resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
Chiropractic: The Right Choice for Relieving LBP
"Low back pain (LBP) is a common threat to medicine and a reasonable threat to all national health care systems. ... Reducing ineffective treatments is necessary to decrease the LBP associated costs."
Correcting Kid Logic in Health Care and Research Design
A recent broadcast on public radio described a fascinating phenomenon known as kid logic.
The Potter's Wheel: Reflections on Practicing in a Technology-Driven World
In my very early years of practice, an older patient named Cora would call me at home, usually late Sunday night after she had consumed an unknown quantity of beer.
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
Medicine Presents: A Great Opportunity
The changing nature of health care presents both opportunities and challenges. While we tend to focus on our profession, we can sometimes forget the impact other health care professions can have on us.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
Remembering Joe Weider (1920-2013)
With the death of Joe Weider, the world's most famous body-building visionary, crusader, fitness magazine publisher and icon, on March 23, 2013, chiropractic has lost one of its greatest friends and supporters.
News in Brief
Controversial Florida PIP Law Under Review; D'Youville Chiro. Students Learning Art of Co-Managing; And the Award Goes To...; F4CP Recognizes Major Contribution by ChiroTouch.
Side Effects From Big Pharma: Wellbutrin – Dangerous for You and Your Baby
Are some of your pregnant patients taking Wellbutrin? If so, it could be a danger to them and their baby. This drug is extremely popular, but it has a serious history.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Patient Perception and the Farce of "Fast Relief"; A Fly in the Ointment; Persecuted for Choosing to Practice Chiropractic.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Why You Should Get to Know the National Vaccine Information Center
Barbara Loe Fisher has been a diligent advocate for providing parents with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the usage of vaccinations for their children.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
What the Science Says About Magnesium Stearate
It's often been said that scientific studies can be used to support just about anything. But discoveries are never made one study at a time.
Helping Infertility Patients with the Spirit Essence
As many of you know, when it comes to treating infertility, we are dealing with a patient population that is, generally speaking, in emotional turmoil. These patients often experience fear, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, grief and anger.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
Going Shoeless: The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running
With the subculture of barefoot runners and the products catering to them growing daily, just about every chiropractor has been asked at one point or another about their opinion regarding barefoot running.
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Some Thoughts on the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is an interesting and dynamic articulation that can cause a lot of problems.
SOAP Notes: It's Time for a Cleaning
I have been planning for some time to write an article about how traditional SOAP notes do not fit chiropractic practice, and the unfairness of holding DCs to a model clearly created for and primarily applicable to medical physicians.
Have a Heart: Say No to Soda
It's not enough that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to cavities and weight gain, among other negative health consequences.
Are They Finally Fixing Medicare Reimbursement?
Even with federal sequestration cuts taking effect in March, including a 2 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement to health care providers, hope may be on the horizon in the form of a much-anticipated, perpetually suggested overhaul of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which serves as the basis for determining physician reimbursement.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
Research Abstracts From the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics
Effect of Pain Relief on Lumbar Muscle Function and Activation; Effects of Thrust Amplitude and Duration of HVLA Spinal Manipulation; Immediate Effects of Upper Thoracic Manipulation on Cardiovascular Response.
A Building Block of Healthy Aging
Coenzyme Q10 has gained enormous attention in recent years, and with good reason —it's the Energizer Bunny of the cellular world.
Help in Understanding Parkinson's, Part 2
In part one of this series from the April issue, I presented an understanding of Parkinson's disease (PD), its symptoms and current medical treatment. Now we'll take a look at how massage and other bodywork may play an important role in managing symptoms and offering those with PD a better quality of life.
I'd like to challenge you to ponder what it means for a person living with PD to have "quality of life." Most massage therapists immediately think of tremors and muscle stiffness when asked to name a symptom of Parkinson's disease (PD). What about symptoms that can't be seen but only experienced by the people living with this progressive neurological disease? The Parkinson's Outcomes Project reports that negative mood and depression have the greatest impact on health status and that 40% of people with PD experience depression and/or anxiety disorder.
These symptoms seem to have even greater impact on quality of life than motor symptoms. There's constant frustration from struggling to get through daily activities. But I've observed another invisible symptom – feeling isolated. One symptom of PD is a mask-like expression that comes from poor motor control of facial muscles. The subtleties we rely on for communication and social connection are gone. Imagine a man with PD at a social gathering, say a neighborhood picnic. Here's a man who can't move or walk well so will stay in one place and has a blank and staring expression on his face. Is this a person who will likely be approached by others? I suspect not. Strangers will misread the expression as boredom and withdrawal. Acquaintances may feel uneasy about what to say as they notice the changes that have occurred and avoid him. Closer friends may overcompensate for their uneasiness and dote or be overly helpful. Children may even be a little frightened of him. The end result is that few people will treat this man as they would have before PD. Satisfying social relationships must be hard to come by for many people living with the symptoms of PD.
