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Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Less Time Than Required
Q: When is it appropriate to use a modifier -52? Can I use it for a timed service when I do less than the time required by the code?
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
Work Stress and Musculoskeletal Health: Do Your Patients Get the Connection?
Most people underestimate the impact their job has on their health, especially if that job isn't particularly physically demanding. Big mistake.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
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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