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 Chronic Headaches? Get a Massage. Massage Today, July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
by Jolie Haun PhD, EdS, LMT; Beth Barberree BA, RMT; Derek Austin, PT, DPT, MS, BCTMB, CSCS
This article reviews the results of a study which examined the effect of massage on chronic headaches. What is important about this study is that finally, instead of Swedish Massage which is the protocol most studies are based upon, the authors combined several techniques for their study design.
The Seven Principles of Tissue Density Restoration. Massage Today, July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
By Linda LePelley, RN, NMT
The author’s tireless work is the best illustration of everything that is wrong with massage publications, especially those which are trying to sound scientific. Mrs. LePelley’s publications constantly surprise us by their shear arrogance and amateurish thinking. For those who don’t follow the author’s highly entertaining articles and our sometimes grim job of taking them apart, we will quickly summarize the author’s ‘achievements.”
In 2013, Mrs. LePelley first enlightened readers of Massage Today about her newly discovered soft tissue density and she apparently developed a new treatment breakthrough in the form of TDR, which stands for Tissue Density Restoration. At that time she was convinced, in disregard to any scientific common sense, that increased tissue density is the result of the accumulation of cholesterol. With proper scientific references, we showed the author and innocent readers of Massage Today that Mrs. LePelley doesn’t have even the slightest idea of what she is talking about.
After our heavy criticism, Mrs. LePelley suddenly realized that she was indeed wrong and she promised on the pages of Massage Today (!) to stay away from any more theoretical “discoveries.”
However, almost immediately she broke her promise and published an article positing that increased tissue density is result of protein becoming dense like a glue hide. We patiently explained to the author and readers that Mrs. LePelley was wrong again. We went so far that we even did scientific research among furniture restoration sources.
Here is Mrs. LePelley new “gem”. The article is about the seven principles of TDR. From the very beginning the author states that:
“…every pain in the musculoskeletal system is closely associated with an eleva-
tion of tissue density (TD)”
This is a completely wrong assumption since for example, referred or nerve pain doesn’t have anything to do with increased tissue density. By saying that every pain is associated with Mrs. LePelley’s ideas, the author misleads herself and other therapists.
First Principle (from the article): Work on the area that is in the most pain first
Mrs LePelley is completely wrong here since pain is a ghost and those who chase it, including the author, are wasting time and energy. Find the initial trigger for pain first! In many cases this trigger is in a completely different part of the body far away from the area of pain.
Second Principle (from the article): Use heat during massage therapy
Mrs. LePelley is partly correct here. Yes, gentle heat can be used but it should be very mild and it is better if the patient uses heat in the evening after the therapy.
Third principle (from the article): Move the tissue using friction
Mrs. LePelley is only partly correct here. Yes, friction is a helpful technique but it can’t be the main therapeutic tool. It is a complete misrepresentation of the clinical application of massage since relying on friction alone increases interstitial edema and secondly will contribute to tension in soft tissues.
Fourth Principle (from the article): The therapist should “…work on an area about the span of your two hands in size”
This is such nonsense that we don’t even know where to start! Let us summarize our thoughts:
“If a therapist tries to fit the pathology to his or her system of beliefs, he or she is in the wrong business!”
This exactly what the author is doing with her fourth principle. Sometimes the pathological condition requires the therapist to work on an entire segment (e.g., along the pathway of the sciatic nerve) or even on an area the size of dime (e.g., cutaneous trigger point). The clinical solution is in the therapist’s ability to flexibly adjust the therapy to the patient’s needs rather than to the groundless system of personal beliefs the author is trying to impose using Massage Today.
Fifth Principle (from the article): Work on each target area for at least 45 minutes
This is again the wrong principle. The time of the treatment depends on the type of pathology. (See our explanation concerning the fourth principle.)
Sixth Principle (from the article): Proper hydration
Proper hydration is always helpful but Mrs. LePelly overreaches in her statement that “I think it is reasonable to believe that hypo-hydration plays a part in chronic pain scenarios.” There are a great number of patients who are properly hydrated but still exhibit various somatic pathologies.
Seventh Principle (from the article): Never go over a 3 on the 1/10 Pain Scale
We agree with Mrs. LePelley since she is correct in saying, “There is no good reason to cause pain.” However, again the intensity of pressure, especially at the beginning of the therapy, depends on the patient’s personal pain threshold rather than any pain scales. This is why Pain Scales are used only for evaluation of the pain intensity and they can’t influence any clinical decisions during the treatment. The patient’s sensation is only guide.
