What type of massage therapy should doctors choose to refer their patients for treatments????

by: Boris Prilutsky

On the February 2nd 2012 we witnessed a press release related to massage therapy of extreme healing power. Below are the few samples of this release. In reality, however, it was much broader publicized, including TV reports.

Massaging muscles may reduce inflammation, spur mitochondria formation. USA Today (2/2, Vergano) reports in “Science Fair” that according to a study in Science Translational Medicine, “kneading muscles reduces inflammation and spurs cellular energy production.” In the experiments, researchers found that “massaged muscle cells had higher activation of gene pathways that spur mitochondria,” as well as “fewer signs of painful inflammation.” However, “massage didn’t lower levels of lactic acid build-up in muscles often blamed for the ‘burn’ in exercise.”

The Los Angeles Times (2/2, Brown) reports

“Massage also seemed to help cells recover by boosting amounts of another protein called PGC-1alpha, which spurs production of new mitochondria.” The Times adds that according to researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, “exercise is the best way to reverse damage caused by common conditions including diabetes, obesity and aging.”

Bloomberg News (2/2, Lopatto) reports that in the study.

“subjects were exercised to exhaustion, which took about 70 minutes. One leg was massaged; the other wasn’t. Both were biopsied immediately after the therapy and 2.5 hours later. The massaged leg showed slower production of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, both linked to inflammation.”

According to the Wall Street Journal (2/2, Hobson) “Health Blog,”

“the researchers hypothesized that reducing the production of molecules linked to inflammation may be similar to the action mechanisms of aspirin and ibuprofen, both anti-inflammatory drugs.”

WebMD (2/2, Goodman) reports

“In recent years, a number of studies have shown that remedies for muscle soreness that work by turning down inflammation — things like ice baths or anti-inflammatory medications — may also have a downside. They may also block muscle repair and growth, which depends on inflammation.” However, according to Tarnopolsky, this study suggests that massage may be “an intervention that suppresses the inflammatory response but still allows, and actually enhances, the [recovery] response.”

Also covering the story are HealthDay (2/2, Preidt) and the UK’s Daily Mail(2/2).

It is a very valuable data. I’m positive, that the same research team soon will come forward with an additional and even more significant data. The value of this research is not only in the importance of the exposed data, but also because this study was published at “Science Translational Medicine.”

Because this paper was accepted and published by Science Translational Medicine, many medical doctors had the opportunity to read it. Should these materials be published by any other publications, excluding New England Journal of Medicine, it wouldn’t have made such an effect, let alone taken seriously. Luckily, the materials published at Science Translational Medicine, are perceived as “written in stone.”

This is the nature of acceptance by a medical doctor. It has to be published in a certain publication, where editorial board will protect a publication from weak and not reliable study reports. Science Translational Medicine is one of such publishing authorities.

Because the results of a massage procedure were so highly acclaimed by such a reputable publication, most likely many medical doctors will try to work with massage therapists. However the big question becomes: What type of massage therapy doctors should choose to refer their patience for treatments???? Indeed, according to massage therapy trade association, there are 1000s of different types of massage therapies.

I always was against inventing multiplicities of massage types, names and certifications. Undoubtedly, this is confusing for general public and, not less importantly, for healthcare professionals, including medical doctors. I hope you share the same opinion. It should not be this way.

I am not implying the difference in terminology; medical massage, massage therapy or clinical massage, to me all stand for: providing therapy by means of massage. What I mean is the difference in the overall approach to massage. Instead of providing therapy by means of massage some therapists are settling for “feels good” sensation and some allow themselves be lead by clients who demand “strong” massage and thus apply vigorous traumatizing pressure. Yet those who in my mind use the correct approach – deliver great results, and help people; thus bringing a good name to massage therapy.

I hope you will adopt my definition of therapy and little by little we will eliminate 1000 names from our field.

Below I provide a link to a video where I am sharing my experience dealing with this issue. Viewing it will provide you with more incites on how fetal the situation was a bit more than twenty years ago and make you appreciate how quickly it was incubated over the years.

Orthopedic massage, physical therapy aide and chiropractor assistant CE home program

How did we arrive at these 1000 names?

Since recently I started to get involved in professional discussions through the social media and received clearer understanding on why this has happened.

Please forgive me for being blunt, but I concluded that the developments of “new methodologies” and creation of “new names” is driven by greed. This effort to indoctrinate the massage community is not applicable or useful for our field ideas. Also I’m positive that obsession with “new studies, new methodologies, new articles” is a great environment for 1000 names developments.

It’s probably apparent that many our colleagues use social media professional discussions to manipulate public opinion, to impress with fancy scientific terminology, and depress others with “advance” knowledge.

At times this “advanced knowledge” comes across as absolute nonsense. For example at one of my discussion related to trigger point therapy, one person claimed that he is eliminating trigger points in seconds, curing patients immediately by using clasp knife reflex methodology. I tried to explain that such methodology cannot exist, because clasp knife reflex is a result of difficult neurological disease (brain lesion) that, thankfully, most of us not suffer and thus it has nothing to do with trigger point therapy.

He immediately retorted:” oh yeah?”, and offered me a link to the website, where some chiropractor described “secret clasp knife reflex methodology” and one can be trained in this “miracle” in seconds, eliminating any painful disorders by using “clasp knife reflex methodology,” but first one have to pay $300.

Usually, I am vigorously opposing to dissemination of on-line mythologies such as the one above, because many massage therapists take the on-line discussion as a source of information.

I can only imagine what doctors and other healthcare professionals would think of us as a community if we claim to use clasp knife reflex, as a treatment methodology.

In following articles I will offer you much more explanation, including examples of where the 1000 names come from. I hope you also be able to learn from social media discussions as I have.

Incidentally, I purchased a copy of the entire paper study report “Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling” from the Science Translational Medicine. This is a fairly large work. I will read it carefully and in future articles will share my thoughts on the subject.

In the meantime stay well.

Yours, Boris Prilutsky.

Please visit my Facebook fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/FreeInstructionalandSelfMassageLessons

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