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It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Forced Work Reduction for Massage Therapists
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Derek R. Austin, MS, CMT, BCTMB, CSCS, MK Brennan, MS, RN, LMBT, and April Neufeld, BS, LMP
This month's Massage Therapy Foundation research column looks at the factors that lead to the reduction of work hours for massage therapists and bodyworkers due to injury, referred to as injury-forced work reduction (IFWR).Massage therapy and bodywork are considered to be very physically demanding professions. The authors cite that 80% of people who begin careers as massage therapists and bodywork practitioners drop out after two years. Previous research has shown a high risk for musculoskeletal disorders among massage therapists, including carpal tunnel syndrome and low back pain. There has been little research to date, however, on what demographics, work attitudes or perceptions make a massage practitioner more likely to become injured. This new research from the team at Temple University hopes to illuminate some of these issues.
The article, "Correlates of Injury-forced Work Reduction for Massage Therapists and Bodywork Practitioners," was published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB) in 2013. (Free full text is available from IJTMB.) The authors define injury-forced work reduction as a "work-related injury adversely affecting the hours worked or number of clients treated." The authors tested two hypotheses. Their first hypothesis (H1) was that accumulated costs – the amount of time, personal effort, education, money and training that a practitioner has invested in their occupation – would be associated with injury-forced work reduction. The authors further hypothesized (H2) that physical exhaustion – including body fatigue, low energy, tiredness and work exhaustion, mental frustration, feeling overwhelmed and being emotionally strained – would both be associated with injury-forced work reduction.
An online survey was conducted in the fall of 2006 by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB) about Career Patterns (CP) along with their Job Task Analysis (JTA). The JTA required approximately 45 minutes to complete followed by 15 minutes for the CP survey. There were 2,089 massage therapists and bodyworkers who completed the CP survey, making up approximately 3% of the 75,000 practitioners contacted across the United States. The survey was made up of questions organized into five groups: 1) Control/demographic variable set; 2) Work attitude/perception variables set; 3) Accumulated cost variables set; 4) Exhaustion variables set; and 5) Injury-forced Work Reduction (IFWR). IFWR was measured by two questions: "I can no longer work the hours I previously worked due to occupational injury," and "I can no longer treat as many clients per day due to work injury (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain)." Most items were measured using a Likert scale, where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = slightly disagree, 4 = slightly agree, 5 = agree, and 6 = strongly agree.
Overall, the researchers found "high levels of job satisfaction (5.47/6) and affective occupation commitment (5.44/6); low levels of accumulated costs (2.76/6), continuing education costs (2.77/6), and physical exhaustion (2.46/6); and very low levels of work exhaustion (1.75/6) and IFWR (1.84/6)." Affective occupation commitment was measured with questions such as, "I strongly identify with the massage/bodywork/somatic therapy occupation." Continuing education costs were measured with questions such as, "It costs too much for me to take required continuing education." In general, massage therapists and bodyworkers, or at least those who responded to the survey, are satisfied with their jobs and identify with their occupations. They also have generally low levels of costs invested, costs associated with continuing education, mental and physical exhaustion and injury.
The authors used a stepwise regression model to evaluate their hypotheses. In other words, they added each variable set to the model one at a time in order to control for demographic and other variables. Among the control/demographics variables set, being female and having more years in practice were significantly associated with IFWR. None of the individual work attitude/perception variables were significant. Having more continuing education costs but not accumulated costs was significantly associated with IFWR, partially supporting the authors' first hypothesis (H1). Physical exhaustion and work exhaustion were both significantly associated with IFWR, supporting the authors' second hypothesis. Overall, 34% of the variance in IFWR was explained by all of the variables that were studied, and physical exhaustion was the single greatest contributor to IFWR.
The authors note that their finding of physical exhaustion relating to IFWR had the strongest support and was consistent with other research on the physically demanding nature of massage therapy and its occupational risks. Work exhaustion had a significant independent positive association with IFWR. Thus, both physical wear and tear and the mental fatigue of work exhaustion appear to increase injury risk for massage therapists and bodyworkers. The authors speculate that such mental fatigue may be related to particular work factors, including isolated work settings, physical concerns and possibly public misconceptions about the nature of massage therapy or bodywork. The authors conclude that taking breaks between patient appointments and varying the techniques used could improve a massage therapist's physical and mental energy and thereby limit these risk factors.
The authors compared this research to their previous research on massage therapists and bodyworkers. They write, "None of the four work attitude and perception variables that each significantly impacted being forced to stay in occupation (i.e., job satisfaction, affective occupation commitment, occupation identification or limited occupation alternatives) had a significant impact on IFWR in this study." IFWR appears to be a separate variable that is highly influenced by certain types of accumulated costs (specifically, the perception of high continuing education costs), physical and work exhaustion, being female and working for more years.
There are several important limitations to this research study. Chief among them is that correlation cannot be separated from causation because this research is a cross-sectional study. In other words, it is possible that higher IFWR causes higher physical exhaustion, and not the other way around. The authors also did not identify specific injuries among the massage therapists and bodywork practitioners surveyed. Finally, the respondents were self-selected, and participants could possibly have different characteristics than the overall population of massage therapists. For example, a massage therapist who has reduced his or her work hours due to carpal tunnel syndrome may not volunteer to complete a one-hour online survey.
For massage therapists and bodyworkers, it is worth further investigation as to the short career span for practitioners and what preventative measures can be taken. Addressing IFWR and any of the contributors to it would be beneficial, especially as the authors also cite an expected growth in massage therapy and bodywork by 20% between 2010 and 2020.
Not sure what to make of a regression analysis, correlation, confidence interval, p-value or t-test? The MTF offers an easy-to-use online course, where you will learn basic research vocabulary and concepts, how to use various databases to look up research, evaluate published research articles for their validity and apply research findings to massage practice to improve outcomes. Basics of Research Literacy is an online, 8-hour, NCBTMB-approved workshop that teaches massage therapists and educators how to incorporate the principles of research literacy into your practice and teaching.
To learn more about the effects of massage therapy, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies.
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