The purpose of this section of the Journal of Massage Science is to inform the practitioners about valuable articles that frequently go unnoticed, as well as to point to those authors and publications who present very questionable views in their writings. 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.

Massage Today

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Massage Today

Bodywork Can Improve Abdominal Health. Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by Gay Lacy, LMT

The subject of the article is very important but the article itself is a weak attempt to describe the extremely complex issue of visceral manipulations. Unfortunately, the article did not go above the basic information that this is a very effective therapy. In addition, some suggestions on how to apply visceral manipulations are questionable in form and content.

Do You Ever Wonder: What Technique Should I Use? Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by Whitney Lowe, LMT

Generally, the article correctly points out important issues, but the author contradicts himself. We completely agreed to the opening statement:

“Open up any trade publication or listing of continuing education courses and you will see a vast array of different techniques you can learn. Many of these technique approaches claim to be new “inventions” and completely revolutionary. While there are clearly novel approaches to bodywork treatment, many of these techniques are simply variations on traditional massage techniques that have been around for a long time.”

However, it seems that the above statement is applied to everyone excluding the author since in the next paragraph the author states:

“But what’s the best technique to get the job done? The answer is clearly that it depends. Many years ago I grappled with this issue and recognized that other massage therapists do as well. To help understand and address this issue, I developed a four-part orthopedic massage system that could act as a framework for the clinical decision-making process of what techniques would be appropriate for different clients in each unique clinical situation.”

It seems that orthopedic massage is not the variation or compilation of, for example, Rolfing and Neuromuscular Therapy but rather is a new (revolutionary?) treatment method. Even in self-promoting, it is best to stay consistent. Otherwise, the self-promotion is undermined.

An Introduction to TDR Massage: Focus on the Hand. Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by Linda LePelley, RN, NMT

This article is an introduction of Tissue Density Restoration (TDR) Massage. So what is this new breakthrough all about? Let us quote:

“TDR Massage adheres to the same contraindications, follows the same distal to proximal pathways and uses many of the same basic movements of classic massage. It differentiates from other modalities in its meticulous nature and focus, and because of the protracted amount of time often required to facilitate change in the condition of the tissues.”

So, as the author stated, TDR massage is the same as classic massage, with the same contraindications, direction of strokes and basic movements. Why, in such case, do therapists need to learn and practice TDR? Apparently, the only difference the author reports is TDR’s unique ability to work meticulously and with greater focus on the areas that carry extra density or – in the language of classic practitioners – tension.

However, we always believed that detection and meticulous work in the dense or tensed area is exactly what massage therapy is all about. In such case, we have only two possible scenarios that explain the origin of TDR: The author did not work meticulously before she developed TDR, or other therapists are not working meticulously enough. We are leaving it to the reader to make final decision.

However the following passage at the end of the article left us speechless:

“So often we’ve heard arthritis described as, “Degenerative Joint Disease,” but I believe that rather than a disease of degeneration, it is actually an affliction of accumulation. I look at the x-rays of hands, crippled by arthritis and see that while the involved cartilage and soft tissue has become overgrown and gnarled; the individual bones retain their shape and appearance within the ghostly white, cloudy images. …

That which appears to be “bone-on-bone” degeneration of cartilage is actually a hypo-hydrated crust, the restoration of which can result in the return of normal joint articulation, relief of pain and return of mobility. I believe the crust of arthritis, considered to be an overgrowth of bone, is in actuality a sort of plaque which, over time, accumulates an aggregation of minerals and eventually becoming hard and bone-like. However, this formation is based on a plaque-like matrix and plaque is about 60% fat, which melts. Using warmth and focused, persistent massage, the plaques melt away and the minerals dissolve and are flushed away with the tissues re-hydrated and restored to normal function.”

As readers may notice when we write a critical review, we endeavor to provide scientific explanations with accurate references. We simply cannot do it in this case since every single word in this paragraph is not true! The author is a registered nurse, yet she has written such incredible nonsense justified by such powerful statements as “I believe” and “I am convinced.” She has completely dismissed several medical sciences all together: histology, pathology, and orthopedy.

Instead of “believing” and “being convinced” and prior to getting in front of her computer to write this “innovative” article, Mrs. Linda LePelley, RN, NMT, should have opened any basic textbook on each of the medical sciences she so easily dismisses and correlated her system of belief with basic medical science. In these books she would have learned that the “crust of the arthritis” (this is the author’s term) is not 60% fat tissue, which she claims she was able to “melt” by TDR.

Those who would like to briefly read what actually happened in the affected joint instead of following author’s wild imagination may click here to read exert from Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics published by Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Orthopedic Surgery.

