resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
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 previous articles by Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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