resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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."
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 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.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 06
Recent Research Provides Evidence of How Massage Therapy Heals
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Jolie Haun and Derek Austin
Why does massage make sore muscles feel better? How does massage promote healing? What are the biological mechanisms of massage therapy? These are questions that clients, patients, practitioners and researchers ask all around the world and have been considered since the days of Hippocrates.Massage is a therapeutic modality commonly used to reduce muscular pain and promote rehabilitation. However exactly how massage affects cellular function remains unknown. Yet, still today, as massage therapy continues to remain a popular healing method and a clinically therapeutic modality, science seeks to understand the biological mechanisms by which massage therapy creates therapeutic effects.
The Massage Therapy Foundation is always on the hunt for new research to provide evidence about the bio-mechanisms of massage – inspiring the review of a study by Crane and colleagues published in Science Translational Medicine.
Musculoskeletal problems impact daily function and quality of life, so it is important to validate treatments such as massage therapy, to demonstrate the bio-mechanisms of massage therapy in promoting recovery, while reducing inflammation and muscular pain. The increase in physician and chiropractic referrals for massage for musculoskeletal injuries indicates a shift in practice toward the use of massage therapy as a complementary modality to conventional care. As massage gains popularity as an adjunctive therapy, it must be validated as a clinically effective treatment that can be medically billed for and reimbursed in the healthcare setting. Validation of the biological mechanisms of massage is the fundamental basis for advancing the science and practice of massage therapy.
Crane and colleagues seek to contribute to the field of science through innovative research which used methods that provide data, at a bio-molecular level, that describes the effects massage therapy has on muscular-skeletal tissue. The aim of this study was to investigate the pain relieving effects of massage therapy with a sample of 11 men. Each participant was asked to exercise to the point of exhaustion to create exercise-induced muscle damage to their thighs. Immediately following the exercise, participants recovered for 10 minutes. Massage oil was lightly applied by a registered massage therapist to both quadriceps while the participant lay in the supine position. To assess the effects of massage, the research team administered either massage treatment or no treatment to the quadriceps of each participant; such that, one leg was randomized to receive the massage treatment for 10 minutes. The treatment included the use of three types of soft tissue manipulations: (1) two minutes of effleurage, using moderate pressure at the beginning and end of the treatment; (2) three minutes of petrissage; and (3) three minutes of slow muscle stripping. After massage, the subjects rested for 10 minutes. Unique to this study, muscle biopsies were acquired from the participants’ quadriceps (vastus lateralis) at three time-points: before treatment (also known as baseline), right after massage treatment, and after a 2.5-hour recovery period.
Findings indicated massage therapy reduced inflammation through production of inflammatory cytokines; and promoted mitochondrial biogenesis, promoting enhanced recovery. However, findings did not support the popular notion that massage therapy clears lactic acid from muscle tissue; nor did glycogen levels change. In scientific terms, Crane and colleagues suggest the massage treatment.
Activated the mechanotransduction signaling pathways focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), potentiated mitochondrial biogenesis signaling [nuclear peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor g coactivator 1a (PGC-1a)], and mitigated the rise in nuclear factor kB (NFkB) (p65) nuclear accumulation…despite having no effect on muscle metabolites (glycogen, lactate), massage attenuated the production of the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor–a (TNF-a) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and reduced heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) phosphorylation, thereby mitigating cellular stress resulting from myofiber injury.
These study findings provide evidence that manipulative therapies may be justifiable in medical practice. According to Crane and colleagues, the effects of massage are akin to the same mechanism as conventional drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Findings such as these, are the basis for providing patients and clients the option of massage therapy opposed to conventional drug-based therapies (e.g. NSAIDS).
Though these study findings provide much promise for advancing the science and practice of massage therapy, some study limitations that should be noted. The study sample size was small, involving only 11 males. A larger sample size using females and males would provide more power and rigor to data findings. Another limitation of this design is that it was impossible to blind the therapists and the patients to the treatments, however the research team was blinded to which leg received treatment; this was known only to the massage therapists. Though these study limitations cannot be denied, the strengths of this study outweigh limitations. The use of biopsied tissue data is a rare case in massage therapy research, but has proven critical in gaining insights to the biological mechanisms of this muscular-skeletal based adjunctive therapy. It is recommended that future research investigate additional post-translational signaling pathways influenced by massage therapy.
Crane and colleagues have provided much needed data about the biological mechanisms of how massage therapy promotes healing. If you practice massage to treat sore, tired muscles you can refer patients and clients to resources such as this article to support massage therapy as an evidence-based practice. The next time someone asks how massage therapy works, you can highlight these findings which suggest massage therapy effects inflammation and enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis; and dispel beliefs about milking muscles of lactic acid.
If you are interested in learning more about the evidence supporting the use of massage therapy in clinical practice with different populations, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted abstracts or search Pub Med for massage therapy studies.
For more information about the Massage Therapy Foundation, visit www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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