Out of scope of practice or just politics Part 2

Part 2

By Boris Prilutsky

As I explained in the previous blog, when massage Magazine removed my article, without allowing me to reply to those complaints, my partner wrote Karen Manahan editor in chief an emotional personal e-mail. The text is below.

”Hi, Karen,

As you know, I am Boris Prilutsky’s business partner, as well as providing technical support.
Writing to you in regards to, your decision to delete Boris’ blog:” Specially designed medical massage protocol is the most powerful methodology for management of concussions symptoms and much more. “
I understand your position; being squeezed between the readers and the contributors and trying to hold the magazine reputation afloat. I have no regrets parting with this massage Magazine blogging because it was in no way beneficial to our site from SEO point of view. Boris insist, just to respect your request to post blogs in Massage Magazine. However, I have regrets about the entire situation of convoluted perceptions and expressed pseudo-righteousness on the part of the readers.

You might not know this, but among a multitude of bad things that has happened in the former Soviet Union, there were actually rare diamonds of good things. One of those diamonds was Medical and Sports Massage, to which the Soviet Machine devoted huge scientific efforts and human resources.

The reason for this was simple. The Soviet Union was, generally speaking, a closed society and the only change for its people to compare themselves against the West was through sport, Olympic Games, Bolshoi ballet etc. The Olympic gold was the way to show to all people inside the Soviet Union and outside it that the Soviet System is superior to the West and thus making the Soviet life superior as well.

Why was Medical and sports Massage making such a difference? Simple. Because the main problem with athletic performance is athlete’s susceptibility to injuries. In other words, an athlete could have huge potentials, but if s/he’s injured, s/he cannot compete. Side effects of vigorous exercise not only precondition athletes, for sports related injuries, but also wouldn’t allow performing to maximum potentials.
Thus, 50 to 60 years ago the Soviet Union had major advancement in massage science and yet, understandably, it was kept a secret. No one was allowed to publish articles in foreign magazines, which would demystify the Soviet Success in Olympic Games.

Still, people during those times heard the rumors about it, and the profession of massage therapists was very prestigious and required many years (7 years) of extensive medical studies. People who became such therapists always worked in the hospital environment among doctors or, like Boris, worked with Olympic teams.

You see, Boris learned all these protocols long times ago and although he learned them from scientists who invented and tested them, he is not a scientist himself.

For example, the concussion protocol was invented in 1963 by Professor Alexander Dembo, when one of the most famous Soviet boxers, had developed post-concussion encephalopathies. Since that time, Boris uses these protocols very successfully in his practice. However, it is pointless to ask him for references. Again, this information was classified. You actually might find some publications in some old Soviet scientific magazines, but it has never been published in English.

In America, massage was a hugely underdeveloped field, because since 1920’s America took a course to chemically produced medications. With time, this field became a very profitable enterprise, and for its proponents, it was not necessary to develop competitive fields. Thus, for a long time, massage in America was looked by the American public as something borderline prostitution or luxury for rich people.

Today, there is a change for the better, but unfortunately, instead of finding out what was done in massage science in other countries, America is going through the hard times of reinventing the wheel.

Well, the US was very good to us and we want to give it back with whatever we can. In the case of Boris – this is his knowledge. If you only knew how many doctors are sending him their patients to try the last time if the surgery could be avoided because in many cases this is exactly what happen? Is this occurs because Boris is some kind of a magician? No, because he knows many scientifically designed protocols and knows very well how to use them. Can references do this?

Thus, I gather the people who bad mouthed Boris, are simply gullible. A knowledgeable person always objects on a quintessence but the other kind objects on technicalities. Why do they need to see the references, because he’s going to read them? No, it just gives them a comfortable feeling that what he’s reading must be scientific.

Ten years ago I was completely incapacitated by frequent life-threatening panic attacks. Pills only made me drowsy. It was Boris who treated me with Medical Massage. When, after the first session, my blood pressure dropped from 200/100 to 160/85, that made me a believer. That’s why I decided to help him, and in the end, he offered me a partnership. Because he is a person with the big heart and it makes me sad when he is so utterly misunderstood and put down.

All the best to you in your future endeavors,
Best Regards,

I didn’t know about this letter, and most likely didn’t have to know about my partner’s private affairs.  However, a few weeks ago, Karen told Michael that she is planning to publish his letter in massage Magazine March issue and Michael come back to me with this news. We both agree, if massage Magazine will not allow me to publish the reply to Michael’s letter, then we shall request from massage magazine, not to publish his letter.
I was refused an opportunity to reply, and massage Magazine said too late to withdrawal it, it already went to print. Nice, isn’t it?

