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PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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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