resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02
Massage Therapists and the Detection of Skin Cancer in Clients
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed By April Neufeld, BS, LMT, NCTMB; Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT
Have you ever noticed strange moles or lesions on your patient's back? This is important because skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed annually. Since massage therapists see a great deal of client skin on a daily basis, they have a unique opportunity to recognize potential skin cancers.
This month, we at the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) are reporting on a study by lead author Shannon M. Campbell and colleagues called "Skin Cancer Education among Massage Therapists: A Survey at the 2010 Meeting of the American Massage Therapy Association." It was published online on August 23, 2012 by the Journal of Cancer Education, August 23, 2012.
"While non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) accounts for the majority of cases, melanoma is responsible for more than 75% of skin cancer deaths. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%. In the United States, one in 52 men and women can expect to be diagnosed with melanoma in his or her lifetime. The back is the most common location of melanoma in men, while the lower legs are the most common location in women. Prognosis of melanomas is related to anatomic location. The 10-year survival rate for melanomas on the back is around 68% while the 10-year survival rate for the lower legs is 82%," write the investigators.
These statistics indicate that early detection of skin cancer is an important public health initiative. While the majority of interventions have been through detection by medical professionals, recently attention has been turned toward the ability of non-medical professionals, such as hair dressers and massage therapists, to assist with skin cancer detection. These professional massage therapists see and palpate large areas of clients' skin, including the back and legs. In addition, massage therapists may also frequently observe areas of the skin not examined by healthcare providers, such as the scalp and soles of the feet, in addition to backs and legs.
The purpose of this study was twofold. The first was to describe the skin cancer education massage therapists receive during training and second, to evaluate massage therapists' comfort levels in identifying suspicious lesions and communication with their clients about them.
The research method involved surveying two separate groups of attendees at the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) annual convention in 2010, in Minneapolis. One group of 179 completed the survey at a booth in the exhibit hall; the other group of 114 were participants who attended a skin cancer education workshop at the convention. Thirty-one surveys were excluded because the respondents were either from Canada or had not completed their entry-level training. Therefore, the final sample was 262.
The survey consisted of demographic questions such as gender, age and ethnicity. Participants were also asked the number of years the subject worked as a massage therapist, the state in which they practice, age range of clients, number of clients they treat per year, average number of visits per client annually, how many clients the massage therapists have recommended see a healthcare provider over the past year for a suspicious lesion, and if they ever detected a lesion on a client's skin that was confirmed to be skin cancer.
Participants were also asked to give detailed descriptions of their skin cancer education both during entry-level training and through continuing education. Descriptions included the name of continuing education courses, numbers of hours, textbooks used, academic credentials of the course instructor, types of skin cancer covered, testing and education about how and when to discuss a suspicious lesion with a client. Additionally, participants were asked to describe their comfort level recognizing and discussing a suspicious lesion with a client, as well as recommending a client see a healthcare provider for a suspicious lesion. All comfort level questions were assessed using a scale of "not at all," "a little," "somewhat," "quite" and "extremely." Frequency questions were assessed using a scale of "never," "sometimes," "usually," "often" and "always." The observed frequencies and percentages were calculated using Statistical Analysis System (SAS) version 9.2.
Results of the survey indicated that 60% of massage therapists received skin cancer education during their entry-level training, 25% received it afterwards and 16% received both during and afterwards. The majority of participants stated that melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers were reviewed during both entry-level and continuing education courses and that when and how to discuss a suspicious lesion was also included.
Whereas 12% of participants reported a personal history of skin cancer, 72% reported knowing a friend or family member with a skin cancer diagnosis. Of those surveyed, 43% reported wearing sunscreen usually or often on sun-exposed skin and 83% reported performing self-skin exams (SSEs) at least every 1 to 2 months. Participants also reported examining their client's skin regularly, with 44% reporting that they always do so. Massage therapists who examine their own skin at least once a year were more likely to examine a client's skin. Most of those surveyed recommended at least one client see a health care provider for a suspicious lesion over the past year.
Most participants reported being quite or somewhat comfortable recognizing a suspicious lesion, being quite comfortable discussing it with the client, and being quite or extremely comfortable sharing medical knowledge and recommending the client see a healthcare provider about the lesion. Additionally, massage therapists who perform SSEs, had detected a lesion on a client that was confirmed to be skin cancer, and who examine their clients' skin on a regular basis, and who referred clients to be seen by a healthcare professional are more likely to be comfortable recognizing a suspicious lesion.
"This study has several limitations," write the researchers. "It is an observational study that does not allow for cause and effect relationships to be identified. The sample population was from a select group at a national convention and the results may not be indicative of all massage therapists. Additionally, 114 of the 293 participants completed the survey prior to participating in a workshop on skin cancer," which means they may have a greater interest in skin cancer prevention and detection. "Further studies on a larger scale with a more representative sample are needed to confirm the data. Because many years may have elapsed between training and completion of the survey, participants may have incorrectly recalled details about their education and practice. However, this study serves as a valuable introduction to skin cancer education efforts within the massage therapy community. Additional studies should focus on improving massage therapists ability to recognize suspicious lesions and collecting data directly from massage therapy schools regarding their skin cancer education."
So what does this mean? It means that massage therapists who are already checking their clients' skin for suspicious lesions are providing a valuable and necessary service, one that can potentially save a client's patient's life. Massage therapists who are unsure of their ability to detect a suspicious change on a client's skin, and are unsure of how to discuss it with the client, would definitely benefit from a course that covers this information. It could make all the difference in the world to someone they know.
Editor's Note: Want to hear more great research all in one place? Attend the International Massage Therapy Research Conference – Presented by the Massage Therapy Foundation April 25-27, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. Registration is now open. Learn more at www.imtrc.org.
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