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Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Trying to Get Something From Nothing
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand" – Paul Newman in the movie, "Cool Hand Luke."
You are going to be hearing more and more about evidence-based massage therapy (EBMT). Partly, this reflects a current trend in health care to re-evaluate treatment and to determine what has a sound basis for use and what doesn't. One example of this is the Institute of Medicine report, "Evidence-Based Medicine and the Changing Nature of Healthcare."
A second factor is the existence of the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF), which has goals of making those in the profession aware of research, promoting research literacy and integrating research with practice. I would count the forthcoming book on such integration by Dryden and Moyer as among the efforts facilitated by the MTF.
A third factor is massage therapy now being regulated by the majority of states, combined with the legal presumption that such regulation is done for the protection of the public. If we consider that training is necessary for safe practice, the presumption of public protection can only be fulfilled when state-mandated training is based upon a solid foundation of objectively validated knowledge.
A final factor is the modern technology embodied in an interactive web. Communication without regard to physical proximity is facilitating extensive discussions among those both with a stake in massage therapy and with backgrounds in research and statistics. Alice Sanvito discusses evidence-based massage on her web site and provides a number of links there to additional resources. I like the definition she gives for EBMT.
Evidenced based massage therapy is massage therapy founded on ideas and principles supported by evidence. Many of the claims made and practices used by massage therapists are founded on tradition rather than evidence. Since there is not yet a large body of knowledge documenting the physiology of and effects of massage therapy, if we were only able to make statements strictly on the basis of scientific studies, we would be severely limited indeed. Some people prefer the term "evidence informed practice" as more accurate. An evidence informed practice takes into consideration scientific evidence, clinical experience and careful observation.
The concept of being evidence-based, however, necessitates having methods to collect such evidence. In this, we also need to be careful to distinguish between whether or not an intervention can be shown to work (beyond random chance) and the model that we believe is the mechanism underlying the intervention. It is fully possible, as with massage relieving muscle soreness and the lactic acid myth, for an intervention to be effective while the supposed mechanism is incorrect. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is taken as the "gold standard" of clinical proof, but how does that work? We need three things: a study population, a methodology for the study and the ability to analyze the results for effectiveness.
For example, our study population might be those diagnosed with high blood pressure, over the age of 40, not having other medical complications and not knowing Morse code. The goal of our study might be to determine whether or not listening to relaxing messages keyed in Morse code by a live practitioner were effective in reducing blood pressure. A complicating factor for the study is that people respond to the presence of other people. As put by Ravensara Travillian recently, "As psychosocial beings, we respond psychologically and socially in ways that can be described as healing body and mind due to presence and caring attention from others." Thus, our study will need a means of differentiating the effects of the Morse code from those effects simply from the practitioner's presence and the setup of the trial itself.
After gaining a sufficient number of suitable participants, we would fulfill the "randomized" concept of the trial by randomly dividing them into three groups: control, sham Morse-code and Morse code. The intervention might be three-times per week for 12 weeks. Controls would come in, have their blood pressure (BP) measured, wait 30 minutes, and have their BP measured again. Those in the Morse-code group would, in the 30 minutes wait, listen to Morse-code keyed by one of several live practitioners. Those in the "sham-group" would listen to 30 minutes of keying, similar to Morse-code, but keyed by "practitioners" unfamiliar with Morse-code. With this protocol, we can look for short-term effects between sessions, beginning and session end, as well as for longer term effects over the length of the study. By taking follow-up measurements after the end of the 12 weeks, we can also look for persistence of any changes.
Now we get to the point of getting something from nothing. We assume the null hypothesis, that any differences between the groups is simply from random chance, and calculate the probability (p) that this assumption is true. We conclude that there is a statistically significant difference between groups only when the probability of our observations being due entirely to chance is less than 5% (p<0.05). We have three separate probabilities to check: whether the sham group is statistically different from the control group (psychosocial effect), whether the Morse code group is different from the control group (psychosocial plus Morse code), and whether the difference between the sham and code groups is significant (Morse code effect). In a recent paper, Bakker and Wicherts underscore the importance of doing the third test explicitly, even when the differences between the sham and control groups is not significant.
If there is no difference between the three groups, the study would conclude that, in the clinical trial as designed, neither psychosocial factors nor messages in Morse-code were effective. If the sham group differed statistically from the control, we would conclude that there was a psychosocial effect. Because the psychosocial effect would also be present in the code group, only if the code group was statistically different from the sham group could we conclude that there was an effect from Morse-code itself. Note that this code effect could be of either sign, adding to a psychosocial effect or negating it.
There you have the outline of a randomized control/clinical trial. Assuming initially that we get no difference, we end up with information. Sometimes "nothing can be a real cool hand."
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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