Monday, March 29, 2010


Last week I went to a breakfast meeting with the AZ Integrative Wellness Coalition. Great group of different complimentary and integrative practitioners (CIM; my new word for us instead of CAM). They have recently merged with the Holistic Chamber of Commerce so there were other business owners there selling their alternative products as well; for example supplements, dietary aides, etc.

A presentation was given by an MD and his wife who told us about their research trip to Cuba. They have a national health care system that includes CIM in a system that is based on egalitarian methods. Doctors make about $15 a month and citizens have their choice of medical approaches. The doc to patient ratio is better than ours, people are living longer, education is free (even to US students as long as they go back to their homes to practice afterwards) and they haven't the health care crisis we have in the US.

The fact is, we are out of control here for two main reasons; cost of hospitalization and physician referral for procedures (profit driven). No one with adequate insurance wants to hear this because it's our right. For example, the AMA came out with new guidelines this year about prevention testing that is a 180 from what we've come to know. Women are now told to start our baseline mammograms at age 50 with subsequent testings once every 3 years or so thereafter (instead of baseline at 40 and yearly testing). The creator of the PSA test recently told the NY Times his test has been abused as well. It was meant as a guideline but has been used to refer untold unnecessary procedures. The fact is the body most often will self regulate fibroid and prostate issues given the chance; a cautionary, watchful approach should take place, not a jump to medications and surgery. Yes, the mammogram and the PSA test have saved millions, however, twice that many have had unnecessary tests, procedures, and the associated trauma of fear and tissue invasion.

Integrative health care is happening folks; MT's, Ac's, DC's, MD's. It's all good.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Somatic Research

Great article in the current Massage and Bodywork March/April issue. It's by Diana Thompson on Somatic Research and she does an excellent job of explaining research in our field; much like I've been promoting whole system research methods to investigate MT and other CIM (complimentary and integrative medicine).

I have to admit to becoming somewhat disillusioned by the recent discussion threads in Massage Professionals online and the Science Based Massage Therapy group on Ning. There are a few researchers who are narrowly focused on RCT's only for MT and ignore the value of qualitative research, pilot studies, and whole systems research. If we want MT's to become research literate and the public to appreciate the benefits of MT we have to give equal value to ALL research methods; many of which do an excellent job in TRANSLATING research.

The effectiveness of MT is realized in the whole experience of the session including it's context, the client/practitioner relationship, the values and beliefs each bring to the table, and the experience of the treatment by the client. A MT session is client centered and collaborative, so our research methods should not only reflect this but be inclusive as well.

Thanks Diana, for your hard work, AND for being a leader in our industry who's not afraid to say RCT's are not all that. Move over guys, think outside the box; don't be so attached to your own theories that you're not leaving room for the possibilities that could more fully capture our work as MT's.