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Can Sport Specific Balance Training Prevent Acute Injuries?

In a study by Emery & colleagues, 920 basketball players from Calgary, Canada were studied in two groups.  Both groups were taught basic warm up techniques, but the second group were also taught an additional warm up component and given a home based balance training program involving the use of a wobble board.
The study found that the addition of a balance training program did have a positive effect on protecting the athlete from all types of injuries; lower limb injuries and ankle sprains, however this was not found to be statistically significant.
There was also a self-reported poor compliance to the home exercise program, with only 60% compliance.   Consideration should be made as to how compliance can be improved, however this study does suggest that coaches should consider such as preventative training strategy for their players in order to reduce injuries.

(2007)  A Preventative Strategy To Reduce the Incidence Of Injury in High School Basketball: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 17 (1): 17-24

NMT Massage Helps Parkinson’s Patients

Research conducted by the Atlanta School of Massage and Emory University suggests neuromuscular therapy (NMT), which emphasizes soft-tissue manipulation, may improve motor and selected non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  In the study, thirty-six subjects with PD were assigned to NMT or music relaxation (active control) groups.  Treatment was performed twice weekly for four weeks; testing was done at baseline, and eight days after final treatment.  NMT was found to lead to “significant and sustained improvement in the motor subscale” of the United Parkinson Disease Rating Scale, and, most notably, the tremor scores.  Investigators concluded the “pilot study warrant(s) larger controlled studies to examine dose range, durability, and mechanisms of NMT in PD function.”

Results of the study were published in the December 2006 issue of Movement Disorders.

Help After Heart Surgery

A Mayo Clinic five-month pilot study shows massage therapy dramatically reduces pain levels for heart surgery patients.  The study involved fifty-eight patients who were asked to rate the level of pain they were experiencing on a scale of one to ten.  Thirty patients were then given massage treatments.  The twenty-eight patients who received no treatment reported no change in pain management, while the other thirty lowered their assessment scores to one.  The findings prompted the Mayo Clinic to hire a full-time massage therapist.

The findings of the Mayo Clinic study can be located in the November 2007 issue of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Massage Benefits Hospitalized Cancer Patients

Massage therapy decreased pain, symptom distress and anxiety in hospitalized cancer patients, according to a recent study.

Forty-one patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer participated in the study, “Outcomes of Therapeutic Massage for Hospitalized Cancer Patients,” during a 16-month period. Ninety-five percent of the participants were men. Subjects had the following cancer diagnoses: lymph, lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, head and neck, leukemia, breast and skin.

Throughout the first eight months of the study, 20 patients on the oncology unit received massage therapy. One nurse provided the massage, which consisted of 15-30 minutes of light Swedish techniques, varying slightly according to each patient’s medical needs. Subjects received the massage, in their hospital bed, three times during a one-week hospital stay.

Throughout the last eight months of the study, 21 patients received 20 minutes of nurse interaction, a control condition to account for personal attention received by subjects in the massage group.

Four outcome variables were measured: pain (intensity and distress), subjective sleep quality, symptom distress and anxiety. Pain was measured with a numerical rating scale; subjective sleep quality was measured with the Verran and Snyder-Halpern Sleep Scale; symptom distress, such as nausea, mood and appetite, was measured with the Symptom Distress Scale; and anxiety was evaluated with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Subjects completed demographic questionnaires and the four outcome questionnaires after their first night in the hospital and on the seventh day of their stay.

The mean scores for pain and symptom distress decreased significantly for participants in the massage-therapy group. Their anxiety decreased, as well, although not significantly, and their subjective sleep quality remained the same.

For subjects in the nurse-interaction group, pain, symptom distress and subjective sleep quality all worsened, although their anxiety was slightly decreased.

“The consistent findings from this study and other published reports indicate that therapeutic massage may be an integral and important part of nursing care in hospital and hospice settings for cancer patients,” state the study’s authors. “Content and practice of therapeutic massage should be strengthened in the nursing curricula and integrated throughout clinical practice.”

– Source: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing and Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center. Authors: Marlaine C. Smith, R.N., Ph.D.; Janet Kemp, R.N., Ph.D.; Linnea Hemphill, R.N., L.M.T.; and Carol P. Vojir, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2002, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 257-26

Massage as an Antidote to Workplace Stress


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Massage therapists who market to employers have new evidence to bolster the case for massage in the workplace: Work-related stress contributes to depression. And depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, reduces the productivity of employees, increases the frequency of worker absences and can lead to premature retirement.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found job stress and a lack of social support in the workplace were associated with major episodes of depression in men. In women, depression was linked to lack of decision authority on the job and low levels of social support.

