resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
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?."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07
Do You Ever Wonder: What Technique Should I Use?
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Open up any trade publication or listing of continuing education courses and you will see a vast array of different techniques you can learn. Many of these technique approaches claim to be new "inventions" and completely revolutionary.While there are clearly novel approaches to bodywork treatment, many of these techniques are simply variations on traditional massage techniques that have been around for a long time. With so many different techniques, it can be really difficult for the practitioner to know which techniques would be best in each unique client treatment. While the lure of advertising claims like "instant results" and "permanent pain relief" may seem attractive, can we really make those kinds of claims and be taken seriously as a health care field at the same time?
Like the carpenter or artist that uses tools to ply their trade, various techniques are at the root of our success in treating our clients. But what's the best technique to get the job done? The answer is clearly that it depends. Many years ago I grappled with this issue and recognized that other massage therapists do as well. To help understand and address this issue, I developed a four-part orthopedic massage system that could act as a framework for the clinical decision-making process of what techniques would be appropriate for different clients in each unique clinical situation. Two of these four component parts are directly related to helping the practitioner make an appropriate treatment decision about which techniques will be best for each unique client presentation.
As the saying goes, "If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail." This is quite applicable to what we do in massage as well. If you have narrowed your focus to one or two particular treatment techniques, then you may end up taking an ineffective approach and using them on a wide variety of conditions with only limited success. That saying could easily be changed to something like, "If all you have is neuromuscular therapy, everything looks like a trigger point." Very few people practice with that level of exclusivity on just one technique, but you can end up really narrowing your focus if it is not varied enough. Clients present with many types of soft-tissue disorders. In addition, one person's carpal tunnel syndrome can be very different from the next and the treatment approach for one person could be quite wrong for what is needed by someone else.
Another challenge for us if we focus too narrowly on just one or two techniques, is an over-emphasis on our lens of bias; and we all have one. The lens of bias is the way we look at client issues and the most effective way to address them. One of the best illustrations of the lens of bias concept came from an article written by Dan Cherkin and his colleagues in 1994. The article was titled, "Physician Variation in Diagnostic Testing for Low Back Pain. Who You See is What You Get."1 They found variation in the diagnosis of low back disorders depending on the practice and theoretical focus of the physicians; the lens of bias. We look at various pain complaints and treatment strategies differently depending on this lens of bias that is structured by what we have studied and practiced.
Match the Physiology
The second key component of this system is matching the physiology of the tissue injury with the physiological effects of the treatment technique. In order to choose the most appropriate treatment technique, we must understand the specific physiology of the pain or injury complaint. We must understand WHY we do the things we do. That means we also have to understand the physiological effects of our massage techniques. Over the years, I have heard some very interesting (and inaccurate) descriptions and explanations of what certain massage techniques were supposed to be doing (physiologically) to the client. If we base our treatment choices on inaccurate physiology, we may be far less effective. But we could also end up doing something that is detrimental and contraindicated, or even end up hurting the client as a result.
Take a look at how this might play out in a clinical situation. Suppose you have a client that comes in with lateral forearm pain and weakness. After going through an interview with the client, you decide to treat the client with deep friction massage to the proximal wrist extensor tendon attachments at the lateral epicondyle. After several weeks of treatment, the client reports that the condition appears to be getting worse.
You might wonder why the deep friction massage was not working in what seemed to be a classic case of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). Further consideration of the physiology of the injury condition and the physiological effects of the treatment technique suggest what might be wrong. Suppose in your initial evaluation you didn't identify weakness in the wrist extensor muscles and note that the pain at the elbow was mild compared to the way it usually presents with lateral epicondylitis.
The client might actually be experiencing radial nerve entrapment in this region, which is a condition also known as "resistant tennis elbow" because of the way its symptoms mimic tennis elbow. You might be applying deep friction to a nerve entrapment disorder and making it worse. Instead, it would have been more appropriate to have identified the source of the client's disorder as a nerve entrapment problem and consequently your treatment choices would have changed and emphasized methods that would help reduce compression on the radial nerve.
Effective clinical massage is a comprehensive practice and having a systematic method for addressing assessment and treatment is at the root of clinical success. If you begin to pay much more attention to WHY you do the things you do and make sure there is a good physiological rationale for each treatment strategy, you are likely to see much greater success in your client treatments.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.