resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Recliner Test
"Hi, Bill, how are you?" "Oh, I'm OK, Doc. I've got pain down the leg again, so I thought I would stop by and get you to check it."
News in Brief
In Remembrance: A Moment of Silence for Dr. Dick Versendaal; NYCC Named Chiropractic College of the Year by ACA; National University Partners With Indiana VA Facility.
Enhancing TCM with Enzymes
Herbal formulations are an integral component for most Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners. One of the best ways to enhance their effectiveness is the addition of plant-based enzymes.
Are You Driving Patients Toward Dependence on Big Pharma?
Over the years I have had the opportunity to talk to doctors of chiropractic about health promotion, wellness and preventive care in chiropractic practice.
Alternatives to the Rainy Day Fund: Better Things to Do With Your Money
Google "rainy day fund" and you'll find the predominant and traditional advice given today is that you need to have three months of living expenses saved for an emergency. Some even recommend six months or more.
Chinese Herbs Debut at the Cleveland Clinic
Chinese herbal medicine is now being prescribed at the Cleveland Clinic thanks to a trailblazing team of people.
Making Sense of Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is big business, evidenced by not only the laundry lists of medications patients bring me aimed at managing inflammation, but also the never-ending stream of advertisements for anti-inflammatory supplements that constantly find their way to my desk.
Revisiting the Neurological Exam
In spinal trauma or disease, the neurological exam chiefly aims to determine whether one (or more) of three basic neurological conditions is present: myelopathy, radiculopathy and peripheral nerve disorder.
Dry Needling is Acupuncture: Anatomy of a Legal Victory in Oregon
On January 23, 2014, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners "dry needling" administrative rule, which allowed chiropractic physicians to perform acupuncture after only 24 hours of training.
Environmental Toxins: Cause of Modern Illness (Part I)
Environmental toxins have created burdens on the human body that put demands beyond our evolutionary development. Modern diseases that historically did not exist to any great degree have been rising sharply in the last 40 years.
Dietary Supplement Research: Contradictions, Bias, Misinterpretation and Confusion
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Shouldn't the Pentagon Know More About Chiropractic Care? Office Flow: Have You Reviewed the Patient Experience Lately? Let's Stop Confusing the Public About Chiropractic; Cutting Down the Cherry Tree.
Colorado to Have the First Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps in the U.S.
In the summer of 2012, Colorado was on fire. Literally. Many acupuncturists from around the state, especially those who had received disaster response training through AWB, wanted to help those affected by the fires as well as the first responders and tireless state and local officials, with the healing and stress-relief of acupuncture.
Evaluating Prenatal and Pediatric Automobile Injuries
Often in a family practice, one of your patients or an entire family is in an automobile accident and you are sought out to provide care for their soft-tissue injuries.
AAAOM: Facing An Ultimatum
On the heels of the growing discontent with leaders of the AAAOM, the Council of State Associations (CSA) recently took it upon themselves to present the organization with an ultimatum: for all board members to resign from the board and turn the organization over to the CSA or they will proceed on their own to become the primary representative of the AOM profession.
How Much is Enough?
One of the primary arguments used against acupuncture care is the overuse of treatment. Some people say, "once you go, you have to go forever."
Arch Height and Running Shoes: The Best Advice to Give Patients
Because runners with different arch heights are prone to different injuries, running shoe manufacturers have developed motion-control, stability and cushion running shoes for low-, neutral- and high-arched runners, respectively.
Chiropractic Management of Sports-Related Tendinopathy
Tendinopathy is increasing in prevalence and accounts for a substantial percentage of sports injuries. Despite the magnitude of the disorder, research on chiropractic treatment is limited.
Through the Eyes of a Child
Once upon a time there was a girl name Lucy. Lucy had cancer, but she had a heart filled with love and compassion. Please come along to hear this story of an amazing child, her tenacity and her dream to help other children.
Anti-Aging: Educating Your Patients About The Skin
We know that cosmetic acupuncture works but what then? Education is a key part to the practice of Chinese medicine and when you practice cosmetic acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, etc., it is time talk about skin with your patients.
Your Chance to Go Back to High School
As the father of a student who recently entered high-school sports (soccer), I have come to recognize an untapped opportunity for the chiropractic profession.
San Zhen Protocols Part II: Case Studies
In my last article, I presented a collection of three-point acupuncture combinations which can provide effective clinical results.
Socializing In My Slippers
When I graduated college, I had grandiose dreams of becoming an amazing acupuncturist. I wanted to build a great practice and make a good living. For four years, 13 semesters to be exact, I had a spreadsheet.
The Right Idea at the Right Time
On Feb. 28, 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed David Brown, DC, as new director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions.
Shoulder Strategies: Reduce Pain, Improve Function With Proper Taping
Shoulder pain / dysfunction is a common problem for chiropractic patients. Clinicians who utilize elastic therapeutic taping as part of their treatment approach know it can be effective for a variety of shoulder problems.
What Does an Evidence-Based Practice Look Like?
We hear a lot these days about evidence-based practice (EBP). As massage therapy becomes more accepted as an allied health profession, I think it's important that we continue to build an evidence-based case for why massage works. So, what makes a practice evidenced-based? I hope to give you a basic understanding of EBP and offer examples from my own work elders in long-term care facilities.
