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Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
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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