resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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