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.


Visualizing Movement. Our Map of the Body in the Brain. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:28-29, 2016

By Douglas Nelson

A cute and informative article on the power of visualization

Deltoid. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:41-42, 2016

By Christy Cael

A good article on anatomy, action and palpation of the deltoid muscle

Lymph in the Brain. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:46-53, 2016

By Bruno Chikly, MD, DO and Alaya Chikly

An exceptional article which we suggest everyone reads who practices or is considering practicing Lymph Drainage Massage. It complements an article in the current issue of JMS on Post-concussion Therapy with an even deeper review of the formation and drainage of CSF.

Dr. Chikly is an unquestionable authority in the area of lymph drainage and LDM.

Can Massage Targeting Lymphatic Function Be Justified? Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:54-63, 2016

By Sandy Fritz

A very good overview of Lymph Drainage Massage presented with proper scientific sources and even basic treatment protocol

A Global Approach to Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:64-71, 2016

By Wolfgang Luckmann

This is another great article on LDM. In this piece the author successfully marries classical LDM developed in the West with acupressure application developed in the East. A very informative piece.

The Long and Winding Nerve. Challenges Involving the Long Thoracic Nerve. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:98-101, 2016

By Whitley Lowe

A very good article on the anatomy, innervation pattern and possible irritation/compressions of the long thoracic nerve. Very helpful illustrations. We recommend a more sophisticated combination of the treatment options compared to what is presented in the article, but at the same time it is a very good introductory piece.

An Alternate Approach to Tennis Elbow. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:102-103, 2016

By Erik Dalton

This article correctly identifies one of the possible causes of Tennis Elbow as Radial Nerve Neuralgia. It is not a very common cause but at the same time the therapists who practice clinical aspects of massage therapy must be aware of the combination of Tennis Elbow and radial nerve irritation/compression.

Sequencing Your Techniques. A Three-Phase Approach to Bodywork. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Feb/Jan:108-109, 2016

By Til Luchau

In this article the author tries to arrange techniques which the therapist may apply in some particular order. Overall it is a very unclear article which while trying to suggest some order to the application, leaves the reader even more confused at the end.

The article may have some merit if its principles were applied on the basic full body therapeutic massage session. However, the author clearly declares the application of the principles suggested in the article in a clinical setting. We think this is where the author confuses himself and readers.

Worrying About Worrying. Massage Therapy and Anxiety Disorders. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:40-43, 2016

By Ruth Werner

Since Therapeutic and Stress Reduction Massage has a great balancing effect on the activity of the autonomic nervous system, the patient with different anxiety disorders benefits greatly from massage therapy. This article covers this subject and provides basic necessary information.

Muscle Spindles. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:46-47, 2016

By Christy Cael

A short but good and informative article on the function of muscle spindle receptors and their importance to bodywork.

Integrating Science With Techniques. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:60-71, 2016

By Joseph E.Muscolino, DC

Generally speaking this article has a lot of helpful, practical tips and suggestions. However, there are several issues we deeply disagree with and we think they mislead therapists.

Here are some examples:

1. The article states that for the restoration of proper blood supply in the area of ischemia (i.e., trigger point) the deep stroking massage is more effective than Trigger Point Therapy (TPT):

“…release of the pressure (after ischemic compression by JMS) that causes the increased arterial supply, it stands to reason that deep stroking massage would be more effective, because 5-10 strokes with 5-10 corresponding releases can be performed in the time that one static compression is performed”

The author places deep stroking massage against TPT without any reasonable scientific explanation and supportive data just on the merit that therapists should trust these recommendations. We’ve already had a discussion with Dr. J. Muscolino on TPT versus deep stroking. We showed with proper references and even a small clinical experiment on the skin reflex zones that it is a clinical mistake to place TPT against deep stroking since they both must be an integrative part of the treatment process and always used together. Please click here to read the entire discussion in detail.

Apparently our arguments weren’t able to convince the author and the article reflects this unfortunate fact. We have no idea where this idea to put TPT and deep stroking against each other comes from. It looks like another example of completely unnecessary fragmentation of profession.

2. Also the author declares that trigger point itself “…is a local phenomenon and it is not medi-ated by the central nervous system.”

