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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.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
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.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
August, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 08
Study Finds Massage Therapy Supports Senior Health
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Beth Barberree, RMT, BA; Jolie Haun, PhD EdS, LMT, April Neufeld, BS, LMP
Do you ever wonder who will help keep your body moving around safely as you get older? According to JoEllen Sefton and fellow researchers, massage therapists could be key players in maintaining health of older persons, particularly postural control.This month's Massage Therapy Foundation article outlines the findings of Sefton's study that explored the effects of therapeutic massage on balance, neurological and cardiovascular outcomes in older adults. The results of this study were published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork in 2012, and it is the second of a two-part study conducted collaboratively by researchers at Auburn University and Samford University in Alabama.
The risk of falling is a major health concern for older people. Falls in the elderly population impact personal health, affecting patients physically and psychologically and often result in significant healthcare and rehabilitation costs. Decreased mobility due to falls can lead to loss of vitality and increased morbidity.
Sefton and colleagues wanted to explore whether therapeutic massage could restore muscle balance and function, improve appropriate muscle activation, decrease spasms, correct postural imbalances or improve gait and movement confidence. They hypothesized that therapeutic massage would produce an immediate increase in instability, then improve postural stability and decrease cardiovascular measures over time, and improve long-term stability and cardiovascular functioning. Positive changes in these measures may improve confidence and allow for increased independence in older individuals.
The study was conducted in the lab with 35 adults ranging in age from 50 to 69 years old. Participants were excluded if they reported any chronic diseases or medications that would affect the study's physiological measures. Participants were then randomized to the therapeutic massage treatment group or relaxation control group. The treatment group received six weekly 60-minute full-body massages that followed a standardized protocol, but left some flexibility for the massage therapists to respond to individual patient needs. The relaxation control group rested quietly in the treatment room for 60 minutes.
A number of assessments were conducted on both the therapeutic massage and control groups to test the study hypotheses. Static and functional balance were tested with the participants on one and both feet, and with eyes open and closed. Neurologically, motor neuron pool excitability, activation and modulation at the soleus muscle were assessed. Heart rate and blood pressure were recorded as the cardiovascular measures.
Immediate Treatment Effects
Assessments of postural control and cardiovascular measures were completed before the treatment, and then immediately after, 20 minutes after and 60 minutes post-treatment. Nervous system measures were completed pre-treatment and then 60 minutes post-treatment. The purpose of these tests was to determine whether the therapeutic massage intervention produced increased instability for participants immediately after.
The results replicated the researchers' earlier findings showing that instability did not increase immediately after therapeutic massage. This implies that current cautionary measures implemented for our clients are likely sufficient and should be continued, although some sensitivity with clients who have special circumstances will always occur. Interestingly, the results did not support previous studies that showed therapeutic massage to decrease cardiovascular measures immediately following treatment.
Week Six Short Term Effects
To determine differences that occur during the 60 minutes after a therapeutic massage intervention, balance and cardiovascular measures were assessed immediately post-therapeutic massage to 60 minutes post-therapeutic massage. The results of the balance and postural control measures together suggest an increase in postural stability through the 60-minute period following therapeutic massage when compared to the control group.
Nervous system measures were taken pre- and 60 minutes post-therapeutic massage only. The results again echo the researchers' earlier work, finding that when compared to only one session of therapeutic massage, an additional six weeks of treatment did not produce better performance on the assessments for the nervous system. The researchers speculated this may be due to decreased fatigue that would occur during each therapeutic massage application.
Cardiovascular measures indicated a trend of decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure from immediate to 60 minutes post-treatment in the treatment group compared to the control. No changes in heart rate were found, and studies thus far have reported conflicting results. This led the researchers to recommend additional research on the mechanisms affecting cardiovascular measures and blood flow.
Long Term Effects
So, what was found one week after the last therapeutic massage session? The long-term treatment effects were assessed by comparing the therapeutic massage and control groups on balance, nervous system and cardiovascular measures pre-treatment at week six with those obtained at the follow-up testing session at week seven. The researchers found some effects to be fairly robust.
Assessment of balance at week six indicated no significant differences between the treatment and control groups. However, by week seven, testing showed significant differences between the therapeutic massage and control groups. This indicates that the treatment group had an improved ability to maintain balance at week seven.
No long term nervous system differences were found between the treatment and control groups, but the authors note there may be some methodological considerations that could be addressed in future work. With respect to cardiovascular effects, although there were no significant differences at week six, there were lower systolic blood pressures in the treatment group by week seven. No differences in diastolic blood pressure were found. Heart rate was higher for the treatment group at week six, but then by week seven, no differences were found when compared to the control group.
The researchers made a couple of observations about the study design that may have impacted research outcomes. First, participants were all healthy older adults who could be considered "young old," rather than "old old." Second, results may differ in individuals experiencing conditions common with aging such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure or diabetes. The researchers also identified some limitations that should be considered when interpreting the findings, specifically that the participants self-selected to join the study. To account for these potential confounding elements, the team recommended a larger study in the future to include a wider range of participants.
As massage therapists see more clients who are aging, it becomes increasingly important to know how to appropriately care for them, and manage the instability that may occur when they get up off the treatment table. Understanding the physiological changes in the client, both immediately and over time, can equip us with information needed to provide good home care instruction.
The results reported by Sefton and colleagues indicate that therapeutic massage could be a beneficial non-pharmaceutical option to improve blood pressure and postural stability in older adults, short and long-term. These findings have implications for practice and policy, from the treatment room to reimbursement. The true impact of research such as Sefton's will come from replication and dissemination of findings and continued efforts to use research evidence to inform practice guidelines and standards of care.
To learn more about therapeutic massage and associated outcomes, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search Pub Med for massage outcomes studies.
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