Editor’s Note:

To members of Massage Today’s Editorial Board

Dear Colleagues, 

Please pay attention and verify the accuracy of the information in some of your author’s articles. We are tired of publishing long reviews about one disaster after another in recent issues of Massage Today. Now we no longer even ask for 100% correct information. Maybe 50% correct as a first step? Please, stop feeding nonsense like this article to practitioners!

Pelvic Pain from the Adductor Magnus. Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

A good article about anatomy and action and trigger point locations in the adductor magnus muscle. The link to the video with promised treatment protocols sends readers to promotional videos about author’s charts. Therefore, we were unable to verify the treatment protocol.

Additional Insights Into Massage for Peripheral Neuropathy. Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by Lauren Muser Cates, CMT

This article is the companion to Rita Woods’ February article dedicated to the treatment of peripheral neuropathy published in Massage Today. We reviewed Mrs. Woods’ article in the (Issue #2, 2012 of JMS). After a polite nod to Mrs. Woods, Lauren Cates who is President of Society for Oncology Massage, correctly dismantled the major concepts of Mrs. Woods’ harmful treatment method of oncology patients affected by peripheral neuropathy developed as a result of chemotherapy.

It seems that we were not alone in our critique and that other professionals were equally disturbed by Mrs. Woods’ article. Thank you!

Freeing the Heart: Enhancing Central Circulation. Massage Today July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07, by Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD

Considering the complete disaster of two previous articles (our detailed review in Issue #2 and Issue #3 of 2012, JMS) on the same subject by the same author, this article is mostly correct and it offers general overview of how to unload cardiac function by addressing its neurological and peripheral components.

Dupuytren’s Contracture. Massage Today September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09, by Whitney Lowe, LMT

A very good and informative article on the subject of Dupuytren’s contracture.

Locomotive Power and Femoroacetabular Impingement. Massage TodaySeptember, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09, by Debbie Roberts, LMT

This is an excellent and very helpful article. Highly recommend for readers.

The Significance of Tissue Density Measurement. Massage Today September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09, by Linda LePelley, RN, NMT

After the disastrous article by the same author published in the previous issue of Massage Today (see review above), we took a deep breath before reading her new article. Considering the low level of accuracy found in the first article, this one was significantly better. The author correctly emphasized the necessity of palpatory examination of the soft tissue to detect areas that exhibited local tension before treatment. Apparently, for marketing purposes, she introduced the new term “tissue density” since tissue tension or local spasm is, apparently, no longer applicable. Very well, let us use tissue density for a change.

Here is the problem we still have with the article. The author correctly proclaims that tissue density “…can absolutely be felt by the therapist.” However, the article completely lacks any information about the nature of tissue density developed in different types of soft tissue.

Reading this article leaves the incorrect impression that the tissue density is a problem located in the this particular segment of the body. However, the clinical reality is far more complicated. The tension can be separately or any possible combinations formed in the dermis of the skin, superficial fascia, superficial skeletal muscles, deep fascia, deep skeletal muscles and, finally, the periosteum. This is the reason why practitioners must develop palpatory skills, and be able to apply corresponding tests to detect tissue density on each separate level of the soft tissue. This is a critical component of any practitioner’s expertise, yet was not even mentioned in the article. This omission is a critical weakness in the piece, and reduces the value of the article.

Massage & Bodywork Magazine

Scar Tissue. When Solution Becomes the Problem. Massage & BodyworkJuly/August, 42-45, 2012, by Ruth Werner

An excellent overview of scar tissue formation and its impact on the function of soft tissue and inner organs.

Power Tools. Knuckles, Fists and Elbows. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 46-47, 2012, by Barb Fryer

The article targets the novice in the massage therapy profession by providing a general review of so-called “power tools” in the therapist’s arsenal. We may only add that engaging the practitioner’s body weight while using “power tools” greatly diminishes the wear on these tools and allows the therapist to have a longer professional career.

What we would like address separately is two quotes regarding how to use the forearm and elbow during the massage session. Both quotes are from theMassage&Bodywork Magazine. The first one from this article written by Barb Fryer is completely correct:

“Even though they are power tools, the elbow have little receptive ability. Therefore begin each time by palpating the area of focus with your fingers and keep your other hand free to guide it”

Here is a “brilliant” quote from another article published in March/April 2010 issue of Massage&Bodywork Magazine, written by Shari Auth developer of the so-called Auth Method, which consists of conducting the entire massage session by using forearm and elbows only. To read a full review of this article, please go to Issue #2, 2011 of JMS:

“With practice, the forearms are just as sensitive and agile as the hands, fingers, or thumbs”.

Two articles on the same subject, in the same publication offering two completely contradictory statements. We are sure that the goal of any national publication is to educate readers by providing consistent, well-weighted information in each issue. It is unacceptable if a professional publication does not express consistent views on any particular subject and by doing so confusing practitioners.

