2014 -Research: The way to mow down massage misconceptions

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By Erika Kruger Building and maintaining ones own practice can become an all-consuming activity revolving around the business aspects thereof. This often leaves very little time to stay abreast of the latest research in the massage field. Professional bodies offset this dilemma by managing compulsory continued professional development programmes and the launch of such a programme by the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa for massage therapists seems to be imminent. But until then we are left to our own devices to research the newest developments in our chosen field. Thanks to modern technology, information is more accessible than ever before but it takes some practice to find ones way on the World Wide Web. Knowing that I regularly surf the Internet to find information for the blog Ingelyf / Somatalk and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/121493759109/) which I administer for the Massage Therapy Association SA, the editor of In Touch asked me to share with the readers what I come across in this column. The aim is not to regurgitate what is available on the Internet or in print. After all, reading the primary source is a fundamental principle of critical reading and the research process. In this column I would like to guide the readers to interesting and noteworthy developments directly and indirectly related to massage. We have to always keep in mind that no single research study offers the final answer to a question or problem. Theory is build up bit by bit and a hypothesis is only considered the most valid explanation for a phenomenon once the experiment which originally ‘proved’ it, has been repeated successfully by other researchers. It is thus vital that as health professionals we foster our skills of discrimination and critical evaluation when reading for research. Too often I still read outdated, unproven and unsubstantiated ‘facts’ in popular magazine articles and wellness websites spewed out by practitioners of a plethora of scientifically validated and not-validated therapies. More often these half-truths and blatant lies are repeated as gospel by patients. I make a point of mowing down these massage myths and misinformation as part of the informed consent process. There are stories like the one about a rubdown that can clear (unspecified) toxins from the body and the compulsory glass of water offered after a massage that assists in flushing it out. Or what about the tale about massaging the feet and ankles of pregnant women can lead to a miscarriage? I am sure you too have heard the one about the no-pain-no-gain approach being the only effective way of doing things. And then there is my all-time favourite: Massage can get rid of cellulite! Oh wouldn’t all of us have been wonderfully...

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2014 – Oncology Massage: What to look out for when treating a cancer patient

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By Heidi Rohr Oncology massage, also known as Cancer massage, is still believed to be taboo. Cancer, for me as a massage therapist, has always been a big no-no as I feared that massage therapy would cause the cancer to metastasise throughout the body. But I think my major fear was simply the disease itself. In the last year or so I have encountered a few patients with cancer, as I am sure many of you have. So, the questions that arise are: do we treat patients with cancer or don’t we? Is it more contra-indicated than indicated? What are the implications of massage therapy on a cancer patient and do they benefit from the massage treatment? Over the past few years there have been a number of studies conducted on the effects of massage on cancer patients. These studies have focused primarily on the „Big Five‟ cancer symptoms: pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression. One of these studies is the work of Janice Post-White, RN, PhD, associate professor, School of Nursing and Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota and the United Hospital in Saint Paul. 230 Consenting patients, all of whom were receiving some form of cancer treatment, (mainly chemotherapy) took part in the study of which only 164 completed the study. The first trial was four weeks long and subjects received four 45 minute treatments weekly. The study was divided into three categories: Massage Therapy (MT), Healing Touch (HT) using touch and non-touch techniques, and Presence (P). In presence the same environment was recreated as in HT and MT where a therapist was present in the treatment room with one of the participant, but did not intervene physically or provide a therapy. In order to fairly compare the effects of these therapies, each treatment was carried out in the same environment. At the conclusion of this study it was discovered that MT and HT reduced the respiratory rate, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure in subjects. However, there was no difference in pre- post nausea. It was also noted that there was a significant decrease in anxiety and total mood disturbances with MT; while HT reduced fatigue and total mood disturbance. MT and HT were able to reduce pain in 45 minute sessions and the short term relief was consistent. However, it was only the MT group that was able to reduce the dose of medication and the intensity of pain was noticeably lower in this group compared to the others. Another randomized trial was conducted on site; the purpose of the REST (reducing End-of-life Symptoms with Touch) study was to compare the efficiency of massage on cancer patients. It included 15 U.S. hospices that are...

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2014 – Relationship Awareness: Connecting with patients and understanding how to work best with different personalities.

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Author: Shelley Lewin, Life and Relationship Coach, SDI Certified Facilitator Wouldn’t it be great if your clients came with an instruction manual on how they like to be related to? Becoming a skilled Therapeutic Massage Therapist doesn’t only require instruction and understanding of the hard skills (anatomy knowledge, techniques, skills etc). Mastery, in an industry of service, requires the soft skills of how to be “good at” relationships; relating to each patient in a way that they appreciate and enjoy. It requires having insight into what drives us, what makes us tick, and empowers us to communicate in a way that achieves instant rapport and connection. Psychologist, clinical therapist, educator and author Elias Porter Ph.D. developed Relationship Awareness® Theory, which provides those insights. The theory is taught in an interactive way with its learning tool known as SDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory). It is a dynamic and powerful way of looking at human relationships that helps build communication, trust and empathy, reduce conflict and ultimately provide for more effective personal and professional relationships. Recently I had the privilege of presenting Relationship Awareness® at the second Conscious Movement Pilates Conference held in Cape Town this year, where international and renowned local presenters covered a wide range of topics including Pilates, Gyrotonic, Hellerwork, Kettle bells and more. The positive feedback from instructors on their insights into building relationships with clients was overwhelming. In essence, SDI helps us to understand what makes us tick, or what makes us feel good about ourselves in two sets of circumstances i.e. when things are going well, and when things are not going well (in conflict). Porter states as one of four main premises that behaviour is driven by motivation. He elaborates further by stating that there are, what he calls, 7 Motivational Value Systems (MVS). These MVS are divided into four main types, represented as colours. Recognizing early on what makes a client tick by asking the right kinds of questions and keeping an eye on observable behaviours, therapists are able to interpret to some degree, the Motivational Value System of their clients, from their clients’ behaviour/language. In an ideal situation, I would facilitate a half, full or two-day workshop. The theory extends far and deep, not even a two hour talk does it justice. For purposes of this article I have skimmed the surface extracting a few descriptions of each of the main MVS (the remaining three are a blend of two combinations e.g. red-blue, red-green, blue-green).Below is a generalization of the motivations driving the behaviour of the ‘types’ Red, Blue, Green and Hub BLUE CLIENTS: The ‘Nice’ people of the world. Expectation: A pleasurable experience Focus on: It being a friendly, caring, pleasant experience....

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2013 – The relationship between Adhesive Capsulitis or Frozen shoulder and Diabetes Mellitus

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Author: Erika Kruger Massage therapists are very familiar with the signs and symptoms of adhesive capsulitis (AC), the chronic fibrosing condition of the shoulder joint capsule, also known as frozen shoulder, shoulder periarthritis, or obliterative bursitis. But what is not readily known is that diabetes mellitus is one of the risk factors for this condition. In fact according to Dr Gordon Cameron, “(s)ome experts think that shoulder problems in diabetics are so common that they should be regarded as a complication of diabetes and not a coincidental event”. A variety of conditions involving contractures in joints and peri-articular soft tissue and accompanying joint mobility limitations have been identified in diabetic patients (Friedman 1989). In young, insulin-dependent diabetics it involves mostly the small joints of the hands and is usually less painful while in older diabetics, the large joints of the upper extremities also develop contractures. (Friedman 1989, Smith, Burnett & McNeil 2003:30) The most disabling of the common musculoskeletal problems in diabetics, is AC. The condition is characterised by progressive, painful restriction of shoulder movement. It develops in up to 20% of diabetic patients (Cameron) and is seen in especially insulin dependent diabetics with type 1 diabetics. According to Walk, the numbers may exceed 35%. Patients with diabetes are also more difficult to treat, take longer to heal and may be left with some residual trouble even with treatment. Furthermore there is a link with the duration of diabetes and the age of the patient (Smith et al 2003:30). Causes and Risk Factors AC is usually classified as either a primary condition or a secondary condition. Primary or idiopathic AC refers to cases where there are no significant and specific reasons for the pain and immobility. It arises spontaneously with no obvious preceding trigger factor. The secondary type of frozen shoulder develops after trauma, surgery or illness. Patients presenting with diabetes as well as a number of other medical conditions such as hyper- and hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis and Parkinson’s disease, appear to be predisposed to develop secondary AC. The natural history of the disease is characterised by three distinct phases: painful, adhesive, and resolution phases (Smith et al 2003:30). The painful phase starts with the gradual onset of an aching shoulder developing into a widespread pain pattern often worst at night and when lying on the affected side. This phase can last anywhere between 2-9 months. During the next phase stiffness starts to become a problem although pain level usually does not alter. The affected shoulder starts to interfere with daily tasks such as dressing, preparing food, carrying bags and working. Muscle wastage may be evident due to lack of use. This stage can last between four to...

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2013 – Benefits of Massage

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Therapeutic Massage Therapy is the mobilisation of soft tissue, for example: muscle, fascia and body fluids, to restore normal systemic and biomechanical, or functional, use. Massage is used to treat most musculo-skeletal and associated problems. Massage contributes towards improved circulatory, lymphatic and neurological functioning. Massage can be stimulating or soothing depending on the technique, depth and speed used and is both safe and effective when carried out by a trained registered therapist who, with the co-operation of the patient, helps to create balance and harmony from within. Therapeutic Massage is indicated as a relevant choice of health care in the following: Health maintenance and health promotion – Promotes general tissue health and encourages lifestyle and general health awareness. Stress management – Helps relieve associated muscular tension and encourages general relaxation. Post-operative care – Helps reduce recovery period and speeds up elimination of anaesthetic, as well as reducing pain and stiffness associated with bed-rest. Emotional and/or psychological disorders – Releases endorphins that help to uplift and reduce depression. Terminal illness – Helps reduce pain and discomfort associated with long term bed-rest as well as providing support and reducing the effects of emotional stress for the patient as well as the family. Chronic pain – Helps break the “pain – spasm” cycle whilst reducing associated muscle tightness. Care of the disabled – Provides emotional support as well as assisting in the maintenance of general tissue health. Sports’ participation – Improves performance and recovery and reduces the likelihood of serious injury. It is important to choose a registered Therapeutic Massage Therapist with care. Members of MTA are required to abide by a Code of Ethics that ensures patients are treated according to recognised professional and ethical standards. All members of MTA are registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South...

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