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There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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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