My partner, Michael, learn from me quite a bit about the history of Medical Massage in general and especially about the secrecy behind Soviet propaganda that used Olympic Games to prove that the Soviet system is much superior to the West. As a matter of fact, Medical and Sports massage played a crucial role in allowing Soviet Olympians from the 60s to 80s to win the most of the Olympian gold. Yet much of Michael have presented in his emotional reaction letter, needs a clarification. Otherwise, readers of massage Magazine will remember only that: ”Again, this information was classified. You actually might find some publications in some old Soviet scientific magazines, but it has never been published in English.

Pertaining to the late Soviet period of Medical Massage development his description is pretty accurate. However, for the sake of this discussion I should point out that the general history of medical massage is not a secret at all. On the contrary, it is quite well known. I was trained on this fundamental principles and have all the necessary references.

It goes back to the 18th century, when British physician Dr.Head published, his, what we now call, Dr.Head’s zones. During a very long time, observing hundreds of patients, Dr.Head paid attention that in many cases of chronic internal organs diseases, skin within somatic distal components, develop changes in a form of higher skin density, a local low threshold of pain, etc. The great clinical value of his observation soon became obvious. When he performed skin massage in these areas he not only eliminated these abnormalities in the skin but also have had a tremendous healing impact on diseased internal organs. I believe that Dr.Head was the first one who have established visceral somatic reflex concept as well as somatovisceral reflex concept, which allowed to professor Sherback in 1937 to go further and to develop the concept and hands-on techniques of segment reflex massage as we practice it today.No doubt, that Professor Zabludovsly (1913) remarkably advanced massage therapy as a powerful clinical tool and, I would say, that in many cases, it became the most powerful methodology for treatment.

Professor Zabludovsly (1913) was the first one who explained the reflex effect on arterial circulation in non-massaged extremity. The phenomenon was confirmed later by many experimental and clinical studies (Guthberson, 1933; Ebel and
Wisham, 1952; Belaya, 1974; Shtergertz, 1985, etc.)

In 2003, at Beverly laboratory of Vascular Studies, I repeated Professor Zabludovsly’s protocol.  In Medical Massage Vol.2 text, Dr.Ross Turchaninov extended on this experiment. We have provided him with all post-experimental data. Please keep in mind, I can reproduce the same outcome as you about to read at any time. To study this 15-25 minute protocol is the simpler than studying many other simple step-by-step hands-on medical massage protocols.

Professor Zabludovsly (1913) was the first one who explained the reflex effect on arterial circulation in non-massaged extremity. The phenomenon was confirmed later by many experimental and clinical studies (Guthberson, 1933; Ebel and
Wisham, 1952; Belaya, 1974; Shtergertz, 1985, etc.)

The Beverly laboratory of Vascular Studies in California examined the effect of medical massage therapy on arterial blood circulation in lower extremities of healthy adults by using Pulse Volume Recording (PVR), Photoplethysmology (PPG) and Thermography (TMG). All these tests measured blood circulation on the opposite lower extremity, i.e. practitioners worked on the left extremity while circulation was measured on the right extremity. Peripheral circulation was measured before the experiment and after application of medical massage.

Major changes were registered in PVR, which is a pulsate volume of perfusion through the extremity.

Let’s briefly review the results of this study. Initial PVR registered on the right lower extremity was 0.81.  After this parameter was registered, a medical massage practitioner applied the treatment of the lower extremity for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of medical massage, PVR increased to 1.22 and continued to climb during the next 2 hours after the medical massage was over. At the end of the second hour, PVR value was 1.63, i.e. blood perfusion through the contralateral lower extremity showed a double increase even after the medical massage was over.

This study is a great example of the valuable effect of medical massage on the peripheral blood circulation (Prilutsky, 2003). This is why patients with arterial circulation disturbances respond so well to medical massage.

Dear friends,

I hope you would agree that it is impossible to overestimate the importance of contralateral extremities massage, in cases of fractures, surgeries, and significant other types of injuries when we cannot apply massage directly to the injured area. More than that, at the time of the experiment we’re described above, my models agreed to wait only two hours in order, to allow us to perform PVR measurements. As you could see after me stopping the treatment, two hours after the treatment, it continued to increase PVR.

Back in the Soviet Union, we have repeated described protocols many times, and reflex
of increasing blood supply is sustained for an average of 15-18 hours. Isn’t this exciting? The stimulation by massage is already stopped, but during 15-18 hours after it is stopped, the body continues intensive healing! Remember after significant blood supply increase, abnormalities never come back to initial conditions, but after every treatment continues to improve.

Another researcher- Elizabeth Dickle contributed significantly to massage therapy fields by researching and proposing hands-on protocols that were clinically proven to be a very powerful methodology for treatment since 1929. Below is my extended explanation why I made this claim.

