study proving that massage therapy is effective for lower back
pain, was featured on NPRs "All Things Considered."
Low back pain is very common. It often goes away after several
days or weeks, but it may last for months or years or periodically
recur. The usual treatments for low back pain include drugs
(painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants),
physical therapy, back exercises, and education about ways to
prevent back injury and deal with back pain. Some people use
alternative treatments for low back pain, such as chiropractic or
This study compared the short-term and long-term effects of
relaxation massage, structural massage, and usual care for people
with persisting low back pain.
The researchers first gathered information about the participants'
symptoms and how much those symptoms limited their daily
activities. They then randomly assigned each participant to receive
relaxation massage, structural massage, or usual medical care
without massage. Participants assigned to the massage groups got
about 1 hour of massage once a week for 10 weeks. The researchers
remeasured participants' symptoms and ability to perform daily
activities after completing the 10 massage treatments, and then at
6 months and 1 year after starting massage therapy.
Participants who received massage had less pain and were better
able to perform daily activities after 10 weeks than those who
received usual care. The benefits of massage lasted for 6 months
but were less clear at 1 year, when pain and function had improved
about equally in all 3 groups. The type of massage did not seem to
make a difference. Symptoms and ability to perform activities
improved about the same in the 2 massage groups.
(The full report is titled "A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types
of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain. A Randomized,
Controlled Trial." It is in the 5 July 2011 issue of Annals of
Internal Medicine (volume 155, pages 1-9). The authors are D.C.
Cherkin, K.J. Sherman, J. Kahn, R. Wellman, A.J. Cook, E. Johnson,
J. Erro, K. Delaney, and R.A. Deyo.)
At the beginning
of their careers, almost every massage therapist faces the question
of how to build their clientele on a meager or non-existent
marketing budget. To help get the word out there without breaking
the bank, consider the time-tested technique of barter - the
exchange of services and goods for the same.
Massage Therapists can broaden their word-of-mouth clients
through their barter buddies while cutting back on their own
To start with, you might exchange a
massage for a small ad in a local paper, or get your business cards
or other printing done by a local printer in dire need of touch
therapy. Branching out, the possibilities are endless:
personal training sessions, acupuncture, chiropractic, reflexology,
facials, hair care, nail services, gym memberships, oil changes,
dry cleaning, and all the while you are adding more and more people
to the list of clients who will recommend you.
though, is that barter is fully taxable. According to the IRS,
income from barter arrangements must be reported as income in the
year in which the goods or services are exchanged. Arrangements on
a noncommercial basis are exempt and fewer than 100 commercial
transactions in a given year do not need to be reported.
Recently 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
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
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.
British Airlines has teamed up with a leading skin
care company to offer customers spa treatments as part of their
travel experience. These "Travel Spas" are located in terminals and
treatments are offered on a complimentary basis to First Class and
Club World customers or other Executive Club members traveling on
long haul flights.
Services include Flying Facials to combat
the dehydrating effects of flying and also a Stress Away Shoulder
to Scalp massage, Flying Feet, Exotic Hand and Arm Re-Energizer,
and a Spot on Power Back Massage.
A cancer patient is at the mercy of their disease. Their life is
bombarded every day with appointments, managing medications, tests,
chemotherapy, radiation and scans, not to mention their physical
and emotional disintegration. And this isn't evenconsidering the
financial end of things and dealing with insurance companies.
Enter Angie's Spa, named in memory of Angie Levy who tragically
lost her life to breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 27. It was
Angie's upbeat attitude and love for life's small indulgences that
inspired the idea of Angie's Spa. Angie felt so much better when
she looked her best. Even through chemotherapy, her nails and toes
were always "done" and her makeup was always "on." Knowing that
this spa will give that extra boost of self-esteem to other
patients would have made Angie extremely proud.
Angies's Spa provides free spa services for cancer patients
undergoing chemotherapy. Their first program is being hosted by the
Leavey Cancer Center at Northridge Medical Center in Northridge,
Calif. The hope is to start programs at other cancer facilities
throughout the country, to provide a silver lining on an otherwise
dark and cloudy chemo day.
For further information or to donate please go
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