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How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
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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