Exploring Elusive Compartment Syndrome. Massage Today, July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
This is very good article about Compartment Syndrome until it gets to the massage therapy treatment options. Here is a quote we greatly disagree with:
“However, treatment should not be applied while symptoms are aggravated. For example, if a person has just gotten through running and is complaining of aching pain in her lower legs, this is not the time to do the treatment. On the other hand, if she is consulting you three days after her last run and the pain has subsided, at this point massage would be appropriate.”
What treatment is the author is talking about? Nobody in described case would use the orthopedic massage the author promotes or in fact any Medical Massage method or technique. However, there is such a thing as Sports Massage, which is specifically designed for the described cases.
As scientific data show, to help the athlete after prolonged running and prevent development of Compartment Syndrome, sports massage should be applied 2-2.5 hours after the run. Please see our article, “United We Will Stand” in Issue #5JMS, 2009 with all required references.
Waiting three days after the run will produce a patient for orthopedic massage instead of avoiding Compartment Syndrome all together. If the author isn’t familiar with the science of Sports Massage, he shouldn’t be so categorical in his recommendations since it will narrow the therapist’s views and create a potential patient from a client.
Having the Opportunity to Change a Client’s Life. Massage Today, July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
This article was announced by the author in the previous issue of Massage Today almost as the professional Next Coming. Could someone who reads this article have even the slightest understanding of what Neural Reset Therapy is? Except for a brief mentioning of reciprocal inhibition, there is a complete absence of substance.
This is such a promotional piece which has only one goal – to advertise the seminar. Thus instead of the promised breakthrough, the real nature of the ‘life-changing’ professional opportunity proclaimed in the article’s title is skillfully hidden from the reader. We will wait for further publication about NRT to analyze it from the scientific point of view.
We Have Much to Learn from Current Fascia Research. Massage Today, July, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 07
By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO
A great article as usual! It’s a highly recommended read
Does Massage Therapy Lower Blood Pressure? A Literature Review. Massage Today. August, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 08
By Derek R. Austin, PT, DPT, MS, BCTMB, CSCS, Renee Stenbjorn, BS, MPA, LMT, April Neufeld BS, LMP
The authors review the article, “Massage Therapy for Essential Hypertension: A Systematic Review” published in the Journal of Human Hypertension. The original article is meta-analysis of several studies conducted to examine the effect of massage therapy on Essential Hypertension in combination with hypertensive medications or applied alone.
Indeed massage therapy is one of the important tools to fight Essential Hypertension. Medical Massage therapy affects the high blood pressure in two major ways: by decreasing peripheral vascular resistance which is the resistance of the circulatory system to cardiac work and by eliminating the condition called Vertebral Artery Syndrome.
Successful Rehabilitation for an Older Population. Massage Today. August, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 08
By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT
This is another example of seminar promotion which Mr. McCann does very well. It is simply tiring to respond to countless stories of his clinical magic without any specifics provided.
We would like one more time to summarize Mr. McCann’s mistake. Here is a quote from the article:
“I have yet to find a client in pain who doesn’t have the core distortion as
the principal cause of the structural collapse.”
As we repeatedly say from issue to issue, responding to Mr. McCann’s cries that his method isn’t accepted by modern medicine, the patient who is in pain will ALWAYS have core distortion formed secondarily as a reaction to the pain itself.
There is no doubt that the author’s therapy will be as helpful as any bodywork including Swedish Massage bringing patients temporary relief. It would be great if the author would examine the core distortion in the same clients let’s say in couple months later and measure the stability of the results.
The only way to put everything in correct clinical perspective is to find and eliminate the initial trigger for the dysfunction and only after that Mr. McCann’s therapy should be brought in. That will give stability of results. This is how things must be done when the therapist is a clinical thinker and when the patient’s interest is the main goal. In the scenario Mr. McCann advocates, the only winning side is his own seminars.
Here is our final suggestion to the author and readers who rely on any treatment methods based on kinesiology. Its main notion that bones are levers and soft tissues are ropes which control the movement is a very outdated medical concept. It is absolutely incorrect to apply the principles of mechanics that were used to describe movements of solid bodies to the much more complex events associated with the human body in motion.
The article “Concept Of Biotensegrity” by John Sharkey, in this issue of JMS illustrates the dramatic changes in our understanding of biomechanics developed by modern science while massage therapy as a profession still bases its treatments on outdated concepts.
Pediatric Massage Benefits for Down Syndrome. Massage Today. August, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 08
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
The author deserves credit for shining a spot light on another aspect of massage therapy – help to children with mental disabilities, especially children with Down Syndrome. Pediatric Massage can be great tool to increase quality of life for children and their parents.
