resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
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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