resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Prone Position Syndrome
By David Lauterstein, RMT
How many times have you been receiving a massage and noticed after 40 minutes that you are still lying face down? Your sinuses have filled up. Your face and jaw are being deformed by the face cradle, leading to a related symptom, "cradle face." Your pelvis has been stuck in one awkward position for the much of the session.If you're a knowledgeable receiver, you may already be wondering what will be left out of the massage, because, after 40 minutes prone, receiving mostly back and shoulder work, there is no way the lower body, front torso, arms, hands, head and neck can be adequately addressed. How many times has a therapist apologized for leaving something out because they "didn't have enough time" or they simply ignored it? How many times have you gotten off the massage table and found some symptoms worse from being prone too long or sore from certain areas overworked or underworked?
Much of this can be traced to what I have named, "Prone Position Syndrome" or PPS for short. I'm being both funny and serious in bringing this up. This syndrome is obvious, but I've not often heard it identified as one of the major problems with massages these days. Why do therapists cause PPS so often? What are the causes and problems of PPS and what is the cure?
The first poblem is the lack of education regarding the importance of timing in a massage. What's the cure? Take a better history and determine a game plan for what body segments you will emphasize and approximately how much time you will spend on them. Get client agreement regarding your plan. Then monitor your timing as you go.
The belief that more is better – especially when it comes to working tense areas. The assumption that more force or that more repetitions will improve the session especially affects therapists' work with the back and posterior shoulder girdle. What's the cure? Realize less is often more! The thing that relaxes muscles' tensing is the nervous system. So honestly in massage we are not so much doing soft tissue manipulation (in spite of what most state laws say), instead we use manual suggestions to talk the nervous system into initiating the relaxation response. More repetitions do not do a better job of convincing the nervous system to relax – anymore than verbally telling the person to relax again and again and again.
Therapists are sometimes taught or get into the habit of always working at the same tempo, often doing all their strokes somewhat slowly. Frankly, if the massage is all slow, the client is often just put to sleep. When the client sleeps, there is no body-mind learning. The cure? Work that truly honors the nervous system, the mind and the body's needs – will vary in tempo. It is important to slow down in places of tension. It is equally important to speed up where things are relatively fine. I often think of Muhammed Ali's famous exhortation to "Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee."
To repeat a stroke more than three or four times generally dishonors the client's nervous system. The nervous system GETS the message pretty quick! It doesn't need to be forced to relinquish its tension through brute force or excess repetitions. We need to remember that the client's awareness accompanies our touch and that a really good massage often will nonverbally impart important information to the client about their body and mind and emotions. I recently received a student session and I pointed out that the nervous system gets the message pretty quick and, if it's all slow, it's like assuming talking slow will improve communication.
Excess preoocupation with addressing the back, shoulders and neck and especially in the prone position. This often is a habit reinforced by frequent client requests to "just work on my back and shoulders." Clients do not realize that where their pain ends up is not necessarily where it's coming from. The most common example of this is back pain due to chronic forward flexion of the torso. As long as the front isn't lengthened, the back cannot let go. The cure?
Ida Rolf had an important saying, "Go where they're not." Explain to your clients, if they are willing listen, that you are happy to emphasize their backs and shoulders, but that often their back tension is related to posture and to stress elsewhere in the body. Therefore, in order to give them even more thorough and longer-lasting relief, in addition to giving the back, shoulders and neck lots of attention, your work will help them even more by addressing tension in the legs and feet which give critical support to the back; and addressing tension in abdomen and upper chest to help with the hunched over posture so many of us adopt at our desks and driving.
Boredom - the therapist just won't be bothered to individually plan the timing in the session. The cure? If you are bored in your work, you need to re-examine your attitudes and the environment you work in. Often in school, students say the subject they find most boring is business. But in graduate surveys, they often say if there was one subject they needed to pay more attention to it was business. If you are bored in your work, it is time re-examine your business plan; or, if you don't have one, it is high time create it. This can be fun and it certainly is necessary – look at Business Mastery by Cherie Sohnen-Moe or some other good business text written for massage therapists/health professionals.
Even more serious - lack of care. Sometimes one may be the sixth or seventh client of the day or the twenty-fifth of the week! The therapist, sadly enough, may just not care a whole lot at that point. The cure? Similar to boredom, lack of care may result from your attitudes or from being in an environment that is discouraging. Re-visit your business plan! Every business owner and/or employee needs to make sure that they keep on finding ways to activate their care for themselves and others in their work.
Not having the anatomical knowledge or technical skills to address the client's problems. The cure? Re-visit your anatomy and the most effective techniques you learned in school. Take continuing education that gives you efficient ways to address tension. Learn particularly how to pleasurably and effectively address the myofasical structures which keep the torso in chronic flexion – among them, especially rectus abdominis and pectoralis major.
Together we can overcome this pervasive problem. Let us free ourselves and our clients from the dreaded effects of Prone Position Syndrome!
David Lauterstein is Co-Director of Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in Austin, Texas. He is author of "The Deep Massage Book" and "Putting the Soul Back in the Body." David has been inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame, received AMTA's Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2013, was recognized as "Educator of the Year" by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. For more info, visit www.TLCschool.com.
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.