First, a short historical review: Initially, the importance of tension build-up in the connective tissue/fascia and its impact on chronic somatic and visceral abnormalities was made known to the medical community through the work of Austrian physical therapist Elizabeth Dickle in 1929. As with many important discoveries, Dickle’s discovery was an accidental find. For several years, she suffered a failure of arterial circulation in her lower extremities as a result of Thromboangiitis Obliterans. The disease had progressed to the stage that amputation was a real possibility. Dickle also experienced chronic, lower-back pain caused by her limping. While rubbing her lower back in trying to relieve tension, she noticed sensations of warmth and weak pulsations in her feet. Intrigued by her finding, she started using various techniques on her lower back. She noticed that the most intense warm sensations in her feet were triggered when she pulled the skin on her lower back. After several months of self-therapy, she was able to restore circulation through her lower extremities and prevented double amputation. Powerful stuff.

E. Dickle shared her findings with Prof. W. Kohlrausch. Their combined efforts, as well as the later works of Prof. N. Veil and Dr. Luebe in Austrian and German clinics, shaped a major method of somatic rehabilitation they called Bidegewebsmassage or connective tissue massage/fascia release and mobilization techniques as it is known by the rest of the world.

During the extensive research, they developed connective tissue massage/fascia release and mobilization hands-on protocols, including the stipulation regarding the direction of movement. This was presented in a straightforward way so that thousands of massage therapists could learn these techniques and successfully implement them on patients. Thousands were replicating outcomes when treating back and limp disorders, internal organ diseases, etc. for more information just Google Bidegewebsmassage.

The work of Prof. Sherback, which is an absolutely fundamental plateau for medical massage, is also a fundamental plateau for any massage therapy. Today, the concepts that lay the foundation of his works were tested and massively utilized for many years, and thus proved their clinical viability.

After analyzing all the available data, and experiences of other scientists and clinicians, Prof. Sherback started checking somatic components of chronically unhealthy patients.
He figured out that regardless of the disorder type (being it skeletal muscular painful disorders or internal organs diseases) skin, fascia and muscles develop changes such as higher density of skin, tension in fascia and muscles.

The aforementioned changes produce pain when compressed and, in many cases, spawn localizations that are painful regardless of compression. Then a revelation come to him – “a simple revelation” as he put it that made massage a very powerful therapeutic tool.

All diseases of internal organs project pathological impulses on somatic parts that share the same level of innervations with a particular somatic part and trigger changes such as higher density of skin, tension within muscles, fascia, etc. forming reflex zones abnormalities/ somatovisceral reflex.  The aforementioned changes in soft tissue can be painful and especially sensitive to touch or pressure.

The most important achievement of his and his students was that, by providing massage and eliminating these reflex zones abnormal changes, they improved the health of thousands of patients.

The huge plateau was established by Drs. Glaser and Delixo after the tremendous work.  In 1955, they published segments reflex massage text, including more than 30 maps of reflex zones abnormalities, for individual internal organs diseases, as well as skeletal muscular diseases.

The contribution that prof. Sherback and Drs. Glezer and Delixo made to the development of massage science was indisputable and their influence is hard to overestimate. Similarly, it is impossible to overestimate the contribution of Dr. Sarkisov Serazini, who proposed comprehensive physiological effect of massage approach in 1938 and have established the concept of the physiological effect of massage as we know it today. This foundation allowed further generations of researchers to develop over 60 medical and sports massage hands-on protocols. Thus, the methodical research was done, and optimal step-by-step hands-on techniques where developed, all of which were standing on the foundation of the physiological effect of massage. Here is the link to a short description of the physiological effect of massage. Physiological effect of massage on the human body 

During his experimental clinical researches Dr.Sarkisov Serazini said:

”…if you would like to assess the professional capability of a massage therapist, you must assess his capability to perform high-quality kneading techniques. Many different components are necessary in order to achieve rapid and sustainable results, and the quality of kneading techniques is one of this important components.”

Medical massage contains technical disciplines such as connective tissue massage/fascia release and mobilization, muscular mobilizations, trigger point therapy, circulatory massage, and more.  This was my fundamental training in theoretical concepts as well as very intensive hands-on practice.  As you can see no secrets what so ever.

Surely Drs. Glezer and Delixo’s segment reflex massage text, have never been translated into English.  Here comes a million dollar question. If hasn’t been translated into English, can it still be scientific?  Incidentally, it has been translated into Russian, German, Polish, and Hungarian.

By the way, Dr. Ross Turchaninov’s textbooks in English, covers the works of all the scientists I have mentioned above, including interpretation of science of massage. I believe this book presents more than 600 references.

In Part 3. I will discuss the secrecy of medical and sports massage developments during the Soviet Era.

Best wishes,


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