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Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
April, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 04
What Does an Evidence-Based Practice Look Like?
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
We hear a lot these days about evidence-based practice (EBP). As massage therapy becomes more accepted as an allied health profession, I think it's important that we continue to build an evidence-based case for why massage works.So, what makes a practice evidenced-based? I hope to give you a basic understanding of EBP and offer examples from my own work elders in long-term care facilities.
Definitions of EBP vary somewhat but they all seem to agree that EBP is a combination of:
The desired outcome of EBP is optimal service to each client/patient on a case-by-case basis. I've paraphrased the steps presented by Duke University Medical School to determine if an approach, modality or method is indeed evidence-based. What we are really trying to find out is whether the methods or techniques we use really are effective to meet the client's need and why or why not? Then we can be confident in the actions we take in caring for our client and also when we articulate the benefits of our services.
Start with the client's clinical problem or a question which arises from the care of the client. Identify the need or problem of the individual client. What's the reason you are seeing this client? Generally, the reason for referral or the client's stated goal is a good place to start.
For example, I have a client who has Alzheimer's disease who is cared for in a memory support unit of an assisted living facility. She becomes increasingly physically agitated (rummaging through other elder's things and grabbing people's arms as they walk by her) and disoriented (going into other people's rooms) in the afternoons, disturbing those who also live there. She has been referred in hopes of calming her and easing the agitated, restless behavior.
Construct a well-built clinical question derived from this client's problem. The question must be phrased in such a way as to facilitate finding an answer when you look for relevant research. The question should include: 1. The key problem of the patient; 2. What treatment, method or modalities are you are considering using; and 3. The desired outcome.
In the case of my client, I might ask this question: "In people with Alzheimer's disease, is hand massage and/or back massage effective in reducing physical agitation or restlessness?"
Select the appropriate resource(s) and conduct a search. The type of question we ask can help lead us to the best type of study or research to look for. Massage therapy questions often center on how to select treatments that do more good than harm and that are worth the efforts and costs of using them. We're told by the Duke team that randomized controlled trials are best to look for when asking a therapy or treatment question. They offer this explanation of this kind of study: "Randomized controlled clinical trials are carefully planned experiments that introduce a treatment or exposure to study its effect on real patients. They include methodologies that reduce the potential for bias (randomization and blinding) and that allow for comparison between intervention groups and control (no intervention) groups. A randomized controlled trial is a planned experiment and can provide sound evidence of cause and effect."
It's important to understand that just searching the internet for articles isn't enough. We must be careful about the source. The quip, "if it's written on the Web, it must be so," does not apply here! So, where should we look? One recommended source is PubMed/MEDLINE, a respected database of literature. It's beyond the scope of this article to explain how to go about a search in PubMed, however there are tutorials on that website. Since my question is a therapy question, I set out to find studies that used randomized controlled trials about hand and/or back massage to decrease agitation in people with dementia. I found a number of studies exploring massage in dementia care. Several abstracts of the articles report that hand or slow-stroke back massage reduced anxiety, restlessness and other forms of agitation. My next task is to review the articles to see if the methods used for the study meet criteria for valid research.
Appraise that evidence for its validity (closeness to the truth) and applicability (usefulness in clinical practice). Fortunately, there are guides to help with this process. We are looking to answer three basic questions:
In the end, we want to have confidence in the research we cite. One example from my search is a 2008 study, Favorite Music and Hand Massage: Two Interventions to Decrease Agitation in Residents with Dementia. In my best judgment, this study holds up to the criteria for validity. It compares the effectiveness of favorite music (FM) and hand massage (HM) in reducing agitated behaviors. Researchers found that following ten minute sessions of FM and HM individually and combined significantly decreased agitation for up to an hour following the session.
Apply the results to your client. Integrate that evidence with clinical expertise, patient preferences and apply it to practice. So, back to my client. Because the afternoon is the time when she becomes more restless, I schedule sessions for mid-afternoon twice a week. Sessions consists of hand massage, slow-stroke back massage and focused one-to-one attention. I also do staff education, teaching them how to do a simple five minute hand massage and focused touch.
Evaluate client's response to treatment. What result do you see in the individual client? Were they similar or different from results you found in the research? Do you need to make adjustments to your approach? In the case of my client, she was receptive to receiving hand and back massage and she tolerated a thirty minute session without distraction when the session was carried out in a quiet room. She was talkative during the hand massage and often fell asleep during the back massage. At the end of the session, she remained in a calm, quiet state from thirty minutes to an hour. The care staff reported that they noticed a decrease in the restless behaviors, especially her tendency to grab people's arms. The staff used the simple hand massage protocol in the late afternoon and reported it seemed to also help relax her and that she enjoyed the interaction and smiled.
Where does my clinical experience fit in to all this? I've had hundreds of sessions with elders living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, many of whom have some degree of agitated behavior, anxiety and restlessness. It's been my experience that human touch, massage and compassionate presence ease these issues and have a profound effect on enhancing quality of life. I've also witnessed the effect of shared human touch on the ability of a person with advanced dementia to engage in relationship.
And last, but certainly not least, what about my client's needs, preferences, expectations? It's a little tricky sometimes to determine what my client might want or need when she can't state them clearly because of dementia. It falls to me to tune in to the non-verbal cues. People with dementia tell us a lot about their inner world and needs through behavior. My client's restless behaviors that annoyed others are her way of communicating a need in the moment. Perhaps she's lonely or is disoriented and thinks she needs to get home to take care of her kids. I also always know that one universal expectation of each client is to have basic human needs met and to be treated with respect.
Taking all this into account, can I state with confidence that my approach is evidence-based? I believe that, yes, I can. I hope this has helped you understand what evidence-based practice is all about so you can perhaps apply it to your own work.
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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