resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Conversation With Dr. Betty Edmond
This month's column is an exclusive interview with Betty Edmond MD, newly elected CEO/President of the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.
Qigong for Substance Abuse
It is commonly believed that substance abuse, in addition to harming one’s physiological state, hurts the spirit. There is also a belief that one’s spirit does not weaken due to substance abuse, but rather, the person finds solace in addiction due to an already weak spirit.
Low Back Pain in Running Athletes
After 7 million years of adapting to upright postures, the lumbar spine and pelvis have become remarkably adept at managing ground-reactive forces associated with running.
We Get Letters & Email
Our Country Needs Us Between Elections, Too; Continuing Care: We Aren't There Yet; Our Associations Need to Do More.
An Opportunity & a Responsibility
Nearly 80 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose every day, and spine-related pain is one of the principle drivers of opioid use. This unfortunate situation creates both an opportunity and a responsibility.
True Practice Mobility for the Chiropractic Profession
When natural disasters occur, chiropractors can literally travel to the other side of the world to offer humanitarian relief in less than a day. The chiropractor's license to legally practice, however, can't make it past the state line.
News in Brief
Updated Neck Pain & Whiplash Guideline; Attention, IHS DCs; New VP of Institutional Advancement At Palmer; N.J. DC Interns At U.S. Olympic Training Center; Chiropractic Society Of R.I. On The Front Lines.
Prepare for the End, From the Beginning: Wealth Building and Retirement with the Tao
Yin and yang flow into and out from one another continually. Beginnings become endings and endings become beginnings again. Wholeness and cycles are the nature of Tao.
Five Branches University Has First Hospital TCM Residency
Established in 1984, Five Branches University (FBU) has campuses in Santa Cruz and San Jose, Calif., which serve the communities of Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay, and Silicon Valley.
Anti-Aging With Dr. Ping Zhang
Jennifer Waters, TCM practitioner and writer of the Acupuncture Today column, "Talking With the Masters" sat down with Dr. Ping Zhang to discuss aniti-aging with acupuncture.
Shoulder Rehab: Start With the Scapula
The scapula is an incredible display of elegance and movement within the biomechanics of human motion. It's evolved for mobility and stability in the scapulo-thoracic region, giving us the ability to do things that are uniquely human, such as throwing with accuracy.
Scar Reduction With Acupuncture & Microneedling (Part 2)
Protocols & treatment Timing
Flirting With Alternative Therapies
There are about as many adjunct therapies being marketed to acupuncturists as there are acupuncturists. While some may remain purist in their application of traditional Chinese medicine, others choose to explore new horizons of treatment.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 1)
The earliest Chinese reference to channels is in the Mawangdui Medical Manuscripts,1 which are dated to the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty (475 BC-221 AD). The text presents 11 channels. There are no acupuncture points listed in those channels.
The Case Report: A Valuable Tool
Case reports are a valuable form of descriptive research. The most basic form of practice-based research, a case report is a detailed account of the history, presenting symptoms, assessment, observations, treatment and follow-up of an individual patient, discussed in the context of prior and potential future research.
Another Step Forward for Chiropractic
Chiropractic is now available to 86,000-plus Latter-Day Saints missionaries and you are invited to become a provider. LDS membership in not required; our only concern is that our missionaries get the best quality care available.
Crow Like the Rooster
As we welcome in the Year of the Rooster, we look at some of its major characteristics: confidence and communication, which suits the image we have of the Rooster...strutting in the farmyard, crowing to the others that it's time to wake up.
Let's Clear Up the Collection Confusion
This is an often-misunderstood practice swirling with misinformation. First, a few basics: Insurance is a contract between the patient and the insurance company. The insurance company is simply making a payment for services or care on behalf of the patient.
A New Year and Vision for the ACA
Inadequate pain management coupled with the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has taken a severe toll on the lives of millions of people in the United States. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescription opioids.
The winter season is upon us and offers unique challenges for the clinician and patient alike. To effectively navigate through the winter season there are two main TCM medicinals, Huang Qi and Gan Jiang, to consider, as well as two important formulas which feature these two TCM treasures.
An Education in Gluten Sensitivity
A relatively new syndrome officially documented as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or gluten sensitivity (GS) was officially recognized and published in the new list of gluten-related disorders in 2012.
Nutrition for Menopause: Front-Line Therapy for All Phases
Of all the changes women experience during their reproductive life, there is no doubt the most dreaded are the three phases of menopause. This is not surprising since all of the symptoms associated with menopause are replete with unpleasantness.
January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01
Does Massage Affect the Immune System Following Exercise?
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by April Neufeld, BS, LMT; Beth Barberree, BA, RMT; Derek R. Austin, PT, DPT, MS, BCTMB, CSCS
Massage therapy increasingly is integrated into the healthcare plan for individuals suffering from a multitude of conditions.In particular, athletes, and those people supporting the athletes, believe that massage therapy can yield many benefits that could aid the athlete biomechanically, physiologically, neurologically, and psychologically. However, when research articles were reviewed to examine the effects of massage therapy on the immune system, researchers found that the benefits were unclear. This month, the Massage Therapy Foundation's research column reports on a literature review published in Physical Therapy in Sport (2014): Immunological effects of massage after exercise. "The purpose of this [literature review]," wrote the authors, "was to describe and review the current literature on massage and its role in modulating immune parameters when applied after intense physical activity."