I have a client who has, for many years, been an active board member of a community music guild. In his early seventies, he developed PD, however he continued to be involved on the board. During a recent session, he told me about the board meeting he attended last week. He said that hardly anyone spoke to him directly and he felt ignored. "I'm the same person," he told me. "Do I smell? I'll never go back." The more I think about this, the more I realize the full impact of his statements. He's been cut out of a community and he knows it. Now, he's left to wrestle with the loss and anger along with feelings of low self-worth. I don't think his situation is unique at all. So how can we, as massage therapists, make a positive difference?
Which modalities are most effective?
It's reported that up to 40% of individuals who have PD use at least one type of complementary therapy with herbal supplements, vitamins, massage and acupuncture most commonly used. I was curious about which bodywork modalities have proven most effective. The following is a survey of the literature along with my personal experience.
Alexander Technique: This educational method teaches the client how to change faulty postural habits to improve mobility, performance and alertness along with relief of chronic stiffness, tension and stress. Main benefits are coordination of the musculoskeletal system, improved breathing, vocal production and speed and accuracy of movement. One study demonstrated that following 24 lessons in Alexander Technique, people with PD had less depression and greater self-concept. These results were sustained for six months. Alexander Technique may have the greatest impact on these PD symptoms: bradykinesia, which means slow, deliberate movements and difficulty performing rapid alternating movements such as combing one's hair or clapping. Because Alexander Technique uses a cognitive approach to re-learning movement patterns it may also help develop new neural pathways in the brain to compensate for those no longer functioning properly. The client may also feel empowered by being actively involved in learning new movement patterns resulting in improved mood and feelings of confidence and self-worth.
Neuromuscular Therapy: This approach is described as soft tissue manipulation techniques including myofascial release, positional release and trigger point techniques. One study examined the effects of neuromuscular therapy on motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. Following treatments twice a week for four weeks, clients had significant decreased tremor and improved rapid alternating movements (finger tapping). However, clients did not have substantial changes in mood. It appears that neuromuscular therapy may be most beneficial for motor symptoms of PD, which would contribute to improved ability to perform activities of daily living.
Swedish Massage: In my experience, rocking broad compression and moderate pressure effleurage seem especially effective for PD symptoms. Rocking stimulates the vestibular system as well as the proprioceptor nerves in the skin, joints and muscles which may improve postural tone while promoting an overall relaxation response. Gentle, sustained compression applied to muscles that are rigid or hypertonic encourages "letting go" or relaxation of the muscle and increases range of motion at least temporarily allowing greater postural comfort for those who have advanced PD. Broad, slow-stroke effleurage on the full back seems especially helpful. Studies have shown that three minutes of slow-stroke back massage decreases blood pressure and heart rate while skin temperature increases. Slow-stroke back massage has been used as a common nursing intervention to help patients sleep. We've long understood the link between massage and improved mood. One study showed that Swedish massage increased serotonin and dopamine levels by 28% and 31% respectively while decreasing cortisol levels by 31%. This is important in understanding that massage changes the biochemistry of the body and decreasing stress reactions.
It's clear that touch therapies can be effective in easing the physical symptoms of PD which goes a long way in improving function and alleviating physical discomfort. But I'd like to go back to those hidden symptoms I described earlier, the frustration, isolation and feelings of low self-worth. Let's look beyond bodywork to the power of compassionate human touch to heal in ways we are only beginning to fully understand. The man I described who felt shunned by his peers looks forward to our sessions which take place in his home. Following the massage, he reports decreased pain and appears physically comfortable and is able to move his arms a little smoother. But what shines through the physical benefit is a shift in his demeanor. The other day he told me how much our sessions mean to him. "You treat me like I still matter." I believe his statement had nothing to do with bodywork but rather by reaching past the disease to serve the human being inside of the body impacted by PD.
Acceptance and compassionate presence comes through caring human touch. I'll close with a quote from one of the sources for this article, "While complementary treatment modalities are used widely by patients with PD, only use of various massage techniques seems to improve subjective well-being and quality of life," from Rehabilitation Interventions in Parkinson Disease by Alex Moroz, MD, et.al.