The study utilized data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and surveyed more than 24,000 people in a variety of occupations, according to a university press release. Results were published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Almost 5 percent of those surveyed—3.4 percent of men and 6 percent of women—met the criteria for having a major depressive episode during a 12-month period.

“Depression in the workplace is a major public health problem that requires intervention yet remains under-recognized and under-treated,” the study’s authors said. “Both primary preventive approaches and high-quality treatments by primary care, occupational health and mental-health professionals can be used to reduce the burden of depression in the workplace.”

What Your Cravings Really Mean


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Your stockpile of M&M’s or chips may be your body’s way of telling you that it needs a certain nutrient, fat, or mineral, say Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D, author of The Health Detective’s 456 Most Powerful Healing Secrets.  Here, what your food desire might signify.

If you’re craving “Gummy Bears”…You may need:  Protein

“Having a hankering for sugary carbs is a signal that your body wants energy,” says Fuchs.  For a longer-lasting boost, try to get at least 15 grams of protein at every meal from fish, beans, or lean meat.

If you’re craving “Chocolate”…You may need:  Magnesium

Chocolate is high in heart-healthy magnesium.  “Levels dip during your period,” says Fuch.  Aim for at least 300 milligrams of the mineral a day- about the amount in a cup of black beans and a cup of cooked spinach.

If you’re craving “French Fries”…You may need:  Good Fat

Jonesing for greasy foods?  You’re likely coming up short on healthy fatty acids.  Incorporate them into meals by drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil over your salad or veggies, or eat several servings of fish a week.

If you’re craving “Salty Pretzels”…You may need:  B Vitamins

When your adrenal gland, which produces stress hormones, goes into overdrive, so does your desire for salt.  To avoid too much sodium, snack on bananas, or whole-grain crackers, which contain stress relieving B vitamins.

Massage Eases Agitation in People with Alzheimers


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Massage alleviated agitated behavior, such as mumbling and pacing, in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a research study.

“The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Agitated Behavior and Cortisol in Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease” was conducted by staff at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing and the University of Washington Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems School of Nursing.

Ten residents of a special-care unit, ages 71-84, with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, participated in the study, which hypothesized that Therapeutic Touch would reduce the frequency of subjects’ agitated behavior and their level of salivary and/or urine cortisol.

Observers used a modified Agitated Behavior Rating Scale (ABRS) to measure the frequency and intensity of agitated behavior such as rhythmic, purposeless movements of the hands, mumbling and continuous questions, and walking aimlessly.

Six nursing students, blinded to the study, served as the observers, recording behaviors on the ABRS every 20 minutes, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, on a palm-top computer, with a total of 630 observations per subject.

Data collection occurred for 16 days, three of which included sessions of Therapeutic Touch, with an 18-day “wash-out” period, followed by three more days of observations in a “post-wash-out” period.

Massage was provided by the principal investigator to each participant for five-to-seven minutes, twice a day, on days 5-7 of the study, between 10-11:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.

Massage, state the study’s authors, “is an intentionally directed process during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process.”

Results of the study showed a significant decrease in overall agitated behavior, especially vocalization and pacing/walking, which together made up 60 percent of the agitated behavior in these participants. The biggest decrease happened during the three days of Therapeutic Touch.

There were no significant changes for salivary or urine cortisol during this study.

“The current study, supported by previous work, suggests that Therapeutic Touch, as an intervention that is easy to teach and readily learned, can decrease the frequency and intensity of vocalization and pacing,” state the study’s authors.

– Source:The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing and the University of Washington Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems School of Nursing. Authors: Diana Lynn Woods, Ph.D., R.N., and Margaret Dimond, Ph.D., R.N. Originally published in Biological Research for Nursing, Vol. 4, No. 2, Oct. 2002, pp. 104-114.

Massaging the Military


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There are now several therapists with the program, offering services at locations including Balboa Naval Medical Center, Naval Submarine Base Point Loma, and Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center.

Thousands who have served and there is a  learned the difference that certain military have when needing massage therapy.

Pilots who have more severe neck problems, and that has a lot to do with the gravity pull.  Many have lower back problems because they hold so much weight on their bodies coming from the military zone. Their bodies are fatigued from carrying so much.  For Those who are on the ground fighting, there are a lot of shoulder issues as well.  Also the military sleeping situations can cause further strain on the body.

Military personnel take on a high-stress level and their cortisol levels rise.  Massage can help lower cortisol levels, increase serotonin and dopamine which in turn helps with the depression and anxiety many of them deal with daily.

Massage is essential for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Combined with psychotherapy, massage can be one of the best adjunctive therapies to help with this disorder.

Active military personnel seem to respond to sports massage, range-of-motion exercises, and deep-tissue massage.  All others seem to respond best with a combination of the above techniques with Swedish massage incorporated for relaxation and altering brain waves.

Massage is imperative for our military today!