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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Massage Therapy Research Examines New Possibilities
By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor
Research is an emerging component in the massage therapy field, all the more since the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) came on the scene in 1990.With a $30,000 grant from the MTF last year, Katharina Wiest, PhD, is currently looking at the impact of massage on chronic pain. Research like Wiest's could lead to additional areas of study and bring massage therapy to the forefront for other health care providers, as well as patients, looking for alternative treatment options that don't involve drugs.
The Funding Journey
According to Weist, the journey to the 2011 MTF grant actually began in 2009. Wiest works for CODA, a behavioral health care agency in Portland and she "was looking for grant support to evaluate nonpharmacologic treatments" for those suffering from; opioid dependence when she came across the announcement from the MTF. Wiest said that, "by December 2009, it was clear I needed to partner with experts in the massage field."
Wiest explains that the gravitation to massage and other alternative methods is something her research world is looking toward. "I see an important intersection of massage therapy and addiction treatment. There are many avenues waiting to be explored including massage and PTSD patients with opioid dependence, patients with anhedonia while in methamphetamine recover, etc. What has been especially exiting in this trial, and opens future research doors, has been the acceptance of massage by older male patients."
Research such as this, could lead to additional discoveries in the application of massage therapy in a variety of potential environments where health care professionals are looking for more natural pain relief methods. And that lines up perfectly with the mission of the MTF and their purpose behind awarding these types of grants.
The Massage Therapy Foundation
The MTF has five stated goals: to advance research on therapeutic massage and bodywork, to foster massage therapy initiatives that serve populations in need, to promote research literacy and capacity in the profession, to support the evidence-informed practice of therapeutic massage and bodywork based upon available research, client factors, and practitioner experience and judgment, and finally, to fortify the Foundation's financial resources and organizational effectiveness.
The purpose behind the grants is "to support high quality, independent research which contributes significantly and directly to the basic knowledge of massage therapy and/or its application, including applied research which investigates massage therapy as a health/mental health treatment and/or prevention modality," and Wiest's study falls right in line with this purpose. Another focus of the MTF is research literacy. One way the Foundation accomplishes this is through its online research database, the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, various research conferences and by providing news articles and, of course, through its grant process.
The 2011 Research Grant Study
The goal of Wiest's study is to "evaluate the efficacy of Swedish massage on chronic pain in opioid dependent patients receiving methadone. The primary aim is to measure the effect of massage on pain intensity. The secondary aim is to measure the impact of massage on other aspects of pain and treatment engagement. Components of the seconding aim are pain quality, physical functioning, emotional functioning, participant rating of improvement and satisfaction with treatment, symptoms and adverse events and decreased substance use and improved engagement and retention in treatment."
She outlined the reasoning behind the study by pointing to the prevalence of chronic pain and the lack of research literature regarding massage therapy as a potential option. According to Wiest, approximately 80% of medication-assisted treatment patients with opioid dependence report chronic pain, so a non-pharmacologic therapy option needed to be investigated. "Chronic pain is a common cause of health care utilization and represents a major health concern. For patients beginning substance abuse treatment, chronic pain is more prevalent among patients with opioid dependence relative to patients with other dependences. Previous scientific research has not connected massage, chronic pain and substance abuse treatment success. Although massage has been demonstrated to alleviate chronic pain symptoms, its use as an adjunctive therapy to modify chronic pain during opioid treatment is absent from the literature. Given the strong biologic basis for the efficacy of massage and the high level of massage acceptance in opioid dependent patients, this trial my provide insight into massage's potential non-pharmacologic chronic pain treatment," said Wiest.
Now midway through the study, the results so far look promising as the lead nurse in the project reports that "what I have found most meaningful is the effect the massage therapy has on some participant's level of engagement in the treatment." After seeing the changes to her patients, this nurse believes "massage therapy has made a difference in the lives of the patients at my CODA clinic. At this point, I would like to study the effects of massage therapy on patients that have been established in recovery through medication assisted treatment."
A female therapist working with these study participants said, "I get to touch their bodies in a compassionate way and listen to their stories through my fingertips. They don't have to talk to me, they don't have to answer to me, and they don't have to fear me and my perception. They just get to exist for one hour with no strings attached."
Teej Ford, the co-investigator and a massage practitioner for the past 18 years, "believes massage therapy research is vital for a wide variety of people with a wide variety of issues. The more research that is done, the more medical and social services professionals will become aware that massage is a valid, low-cost and effective treatment for many physical, mental and emotional problems."
"We are just beginning to understand and grasp the depth of massage efficacy and so it will help to have more hard data and expose as many people as possible to the potential healing effects of massage. Other areas of my particular interest are sports injuries, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, post-orthopedic surgery rehabilitation, chronic pain issues and TMJ disorders," said Ford. "I am really interested in seeing how this study pans out. My hope and belief, of course, is that we will see a decrease in pain and an increase in patients' ability to self-manage their discomfort. I also think that with a reduction in stress, it will change how each participant can manage their condition in general.
MTF President Ruth Werner sums it up best, "the Massage Therapy Foundation invests in scientific research into massage therapy in order to help build the body of knowledge about our field, and to help distinguish the relative effectiveness of massage therapy strategies. This allows massage therapy consumers to have better outcomes and it creates more opportunities for massage therapists, as massage is found useful in some unexpected settings (for instance in the context of cancer treatment and recover or for mental health issues ranging from depression to eating disorders to anxiety). Ultimately, research leads to an increased demand for high quality massage therapy services."
Studies like Wiest's can open the door to new possibilities for the massage therapy profession, its effect on the health care landscape and how consumers with a variety of conditions can see that massage therapy is a viable, drug-free treatment option. For additional information about this study and the Massage Therapy Foundation, visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
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