Common concept: Massage therapy /chiropractic procedure

Back in 1987 one Russian neurologist, the specialist in sports medicine, has invited me to participate in a pilot experiment for chiropractic medicine educational program. He was hired by Medical College at city of RAMAT GAN at Israel to develop and to supervise this program for further approval by the Department of Education. At the time I was already experienced medical massage practitioner but knew little about chiropractic medicine.

This offer was too good to refuse: free education, flexible schedule, and the opportunity to learn x-rays readings from a well known neurologist, an expert in x-ray readings.

He knew how to extract real and useful data from x-ray shadows. To teach chiropractic adjustments techniques college hired one American chiropractor, and one from UK. In my opinion both of these doctors, where quite knowledgeable in spinal pathologies. They thought us that facet joint subluxations is the main cause of back pain. Thus elimination subluxations through adjustments practically restores the normal function, such as no pain, normal functional activities conditions, etc.

At the time both of them have thought us, that main cause and preconditions for facet joint subluxations are myofascial dysfunctions, which are tensions within muscles and fascia. When I asked in which way adjustments addresses this soft tissue dysfunctions, they had no answer to that. Indeed there could not be such an answer, because dysfunctions originated on the level of soft tissue could only be addressed on that level.

Approximately at this same time the “new” Manual therapy theory came about. This theory stated that facet joint maneuvers – a modality similar to adjustment techniques – is the ultimate “remedy” thus eliminating the need to address soft tissue by means of massage. This approach had a devastating effect on the entire medical massage therapy field in Europe, and, of course, has proven that adjustment only, do not lead to sustainable results.

I have complained about it to the Russian neurologist, who like myself, had witnessed the destruction of Russian Medical Massage field. He agreed with me, but explained that these chiropractors where hired, before him, and program was already approved and not much he could do.

I’m not regretting completing this program, since I have learned some very viable stuff but I know and knew then, that without quality soft tissue mobilizations it is impossible to reach and sustain results such as less pain, a greater range of motion, a sensation of well-being, etc.

We, as massage therapists, have to educate chiropractors in regard to massage related concepts, and capabilities to reduce tension in muscles and fascia, to address trigger points, to manage side effects of stress, etc.

From my observation when treating people with painful orthopedic disorders, it is practically impossible to reach sustained results if stress management massage is not incorporated in the treatment. Stress side effects can initiate painful disorders, worsen a condition, and then, if not managed, prevent obtaining sustain results.

Chiropractic procedure is also about obtaining results. But chiropractic results are different than achieved by massage therapist. As a result: they need us and we need them. The best for clients and patients if we work together having one concept, massage therapy and adjustment.

One can say that for years we already has been working in chiropractic offices. Yet this is not the same as having a common concept? Usually when chiropractors hire massage therapists they instruct them on how massage should be performed. For example “to press hard and strong.” The point here is that chiropractors are not trained in massage therapy and don’t really understand the importance of performing massage before adjustments, of post-adjustments of trigger point therapy, and other techniques.

To have a common concept is to educate and to convince on the importance of reducing the size of lymphedemas, releasing the tensions in fascia and muscle, eliminating trigger points by ischemic compression before adjustment, as well as on the importance of continuing to provide orthopedic massage after a successful adjustment/elimination of subluxation.

I believe that soon enough more and more hospitals will start massage programs and it will make us recognizable methodology of treatment.

Chiropractors are out of hospital services, and will have much greater interest to work with us, because work in the hospital based settings would command their respect. In any case on the common concept – we have to educate doctors of chiropractic medicine. Soft tissue mobilization by means of massage is different discipline, requiring expertise. The chiropractors must be informed that it is practically impossible to reach sustained results if stress management massage is not incorporated in the treatment. Stress side effects can initiate painful disorders, worsen a condition, and then, if not managed, prevent obtaining sustain results in cases of painful skeleton muscular disorders.

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