The notion that TP is a local pathology is a completely outdated view which was introduced by Dr. Travel and Dr. Simmons (1983) to counter the original theory that every TP, if it didn’t develop as a result of injury, is the result of a reflex mechanism which is indeed mediated by the nervous system. This is a critical point which the article misses since even Prof. Simmons (2007) later in his life agreed that involvement of the central nervous system is a critical component of TP formation and many scientists now see TPs as a result of pathological changes in the activity of the nervous system from its central to peripheral segments rather than a local pathology. Here is another recent source:

“We interpret this increased muscular tension in the taut band with an MTP (myofascial trigger point by JMS) as increased spinal segmental excitability… resulting in an augmented tension of segmental-associated muscle fibers for the etiology of MTP.” (Buchmann et al, 2014)

3. Here is a quote from the article we really have problems with:

“Studies in which the motor neuron to the trigger point has been cut found that the trigger point persists…”

In other words the author is saying that even without any nerve supply to the muscle it continues to harbor TP. This statement doesn’t have any references to back it up. We demand the proper data for such a statement.

Damage to the upper motor neurons will trigger spasticity, for example Cerebral Palsy, but in these cases there are no TPs since the entire muscle is under uncontrolled spasticity. If the author talks about traumatic or experimental injury to the lower motor neuron or motor nerve, these conditions will always trigger muscle atrophy in the fibers which the neuron supports and in such cases there is no way any muscle tension will be detected there including TPs.

4. Here is another quote in regard to Golgi Tendon Organ reflex and Postisometric Muscular Re-laxation which we find simply puzzling:

“Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) reflex is the foundation of what is known as contract relax stretching, also known as postisometric relaxation (PIR) stretching”


“…fundamental mechanism for PIR stretching is to create a contraction in the target muscle so tension is transferred to its tendons, thereby exciting GTO reflex.”

Yes, activation of GTO receptors is a final part of PIR protocol but it is not its foundation. The foundation of PIR is the patient’s voluntary contraction against the operator’s resistance from different levels and from different positions. During this stage of the therapy the therapist engaging Muscle Spindle receptors and GTO receptors have nothing to do with that. The activation of GTO is used in the second phase of the treatment to reinforce its engaging reflex pathways of muscle relaxation.

Thus during contraction against resistance, the therapist engages and resets Muscle Spindle receptors to the normal level, restoring anatomical length of the targeted muscle. Again, the therapist activates GTO receptors during the second phase of passive stretching while the targeted muscle is completely relaxed.

The uniqueness of PIR compared to any other type of Muscle Energy Technique is in its ability to engage two different groups of receptors (Muscle Spindle and Golgi Tendon Organ receptors) within one treatment sequence and achieve clinical goals quickly and efficiently. The way the mechanism of PIR is described in the article is completely wrong.

PIR is the first Muscle Energy Technique and was developed by Dr. Mitchel in 1949 and is a great contribution to the American School of manual therapy and to the somatic rehabilitation of soft tissues. Let us support our views with quotes from the most comprehensive source on PIR, “The Muscle Energy Manual” by Dr. Mitchel and Dr. Mitchel (1995):

“…brief isometric voluntary contraction of hypertonic muscle externally stretches the nuclear bag fibers of the muscle spindles (bold by JMS). The muscle actually lengthened without stimulating myotatic reflexes.”

Do readers see mentioning GTO receptors anywhere in regard to the contraction against resistance part of the PIR as it was suggested in the article? Of course not, since Muscle Spindle receptors are activated during this part of PIR.

Finally, the title of the article suggests integrating science with technique. From this perspective it is puzzling why PIR and Active Isolative Stretching are put on the same level of clinical effectiveness. If we continue to use recently adapted concept of evidence based massage therapy how AIS can be mentioned in this context since it was never tested in the clinical setting against placebo while PIR was on many occasions and in different countries (Khvisiuk et al, 1990; Buchmann et al., 2005).


Buchmann J, Neustadt B, Buchmann-Barthel K, Rudolph S, Klauer T, Reis O, Smolenski U, Buchmann H, Wagner KF, Haessler F. Objective measurement of tissue tension in myofascial trigger point areas before and during the administration of anesthesia with complete blocking of neuromuscular transmission. Clin J Pain. 2014 Mar;30(3):191-8.

Buchmann J, Wende K, Kundt G, Haessler F. Manual treatment effects to the upper cervical apophysial joints before, during, and after endotracheal anesthesia: a placebo-controlled comparison. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Apr; 84(4):251-7.

Khvisiuk NI, Kadyrova LA, Sak AE, Marchenko VG. Mechanisms of post-isometric relaxation of skeletal muscles as a method of rehabilitation Ortop Travmatol Protez. 1990 Mar;(3):54-6

Mitchel F.L., Mitchel P.K.G. The Muscle Energy Manual. MET Press, East Lansing, Michigan, 1995

Simons D.G. Cardiology and myofascial trigger points: Janet G. Travell’s contribution. Tex. Heart. Inst. J., 30(1):3-7, 2003.

