resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.