Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2013

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education classroom to client | Pathology perspectives | body awareness | functional anatomy | somatic research Open Your Mind to Research By Jerrilyn Cambron The word research leads to various responses from people in the massage therapy community. Most people know they should incorporate research into their practice, but for many, research articles can be boring to read or even seem like they're in a different language. Regardless, it's important to understand how to use the information. What are some ways you can incorporate research into your practice? Develop Your Best Treatment Plan We want the best for our clients—all health-care professionals do. However, many times in medicine, physicians have discovered that what they thought was beneficial to their patients was actually harmful. In the 19th century, physicians used mercury to treat many human ailments—for example, as an ointment for knee scrapes and a pill or syrup for constipation. We now know that mercury causes heavy-metal poisoning, but it took decades to discover this unfortunate outcome. Those early health-care professionals 52 massage & bodywork september/october 2013 were not intentionally harming their patients; they simply did not have the right information. We now have many resources that can assist us in better understanding the potential benefits and detriments of various health-care treatments. Massage therapy research continues to grow each year, with more and more articles about the efficacy of massage therapy being published. Within these newly published articles, we can find gems of information that may strengthen our practices, helping us maximize the potential benefits of our therapies and minimize the potential risks. One prevalent condition seen in massage practices is back pain. There is a growing body of literature strongly supporting massage therapy for back pain. The research studies vary in types of massage, duration of treatment, and types of clients. Some of the articles include the integration of massage with other forms of care, which helps us better understand how clients will respond to a collaborative approach. There are articles on dosage of massage to better understand the optimal number of visits per week, while other articles include a very specific population as subjects, such as those who have workplace injuries or are pregnant. Reading a variety of articles focused on the same condition (such as back pain), but including different subjects or methods, will give us a better sense of how our varied clientele might respond differently to massage. Focusing on the benefits of massage—as demonstrated through research literature—can be very educational, and even uplifting. However, there are some case reports

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