Lost A Sale, But Initial Phone Consultations — A Big Part Of Brilliant Customer Service
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What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Research Examines Effectiveness of Thai Massage and Physical Therapy
Contributed by April V. Neufeld, BS, LMP; Jolie Haun, PhD, EdS, LMT; & Renee Stenbjorn, MPA, LMT
If you have ever plunged into the details of an original published research article, then you know how tedious some research can be to read. However, if you have ever been too afraid to explore an original article, then let this month's Massage Therapy Foundation research column review be a call to face your fears! The research in a recent publication of Clinical Interventions in Aging is a great place to start exploring scientific writing. "The efficacy of traditional Thai massage in decreasing spasticity in elderly stroke patients" is an easy read compared to most research papers, and although it has it's fair share of statistics and graphs, the authors do an excellent job of explaining their process.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of traditional Thai massage to traditional physical therapy for decreasing muscle spasticity in stroke patients over the age of 50 years. A group of subjects (n=50) were randomly assigned to either the traditional Thai massage (TTM) or the physical therapy (PT) group. Since muscle spasticity causes pain and can limit functional abilities affecting posture and joint contracture, this condition often affects quality of life (QoL) and emotional states. The researchers measured anxiety and depression, activities of daily living (ADL), limb motor function and muscle spasticity. Functional abilities in self care and mobility were measured with the Barthel Index (BI), where a high score (0-20) means better function. The modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) measured spasticity (0 = no increase in muscle tone and 4 = the effected body part is ridged in flexion or extensions).
The study outlines the participant exclusion process and presents a clear flowchart (Figure 1) to illustrate their approach to screening 220 people at study onset to the final follow-up at week 6 of the 50 subjects. For readers who might be considering creating their own research study, this figure in conjunction with the methods section provides an excellent illustration of how small sample sizes can result in useful research. It's often difficult to find willing volunteers; volunteers who are not excluded for various risk factors and who are dedicated to finishing the study protocol. If you read through Figure 1, you will see that of the 26 people assigned to the PT group, 4 of them did not complete the final follow-up due to "inconvenience." This is fairly common in research studies involving any volunteers.
The TTM routine was standardized by an unnamed Thai massage organization and performed by certified practitioners. Often research articles do not describe the massage therapy techniques being studied in clear enough detail for replication. Fortunately, this publication (see Table S1) described the TTM routine, areas and duration of treatment (in minutes). Unfortunately, the PT description was lacking similar detail. Both groups (TTM n=24, PT n=26) received one hour treatments, twice a week for six weeks.
If you read the original article, the statistical analysis and results sections may seem intimidating at first, but I encourage you to read through them. The authors provide simple and accurate descriptions of their findings and provide an excellent discussion of the study limitations. If you do read through the study and if you do not have training in statistics the results may appear to you to support TTM over PT, but for each test category the study found no statistical difference between PT and TTM groups.
Here is an outline of the results at week six:
The authors do an excellent job discussing the limitations of this study, suggesting future research is needed with larger sample sizes. Also they suggest subjects with a low functional mobility score (low BI at the beginning of the study) could have indicated a higher likelihood of developing spasticity and a lower likelihood of recovery. This study did not evaluate the long-term effects of either TTM or PT on spasticity.
Based on the findings, you may be wondering what the benefit is for stroke patients receiving TTM when the standard treatment is equally effective. First, it is important for patients and healthcare providers to know that alternative (TTM) and traditional (PT) options of treatment are available which produce similar outcomes. This can support individualized treatments plans based on personal preferences. Second, in a world of challenges with insurance and billing, increasingly treatment options are directed by effectiveness of treatment and cost. Although this study does not address this subject, cost of TTM and PT should be considered. In general, the health care industry is in need of cost effective options, as such cost comparison studies are needed to determine how much could potentially be saved, in the case where different treatment options may not produce statistically different outcomes.
Overall, this study provides an example of bodywork therapy research that is clearly illustrated and mostly replicable, making an important contribution to the field of massage therapy research. For those readers interested in case reports, this study could potentially be used as a roadmap for writing your own report. The methods used to evaluate effects of TTM on spasticity (measuring spasticity, QoL, depression, anxiety, and functional ability) could be used to measure the efficacy of TTM on other conditions or massage therapy's effect on spasticity.
Are you a massage therapy student who has an interesting case of your own? The deadline to submit to the MTF Student Case Report Contest is June 1, 2015. If you or your students are interested in learning how to write and submit a case report of your own, check out the MTF's five-part case report webinar series to learn the how to write a winning case report.
To learn more about the effects of massage therapy, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation review article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies.