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 legal and professional parameters of sports massage

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FOCUS ON SPORTS MASSAGE: In terms of the current South African health and education legislation, the use of the term ‘sports massage therapist’ is illegal. Therapeutic Massage Therapy representative on the Allied Health Professions Council (SA), Briony Esterhuysen. Sports massage is a term that is bandied around by current and prospective massage therapists as well as training institutions wishing to portray a trendy niche service namely treating sports injuries with massage. In South Africa where the profession of Therapeutic Massage Therapy is statutory recognised it is important that we understand the legal context of using the term sports massage therapist in relation to the professional practice of Therapeutic Massage Therapy when treating athletes and patients in the professional practice. The scope of treatment for athletes traditionally extends to pre- and post-event treatment, maintenance treatment to manage wear and tear and the development of myofascial lines of tension as well as the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. For this reason, if a therapeutic massage therapist has an interest in sport or participates in sport himself or herself, they will have a more realistic approach to the treatment needs of the athlete. SPORTS MASSAGE IN THE LEGAL CONTEXT There is however only one statutory register in that permits the practice of any form of massage for gain. This register entitled Therapeutic Massage Therapy is controlled by the Allied Health Professions Act, No 63 of 1982 and its regulations. A person whose name appears in this register may use the designation Therapeutic Massage Therapist after their name to indicate the nature of their professional practice. According to Section 16B of the abovementioned regulations, the requirements for registration as a therapeutic massage therapist with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa, is a two-year qualification in Therapeutic Massage Therapy inclusive of all the prescribed subjects. No specific register exists for Sports Massage Therapy and there is no accredited training in to become a Sports Massage Therapist. As such the use of the term Sports Massage Therapist in reference to a therapist’s professional practice or nature of practice is illegal within the context of the South African health and education legislation. In the absence of a register entitled Sports Massage Therapy, the use of the terms specialising in sports massage or sports massage specialist among others as a qualifier in conjunction with the designation of the qualification Therapeutic Massage Therapist, is also illegal practise. To compound the transgression, it constitutes fraud as pointed out earlier, there is also no post-diploma qualification in sports massage currently available. Should a post-diploma qualification in sports massage be approved and legislated at some stage in the future, training will have to conform to higher education norms. This...

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2013 – Sell yourself! Ideas for more effective marketing

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Every therapist’s marketing campaign has to target a primary market (the patients) and a secondary market namely other health professionals. Therapists often focus on the primary market but neglect to pursue the secondary market. They tend to underestimate or deliberately avoid marketing their businesses to other health professionals despite it being an important source of new patients especially now that Therapeutic Massage Therapy is in the process of getting medical aid recognition. Promoting massage therapy to the public Make sure all marketing and promotion campaigns align with the Allied Health Professions Act. Establish a niche market – cultivate a field of interest e.g. pregnancy massage, orthopaedic massage, sports massage. Make your services known through advertisements in publications and websites that reflect the culture and life world of a health profession. Write letters of introduction to support groups and organisations. Sign up to internet referral lists such as the MTA list and other appropriate websites. Encourage word of mouth promotion by providing a safe, ethical and professional service. Consider a leaflet drop, taking into account that research has shown that it is one of the marketing strategies with possibly the lowest return rate. Address interest groups in person, on the radio and in printed articles. Make an effort to research your subject thoroughly beforehand (If you are unsure about content or legality of your article or presentation, consult with the MTA). Avoid copyright and reproductive right infringements at all cost. Promoting massage therapy to health professionals The most effective way of making your services known to colleagues is to meet them face to face. Although telephone calls, letters of introduction, asking patients to hand your business card to their primary health practitioners all contribute to raising awareness, it is the personal interview that will be the most effective marketing tool. Other ways of disseminating information about your profession and yourself is through writing journal articles and making presentations to health professionals. Link your marketing strategy including advertising, public relations, advocacy and awareness raising campaigns to the Health Awareness Days published in the MTA Notice Board. This not only brings you in contact with potential patients but also other health professionals. Remember the principle of abundance and rather than view them as ‘enemies’, build strong and loyal relationships with other massage therapists in your area. As colleagues we form part of one another’s referral system. If every body is a potential customer, there are more than enough business out there for all of us. Although the laws and regulations pertaining to advertising and promotion pertaining to Therapeutic Massage Therapy may seem restrictive, with some creative thought and a clear understanding of what is allowed and what not, innovative and resourceful opportunities...

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2013 – Scope of Practice

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What is SOP and why do we have one? by B Esterhuysen Every profession has a Scope of Practice. The SOP is written after broad consultation with all stakeholders in a profession, in conjunction with the Department of Health, Legal Department and the professional bodies representing those and affected professions. It is a legal document that defines exactly a health professional can do in practice. Broad consultation in our case was with the other nine professions on the AHPC, the Integrated Health Professions Liaison Committee as well as other stakeholders such as the beauty industry, the Health Professions Industry e.g. physiotherapy, nursing, and doctors. The Massage Therapy Association team was the key negotiator on our behalf and the final result is a balance between what we would like, what we were allowed to do legally according to our current training standards and what concessions we were able to negotiate with the other stakeholders whose territory we share. The SOP is to prevent a health professional from impinging on other professions’ territory as well as to clearly define what we can do. Please note that the SOP above is defined into two sections, the first is what every therapeutic massage therapist can do according to our standard training and the second section (B ii) is for therapeutic massage therapists who have undergone additional training. In a nutshell the purpose of a SOP is: to maintain the boundaries and limitations of the profession to clearly spell out roles to prevent misunderstanding to protect the public by ensuring that the health professional practices according to his/her training to define the professions activities a legally enforceable document Contravention of the SOP is a serious offence. For this reason it is in your best interests to ensure that you understand the SOP of a Therapeutic Massage Therapist as once it has been published in the Government Gazette, you cannot plead ignorance. Should you require any further information, as your Council representative I will gladly assist you. Should there be any changes in the SOP in the future, we will keep you informed via “In...

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