Soleus. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 49-50, 2012, by Christy Cael

The article is an accurate presentation of the anatomy, physiology and palpation of the soleus muscle.

International Fascia Research Congress 2012. “What Do We Notice? What Do We Know?” Massage & Bodywork, July/August, 49-50, 2012, by Diana L. Thompson

This is simply an excellent article that reviews programs of current and previous International Fascia Research Congresses. It greatly illustrates the author’s intellectual abilities and provides great overview of the topics which were discussed during the Congress. We highly recommend it to readers.

Massage in a Hospital Setting. Integration in Boston Medical Center.Massage & Bodywork July/August, 70-79, 2012, by Ann Ahlers

Nicely written article about integration of massage therapy into the hospital setting. It also gives information about several studies that examined the effects of massage therapy on cancer patients.

Inner Journey A Personal Path to Myofascial Release. Massage & BodyworkJuly/August, 86-93, 2012, by John F. Barnes

Great article! Starting with a personal injury, the author in very creative way was able to describe his work on developing Myofascial Release, its basic concepts and its healing impact on his patients. A great read especially for those who are considering adding Myofascial Release to their professional therapy regime.

The Beauty of Breathwork. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 100-103, 2012, by Anne Williams

Client/patient breathing is an integrative part of each massage session and being familiar with this important subject gives the practitioner a very important clinical tool. The author did an exemplary in discussing this essential topic.

Keying Into Office Worker Injuries. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 104-107, 2012, by Whitney Lowe

An excellent article that discusses the most common type of injuries associated with office work. We think that the article correctly directs the readers’ thoughts when, during the clinical interview of a new patient, the practitioner discovers the patient works in an office sitting in front of computer for eight hours and/or also takes work home.

Differentiating Rotator Cuff Injuries. Proper Assessment is Key. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 108-113, 2012, by Ben E. Benjamin

The author deserves considerable credit for raising this very important topic. In many articles and seminars, the rotator cuff injury is presented as a single pathology while in real life this term is really an umbrella definition, which hides various pathological conditions. When combined, these conditions greatly obscure the clinical picture while confusing the therapist. However, it is a practitioner’s job at the very beginning to examine and evaluate the client to obtain a clear view of the entire clinical picture. This article does a great job in providing this important information. Thank you!

Working with Hammertoes: the Lower Leg. Massage & Bodywork July/August, 114-117, 2012, by Til Luchau

Very good and informative article on Hallus Valgus and Hammer Toe Deformation. There are a couple of questionable statements such as, “Hammer Toe Deformation causes Hallus Valgus deformation” but they can be considered the author’s personal opinion. The author correctly emphasizes that both deformations go through two stages when soft tissue is only affected and later the bone deformation develops. He advocates treatment for both stages. Yes, in the latter stage, massage treatment greatly improves the quality of life for the patient although there is little chance of correcting deformation itself.

Improve Tracking. Roll Muscles to Free Movement. Massage & BodyworkSeptember/October, 37-38, 2012, by Art Riggs

The column written by Mr. Art Riggs is an excellent section of Massage&Bodywork Magazine. It is always provides a source of valuable information that is presented in short form, to the point and with little-self promotion. This article is no exception and it discusses frequently missed point of torsion forces developed during muscle contraction, its impact on muscle tension and examples of addressing this issues.

Tiny Trigger Thumb. A Strategy for Young Clients. Massage & BodyworkSeptember/October, 41-43, 2012, by Douglas Nelson

A great and fun article to read! We have never experienced the trigger thumb in young children. Therefore, the author deserves considerable credit in sharing his clinical experience with readers.

Internal Oblique. Massage & Bodywork September/October, 55-56, 2012, by Christy Cael

The article describes the anatomy, action and palpation of the internal oblique muscle. The necessary home stretching also discussed.

Overmanipulation Syndrome. Can massage break the cycle? Massage & Bodywork September/October, 92-95 , 2012, by W. David Bond

It is really refreshing to read an article such as this one written by Dr. W. David Bond who embraces and understands the value of massage therapy as an integrative part of somatic rehabilitation when adjustments and massage are combined for successful rehabilitation. We wish more chiropractors have such a deep understanding of the matter as Dr. Bond shows.

Working with Sacrotuberous Ligaments. Massage & BodyworkSeptember/October, 114-117 , 2012, by Til Luchau

An excellent article! Highly recommended reading.

Massage Magazine

How Can I Network With Physicians in Order to Receive Referrals to My Massage Practice? Massage Magazine 196, September: 38-39, 2012, by D. Lang and J. Sonnenberg

Working with local physicians provides great opportunities for massage therapy practitioners and is an important part of their wellness careers. The cooperation is good for their practice and a vast benefit for the health of the community. The article provides clear recommendations how to use this opportunity correctly.