The Integrative Medicine Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together. Massage Today. September, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 09
By Bill Reddy, LAc, Dipl. Ac.
A very interesting interview with Nancy Sudak, MD, Executive Director of Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine about integrative medicine and its perspective in the USA.
Additional Stealth Factors in Chronic Somatic Dysfunction. Massage Today, September, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 09
By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD
The author is correct in many aspects of this article. Yes, indeed “Everything is Connected to Everything.” This is the main concept of Medical Massage which sees and addresses interconnections between visceral and somatic and soma-somatic structures via various reflexes. Despite that this is a well-established theoretical and clinical concept with important scientific contributions from many American scientists (Korr, 1949; Beal, 1985), it is relatively unknown to the American massage therapy community.
This article partly fills the void and the author deserves credit to bring up this important subject. We also addressed this topic in Issue #1 2013 of JMS by publishing articles contributed by Dr. Mitichkina.
Thus the subject of this article is very well known and a studied part of the medicine which just happened to stay below the radar of mainstream massage publications.
Unfortunately there are always some controversies in Mr. Alexander’s articles. For example:
“Chronic elbow pain eventually resolved when a tooth and gum infection was addressed”
Technically speaking, the mouth infection may land in every joint and cause the inflammation there. Why elbow joint specifically? For such claims the proper reference is needed or at least an explanation of the author’s observation. Despite that it is possible, such clinical correlation is a very rare occurrence.
Korr I.M. Skin Resistance Patterns Associated With Visceral Disease. Fed. Proc., 8:87-88, 1949
Beal M.C. Viscerosomatic Reflexes. JAOA, 85(12):53-68, 1985
Recovering and Returning to an Active Life After 60. Massage Today, September, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 09
By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT
We already reviewed Mr. McCann in the article above. There is nothing to add. This article is almost identical to one published in the August issue of Massage Today and which we reviewed above. It has almost exactly the same topic, it has the same self-promoting, groundless claims, same tone, etc. It seems that Mr. McCann will never stop producing promotional articles.
An Inside Look at Labral Tears. Massage Today, September, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 09
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
A great article about labral tear in the shoulder joint and general strategy for the massage therapy application. The decompression of the shoulder joint is the main goal of massage therapy in cases of labral injury. However, let’s be frank. If the pain and ROM is restricted while a labral tear is present, don’t give the patient false hope. It needs to be endoscopically repaired.
MASSAGE & BODYWORK MAGAZINE
Reasons vs Results. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 32-33, 2015
By Douglas Nelson
Mr. Nelson’s articles are always a refreshing read compared to articles in other massage publications. He exhibits vast theoretical knowledge as well as the practical skills of an independent thinking clinician. This article is a great illustration.
Orthorexia Nervosa. From Virtuous to Vicious. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 44-47, 2015
By Ruth Werner
A very good and informative article on so called Orthorexia Nervosa. The author is correct when she says that this condition is “…not yet fully accepted as a freestanding disorder” but she is also right when she points out that obsession with healthy eating finally attracted the attention of the medical community since these people eventually became patients.
The article also gives general guidelines on how the massage therapist should approach clients with Orthorexia Nervosa and these recommendations are correct. Of course, massage therapy isn’t the ultimate solution but the undoubted presence of anxiety in these patients is indication for a full body Therapeutic Massage session. We would like to emphasize the difference between Stress Reduction and Therapeutic Massage since the latter one employs a larger variety of inhibiting techniques which helps to better cope with any anxiety disorder.
Subclavius. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 49-50, 2015
By Christy Cael
A good, informative article on anatomy, function and palpation of the subclavius muscle.
Massage Therapy for Cancer Symptoms. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 52-55, 2015
By Jerrilyn Cambron
This is a very informative article on the effectiveness of massage therapy for cancer patients. It discusses results of meta-analysis of studies which analyzed the clinical effectiveness of various types of massage therapy for the management of cancer symptoms. This data can be used by therapists to educate other health practitioners and patients about opportunities massage can bring to the table.
Glutes. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 56-61, 2015
By Karrie Osborn
This author deserves a lot of credit for addressing recent phenomenon in stress reduction application of massage – avoiding working on the gluteal muscles massage. It may be difficult to imagine, but this tendency has spread to large spas as a way to avoid potential legal actions by the clients. As the author noticed, some massage therapy schools got wind of the change and stopped including work in the gluteal area as a part of the basic curriculum.
