resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
Using Touch Therapy to Care for the Dying Child
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Owen was a young teenage boy with a brain tumor and he came to the hospital as an outpatient toward the end of his life. Candace Linares, Pediatric Massage Therapist, remembers what he said to her on one of her visits, "Massage is the only thing that makes me feel better." He was in and out of the hospital for a total of three years, and during that time was able to tell her what helped him feel better. "I like my feet massaged," Owen said. "Today can you help my shoulder?"
As Owen became increasingly ill and began to enter the dying process, his requests for the massage therapist became less about actual massage techniques and more about to simply "be" with him. Two days before Owen's death, Candace entered his hospital room. At this point, he was unable to speak and in an unresponsive condition. Owen's nurse asked Candace to give him a massage. She began to massage his hand and then stopped. "I felt a very strong sense to stop and wait," she said. "I spoke to Owen and, at that moment, I realized that what would be most helpful was to be completely honest, and I said, ‘Owen I really do not know if you even want massage at this moment.' I instead quieted myself and held his hand." Owen passed three hours after this last visit.
No one wants to think of a child being too ill to play with their friends, or to even venture outside. Our hope is that they will get better and the memories of time in the hospital will be in the past. This is not always the case with children in palliative care. As a child's condition worsens, their palliative health care team begins to discuss options with the family. There are lots of considerations. Does the family want to let the child die naturally? Would they leave the hospital and make their child comfortable at home? More and more, parents are opting to make their child comfortable and enjoy those last precious days of life.
The Difference Between Pediatric Palliative Care and Adult Palliative Care
The causes of childhood illness and death are different than those of adults. So, the care of pediatric patients is also different. Not only are healthcare providers faced with difficult decisions, so are the pediatric patient's parents. They are faced with the reality of choosing between the benefits of using medical technology and improving the child's quality of life.
Palliative care for children aims to improve quality of life for the pediatric patient, as well as for their family. This is done through management of pain and other physical symptoms, as well as emotional and spiritual support. There is growing evidence that the health care system is failing children and families when they are confronted by a life-threatening illness. Children continue to undergo painful procedures and suffer from the symptoms of their diagnosis without ample relief.
In addition to the many traditional pharmacological approaches, there are numerous other pain management strategies and approaches, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is becoming increasingly popular for individuals with chronic or life-limiting illnesses. The term CAM is often used as an umbrella term to encompass many different approaches. This is where it is important to take a closer look at each intervention for its effectiveness. In regards to pain reduction in palliative care, the most utilized CAM therapies include massage, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy and reflexology.
Massage Therapy For Pediatric Pain Relief
Pediatric massage not only provides for pain management without the use of invasive interventions, there are a host of broader benefits for the pediatric client. Massage may aid in the reduction of stress, anxiety and other psychological symptoms, which in turn may improve their quality of life. Cortisol (stress hormone) has shown noted reduction in the use of massage therapy. However, when it comes to children living in palliative care, pain management is of serious concern.
Tragically, each year 50,000 children in palliative care die, with less than 1 percent receiving the care and pain management they need. Every one of these fragile lives deserves to pass free of avoidable pain. Pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of children in palliative care. A child's pain may increase along with the stress and fear associated with the life-threatening diagnosis, as well as the discomfort associated with their growing symptoms. Despite the fact that the modern medical system has the means to relieve a child's pain, many children suffer with their discomfort.
Pediatric massage is a gentle, noninvasive therapy which supports the physical and emotional health of pediatric clients, is one of the most commonly utilized CAM techniques, and has been shown to provide many benefits to the pediatric client including a reduction in pain. There are two theories that have been commonly used to help us to explain how massage therapy may be helpful in reducing pain. In the Gate Control Theory of pain, it has been suggested that therapeutic massage blocks pain signals from reaching the brain (i.e. "closes the gate"), which in turn reduces the experience of pain. The Deep Sleep Theory suggests that massage therapy slows substance P (a pain chemical) production and increases production of serotonin. These changes might increase the amount of time an individual spends in deeper sleep and minimizes their pain.
Living in the Moment
When working with children in hospice and palliative care, listening and living in the moment is very important. In some cases, if you have an appointment scheduled, call to confirm in case the young client has passed before you have your first session. This can happen at any time, but is even more common when working with this population. Knowing that the session you share may be the one and only requires focus and living in the moment. Listening can be one of the most important components to working with children using massage. It becomes even more important when there is chaos surrounding the environment. When a therapist enters a room where there is suffering and pain, you must listen. Not only do you need to listen to the words that are said, but also to words left unsaid.
Listen to Your Heart
As much as it is crucial that we listen to our client, their parents and the environment, we must listen to our heart and provide ourselves with self care. We talk about self care for therapists when working with all populations. However, when you are working with children who are terminally ill, self care is critical to provide the best care for not only yourself, but also your young clients.
Self care can take make many forms. From taking a day to relax, meditate and practice yoga, to having a massage yourself and/or speaking to a counselor or therapist. In doing this work, I often advise pediatric massage therapists to keep a confidential journal. A journal where we can relate our experiences, joyful memories and those moments we don't want to forget. Taking the time to write out our thoughts, gives you a chance to express your feelings without having them be so raw and on the surface.
Working with children who are dying brings out many emotions; happy, sad and calming. Knowing the child you have worked with has finally becomes comfortable, falls asleep and passes, is a wonderful benefit that gives the family comfort. Because they now know their little one is finally able to rest in peace.
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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