Travel J.G., Simons D.G. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The Trigger Point Manual. Williams&Wilkins, 1983

Baxter’s Neuropathy. Solution for Plantar Foot Pain. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:98-101, 2016

By Whitney Lowe

This article provides helpful information on plantar foot pain due to irritation of the inferior calcaneal nerve. However, there are some statements which are very questionable.

At the beginning of the article the author gives reference that Baxter Neuropathy occurred in 20% of cases of foot pain while several paragraphs below he makes a very strange generalization that “…ICN (inferior calcanel nerve by JMS) compression is a primary cause of foot pain” while almost denying the role of calcaneal spur or tension in plantar fascia.

This statement is simply incorrect. The treatment options discussed in the article are also not enough to address pain due to Baxter’s Neuropathy.

Leveling the Head and Tail. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:102-103, 2016

By Erik Dalton

This article discusses the necessity of biomechanical balance during treatment. It plays an important role in the later stages of the therapy since if the patient exhibits significant protective reaction as a result of excessive activation of the pain analyzing system, keeping the balance is simply impossible and it shouldn’t be even an initial goal of therapy. It becomes more important in the later stages of rehabilitation.

Shoulder/Neck Differentiation. Massage&Bodywork Magazine, Mar/Apr:106-109, 2016

By Til Lucahu

This article illustrates Shoulder/Neck Differentiation Technique. It can be a helpful tool. The only issue we have with the information here is that this technique is indicated in cases of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOA).

The clinical picture of TOA is so severe with profound sensory, motor and circulatory abnormalities on the entire upper extremity that it is simply impossible to apply recommended technique on the anterior and lateral neck. This technique can be used only on the stage of Anterior Scalene Muscle Syndrome which precedes TOA and has a milder clinical picture.


Congestion is What Steals Our Quality of Life. Massage Today, January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01

By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD

The information in this article is mostly correct but it is presented in such a weird way that it loses a lot of its value. The article is written in the form of deep thinking by the author with well-known basic physiological aspects presented as his own theoretical innovations. In addition, the article has many simply ridiculous statements. Could someone explain what are “…flow raw blood products?” What is the author even talking about?

Another example:

“When clients present with pain between their scapulae, it is the congestion of this (thoracic by JMS) duct that is often at the root of their problem. And allow me to hastily add that often a ver-tebra or rib head will often have subluxed as well. Ostensibly this subluxation is the first layer of what has provoked their pain; yet, beneath it is the congestion within the thoracic duct that is the real culprit.”

We demand reference for such nonsense!

Positional Release Techniques: What are the Mechanisms? Massage Today, January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01

By Leon Chaitow, ND, DO

An excellent article! Simple, to the point with excellent discussion. It is a little strange that Massage Today placed Dr. Chaitow’s article next to the D. G. Alexander’s piece. They read like articles from two different worlds.

Head and Shoulder Pain from the Splenius Cervicis. Massage Today, January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

A good article and the author is correct. Tension in the Splenius Cervicis Muscle my indeed create Cluster Headache around the eye. The treatment is also discussed with the help of illustrations. All that we would add is that Trigger Point therapy must be reinforced with correctly chosen Muscle Energy Techniques.

For Complete Rehabilitation, Look Beyond the Norm. Massage Today, January, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 01


It is simply tiring to review Mr. McCann’s relentless self-promotion from issue to issue of Massage Today. We will use only one quote from this masterpiece:

“I have observed that this (pelvic by JMS) imbalance impacts the entire musculoskeletal system and is responsible for 95% (bold by JMS) of musculoskeletal issues.”

That’s it – no reference, just a statement of bold arrogance that 95% of somatic rehabilitation is within pelvic imbalance. According to Mr. McCann, he has singlehandedly solved the entirety of somatic medicine. It is simply sad.

What Mr. McCann fails to understand is that in the majority of clinical cases when pain is involved, the rotation of the pelvis is the consequence developed as a protective reaction by the brain rather than the initial trigger. The auhtor keeps chasing ghosts.

A Bridge to Reducing Chronic Anxiety and Panic Attacks. Massage Today, February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02

By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD

This article is about the correlation between anxiety, panic attacks and so called Paradoxical Breathing. The author is completely correct on this subject and the article gives some helpful practical advice to therapists.

Assessing and Treating Golfer’s Elbow. Massage Today, February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02

By Ben Benjamin, PhD

This article is about Golfer’s Elbow, its pathology, assessment and treatment. The article is very good until gets to the treatment options. The only therapy offered is Cross Fiber Friction (CFF). It is a very outdated view that CFF alone can bring stable clinical results.

