The purpose of this section of the Journal of Massage Science to inform the practitioners about valuable articles that frequently go unnoticed, as well as to point to those authors and publications who exhibit low educational standards. We do not play politics and we are not associated with any publishing company or professional association. We are a completely independent voice and we promise you direct unbiased reviews based strictly on the science.

If the author of the reviewed article does not agree with our opinion, we will be more than happy to publish his or her response and have a productive discussion over the article’s subject.

At the end of the year we will recognize and reward the author of the most important publication(s) and point to the authors of the most unscientific publication(s). We hope this will help to raise the bar of published materials in massage journals for the benefit of the entire profession.


Have We Seen the Demise of Hands-On Seminars? Massage, 175, December, 18-19, 2010, by Pat Mayrhofer

Usually we review articles which contain scientific and /or clinical information. We will make an exception for this article because the author has raised a very important question. The Internet gives us a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and have access to an absolutely amazing amount of information. This is a great thing and on-line education is very convenient and helpful way to be updated.

The on-line education is widely accepted in many medical professions and it spread quickly for massage practitioners. However, there is a difference between massage therapy and other medical or health disciplines. This difference is an absolute necessity for contact with the body. While the therapeutic and stress reduction aspects of massage therapy may be easily presented in an on-line format the medical massage methods, techniques and protocols must be studied during hands-on seminars. They are an irreplaceable source of doing things right from the very beginning.

Massage Therapy Journal

Treatment Planning & Client Education. MTJ, 49(4), 91-95, Winter, 2010, by Dr. J. Muscolino

This is an excellent article! This subject of great importance is very rarely addressed in modern massage publications. At the same time the inability to correctly communicate with the client and explain in simple terms the necessity, prognosis and outcomes of the treatment means that the practitioner at the very beginning has lost approximately 30% of his chances to succeed.

Thirty percent seems like an over exaggeration but in clinical reality it is a very close number. If the the practitioner was unable to correctly present the necessity and scientific foundation of the future treatment the client will not understand its importance and necessity of the required commitment to it. At the same time the correct presentation of the therapy allows the practitioner to build up his or her authority in the client’s eyes. If at the end of the first session the client leaves therapy room without a 100% sense that he or she in the right place where the therapists knows what he or she is doing the practitioner is already losing the battle. Also, the client needs to have the sense that this treatment will finally help to get rid of the existing problem.

Using these very simple and effective analogies the author has provided the practitioners with helpful tools to correctly structure the conversation with the client and to educate him or her in how massage therapy can help.

Massage & Skin Conditions. MTJ, 49(4), 91-95, 67-80, Winter, 2010, by A. Morien

A very well written and informative article which provides the practitioners with a lot of helpful information on the nature of the most common dermatological diseases in their clinical picture (great illustrations!) and also required massage tactics. This article is very important because it teaches the practitioners what conditions to avoid while destigmatizes skin abnormalities which can be treated by the massage practitioner.

It is rarely mentioned, but massage therapy must be part of the treatment of such dermatological abnormalities such as psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma and so on. There are special massage techniques developed to treat these pathological conditions (e.g. Nikolsky’s Technique to treat psoriasis). By avoiding these clients the practitioners deprive the clients of important clinical tool while losing these clients.

Effective Palpation. The Science & Art of Muscle Palpation. MTJ, 49(4), 91-95, 50-60, Winter, 2010, by Dr. J. Muscolino

A great article with very informative illustrations and we highly recommend the practitioners read it. It seems that Dr. Muscolino’s articles are rare bright spots in the MTJ in 2010.

Massage Today

Treatment of Flexor Hallucis Longus Dysfunction. Massage Today, November, 2010, V.10(11), 2010, by Whitney Lowe, LMT

A very good and clinically informative article on the treatment of flexor hallucis longus dysfunction. It has all the necessary components and video in an on-line version of the Massage Today and is of great help for practitioners. We may only add that adding Postisometric Muscle Relaxation (PIR) to the presented protocol will greatly speed up the client’s recovery.

Advanced Stretching: Using Neural Inhibition to Enhance the Stretch, Part II. Massage Today, November, 2010, V.10(11), by Joseph E. Masculino, DC

As always Dr. Muscolino offers readers great information in this article on advanced stretching techniques. In Part 2 he discussed the agonist contract (AC) stretching method. This treatment is a very helpful clinical tool for the practitioners.

Moving Beyond Fibromyalgia. Massage Today, 10(12): 1; 8, 2010, by D. Roberts, LMT

Despite that the topic of the article is a very important and one of its section is even named “Solving FM puzzle” it doesn’t provide any new and helpful information and, of course, it is very far from solving any FM puzzle. This article should be published in health and fitness magazines rather than in professional massage publications.

Massage and PTSD. Massage Today, 10(12): 1; 3; 20, 2010, by D. Wall

Yes, massage must be part of PTSD treatment. It is an especially important subject in light of the rising number of cases of PTSD as a result of head trauma on battlefields, natural disasters or the NFL season.

The article gives a general overview and informs readers that massage therapy is widely used in the treatment of veterans in the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center in Texas. This is great news for both the veterans and massage therapy profession. Finally!

Pediatric Massage Study. Massage Today, 10(12): 6-7, 2010, by T. Walton, LMT, MS

A very good article on a very unfortunate subject. The article discussed the results of a recent study conducted on 178 pediatric patients who underwent stem cell transplantation. The authors of the study examined whether massage therapy and humor therapy has any impact on the patients enrolled in the study. The study reported that “…massage as well as humor therapy had no effect on any outcomes studied.” Ironically enough in this and previous issue of JMS we discussed Pediatric Massage and its impact on infants.

We can explain this paradox only by the fact that the authors of the study used the basic concept of stress reduction massage and just happened to apply it to children. The author of the article is completely correct when she asked about the session’s design, dose, massage techniques etc. This is a major issue for researchers. Very frequently they enroll into the study practitioners with little clinical experience or incorrectly trained ones and it undermines the entire study and wastes all their efforts.

Soft Tissue Manipulation and Pelvic Pain. Massage Today, 10(12): 12-13, 2010, by L. Chaitow, ND, DO

As usual a great piece from Dr. Chaitow. Pelvic pain can be very elusive and frequently it is very difficult to diagnose its cause and treat it successfully. The article shortly described several of the most common manual therapies which can be used for the treatment of pelvic pain. It is very helpful for the practitioners who are frequently lost between various untested methods promoted by educators as the ultimate solution. Just look a the countless ads in every issue of major massage publication. On the contrary, the article is strictly based on scientific sources and recommends what is tested in the clinical practice versus someone’s personal experience. It guides the practitioners to what they are actually supposed to learn if they would like to be clinically effective.

Integrating Fitness into a Massage Therapy Practice. Massage Today, 10(12): 17, 2010, by B. Benjamin, PhD

The article itself is very basic and doesn’t leave the reader with a lot of valuable information, but the topic is of great importance. The author deserves a lot of credit to raise this question which has minimal exposure in massage literature.

The author is completely correct when he states “By integrating exercise into their treatment plans, we can take their (i.e., clients, by JMS) healing an important step forward”. Such integration requires additional study on the practitioner’s side, and this is when lack of appropriate training becomes the major obstacle.

We also think that the massage practitioner must communicate with personal trainers and in some degree supervise his or her job if the client uses the trainer’s services while being treated by the massage practitioner.

Category: Good Apples, Bad Apples