resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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