Videos

The first principle is not to fool yourself . . .

Posted on: Mon, 03/16/2015 - 9:45pm By: Alice

In 1974, Richard Feynman delivered the commencement address at Caltech. The speech has endured and is often referred to as the "Cargo Cult Science" speech.

I love this speech. It's about intellectual honesty and integrity. It's about how not to fool yourself.

I've referred to it many times and read it over and over. If I were fond of memorizing, which I am not, I would memorize sections of it. I've thought of having, "The first principle is not to fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool," painted on my wall so I'd see it every day.

At the end, he wishes for the students that they always have the freedom to maintain the kind of integrity he describes. I would also wish, for myself and my fellow massage therapists, that we always strive to maintain the high standards of integrity he describes.

Notes from Skepticamp, 9/14/13: A Skeptical Look at Back Pain

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 3:01pm By: Alice

These are notes from a presentation given at the Skeptical Society of St. Louis Skepticamp on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Links to some of the resources and studies mentioned during the presentation, as well as additional links that may be of interest, are provided for those who would like to look at them.

 

A Skeptical Look at Back Pain: Notes from Skepticamp 2013

In 1995 I was working at St. Mary’s hospital when I heard about this study which examined 98 people who had no low back pain (LBP) and found that a large percentage had herniated discs. ("asymptomatic" means without symptoms i.e. no pain)

 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199407143310201

            98 asymptomatic individuals ages 20 – 80

            36% normal discs at all levels

            52% bulging disc at at least 1 level

            38% abnormal at more than one level

            Findings similar in men & women

            Abnormalities increased with age

Book Review: Explain Pain by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley

Posted on: Tue, 05/07/2013 - 1:58am By: Alice

If I could make only one recommendation to individuals living with chronic pain, it would be to read the book Explain Pain by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley.

Directed at both clinicians who work with chronic pain patients and patients who live with chronic pain, Explain Pain shows how the discoveries of modern pain science can be put to practical use. Written in understandable language with a touch of lighthearted humor, Butler and Moseley take a complex subject and make it possible for the average person to understand and use. One client remarked that she thought it would be hard to read and was delighted that she did not find it difficult at all. 

Self-Help Movements for Low Back Pain

Posted on: Mon, 08/20/2012 - 9:01pm By: Alice

Low back pain is one of the most common and persistent pain problems, affecting millions of people. Besides working hands-on with clients, I try to help them understand how pain works and to find ways they can continue to help themselves at home.

Cory Blickenstaff is a physical therapist in Vancouver, WA. My clients have found his videos on "edgework" and "novel movements" to be helpful and enjoyable.

"Edgework" is finding the point in a movement where it begins to transition from easy and comfortable to slightly guarded or painful. Movements should be done slowly, watching carefully for the first sign of holding the breath, muscular tension, or pain. The movement presented in the video is one possible movement. Other movements can be used as "edgework" using the same approach.

"Novel movements" are movements that are a little different from the way we normally move. As Cory says, they are movements about which the brain has not yet formed an opinion. By practicing novel movements, we can try to find movements that are not painful and break the association between movement and pain.

Professor Moyer Discusses Reiki Research

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2012 - 7:22pm By: Alice

Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology who has done research on anxiety, depression, and massage therapy. He recently co-authored the book Massage Therapy: Integrating Research and Practice. Active in many online discussions, Moyer has been a voice for science literacy and research literacy in the field of massage therapy. Through his online comments, he has patiently and generously mentored many massage therapists who aspire to be more science-based and research literate. In a recent FaceBook discussion, Moyer raised the question: why is continuing education credit, required for some professional memberships and state licensing, granted for classes in Reiki?

Basic Russian Massage Strokes: Circular Heel of the Hand Friction

Posted on: Mon, 11/28/2011 - 5:24pm By: Alice

If I could teach only one stroke to other massage therapists, it would be Russian circular heel of the hand friction.

Friction is seldom used in Swedish massage but used quite a bit in Russian massage. It's a great stroke and I consider it my "workhorse." I incorporate it liberally during full-body relaxation massage because it's relaxing and feels very good. It's great for muscles that are tight and sore. It's particularly useful with athletes. It's my favorite stroke.

Done properly, it's very comfortable for the client and very easy on the therapist. Remember not to do it too fast. It should be done at a moderate to slow pace. Too fast will take the sensation of depth out of it. Oil should be minimum, just enough to let you move along easily but not so much that you are sliding over the skin. There should still be a little friction.

Russian Massage Basic Stroke: Continuous Flat Effleurage

Posted on: Mon, 11/14/2011 - 9:50am By: Alice

This is the second in a series of brief videos introducing the principles and practice of Russian Medical and Sports Massage.

Our first video gave a brief Introduction to the Principles of Russian Massage. The second video, presented here, gives a brief demonstration of flat continuous effleurage on the back.

Continuous flat effleurage is very calming to the central nervous system and a good beginning and ending stroke. In Russian Massage, we are very specific about how the strokes are done. How the hand is held, how the fingers are placed, all enhance the stroke and make a small but significant difference. The continuous movement in one direction produces a unique feeling that is a little different from common Swedish effleurage. Since the hands are working alternately, each hand has a moment of rest between strokes. These brief periods of rest make the stroke less fatiguing for the therapist than in traditional Swedish massage, where both hands are always working at the same time.

Try it and let us know what you think.

 

Introduction to the Principles of Russian Massage

Posted on: Mon, 11/14/2011 - 12:35am By: Alice

I'm excited to announce the first of a series of brief videos that will introduce the principles and practice of Russian massage.

Russian Massage is a medical and sports massage developed in the former Soviet Union and used in hospitals and clinics there. Based on research, Russian Massage works with the physiological processes of the body to promote desired change and recognizes the role of the central nervous system in bringing about that change.

This first video gives a brief introduction to the history and principles of Russian Massage and discusses how the practice of Russian Massage agrees with current understanding of neuroscience.

Special thanks to Will Stewart of 3-D Optimal Performance for making these videos possible.

I hope you like it. Let me know what you think!

 

Self-Help for the Neck Through Novel Movements

Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2011 - 1:10am By: Alice

While low back pain may be one of the most common complaints seen by doctors, neck and upper back/shoulder pain is the most common complaint seen in my office. So many people spend their days sitting in front of a computer, head forward and motionless for hours at a time, it seems inevitable that eventually the neck and upper back are going to begin to  protest. I encourage clients to get up and move as often as possible and especially to move in directions that are different from or opposite to the direction in which they've held themselves for extended periods. The body wants to move and likes variety of movement.

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