resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
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.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
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.
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.
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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