resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
April, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 04
Healing Touch: Using Massage to Break the Cycle of Abuse
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
"You're an idiot! Why did you do that?" Smack, whack, slam . . . does this sounds like any way you would treat a child? Well, unfortunately, this is the reality for many children throughout the United States.Abuse is found in many homes, kept a secret behind closed doors. Whether they are first hand recipients of physical touch, being yelled at or witnessing the abuse of another, the effects are deep and long felt.
Rate of Child Abuse
In the U.S., there has been an increase in child abuse. The nation's economic concerns during the recent recession have not only brought hardship to many families, but the accompanying stress may also lead to an increase in physical child abuse. Scientific research and anecdotal reports have long shown that economic hardship leads to an increase in the incidence of abuse. According to information presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, there has been an increase in shaken baby syndrome for children under the age of five.
To better understand the link between economic hardship and abuse, a team of medical researchers from Children's Hospital Pittsburgh reviewed medical records of children under age 5 with abusive head trauma. The research consisted of 422 children who lived in 74 counties across four states (Washington, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky) spanning the years from 2004 to 2009. The first four years of the study preceded the recession and the last 19 months coincided with it. The study found that about 65 abusive head trauma cases occurred each year before the recession, compared to about 108 annually during the recession. The average age of children with the injury was 8.9 months; most suffered brain damage and 69 children died, though the death rate didn't appear to rise during the recession. This documentation showed that cases rose 65% with about nine per 100,000 children in pre-recession years, to almost 15 per 100,000 kids during the recession.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual vital statistics report, and upon its release, news headlines ran celebrating that, for the first time in more than 45 years, homicide was not a leading cause of death in the U.S. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for young children. According to the preliminary data report, assault was the third leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old in 2010. That means that nearly 370 of the approximately 4,300 children that died in the U.S. during 2010, died at the hands of another person. These results are heartbreaking, and present an opportunity for us to analyze how we can play a part in breaking the cycle.
Understanding Abuse Factors
In order to have a better understanding of how massage and nurturing touch can play a part in making a difference, we must first look at factors that contribute to this growing issue. There are specific risk factors associated with being a victim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, factors include being a child under the age of four years old and having specific special health care needs that might cause an increased burden on caregivers. Children with special health care needs, including those with physical and mental differences, may even be abused in higher numbers due to the stress the caregivers feel in having to provide extra care.
Just as there are specific factors associated with being victimized, there are also marked characteristics of perpetrators. Often, parents who lack an understanding of a child's needs, child development or lack significant parenting skills might find themselves stressed and unprepared to care for a child. Many parents also possess their own history of abuse and maltreatment. Often times, parents and caregivers repeat what they have learned during their childhood. Substance abuse and/or mental health issues including depression in the family might play a role in abusive behavior. Parental characteristics such as young age, low education, single parenthood, large number of dependent children and low income are also key factors contributing to this issue.
Scientific evidence supports that providing a supportive family environment and social networks contributes to breaking the cycle of child abuse. There are several additional protective factors, however, research is currently ongoing to determine whether the following factors do indeed protect children from abuse and maltreatment. Such factors include providing nurturing parent education and skills, stable family relationships, and caring adults outside of the family who can serve as role models or mentors. Communities can also contribute to childhood abuse prevention when they support parents and take responsibility for preventing abuse.
So, the question is, what do we need to think about as massage practitioners who wish to do our part to ease childhood trauma associated with abuse and provide an opportunity for breaking the cycle. If you are currently working or thinking about working hands-on in pediatric massage therapy, you need to remember to empower the child by using a structured permission process, safe positioning and giving choices. A structured permission process includes explaining the massage in terms the child will understand. Give the child phrases or code words for yes, no and stop. The reason for using a code word is not to reinforce that a child may not say "no," but rather to give them permission to say no without having to say the word "no." Many abused children will have a history of knowing they cannot say no to anything.
Safe positioning is needed to empower the child. It is recommended that you always begin with the child in a sitting up position. This is important, as laying supine feels very vulnerable, while lying prone feels vulnerable and does not provide for the pediatric client to see what is happening to them. Additionally, stay within a safe distance. Do not cross the personal bubble until the child has given you permission to do so. Give the child many choices. Not an overwhelming amount of choices. However, you want to let the child know they are in charge. Remember, they have likely never felt in charge of anything. Feeling out of control and confused does not create the best nurturing environment. It is advisable that you do not give a choice of removing clothing at the first session. This is important, as you want the child to feel safe and secure. Allowing them to keep their clothing on, even shoes and socks, provides for the safest beginning.
Not only should we provide the best environment for the child, whenever possible, we should try to include a parent who is likely also a victim of abuse. Many times, I have provided education on massage for infants and children in shelters for domestically abused women and their children. Education is important. If the parent has also been a victim of abuse, how do they know how to give and receive gentle touch appropriately?
Breaking the Cycle
During one visit at a shelter, I sat on the floor with the mothers and their children. We had a mixed group of mothers with infants, toddlers and children. One little boy, Sam, was six-years-old and sat next to his mother during the class. The director of the shelter had shared with me that Sam was quite an aggressive little boy and would lash out often. Throughout our lesson, Sam refused to have his mother massage him. As we began massage on each body area, we took time and asked permission. Every time mom asked Sam's permission, he said no. He instead asked a teddy bear's permission and would massage the bear. As it came time to massage the face, I had an idea. I suggested Sam ask mom if she would like a massage on her face. He liked this idea and scooted in front of his mom, warmed his hands and asked permission. Sam watched diligently as I demonstrated each massage stroke on my face. He lovingly placed his hands on mom's cheeks and provided gentle strokes. Sam asked her if the massage was too hard. Mom said no, it felt good, as the tears streamed down her cheeks. Together, they shared a special moment I felt privileged to witness.
Throughout the months following our class, I have kept in touch with the shelter director and am very happy to report that Sam has successfully integrated into his new school. He is no longer as aggressive and has made friends very easily. Mom is adapting well to their new life. Both mom and the shelter director have credited our massage time as the intervention that broke the cycle of abuse. The traumatizing effects of abuse might be felt for a very long time. However, using nurturing touch might be one effective tool to help break the cycle and help children to feel loved and valued. Many times it is not only our hands which provide the best care, but rather our hearts and minds sharing the information to empower others to be successful.
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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