resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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!
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
December, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 12
Learning from Harm
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
In 2003, Ernst and Grant separately reviewed the medical literature for reports of harm from massage therapy. Both papers were consistent with Ernst's conclusion that, "Massage is not entirely risk free.However, serious adverse events are probably true rarities." I want to briefly point out and review four case reports added to the literature since those two reviews. First, let me add some motivating comments.
As noted by Cohen and Nelson (2011), the legal basis for the regulation of health care practices by the states is protection of the public from harms of incompetence and malfeasance. The latter is primarily a function of oversight and discipline. The first, ensuring competence within scope of practice, has elements both of training and of monitoring for capacity to practice. Here, I'm focusing on the aspect of training.
The importance of a scope of practice is to define what tasks a practitioner is expected to competently perform, in what contexts, and the presence of what co-morbidities. Looking at case reports of injuries might provide a window on flaws in the expected competencies. However, It isn't enough just to know that an injury occurred. We need to identify the nature of the risk and determine if specific changes in training and practice protocols can eliminate or reduce it.
Aksoy et al. report the case of a 38-year-old woman with complaints of persistent right shoulder pain and limited range of motion (ROM) after a single session of deep tissue massage. There were no predisposing factors or specific muscle pains prior to massage. During a deep tissue massage for purposes of relaxation, she felt pain on the left side of her neck and at the top of her left shoulder radiating toward her arm while work was being done along her neck and shoulders. The pain continued afterward, and the patient noted that her left arm felt "long and heavy" while standing. She also had difficulty lifting her arm up and reaching back. There was no numbness or tingling during or after the deep tissue massage. Subsequent diagnosis indicated injury to the spinal accessory nerve, resulting in weakness of the trapezius muscle and scapular winging. While pain resolved, two years after injury recovery of strength was only partial. While a cautionary note for deep work at the neck and shoulder, no details are given that allow technique evaluation. Any sudden pain during massage treatment follow by subsequent indications of motor impairment should be taken as a clear indication for referral.
Crump and Paluska report a case of venous thromboembolism (VTE) following vigorous deep tissue massage in a previously healthy 67-year-old man with no identifiable risk factors other than his age. The authors note that physicians are often either unaware of or fail to follow evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and treatment of VTE. In this case, there was a five-day delay between initial medical examination at an emergency room and initiation of treatment subsequent to a second exam by his primary care physician. The patient reported a history of right calf pain and swelling, which had preceded the onset of his back pain by five days. The right calf symptoms had begun the day after receiving a vigorous deep tissue massage (for nonmedical reasons), which had included the lower extremities. His calf symptoms had gradually improved over the next five days, at which time he developed the right upper thoracic pain that had prompted his initial visit to the emergency department. The reporting physicians' conclusions are simply cautionary.
This case report suggests that nonpenetrating trauma to the legs, such as vigorous massage, is a potential risk factor that might be unrecognized and underreported. This report should not necessarily deter individuals without any known risk factors for VTE from receiving massage therapy. Additional research is needed to clarify the risks associated with nonpenetrating trauma to the legs, especially in older adults and other susceptible groups.
Wu and Wang report on a 40 year-old woman with injury to the posterior interosseous nerve (PIN) following a local friction massage for tennis elbow (lateral tendinosis). A detailed review of history and physical examination did not reveal any other possible etiology other than the friction massage. The technique anomaly in this case appears to be extension of the friction massage to more than 4 cm below the epicondyle. The authors note that such extension exposes the PIN to risk of damage via compression in its path through the supinator muscle. They recommend that friction massage not extend more than 4 cm below the epicondyle.
Lee et al. report on a cervical cord injury after massage in a 47 year-old male. In this case, the massage was for relaxation. He lied supine without a pillow under his neck, and passive range-of-motion exercise was applied as warm-up movements for his arms. The operator then applied oil on his body, followed by gliding and compression over his anterior thorax and bilateral neck. Suddenly, he felt acute weakness of all four limbs. The weakness remained even though the massage was stopped immediately. He needed moderate to maximal assistance to stand and walk.
There is nothing particularly striking in the description of the techniques themselves. The authors note that the mechanism of injury is not clear. However, the client had a history of cervical spine degenerative disease and had also experienced far more limited muscle weakness following a previous massage. The report underscores the need for taking a history and in obtaining medical clearance for massage where there are factors predisposing toward serious injury.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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