Archive for tag: integrative medicine

Massage for Severely Ill Children

National University grad Karen Selph ('03) was recently featured on a local television news segment on bringing the benefits of massage therapy to severely ill children. Karen works as a massage therapist at Maryville's Children's Healthcare Center in Chicago.

Screenshot of video featuring Karen Selph

Karen is just one of our grads who are taking advantage of new applications for massage in an integrative medicine environment.

Massage Therapists Partnering with Chiropractic Physicians

2014-08-11_massageOne fantastic career opportunity for massage therapists is to work for a chiropractic physician. DCs (doctors of chiropractic) love to offer patients the option of massage therapy as a beneficial addition to their treatment plan. Having a part-time massage therapist on-site as part of their practice makes this easy and financially rewarding for the DC as well as for the massage therapist.

The "Massage Book" blog has a great article called "How to Partner with a Chiropractor". Many National University massage graduates choose this option as either the focus of their career, or as a part-time option in addition to a small practice of their own. Here are more recommendations from an MT who works in a chiropractic office.

If you want to work with DCs or other medical professionals, there are many advantages in choosing National University for your massage therapy education:

  • You'll be studying on a campus that also has students in chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine degree programs. 
  • In addition to seasoned massage professionals, many of your instructors will also be chiropractic physicians.
  • You'll serve your clinical internship in our integrative medical clinic, working alongside students and clinicians from our various medical specialties.
  • You'll often treat clients who are patients of our clinic, and get accustomed to working with treatment recommendations prepared by chiropractic physicians.

Preparing you to work in partnership with other medical professionals is just one way National University gives you a career advantage in massage therapy.

Research on Massage and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recent findings from the Touch Research Institutes of the University of Miami School of Medicine show marked improvement in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis after massage therapy.

Specifically, after moderate pressure massage therapy, those with rheumatoid arthritis had less pain, greater grip strength and improved range of motion in their upper limbs. (Read a summary of this latest research.)

2013-07-31_massagehand

In fact, the Arthritis Foundation has great things to say about massage therapy as a pain relief option for those living with arthritis. Research has shown that massage can lower the body's production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, improving sleep as a result. (Read the three-page report on massage therapy and arthritis.)

When you train as a massage therapist in a clinical environment, you'll have more exposure to clients seeking massage for medical conditions, such as arthritis. A key advantage in earning your massage therapy certification at National University of Health Sciences is its internship in the on-campus integrative medical clinic. Here, you will not only practice massage geared toward relaxation and wellness, but also have the chance to work with clients referred by physicians from a variety of medical specialties. Your massage will be part of an over all treatment plan managed by the client's physician.

Integrative Medicine

Deb -lrgRecently I had the opportunity to attend a symposium of integrative medicine professionals in New Mexico. Since I was there representing National as an exhibitor, I did not attend the many exciting and innovative workshops, but I did speak to many exciting and innovative health care practitioners who are inspired to bring their practices to another level in patient care. Making the adventure even more interesting was the diversity of the participants. In attendance and conducting workshops were MDs, PhDs, RNs, dietitians, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, oriental medicine practitioners, acupuncturists, and yes, massage therapists.

Of most interest to me was the fact that a good portion of the workshops were lead or assisted by MDs. I think that I have unfairly grouped MDs together as practitioners who prefer to work with other MDs and shun complementary and alternative care providers. Nothing could have been further from the truth in this setting. If I were from Mars and came to earth for the first time landing smack dab in the middle of this group I would feel their unity, their deep and abiding desire to help and nurture. and be very impressed with the quality of care offered to earthlings.

The only things that resembled any other conference or symposium that I've ever attended were a continental breakfast, refreshment breaks and lunch on your own! Seriously, this was so far off the beaten path and so intense in its purity and energy that I felt privileged to rub elbows with these forward thinking professionals.

The first day started with a keynote presentation on the future of integrative medicine. Workshops included: Integrative Pain Management; Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; Native American Healing Practices; and Mexican Folk Healing. The afternoon sessions concentrated on cardiology with an Integrative Cardiology; Yoga Therapy for Cardiovascular Health; and Prayer, Healing and the Soul. Day two covered oncology and pediatrics and these sessions included: Chinese Herbal Medicine in Integrative Oncology; Restorative Qualities of Oncology Massage, Yoga for Breast Cancer; Chiropractic Medicine in Adults and Children; Homeopathy in Daily Practice; Healing with Hypnotherapy in Children; and Indigenous Healing Traditions.

Day three addressed women's health issues including nutrition, osteoporosis, chronic stress, and core strength. The symposium concluded with a look at integrative pharmacy with workshops that included The Herbal Kitchen, Ayurvedic Pharmacy, and a Botanicals Panel.

Being a huge supporter of complementary and alternative care, I was in awe of the amount of information that was exchanged by these leaders in integrative medicine. There was an outpouring of support for one another, an eagerness to learn from each other, and a yearning to create a new model of health care together.

Some of the additional benefits offered at this conference were sunrise yoga and meditation at 6:30 am. Our continental breakfast had background music from a harpist one day and a flutist another - and there wasn't a sweet roll or donut in sight. Complementary chair massages were offered by students of the massage program at the University of New Mexico. One evening there was a community ritual for healing offered offsite at the Dragonfly Sanctuary and participants were asked to fast for the day for optimal success. There was much buzz the next morning about how extraordinary the experience had been.

The best part for me was meeting massage therapists who use their practices to improve the health of their clients and, in this setting, were accepted and respected for their part in integrative care. As groups like this one take up the challenge to engage their patients in a wide variety of holistic care, massage therapy will be elevated to its proper position in the health care system. 

So get on board and explore the possibilities of this profession - the sky is the limit! Join the growing list of professionals who call themselves massage therapists and use touch as their healing art. We make it easy for you with our Intro to Massage mini course where you can be a student for two weeks, fall in love with the profession and unleash your inner healer.

Heart Touch Massage

Shawnee Isaac Smith had a very good friend and fellow body worker who was dying of AIDS. As you may assume, many friends and family members were uncomfortable visiting or touching him. Shawnee decided to offer a weekly massage session to him, and just to be touched, he told her, made him feel human again. Shawnee, through massage, found a way to comfort her friend in the biggest struggle of his life.

Spawned by that experience, the Heart Touch Project was formulated. The Heart Touch Project is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the training and delivery of compassionate and healing touch to homebound or hospitalized men, women and children. The organization uses professional volunteers to bring comfort to seriously ill patients in California.

Heart Touch is also expanding its outreach services across the United States through its Heart Touch Training Program, a three-day course designed to teach bodywork practitioners how to work with clients with difficult medical needs.

For more information, visit http://www.hearttouch.org.