We greatly appreciate the author’s efforts and concerns. At the same time to the spas and schools we have only one thing to say: “This is the most outrageously stupid mistake you’re making!”
The article also provides information about correct draping, which should be taught in the schools, instead of excluding work in the gluteal area, anatomy, action and palpation of gluteal groups.
Forgotten Muscles. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 66-71, 2015
By Art Riggs
A very good article about gluteal muscles which goes as a complementary piece to the previous article by K.Osborn.
Glutes and Muscle Energy Techniques to Address Them. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 75-81, 2015
By John Gibbons
A very important article on application of Muscle Energy techniques for the hip joint muscles. A highly recommended read.
Releases For The Shoulder and Arm. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 75-81, 2015
By M.J. Shea
A very good article which reviews Myofascial Release techniques application on the shoulder and upper extremity. There is a lot of helpful information for therapists with good illustrations. From our perspective some recommendations require more detailed explanations. Otherwise the therapist may face unintended consequences.
For example, the image 9 and its description suggests stabilization of the pectoralis tendon on the anterior shoulder with the therapists’ elbow. The entire brachial plexus is under the pectoralis minor just medially to the elbow position shown in the article. If this issue isn’t clarified the therapist may unintentionally elicit unwanted pressure on the brachial plexus.
Also, Myofascial Release should be part of the therapy rather than only a clinical tool. It will provide more stability to the results. However, despite these minor issues the article is a very informative piece.
Gluteal Pain on the Run. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 96-99, 2015
By Whitney Lowe
A very good article on working in the gluteal area addressing gluteal and piriformis muscles.
Working With the Psoas. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, July/August, 96-99, 2015
By Til Luchau
To read the review of this article please go to the “Distortion of Iliopsoas Therapy” article in this issue of JMS.
Finding “Normal” – A Moving Target. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Sept/Oct, 28-29, 2015
By Douglas Nelson
This article touches the rarely mentioned phenomenon of what the patient considers “normal.” Understanding this concept is a great help for the therapist since he or she can enhance the healing process by correctly adjusting the patient’s perception of pathological symptoms.
The therapists may face two scenarios associated with the failed perception of “normal” by the patient. First, when the patient gets restoration of function and pain relief after just a few sessions and considers the pathological condition is completely cured, while the somatic practitioner still detects the presence of residual symptoms.
The second scenario is when there are objective improvements (e.g. the patient doesn’t limp anymore or ROM in the shoulder is greatly improved) while he or she insists that therapy didn’t provide any improvement. In both cases the therapist should address and correct the patient’s deviation of perception to speed up recovery.
In the first case the presence of structural changes must be emphasized – for example, conducting the same testing on both sides and pointing to the differences which are still present. In the second case the notes which the therapist took during the initial evaluation are a great help since they will point to the positive dynamic, engaging the brain into the healing process.
The only problem we have with this article is that the author mentions the cerebellum as the main part of the brain which is responsible for the sense of “normal.” Neuroscience do not look at the cerebellum as the part of the brain associated with motor control only since it has recognized that this part of the brain has a greater role in cognitive functions, including language. Yes, the cerebellum processes sensory information from the peripheral receptors, but it isn’t a part of the brain responsible for the sense of “normal.” The parietal and especially frontal lobes of the cortex are doing that while using the cerebellum’s informational input.
Popliteus. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Sept/Oct, 45-46, 2015
By Christy Cael
A good article on the anatomy, function and palpation of the popliteus muscle.
Massage Therapy for Cardiac Surgery Pain. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Sept/Oct, 48-51, 2015
By Jerrilyn Cambron
This article discusses the results of a study where hand massage therapy was tested against a control group (hand-holding) after cardiac inpatient surgery. The result was a statistically significant decreased pain level in the massage group.
It’s great that even such minor massage intervention as hand massage was used as a supportive treatment for patients with cardiac dysfunction. However, this is the first in a series of baby steps. Neither massage therapists nor physicians are rarely even aware of what Medical Massage can do for patients with visceral dysfunctions, including cardiac abnormalities. Using various viscero-somatic and viscero-motor reflexes, a therapist can greatly enhance postsurgical or post- heart attack rehabilitation.
For example, Pericardic Massage is an exceptional clinical tool to do that. It is designed to detect and eliminate reflex zones formed in the soft tissues as a response to chronic cardiac pathologies. Moving from the periphery to the heart helps unload the cardiac function by decreasing peripheral vascular resistance to the cardiac work.
