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Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
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.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
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.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
February, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 02
Make the Time to Transform Your Practice
By Anita J. Shannon, LMBT
Therapeutic benefits of massage therapies continue to be studied and documented. Recent studies have increased the amount of data supporting benefits beyond the wellness aspects and attention is turning to medical conditions.
A truly interesting scroll down the page "History of Massage" on the MassageNerd website reveals evidence of medical uses of massage from ancient times and states that, "before the 1900's, all massage was medical massage." It seems that a huge scandal in Britain around 1889, eroded the medical profession's confidence in massage as a legitimate medical art and the dark shadow cast on the massage field affected English and North American attitudes for more than a hundred years. Medical spas of the world had begun appearing in North America by the mid-1800s but by the 1940's, "spa as medicine was out, spa as beauty and pampering was in."
Many of us who started practicing back when massage was considered only a personal service, observed the resulting wellness, healthcare and medical benefits. Some of us even got to experience it personally. In 1982, I was told I was permanently disabled from a severe neck injury and it was neuromuscular massage and Iyengar yoga that I worked with to reverse that life sentence. Contemporary American medicine only had pain killers and the advice of, "learn to live with it" to offer me at that time.
For the second year in a row, 75 percent of individuals in the U.S. surveyed claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous twelve months was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related, according to the 17th annual consumer survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association. Medical reasons include pain relief, stiffness or spasms, injury recovery, migraines, prevention and general well-being.
Health care providers and doctors are more commonly viewing massage therapy as a legitimate option to address health concerns. Fifty-three percent of respondents in the U.S. said their physician has recommended they get a massage.
Of consumers who discussed massage therapy with their doctors:
In 2011, ninety-six percent of massage therapists received at least one referral every six months from a hospital or medical office.
Industry trends include:
There is no sound statistic yet found for the number of hospitals in the U.S. that offer massage as an adjunct therapy.
Massage therapy is returning to its original place as a sound and viable CAM (Complementary Alternative Medical) treatment. Therapists have grown more sophisticated and knowledgeable through basic and continuing education and so many amazing modalities have come forward to command the respect of our profession and other health care fields by producing remarkable results.
Begin to pick your new tools and techniques by exploring information and articles online or in industry trade magazines. Attend a convention and receive CEs for attending short introductory classes that will give you a good sense of the educators and the techniques and visit the booths to get on the table and really experience it for yourself.
Research the educators and classes and if they list practitioners on their website. Contact a few of them to ask how they are doing with the techniques. One important question is how the tools and/or techniques affect the therapist, since ease of use leads to longevity of practice. Make an appointment with two or more different certified practitioners and get treatments to experience it for yourself. Visiting more than one therapist leads to a truer understanding, since each of us is unique and will adapt tools and techniques to our own style.
Let's be honest, the figure of 14 percent for referrals from physicians is a bit disappointing. There is a big difference between a referral and being "encouraged" to get a massage. The challenge is to find a way to improve that number and transform our practices by attracting a larger volume of medical referrals. Imagine finding a stack of fax referrals from your local physicians waiting for you when you get to your office each morning! All you need to do is call the patient to interview and schedule.
Building a healthy medical referral community requires time, dedication and a passion for helping the doctor's patients. It is also important to have evidence of training or certifications, along with records of past and current client successes. Our skills and successes build as we grow in knowledge and experience. Speaking from that knowledge and presenting sound documentation of our client results can make a meeting with the doctor a lot less intimidating. These meetings are often brief and it is a good idea to offer to bring lunch for the doctor to actually get a few minutes with them. It is even better to ask about their favorite restaurant and what they would like to order.
This is where the documentation comes in. It is easier for the physician to view photos, measurement charts or testimonials while they eat that memorable lunch you brought for them. Leave them a binder with your case studies and any supporting articles or data and ask to demonstrate that your work is essential to their patients with an initial referral of four to six people.
It is so important to reply to the referral by sending a thank you and notification that you received the referral and have scheduled the client for an appointment at your office. Stay in contact with the referring healthcare practitioner by sending updates and SOAP notes for their patient file. If these two steps are not followed, communication breakdown can occur and the medical professional may never know their patient was treated and responded so well. This is the key to continued referrals of both patients and other healthcare professionals.
Transform your practice this year by adding new techniques and tools and then take the steps to interact with the medical community to increase your referrals. There are so many areas of contemporary and traditional medicine that we can participate with including psychiatry and psychology, geriatric care, pediatric care, sports medicine, oncology, gynecology and obstetrics, chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and the list goes on. You could even choose to specialize in certain conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson's, scoliosis, multiple sclerosis and more.
Anita Shannon is a Licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Cosmetologist since the 1980's, specializing in skin care, body treatments, clinical aromatherapy and various modalities of massage therapy. She is a national educator since 1990, and the Director of Advanced Continuing Education (ACE), an NCBTMB CE provider established in 2001.
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