as "untouchable" members of society, furthering feelings of isolation and depression.
When you read the statistics, it is even more appalling to consider children are not receiving touch simply due to their diagnosis. According to 2009 statistics, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes there are approximately 2.5 million children worldwide living with HIV/AIDS.
Receiving massage and nurturing touch may not only provide many physical benefits, but due to the stigma associated with the diagnosis, many great psychological benefits to a child as well. Pediatric massage can often improve their quality of life, ease anxiety and tension, increase ability to sleep more soundly and increase the production of hormones which improve their mood.
In one study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, HIV-positive adolescents who received massage therapy felt less anxious, less depressed and demonstrated enhanced immune function. In addition, the HIV disease progression markers CD4/CD8 ratio and CD4 number increased for the massage group.
Massage has also been shown to increase white blood cells, decrease stress hormones (Cortisol), activate natural killer cells and decrease body discomforts including muscle spasms, cramps, edema and inflammation.
For babies born to mothers who are HIV-positive, the evidence has demonstrated that massaged babies showed superior performance on almost every Brazelton newborn marker on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) and had a greater daily weight gain. This was quite a contrast compared to the control group who actually showed a decline in their performance.
I spoke to Cristina about writing this story, and was touched that not only would she allow me to share her story, but she also wished to contribute in her own words what massage meant to her. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to know Cristina and her family, share intimate moments and keep her secret safe.
Tina Allen (founder, Liddle Kidz Foundation) and her healing touch came into my life at a time when I needed it the most. In 1986, during the height of the AIDS scare, my family learned we were HIV positive. At the time, my mom and I were one of the early mother-to-child HIV cases in Los Angeles County. After the death of my dad to AIDS in 1987, doctors and specialists gave my mom and I an optimistic 2 years to live. Fortunately, with the introduction of anti-retroviral medication and aggressive medical treatment paired with a strong desire to prevail and enjoy life &mdash my mom and I found ourselves celebrating each new birthday year.
And while I had "made-it" to high school, I struggled with the emotional burden of balancing a double life. Fearful of prejudice and being ostracized in our community, my mom and I selected to only disclose our HIV status to our immediate family and closest friends. And so, I grew up with a "secret"&mdash a secret that was too costly to share with my peers.
Tina entered our lives with empathy and understanding, at a time when my mom and I felt enormous anxiety and anguish. As a volunteer massage therapist, she provided me with a one-hour massage every week. She quickly became a stationary figure in my life; Tina was someone to turn to when I wasn't feeling well, someone to trust with our story, someone who cared and listened, and someone who always offered a healing touch.
My weekly massages with her gave me a chance to let all the weight and gravity of the disease &mdash our secret, our mortality, our health &mdash melt away. Lying on the massage table soothed by the warm, tender touch, I was finally able to relax &mdash finally able to be at peace. I looked forward to each and every session &mdash always so grateful to have my mind and body mended.
So often I would fall fast asleep or find myself in a mellow, yet almost energized coziness directly after each massage. I felt rejuvenated and restored to take on tomorrow's hardships. Having a massage always made me feel healthier and stronger. In fact, during this phase in my life, my body began to improve physically. My CD4-T cells were increasing, my weight was stable and I was sick less often. I finally felt and looked good.
More importantly, Tina was a friend and a mentor. We talked about my worries and fears, or the challenges I was facing at school. She listened to the stories about my friends who had fallen ill to the disease and were no longer here. And she always offered a supportive smile every time I talked about my dreams and the future. Of course, one of the biggest stresses came at 16 years old. Fearful of dating and having to deal with disclosing my HIV status, I opted to remain a wallflower at school. However, I failed to factor in a boy named Chris.
When everything was uncertain, I knew I could trust in my massage time to allow me time to think and breath. This hour provided me some clarity as I deliberated what to say to Chris and when to say it. A few months into our relationship I finally worked up the courage to disclose my status to Chris &mdash nine years later, he is still by my side and remains HIV negative.
I know first-hand how powerful and healing the touch of massage truly is. Tina's warm and soothing touch, paired with her compassionate and addictive energy offered a holistic approach to health that only enriched and complemented my medical treatment. Without this, I question how "healthy" in mind, body and soul I would truly be.
It's likely I would probably be here as a result of the medications and treatment, but I credit being happy and at peace, feeling strong and able to massage. Pediatric massage nurtures the body, mind, and soul and gives children regardless of circumstance the golden opportunity to relax and connect with their body.
Today, Cristina is a vibrant young woman who is taking on the world. Since she was 10 years old, she has been providing advocacy support to many HIV/AIDS organizations throughout the United States. Currently she is an ambassador to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics HIV/AIDS Foundation and just returned from speaking at the White House for the Women & Girls HIV/AIDS National Conference. She and Chris are happy, healthy and loving life.
It is important to remember a diagnosis is a diagnosis and doesn't define the person. Especially, when it comes to a diagnosis that causes such a "hands-off" stigma, pediatric massage therapy may be just the nurturing care that a child with AIDS needs to improve their body, mind and spirit.
As Cristina says, "Massage helped me find my bearings and remember my dreams!"
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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