Miserable Malalignment Syndrome. Part 1. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Sept/Oct, 96-99, 2015
By Whitney Lowe
A very good article on MMS. It covers its nature and the patient’s evaluation.
Race Walking and Shin Splints. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Sept/Oct, 100-101, 2015
By Erik Dalton
This article addresses the formation of shin splints and the treatment options. We would like only to add that the discussed techniques are important but still only a part of the session. For example, Lymph Drainage techniques must be part of shin splint treatment since swelling of the fascia needs to be eliminated from the very beginning.
A Structural Massage Approach to Easy Assessment. Massage Magazine, Issue 230, 36-40, 2015
By Sean Riehl
The correct evaluation is the foundation for successful treatment. Without it the therapist is blind. This article’s topic is easy assessment, but these assessments have nothing to do with real evaluation if a client with dysfunction is in pain. The only application of the information in the article is a spa setting where generally healthy clients come for stress reduction massage with little complaints here and there.
For therapists who work with patients rather than clients, the article’s recommendations have little practical value. The major reason is that the proposed assessment is designed to detect consequences rather than isolate the initial trigger.
Fibromyalgia. Massage Therapy Considerations. Massage Magazine, Issue 230, 46-50, 2015
Jimmy Gialelis, LMT, BCTMB
A good, basic article about Fibromyalgia which can be useful to students and therapists who are not aware concerning Fibromyalgia and massage therapy options.
Lymphatic Drainage For Geriatric Clients. Massage Magazine, Issue 231, 48-52, 2015
By Carmen Thompson, LPTA, CMT, CLT
This is a very general review article about Lymph Drainage massage and its application for older clients.
Mechanical Link. Massage Magazine, Issue 231, 56-60, 2015
By Elizabeth Frederick Young, PT, CTA, CZB
A very good article which introduces the Mechanical Link concept to massage therapists. This technique is based on the concept of Biotensegrity and the readers may learn more from the article by J. published in this and upcoming issues of JMS.
A Good Night Sleep. Massage Magazine, Issue 231, 62-66, 2015
By Roman Torgovitsky, PhD
A very well written and argued article about the effect of massage on the sleep pattern. Therapists may use this information to promote their services to their clients, especially those who are under stress and suffer from insomnia.
The Post-Surgical Client. Manage Pain & Enhance Recovery. Massage Magazine, Issue 231, 60-65, 2015
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
This article discusses when and how to use massage on clients who have undergone recent surgery. Overall, the article does its job to deliver very general guidelines. What is missing are actual practical recommendations. The article has a section titled: “Techniques” but there are zero recommendations there. Instead it offers the following suggestions:
“The technique is highly dependent on the nature of the surgery, the patient’s con-ditions, primary goals of treatment, and the physiological effects of the treatment. The most effective way to properly choose treatments for the postsurgical mas-sage is to consider all of these factors and use good clinical reasoning to determine a proper course of action.”
Could anyone get any sense of what to do after reading these recommendations? There are only two explanations – the author doesn’t know or knows but chooses not to share it with the readers.
Instead, the author may say that almost immediately after surgery gentle Lymph Drainage type strokes should be conducted above the operated segment of the body or below if it is cranial surgery; that for pain relief the therapist can work on the opposite side of the body but on the segment matched to the operated one; that after stitches are removed the therapist can start applying lymph drainage on the parts of the body located below the area of the surgery, etc. Thus this article fails the reader in one important way – practical application.
MASSAGE THERAPY JOURNAL
A Few Simple Stretches for the Lower Back. MTJ, 54(2): 17-22, 2015
By Joseph E. Muscolino
A very good article for the lower back stretches which should be used by therapists.
The Role of Massage Therapy. Cardiovascular Health. MTJ, 54(2): 61-79, 2015
By Helen Tosch
A very well written and researched article on the role of massage therapy in management of cardiovascular pathologies. We may also add that the application of Medical Massage offers much wider clinical benefits for patients with cardiovascular disorders. `
Rotator Cuff Injury. MTJ, 54(3): 17-27, 2015
By Joseph E. Muscolino
A great article about Rotator Cuff injuries – A recommended read.
The Science Of Massage. Lower Back Pain. MTJ, 54(3): 64-79, 2015
By Myrna Traylor
The article is far away from the proclaimed “Science of Massage” claims. It is a basic review of general aspects of such complex medical issues as Lower Back Pain. It falls completely flat in the section dedicated to massage application in cases of Lower Back Pain. Instead of any even basic practical recommendations, this section is a collection of personal opinions about massage and lower back pain.
Category: Good Apples, Bad Apples
Tags: Issue #4 2015