resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
October, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 10
Qualitative Research Furthers the Study of Massage Therapy
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by April V. Neufeld, BS, LMP, Beth Barberree, BA, LMT, and Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT
Have you heard the terms "quantitative" and "qualitative" associated with research? Have you wondered what they meant? More importantly, have you ever wondered how they apply to your work as a massage therapist? This month's column is a review of an article written by a research team from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary for the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 2008; 1(2): 6-10.
Generally, research methods are split into two categories. Quantitative methods are highly controlled research studies requiring precise measurement to prevent unwanted influence on the outcome measures and any bias would invalidate the studies findings. Bias means a systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others. To this end, these studies may be surveys or randomized, controlled trials. In randomized, controlled trials, the research subjects are randomly allocated to receive treatments, sort of like tossing a coin. After randomization, the groups of subjects are followed in exactly the same way and the only differences between the care they receive should be within the treatments being compared.
According to the article, "Quantitative research . . . often has the goal to describe and predict outcomes in a larger population of interest [by examining] the strength of relationships between variables of interest." In quantitative research, the context of the study is not considered in examining the data, only the methods being used. The researcher is an objective observer.
The other category, qualitative, is "used to understand and describe the subjective world of human experience." (Massage therapists are certainly exposed to the subjective world of human experience as they work with their clients.) The researcher is part of the context and intrinsically linked to the findings with the understanding that the research environment is socially and experientially constructed. The phenomenon being examined is only truly understood when studied as part of the whole, where the research context is taken into consideration. Bias does not invalidate the study. Instead, it informs the researchers.
The choice between a quantitative or qualitative approach depends on the design of the specific research study. The specific method is chosen "to answer different types of research questions and produce different types of information." For example, a qualitative researcher may ask, "What is the experience of massage therapists working in a hospital-based practice?" On the other hand, a quantitative researcher may ask, "Does massage therapy reduce pain in hospitalized motor vehicle accident patients?"
Kania, et al., explain how the qualitative side of research can "provide insights into the outcomes, process and context of massage therapy that cannot be fully achieved through quantification alone." In other words, qualitative research plays a major role in scientifically validating aspects of massage therapy that are not measurable, but are equally important. This helps researchers better understand relevant outcomes based on the participants' experiences. It also allows for the opportunity to examine various factors including the process of the treatment intervention, non-specific effects of the overall experience, the patient-practitioner relationship, the subjects' feelings about their experiences, the environment of the treatment, the culture or beliefs that the subject and massage therapist bring to the treatment and any expectations the subject has of the effects of massage.
Although much of standardized research uses quantitative methods, the article's authors make the case that this approach has limitations. The authors suggest that using a mixed-methods study design, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, is a reasonable option in massage therapy research. By using this combined approach, researchers may gain valuable insight and a more complete understanding of the effectiveness of a specific intervention, while at the same time collecting hard quantitative data.
According to Kania et al.,"Qualitative research findings . . . will not only help massage therapists practice more effectively, but also differently, with greater awareness and mindfulness," which are key skills in a patient-centered practice. This means that researchers are discovering what most massage therapists already know to be true – it is not just the measurable results of treatment that matter; the subjective parts of therapeutic relationship are also important.
For example, the authors describe a research study involving massage therapy for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. As previous articles have discussed, much of the research on the effects of massage therapy on cancer patients focuses on outcomes such as anxiety and pain associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. By examining the "lived experience of the participants" the researchers were able to identify "massage as a distraction from frightening experiences" and "the psychological support that was experienced through massage." By focusing not only on quantifiable pain and anxiety scales, but also the patients' experiences while receiving the massage therapy, the researchers achieved a greater understanding of outcomes that are highly relevant to the patient's physical and emotional well-being.
These kinds of insights are especially important in studies where the participants felt there was change, but there was no statistically significant data to support their claim. In these cases, qualitative research provides the opportunity to examine the context of the intervention, since the context may influence the outcome(s) of the intervention.
Examining the lived experience helps researchers and practitioners alike better understand the impact of massage therapy, as well as all complementary medicine, intervention methods. "Qualitative research has great potential to inform massage therapy practice. Outcomes, context, and process factors enable the development and provision of more effective and appropriate treatment plans," write Kania, et al.
If you found this article interesting and would like to read more about qualitative research, check out the Massage Therapy Foundation's article archive. You can find the article in full at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3091453/.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
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