The authors searched databases (Pubmed Medline, PEDro, and Cochran) for controlled studies conducted between 1970 and 2012 using specific keywords: massage, myofascial release, acupressure, recovery, warm up, exercise-induced muscle damage, exercise, sport, immunology, and lymphocytes. And they only included studies where "massage was the main intervention, control subjects received a placebo treatment, immunological variables were measured, and all study participants were healthy people. Studies were excluded when subjects had a history of systemic disease, had less than 5 hours of physical activity each week, smoked, had been involved in intense exercise during the previous 4-months, or had a contraindication of training." While the literature search appears thorough, the authors did not clarify why they excluded articles where participants had been involved in intense exercise.
Of the original 739 studies initially identified that examined some aspect of immunology, massage therapy, or randomized controlled trials (RTC) relating to post-exercise recovery massage, all but five studies were excluded for final review because they did not meet at least one of the inclusion criteria. "The inclusion criteria were as follows: massage is the main intervention; control subjects receive a placebo treatment; immunological variables are measured, and all study participants are healthy individuals." This last inclusion, that study participants must be healthy, is of particular interest because often research is performed on populations with health problems and yet many massage therapists report their clients are mostly healthy individuals.
"The results of this review suggest that massage may exert an influence on immune parameters, especially when applied after high-intensity exercise," wrote the researchers. Some evidence suggested that massage helps support immune system response by impacting the levels of proinflammatory cytokines (important in the anti-inflammatory response). For example, in a study where massage was performed on Quadriceps, cytonkine levels s were found to be higher in the non-massaged Qquadriceps than in the treatedmassaged legQuadriceps. Since exercise can cause a potentially damaging inflammatory response, decreasing the levels of proinflammatory cytokines could be beneficial. The authors also wrote of the speculation that massage therapy induces a parasympathetic response and so "improvements in local circulation may indirectly reduce the proinflammatory cytokines." However, since much of this research is performed on only a single body part (e.g. one leg), it is difficult to assess the overall role of massage therapy on the parasympathetic system.
Two studies were compared that described the movement of neutrophils towards the focus of post exercise inflammation. But since each study examined different sized muscles, and each had different intensities and duration of exercise prior to the intervention, the researchers concluded that it is difficult to make generalizations about the effects of massage on neutrophil count without further research.
Despite the impact on a variety of immune system constituents, it was noted that only a reduced IgA level is associated with increased risk of infection. The review yielded only one study on the impact of post exercise massage on IgA levels, and that study found that significant recovery of IgA levels occurs following massage, especially in females.
Also notable to readers, may be that three of the five studies in the review found "no robust evidence of an immunological improvement after massage" (Hilbert, Sforzo, Swensen, 2003; Smith et al., 1994; Stock, Baum, Rosskopf, Schober, Weiss, Liesen, 1996). In contrast, only two studies supported the immunological benefits (Arroyo-Morales et al., 2009; Crane et al., 2012).
Systematic reviews can be useful for readers to get a broader understanding of a particular topic, but can raise more questions than they answer. Readers will recognize that there are many factors that can influence the results of a study: sample size, type of massage therapy performed, timing of the intervention, type of exercise the subjects were engaged in, and duration and intensity of the exercise. Of the five studies examined, all had different sample sizes. All studies used healthy and active subjects but not all studies examined the same kind of exercise or frequency of the physical activity. Each study had the massage therapy application applied to different body parts. Additionally, the review examined four studies that indicated there were greater immunological effects when the massage therapy was applied following a 2-hour delay post exercise. "The differences in training mode and intensity may have produced corresponding variations in the immunosuppressive effects obtained, influencing evaluations of the recovery achieved by massage," wrote the researchers. "The data in this review suggest that massage may have a more relevant effect on the immune response after exercise with a higher cardiovascular demand. However, further research is required to confirm this possibility."
The researchers report there were several weaknesses in the studies selected for the review. One was that there was no information on any adverse effects that could have indicated complications with massage therapy as an intervention. Sports massage therapists might be tempted to read the information about the 2-hour delay and think that they should use that model on the athletes they work with. However, it is important to remember that while the subjects studied were young and healthy, none of them participated in professional sports or were elite athletes who practiced at moderate/high-intensity levels of physical activity.
The authors of this review clearly pointed out that a main limitation of the studies was that although some reported cell count changes, further research is needed to understand if these cells are simply relocating in the body as part of an immune response or actually proliferating.
Systematic reviews are excellent ways for readers to get a broad view of various studies examining a single topic. And as researchers explore topics before beginning new studies, a review is especially helpful to inform new projects by seeing what studies could be improved upon.
For more information on other reviews that have been done on massage therapy, please read the Massage Therapy Foundation review article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies.
The Massage Therapy Foundation continues to support and promote research as seen in this month's review. Registration is now open for the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference (IMTRC) that will be held in Seattle, Washington, May 12-15. Registration information as well as conference updates are now available on the website at www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
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