Abdominal Massage. Massage Magazine 196, September: 42-46, 2012, by Jean Pierre Barral, DO, MRO (F)

This is very good article introduces massage therapy practitioners to the science of abdominal massage and visceral manipulations.

Myofascial Release for TMJ Dysfunction and Headaches. Massage Magazine196, September: 50-54, 2012, by J.F. Barnes, PT

The article gives general outlines to the Myofascial Release as a treatment option for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and headaches. The Myofascial Release is an important tool to have in your professional toolbox.

The Healing Touch of Oncology Massage. Massage Magazine 196, September: 58-62, 2012, by D. Reuss

The article reviews various massage modalities from the perspective of oncology massage. We think that this issue is very important, and the author was successful in writing an article on such a complex subject.

Trigger Point Self-Care. Massage Magazine 196, September: 64-68, 2012, by D. Finnano L.Ac

The article addresses issue of tension and trigger point formation in massage practitioner’s body. Controlling this tension is a foundation for long and successful professional carrier. The article gives some valuable advices.

Functional Range Release. Massage Magazine 197, October: 56-64, 2012, by A.A. Spina, DC

The article is introduction to the newly developed (by the author) type of manual therapy, which according to the author, is based on the latest scientific data that was not available when other modalities were developed (e.g. Myofascial Release, Postisometric Muscular Relaxation etc.).

There are no clear details on the FRR treatment protocol but here is a main theoretical “difference”. According to the article, the main difference is target tissue. The author thinks that all other methods of soft tissue rehabilitation target the skeletal muscles while his “new” method targets solely connective tissue in the skin and fascia. Here is one eyebrow raising statement from the article:

“It would be easy to assume the soft-tissue therapies currently being utilized have been working on this target (i.e., connective tissue by JMS) all along; however this assumption is incorrect. This is because the research that has been performed on connective tissue and fascia demonstrates they do not respond in the same manner as muscular tissue”

Such statements showed that the author is completely unfamiliar with Neuromuscular Therapy, Segment Reflex Massage or Rolfing. In fact, these methods specifically recognize the fact that the fascia is different from the skeletal muscles and, as such, are addressed by special techniques developed before author was born. As a matter of fact, perhaps to the author surprise, there is a Connective Tissue Massage, which was developed in Austria and Germany and has been successfully practiced around the world for almost century. This type of sophisticated fascia rehabilitation has special diagnostic and treatment techniques for each level of the connective tissue in the skin, in superficial fascia and in the deep fascia.

The main clinical advantage of the modalities mentioned above compared to FRR is that each of them is based on a comprehensive approach to somatic rehabilitation when each layer of the soft tissue (including connective tissue) is examined and addressed. To the contrary, the author thinks that successful rehabilitation must target only one type of the soft tissue – connective tissue. In this assumption, he is completely incorrect.

While the entire field of medicine moves in the direction of integration when a comprehensive approach to the treatment of any dysfunction is the only correct solution, the author isolates one target tissue and addresses it with FRR in the hope to obtain a stable clinical result. Such an over-simplistic approach endangers the entire somatic rehabilitation concept while sending practitioners on the wrong path.

It seems that with FRR, the author invented only the wheel while the entire bicycle had already been on the road for decades. From the professional point of view the pictures, which are supposed to illustrate the value of FRR, are sad to look at.

Science in Action. Russian Sports Massage. Massage Magazine 197, October: 66-70, 2012, by O. Bouimer

Great article! Highly recommend to those who would like to learn science behind the sports massage and expand the practice in this direction.

Massage Therapy Journal

The More You Know Massage Therapy Journal 51(3): 54-57, 2012, by Shari Auth

Here we go again. A new plea to learn Auth’s Method in which the entire massage session is conducted by using elbows and forearms only. The author is an unstoppable machine of self-promotion. It would be great if experts in the science of massage therapy – such as L. Chaitow – have half of Mrs. Auth’s energy and time to publish their articles in every massage publication. Instead, we have another piece on the subject of Auth’s Method. It seems that the author just changes the title and the same information travels from Massage Magazine toMassage&Bodywork or Massage Today and now Massage Therapy Journal has fallen victim. We have reviewed previous Auth “masterpieces” in Issues Sept/Oct, 2010; #2, 2011; #2 and #3 of 2012 of JMS.

There is nothing wrong with elbow or forearm techniques. They are great tools to use. What is wrong is the author’s idea that the entire massage session must consist of the application of these two techniques only. Of course, the author rules out the face, toes and fingers just because she is not able to figure out yet how to apply an elbow there. What is especially troubling is her recent tendency of treating pathological conditions by sticking her elbow into various segments of a client’s body.

Pediatric Massage. Massage Therapy Journal 51(3): 68-84, 2012, by T. Allen

An excellent article on a very important and seldom-discussed subject. Thank you!

Category: Good Apples, Bad Apples