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.
November, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 11
Why Touch Matters: 10 Things You Should Know
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
Whatever your season of life, human touch is an important part of what makes you who you are. It speaks to our relationships, our emotions and can show the world what really matters most in our lives.However, the older we get, the less human touch we might receive as friends and family pass away,and distance and the busyness of life separate us. For those living in nursing homes, the lack of human touch can be debilitating.
I can share some observations and reflections about why touch matters to frail elders, their families, the nursing home facilities, society and you. Whether or not you want to serve this special population as a massage therapist, it's relevant as people in your own life age.
Touch deprivation in old age is real. Studies have shown that frail elderly people are less likely to receive expressive touch. Why? Public attitude about old age (we don't like it) and fear about touching (I might have to face it or I'm afraid I might hurt them). Elders today have less access to family in our mobile society. Extreme demands of caregivers leave little time to offer one-to-one attention. Health care practices have become more high-tech, adding even more distance between health professionals and those they care for. Lack of touch contributes to feelings of isolation, anxiety, pain, loneliness, boredom and helplessness.
Touch in caregiving is not all the same. There are basically two kinds of touch when taking care of people in nursing homes: necessary and non-necessary. Necessary touch occurs during assistance with personal care and medical procedures, along with providing protection and safety. Non-necessary touch is expressive touch offered to show care, concern, reassurance, affection and love.
When compassionate presence is combined with focused touch or massage, the person feels validated and whatever is causing suffering in the moment is relieved. The caregiver is led to right action, whether a simple kindness or to just be there for a moment without an agenda.
Compassion is good medicine. Brain studies show how compassion affects us biologically. For example, when we feel compassion for another, our heart rate decreases and levels of oxytocin, the "care and connection" hormone, increase. Areas of our brains leading to altruistic actions are stimulated as well. One study shows that only 40 seconds of focused attention from a doctor makes a difference in how the patient feels about their care and confidence in the doctor.
Eldercare is changing. There are efforts taking place to change the culture of long-term care and move away from an institutional model. Today's older adult wants to be cared for at home, if possible. But if facility care is necessary, they prefer it to have a home-like design with private rooms.
They want control in daily routines and access to technology such as Internet access. Older adults today want to be able to participate in the same kinds of recreation activities they did before entering the nursing home. And they want access to complementary therapies like massage and aromatherapy. As a result, more eldercare communities are adding massage therapy to their services.
Why does touch matter to the person living in a care facility? Studies show touch improves the quality of life for elders physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Benefits include:
Why does touch matter to a nursing home resident's family? Family members need peace of mind. They need assurance that their loved one is safe, cared for and cared about. Family members also need a way to relate to their loved one, who now may not be able to communicate well because of their condition. Family members need to feel less helpless in the face of a situation that seems out of their control.
Touch can be a bridge of connection for families. Massage therapists can teach family members how to use simple touch and massage techniques to connect with their elder. Facilities that have a massage therapy program enjoy the positive feedback from families when they see their loved one being cared for with a compassionate touch.
Care Facility Staff
Why does touch matter to the staff of a care facility? Touch offers caregivers greater work satisfaction. Long-term-care professionals have very demanding work. They can benefit from receiving massage. Some facilities offer on-site seated massage for staff, and I've been amazed at how much relief these caregivers experience with a 10-minute massage in the middle of their day. They feel appreciated for the work they do.
The direct care staff (for example, nurse assistants) need effective tools to manage challenges without adding to their workload. These caregivers can learn simple touch techniques that studies show actually decrease caregiving challenges. One example is that when a brief hand massage was offered, the elder was more cooperative during personal care. Touch helps care staff to enjoy more of a relationship with those they care for.
Why does touch matter to the facility as an organization? An eldercare facility needs to provide excellent service. As a business, it must attract new residents and have a marketing edge in a very competitive service industry. It needs to retain skilled staff. The facility's staff need to "think beyond Bingo" to meet the demands of today's older adults for an enriched daily life. And facilities must comply with regulations set by national and state policy-makers. Massage therapy programs contribute to all these organizational needs. As one nursing home administrator put it, "providing massage for our residents puts us a cut above other facilities – going above and beyond what's required."
Personally or professionally, you will be called to the bedside. With touch, your sensitivity to care for others grows and your ability to be a compassionate presence deepens. And because touch has reciprocal benefits, your own stress is eased and you are uplifted while making a difference for someone else.
Why does touch matter to society? Health care in today's high-tech world has become depersonalized. So much attention must be given to the technical aspects of medical care that the person can feel lost in the shuffle. We can bring together the world of medical technology with the human side of care simply by reaching out and offering the gift of a compassionate touch. I love what Dr. Abraham Verghese had to say in a 2013 presentation: "The most important innovation in medicine to come in the next 10 years: the power of the human hand." I couldn't agree more!
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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