resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
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.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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