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B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Trends and Modalities: Are You Still Practicing Old School Techniques?
By James Waslaski
As an educator, it's critical to keep abreast of current research and to constantly challenge your belief systems. You may have read the popular article "Don't Get Married" (MT February 2008) written by a close friend and colleague Erik Dalton.1 In that piece, he cautioned manual therapists about getting too attached to trends and techniques for fear that new research findings may prove them totally wrong.Regardless of whether you are an educator, practicing therapist or both, keeping up-to-date with the latest information is essential to our profession; and in some cases, it will also keep old school techniques in the past where they belong.
I have spent six years writing a textbook (available this year) called Clinical Massage Therapy: A Structural Approach to Pain Management (Pearson Publishing). During that time, I've edited the information in that text hundreds of times based on the reviews of other manual therapists and the fact that many of my earlier thoughts on bodywork techniques have been proven, by recent clinical studies, to be flawed. Let me share some of the things I have taught in the past that, in light of new research, now seem embarrassingly inaccurate.
Old School Rule #1
Deep cross-fiber friction aligns scar tissue.
About 18 years ago, I wrote and taught that in the presence of a muscle-tendon strain, the appropriate therapy was to apply deep cross-fiber friction in one direction only for up to 6 minutes and then apply ice. The person I studied with made the claim that the act of deep cross-fiber friction had the ability to re-align the disorganized scar tissue. However, if you look at the disorganized fibers, several mistakes are apparent in this thought process.
Old School Rule #2
Clients presenting with chronic tendon pain due to overuse of the elbow, shoulder, knee, or Achilles tendon have tendonitis.
In 2000, Khan et al found no signs of inflammation in tissue biopsies from patients diagnosed with overuse syndromes such as tendonitis of the elbow, shoulder, patellar ligament and Achilles tendon - no lymphocytes, neutrophils or macrophages at a cellular level. Additionally, they observed no swelling, redness or inflammation on the surface level.4
In the absence of an inflammatory process, the more appropriate term to describe a muscle tendon strain is tendinosis. Khan and associates concluded that a majority of tendon pain could be resolved simply by reducing the load on the tendon or by restoring normal muscle resting length to opposing muscle groups. Once muscle balance is restored and the tendon is unloaded, the therapist must reevaluate the area via muscle resistance tests to isolate the strain. (Fig 3)
To more effectively soften and reorganize the cross-linked collagen matrix, I believe therapists need to gently apply multidirectional frictioning to the damaged area. (Fig. 4) Then, to eliminate the pain and restore pain-free movement from most overuse tendon injuries, techniques then include eccentric muscle contraction are helpful. (Fig. 5) Unfortunately, too many manual therapists are still applying aggressive and prolonged deep cross fiber frictioning to muscle-tendon strains and possibly turning tendinosis into tendonitis.
Old School Rule #3
Should we perform deep tissue or trigger point work to weak, inhibited muscles?
This particular old school teaching really concerns me. To make my point, I'd like to relate this to manual therapists doing trigger point or deep tissue work to weak, neurologically inhibited (overstretched) muscle groups, prior to treating the short tight muscle groups. For simplicity, let's first look at the short, contracted muscle groups doing the pulling and then we'll address the stretch-weakened antagonist muscles. In the majority of the people on the planet, the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and subscapularis are short and tight, causing the rhomboids, middle trapezius, and posterior rotator cuff muscles to become neurologically weak and inhibited due to eccentric loading.
When you start a client face up and lengthen the short, tight anterior muscle groups, you aid in relaxing the weak inhibited posterior shoulder stabilizers. Once the therapist manages to restore normal muscle resting lengths to the tight agonist muscle groups, it reciprocally turns down the noxious afferent stimuli and relieves many of the myofascial and neuromuscular pain patterns. However, the jury is still out on the trigger point part of this, but I have always gotten better results treating short, tight contracted muscle groups prior to treating weak, inhibited antagonists. (Figs 6-8)
In most of the population, I believe it's difficult to resolve trigger points (myofascial tender points) in the weak, inhibited rhomboids by starting a client face down and doing trigger point work. Since much of our pain comes from living in forward head flexed postures with medially rotated shoulders, starting a client face up often makes more sense. This assures that the majority of short flexor muscles groups are lengthened prior to working on weak, inhibited extensor muscle groups. This commonly seen distorted neuromyofascial postural pattern is illustrated in greater detail when you view Tom Myers' Anatomy Trains and in the upper and lower cross syndrome taught by Erik Dalton.
Medical Vs. Clinical Massage
In my own career, I started in the field of sports massage, and went on to learn more advanced work from some of the greatest pioneers and structural body workers in our industry. Orthopedic or clinical massage is now a total system rather than a single modality. That total system of assessments, special orthopedic testing, clinical reasoning, multidisciplinary and multimodality treatments, along with precise client self-care protocols will facilitate myoskeletal alignment and eliminate pain and injuries. It will also optimize athletic performance, aligning us with all other manual therapists for the best interest of each client. Having said that, the question arises: Is this sports massage, clinical massage, medical massage or are we simply talking about massage with intent to bring the body back into balance, facilitate healing, and eliminate pain?
I'll be writing an in-depth article on the subject of medical massage in an upcoming issue, but, for now, let's loosely define this commonly used name. I believe "medical massage" should be considered an umbrella term to include most forms of specific restorative and enhancement manual therapy techniques, particularly those directed at resolving a client's/patient's particular pain complaints. I chose to use the term "clinical massage" in the title of my book in order to honor and respect the many other modalities that have an amazing effect in changing medical outcomes i.e., cranial and visceral manipulation, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, posturology, myoskeletal alignment, anatomy trains, structural integration, oriental bodywork and the list goes on. Even a good relaxing massage to reduce the stress that leads to many diseases and illnesses plays a critical role under the umbrella of medical massage.
The fact is, positive things begin to accelerate exponentially when therapists learn to blend multiple touch-therapy assessment and treatment modalities with functional retraining to better address our client's/patient's pain and injury conditions. Much more information will be shared in future articles about the scope and practice of medical and clinical massage and the positive attributes gleaned by combining various modalities in an evidence-based clinical practice.
Author Note: The material presented at the World Fascia Congresses is a good example of how quickly information about the "stuff we touch" changes. www.fasciacongress.org/2012
Click here for more information about James Waslaski.
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