resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
October, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 10
A Mind-Body Intervention with Massage Helps Treat Substance Abuse
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed By Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT, Jolie Haun, PhD EdS LMT, April Neufeld, BS, LMT
Massage therapists are aware of the mind-body connection and its important role in maintaining health and wellness.This mind-body connection can be particularly influential when a client is recovering from substance abuse. In 2011, Price and colleagues published study results in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, documenting the impact of the mind-body connection in a sample of adult females. Their work examined the effects of mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy (MABT) for women enrolled in a substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facility. MABT combines massage and mind–body approaches to develop interoception (the processing of internal sensations to create awareness integral to sense of self) and emotional self-care skills.
Massage is thought to be clinically useful for increasing self-awareness about tension, stress and habitual response patterns that may help prevent relapse. However, Price and colleagues were unique in their examination of mind–body therapy using massage as part of treatment.
Women in addiction treatment often report experiencing sexual and physical abuse in both childhood and adulthood. Further, the rate of eating disorders in women with SUD are nearly double that of those without a SUD. Having a trauma history and/or an eating disorder can increase vulnerability to relapse post-treatment. However, mind–body therapies, such as MABT, may provide women with self-care skills to prevent relapse. In particular, MABT can provide women with the ability to identify and cope with emotions without using drugs.
This study was a pilot project at a women's only treatment clinic in the Pacific North West. Forty-six women enrolled in the study; the median age was 39 years. Participants reported using alcohol, opiates and multiple addictive substances before treatment. Most participants were Caucasian; one was Asian American, and two identified as mixed ethnicity. More than half the participants reported experiencing sexual or physical trauma in either childhood or adulthood and PTSD, while 30 percent had an eating disorder. Most participants had previously sought substance abuse treatment and had minimal exposure to massage.
Participants were randomized to receive the 8-week MABT intervention plus treatment as usual (TAU) or to TAU alone. TAU was a 12-step abstinence-based approach involving group sessions using psycho-education and cognitive–behavioral therapy. All participants completed a 3-week inpatient program and then continued in an outpatient, 12-to-24 week program that met 2 to 3 times per week for three hours.
MABT sessions were offered weekly during the outpatient program, each lasting 1.5 hours. Each participant randomized to MABT was assigned to one of four licensed massage therapists who had clinical experience addressing mental health concerns. The MABT protocol involved asking participants about their emotional and physical well-being to guide the session. Particular attention was given to body awareness in relation to experiences associated with substance use and treatment. The hands-on component of the session was 45-minutes and included massage over clothes. Touch was also used to teach interoception and body-based self-care skills such as learning to feel the sensation of breath, bring conscious attention to specific areas of the body, attend to physical and emotional tension and develop mindful body awareness. To integrate the skills they were learning, participants had individualized inner body awareness homework to do each week.
Data collection time points included baseline, post-intervention (three months from baseline), and six and nine month follow-up. The data included assessments that measured substance use, psychological and physical indicators of distress, perceived stress and other mind-body indicators such as ability regulate emotions, body awareness and bodily dissociation. A satisfaction survey and written questionnaire about participant perception of the MABT experience was administered at post-test. A questionnaire about use of any practice focused on connection to the body, such as daily or weekly yoga classes or bodywork treatments, during the follow-up period was administered to both groups at six and nine months. In addition, MABT participants were asked if the practice involved skills learned in MABT sessions.
Findings indicated moderate to large effects including significantly fewer days of substance use at post-test for participants in MABT, compared to those in TAU. Other outcomes showed improved eating disorder symptoms, depression, anxiety, dissociation, perceived stress, physical symptom frequency and bodily dissociation for MABT compared with TAU at the 9-month follow-up. The high level of continued use of MABT skills after the study was considerable, suggesting that participants perceived much benefit from MABT.
Though findings are significant and compelling, Price et al. indicate study limitations for consideration when interpreting outcomes. One limitation is that MABT participants were given a greater amount of time and attention than those in TAU. However, the high level MABT skills used during follow-up shows this was not the only reason for the effects of the study. Another limitation was the small sample size, and allocation of subjects to TAU and MABT differed. Also, only part of the assessment for emotion regulation was used; the findings or interpretation may not be valid without the use of the entire measure. The study sample was likely to have higher socioeconomic status and functional abilities than those found in community clinics. Finally, the sample was restricted to women. The effect of MABT with samples representing both men and women, with individuals in methadone-assisted treatment warrants further study.
Overall, this study demonstrates a mind-body oriented intervention with massage therapy can have positive effects on people in SUD treatment. The authors suggest MABT may be particularly relevant to women, given the high rates of eating disorders, depression, anxiety and trauma found among those with SUDs. It also appears that the self-care and other coping skills acquired during the study carried over beyond treatment and were incorporated into daily life.
Massage therapists who work with individuals recovering from substance abuse have confirmation that what they experience and know intuitively is being proven scientifically – compassionate, therapeutic touch facilitates the mind-body connection and can help in substance use recovery.
Editor's Note: If you are interested in learning more about the evidence supporting the use and integration of massage therapy in clinical and medical practice with different patient populations, visit The Massage Therapy Foundation at: www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/ and tap into the Foundation's Research Resources.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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.