Definitions of EBP vary somewhat but they all seem to agree that EBP is a combination of:
The desired outcome of EBP is optimal service to each client/patient on a case-by-case basis. I've paraphrased the steps presented by Duke University Medical School to determine if an approach, modality or method is indeed evidence-based. What we are really trying to find out is whether the methods or techniques we use really are effective to meet the client's need and why or why not? Then we can be confident in the actions we take in caring for our client and also when we articulate the benefits of our services.
Start with the client's clinical problem or a question which arises from the care of the client. Identify the need or problem of the individual client. What's the reason you are seeing this client? Generally, the reason for referral or the client's stated goal is a good place to start.
For example, I have a client who has Alzheimer's disease who is cared for in a memory support unit of an assisted living facility. She becomes increasingly physically agitated (rummaging through other elder's things and grabbing people's arms as they walk by her) and disoriented (going into other people's rooms) in the afternoons, disturbing those who also live there. She has been referred in hopes of calming her and easing the agitated, restless behavior.
Construct a well-built clinical question derived from this client's problem. The question must be phrased in such a way as to facilitate finding an answer when you look for relevant research. The question should include: 1. The key problem of the patient; 2. What treatment, method or modalities are you are considering using; and 3. The desired outcome.
In the case of my client, I might ask this question: "In people with Alzheimer's disease, is hand massage and/or back massage effective in reducing physical agitation or restlessness?"
Select the appropriate resource(s) and conduct a search. The type of question we ask can help lead us to the best type of study or research to look for. Massage therapy questions often center on how to select treatments that do more good than harm and that are worth the efforts and costs of using them. We're told by the Duke team that randomized controlled trials are best to look for when asking a therapy or treatment question. They offer this explanation of this kind of study: "Randomized controlled clinical trials are carefully planned experiments that introduce a treatment or exposure to study its effect on real patients. They include methodologies that reduce the potential for bias (randomization and blinding) and that allow for comparison between intervention groups and control (no intervention) groups. A randomized controlled trial is a planned experiment and can provide sound evidence of cause and effect."
It's important to understand that just searching the internet for articles isn't enough. We must be careful about the source. The quip, "if it's written on the Web, it must be so," does not apply here! So, where should we look? One recommended source is PubMed/MEDLINE, a respected database of literature. It's beyond the scope of this article to explain how to go about a search in PubMed, however there are tutorials on that website. Since my question is a therapy question, I set out to find studies that used randomized controlled trials about hand and/or back massage to decrease agitation in people with dementia. I found a number of studies exploring massage in dementia care. Several abstracts of the articles report that hand or slow-stroke back massage reduced anxiety, restlessness and other forms of agitation. My next task is to review the articles to see if the methods used for the study meet criteria for valid research.
Appraise that evidence for its validity (closeness to the truth) and applicability (usefulness in clinical practice). Fortunately, there are guides to help with this process. We are looking to answer three basic questions:
In the end, we want to have confidence in the research we cite. One example from my search is a 2008 study, Favorite Music and Hand Massage: Two Interventions to Decrease Agitation in Residents with Dementia. In my best judgment, this study holds up to the criteria for validity. It compares the effectiveness of favorite music (FM) and hand massage (HM) in reducing agitated behaviors. Researchers found that following ten minute sessions of FM and HM individually and combined significantly decreased agitation for up to an hour following the session.
Apply the results to your client. Integrate that evidence with clinical expertise, patient preferences and apply it to practice. So, back to my client. Because the afternoon is the time when she becomes more restless, I schedule sessions for mid-afternoon twice a week. Sessions consists of hand massage, slow-stroke back massage and focused one-to-one attention. I also do staff education, teaching them how to do a simple five minute hand massage and focused touch.
Evaluate client's response to treatment. What result do you see in the individual client? Were they similar or different from results you found in the research? Do you need to make adjustments to your approach? In the case of my client, she was receptive to receiving hand and back massage and she tolerated a thirty minute session without distraction when the session was carried out in a quiet room. She was talkative during the hand massage and often fell asleep during the back massage. At the end of the session, she remained in a calm, quiet state from thirty minutes to an hour. The care staff reported that they noticed a decrease in the restless behaviors, especially her tendency to grab people's arms. The staff used the simple hand massage protocol in the late afternoon and reported it seemed to also help relax her and that she enjoyed the interaction and smiled.
Where does my clinical experience fit in to all this? I've had hundreds of sessions with elders living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, many of whom have some degree of agitated behavior, anxiety and restlessness. It's been my experience that human touch, massage and compassionate presence ease these issues and have a profound effect on enhancing quality of life. I've also witnessed the effect of shared human touch on the ability of a person with advanced dementia to engage in relationship.
And last, but certainly not least, what about my client's needs, preferences, expectations? It's a little tricky sometimes to determine what my client might want or need when she can't state them clearly because of dementia. It falls to me to tune in to the non-verbal cues. People with dementia tell us a lot about their inner world and needs through behavior. My client's restless behaviors that annoyed others are her way of communicating a need in the moment. Perhaps she's lonely or is disoriented and thinks she needs to get home to take care of her kids. I also always know that one universal expectation of each client is to have basic human needs met and to be treated with respect.
Taking all this into account, can I state with confidence that my approach is evidence-based? I believe that, yes, I can. I hope this has helped you understand what evidence-based practice is all about so you can perhaps apply it to your own work.