The stability comes from the combination of the treatment modalities. First of all, the reason for the inflamed periosteum must be removed. This is why reducing tension in fascia of the forearm, elimination of the Trigger Points in the hand flexors and restoring their anatomical length are must do first steps. The author is simply knocking on the wrong door by suggesting to therapists that CFF alone, without addressing the cause of Golfer’s Elbow, can bring stable results.

Another critical aspect of the treatment which is completely missed in the article is the fact that CFF must be used when the tendinous parts of the flexors are damaged or inflamed. In a majority of cases of Golfer’s or Tennis Elbow there is partial detachment of the periosteum at the insertion of the tendon into the condyle. CFF has very limited impact there. However, Periostal Massage is specially designed to form a collagenous cuff around the tendon’s insertion and stabilize the periosteum. Apparently, the author isn’t even aware of Periostal Massage and its usage.

Finally, therapists should not do any exercises suggested in the article until the periosteum of the epicondyle is completely healed. Otherwise the therapist undermines his or her efforts. It is simply puzzling that the author recommended active elbow exercises with free weight while a paragraph later he insists that “…the person should be sure to limit activities, especially those that cause pain, until he or she is completely well.”

Understanding the Seven Senses in Pediatric Massage. Massage Today, February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02


This is a very interesting article which reviews our seven senses and their development in children, which has direct implications for the practice of Pediatric Massage.

Make a Difference in Clients who Suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury. Massage Today, February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02


A good article which echoes B. Prilutsky’s piece in this issue of JMS.

Treating Headaches and Migraines with Trigger Point Therapy. Massage Today, February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02

By Valerie DeLaune, LAC

This article is about Headache and Migraine treatment using Trigger Point Therapy. The article provides some helpful information, but it misses several critical points. The real cause of CH isn’t just muscle tension but muscle tension which irritates greater or/and minor occipital nerves. In such case only TPT isn’t enough to eliminate symptoms of Occipital Neuralgias which are what CHs are.

Another missing piece is that splenius capitis muscle isn’t even mentioned while the oblique capitis superior and oblique capitis inferior muscles are just barely mentioned despite that they are the main cause of CHs.

Assessing and Treating Tennis Elbow. Massage Today, April, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 04

By Ben Benjamin, PhD

This article is paired with the Golfer’s Elbow article published in the previous issue of Massage Today and reviewed above. It exhibits the same mistakes.


Assess Client Expectations. How to Apply Correct Pressure. Massage Magazine, 237, Feb: 34-36, 2016

By Amy Bradley Radford, LMT, BCTMB

This article touches the core issue of the massage profession – correct pressure applied during the therapy. The article gives general guidelines including the 1 to 10 pressure scale. We think that since the pressure sensitivity varies from client to client and between parts of the body in the same client it is much more practical to work below the pain threshold or in some cases on the level of the pain threshold. This issue should be explained to the client that he or she will be in control of correct pressure.

Orthopedic Assessment. Massage Magazine, 237, Feb: 54-57, 2016

By Whitney Lowe

A very good introductory overview of patient assessment for successful somatic rehabilitation.

Functional Medicine. Role of Massage Therapy. Massage Magazine, 237, Mar: 32-34, 2016

By Ron Grisanti, DC

This article is dedicated to what the author calls, “Functional Medicine” and the concept itself is very loosely described. While introducing this new term the author makes a clear distinction between Functional Medicine and as the author names it, the “medical establishment,” despite that he works on merging both in a Cleveland Clinic. Overall this concept is called Integrative Medicine. It is slowly evolving and the author deserves credit for helping this process on the local level.

However, in this article there is not any valuable information on the role of massage therapy in Functional Medicine except that it is good and important. We think that generally speaking, the massage therapy profession has already passed these generalization points.

The Psoas. To Stretch or Not to Stretch? Massage Magazine, 237, Mar: 32-34, 2016

By Patrick Moore, LMT

This is a very confusing article since the topic is confusing to the author himself and the reader feels it almost immediately. First of all, it is impossible to describe the psoas muscle without its equally important other half, the iliac muscle. Thus the article should talk about the iliopsoas Muscle instead of psoas and this is exactly what the article’s illustration shows.

According to the article there are three models of tension developed in the psoas muscle and the author clearly separates them. Clinically speaking all three models or mechanisms are present and equally contributing to the iliopsoas tension. It doesn’t make sense to look at them as separate factors. The treatment option is also confusing since Swedish Massage, Reiki or Craniosacral Therapy do not have the full clinical power to reduce tension in a muscle as important and anatomically challenging as the iliopsoas. In conclusion, to answer the author’s question – Yes, stretch it!

Category: Good Apples, Bad Apples