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.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
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.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
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?
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.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
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.
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.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
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.
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.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
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.
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.
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.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07
Massage Therapy Reduces Hand Pain
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by April Neufeld, BS, LMT; Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT; Karen T. Boulanger, PhD, CMT
Research on the effects of massage therapy for various conditions is increasing. The Massage Therapy Foundation is invested in reviewing research on how massage therapy affects these conditions, especially those that are musculoskeletal.As noted in the June article, "Recent Research Provides Evidence of How Massage Therapy Heals" by Jolie Haun, "musculoskeletal problems impact daily function and quality of life, so it is important to validate..." massage therapy treatments. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice has published a study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine in which Tiffany Field and colleagues examined how massage therapy affects hand pain.
The researchers recruited 46 participants from the medical school who complained of hand pain regardless of the cause, such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Most noted that their hand pain was related to computer use. The participants averaged 50 years of age, were of middle socioeconomic status, and were Hispanic, Caucasian and African-American. They were randomly assigned to the massage therapy group or the control group.
The massage therapy group received 15 minutes of hand massage from a massage therapist once a week for four weeks. The hand massage procedure included four techniques: stroking, milking, friction and skin rolling. They were also taught home massage, although this procedure was not described. Both massage and control participants completed assessments before and after their first and last sessions. Assessments included pain (0-10 Visual Analog Scale), grip strength, the State Anxiety Inventory, depression (the Profile of Mood States) and the Sleep Disturbances Scale. The control group received no massage but was given the hand massage instructions after the final assessment.
After four weeks of treatment, Field and colleagues reported that the massage group had decreased pain, increased grip strength, decreased anxiety and decreased depression. The researchers concluded, "These findings are consistent with data on massage therapy with pain syndromes and especially with results from our carpal tunnel syndrome study in which pain was also decreased and grip strength increased by massage therapy. The psychological changes following hand massage in the present study, including the reduction in depressed mood and anxiety are indications of relaxation effects."
This is excellent news for massage therapy practitioners because it helps us understand that patients may feel significant benefits even after treatments as short as 15 minutes in length. Nonetheless, this paper had its limitations, mostly focused on the lack of detail provided. Field and colleagues reported, "Moderate pressure appears to be critical for these effects," and "Other studies on hand massage also suggest the importance of pressure." However, there are no indications in this study as to if and how pressure was measured. Methods for measuring pressure should have been included or reasons should have been given for not measuring the moderate pressure outlined in the procedures description.
The researchers listed the use of four different techniques: stroking, milking, friction and skin rolling. But in order for a practitioner to duplicate the results in clinical practice, the details of the massage procedure should have included: how many times each technique is repeated, amount of pressure used, duration of each technique and order of technique application. However, Field and colleagues did make a point to describe the hand position of the practitioner and the position of the subject's arm for each technique; this detail is missing from many research studies on massage therapy. Another example of poor procedural description involves the control group. What did the participants in control group do for the 15 minutes between the before and after assessments? We need to be able to evaluate exactly to what massage therapy is being compared.
A third example of needed detail involves the explanation of the procedure of home hand massage that was taught to the participants. The study only states, "They [the participants] were also taught the hand massage." Specificity regarding the method of instruction, including detailed descriptions of the self-massage and recommended duration, are needed to evaluate the internal validity of the study. Additionally, the authors stated, "The participants were asked to keep a record of their massaging themselves daily and were called on a weekly basis to check on their ability to schedule daily sessions." However, whether the self-massage was performed correctly and consistently was not reported. A future study comparing the effects of massage vs. massage plus home self-massage, would help us to understand any added benefit of having our clients perform self-care.
We agree with the research implication that, "Further research is needed to explore [the] potential mechanisms [of massage therapy]." Studies like these do help support the work that individual massage therapists perform daily with their clients. Practitioners who want more information on the mechanisms of massage therapy and successful treatment methods can go to the list of commonly used PubMed search terms on the Massage Therapy Foundation website.
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