The following information is provided to help you understand the therapy and procedures that I perform. It is my protocol to work in consultation with my patients attending physician and I am trained to do so, including sending physician reports every six treatments if you wish. The State required hours of training for a massage therapist are five-hundred. I have 2400 hours of training. This is medical massage/healthcare.
I am a 2003 graduate of Blue Heron Academy in Grand Rapids, MI, a State licensed, post-secondary school, nationally board certified and a board diplomat in Manual Therapy, have my liability insurance through the American Massage Council and completed the Master Herbalist status in 2003. I’m also a Reiki master as of 1999. My practice is a single member Sole Proprietor and I’ve been in practice for seventeen years.
It is important to understand that holistic medicine is not an “escape” from modern medicine but seeks to work with it and bring balance to it. This is healthcare. I like to work with a doctor’s diagnosis and I have HIPAA rules that I must comply with. There are many fine “straight” doctors but they don’t touch you or have a clue about deep tissue, but I don’t know how to do surgery on a torn ligament either. We have to work together. Most doctors endorse licensed clinical massage/manual therapy but most insurance companies do not because it’s good for the patient but not profitable for them. It could however, cut their costs drastically which would benefit the patient.
Manual therapy is a soft tissue therapy that combines deep tissue massage with manual joint mobilization. The soft tissue of the body is muscle, ligament, tendon and nerve. It makes up most of the body. Manual Therapy utilizes the power of the blood/Qi to heal. We know how to penetrate down four layers to the deep tissue without stripping, stabbing, poking or elbowing the tissue which would cause pain. Pain is the opposite of healing and doesn’t help so we don’t do it. We use a dry hand with traditional and original techniques designed to reduce pain, spasm, and inflammation in a non-invasive, non-painful manner. It is not the same as physical therapy but is not completely dis-similar. It is more. It is related to chiropractic but there is no adjusting and the whole focus of the treatment is soft tissue work, not skeletal because bone FOLLOWS muscle and soft tissue, not the other way around. It is related to relaxation/therapeutic massage in that we treat the soft tissue, but we do not use oil to massage, we do not do full body massage, and there is no nudity. Our focus is always clinical/medical.
Manual therapy has two main treatment goals; the reduction of inflammation and the re-establishment of normal range of motion in joint and connective tissue. With our techniques, we are able to penetrate tissue to the periosteum; the origin of many pathologies. We accomplish all of this with the use of our hands. We are trained at length in anatomy, especially the muscles, but specifically in ligament pathology, location of ligaments and nerves, and how to tactilely evaluate the soft tissue and treat it accordingly.
I’ve been in practice for seventeen years and I’ve seen this work on hundreds of patients where physical therapy, surgery, and drugs have failed or made the condition worse. This is not always the case, but most of the time it is.
Manual therapy includes therapeutic modalities such as heat (heat lamp or thermaphore) and cold, range of motion assessment, postural folding with deep manual therapy, Chinese herbal liniment post-treatment and therapeutic exercise programs. I also counsel my patients on positive mental attitude and breathing exercises. My treatments proceed like this:
1. I get some medical history from the patient, including list of meds and Physician.
2. I review the history and discuss reason for the visit, level of pain, limitation of ROM, etc. I ask if you’ve seen a Dr. for this problem and what the diagnosis was.
3. While I’m out of the room, they disrobe only the pieces of clothing that are covering the area of tissue that I need to work. There is no nudity and I use draping.
4. Patient lies either prone or supine on the massage table and covers up with the sheet.
5. I will only work twenty minutes on one area of the body as that is all the time I need. My treatments go deep and are not painful, however, they greatly stimulate neural function and blood circulation, so it’s very possible to go too long and then the area would be sore. I can work one to two areas in a half hour or three areas in an hour.
6. I use specific hand techniques, joint physics, traction, laminar groove work, many of which are quite unfamiliar to most practitioners, to move the tissue deep to the periosteum, in addition to energy balancing. The main way we get this deep with no pain is with a “soft hand” and postural folding, both of which are unique to Blue Heron Academy graduates.
7. After I’m done with an area, I use a Chinese heat drawing liniment with friction and then spray on a heat dispersing medicinal liniment. These have a number of Chinese herbs in them that decrease inflammation and speed healing as well as increase circulation.
All of the patients that I accept are reviewed to ascertain that a physician has appropriately evaluated them. If the patient requests that I consult with their physician, I attempt that and request that in accordance with the wishes of the patient that the physician consults with me. In fact, I request that the patient allow me to work in consultation with their physician as that is our policy. If questions or concerns should arise during the patient’s course of therapy, or if the patient has not been medically evaluated, the patient is referred to their physician for evaluation and treatment. I have had many patients whose pain is relieved almost immediately by my work. Therefore, they find my services very valuable and would like their doctors to know about it.
Patients are seen for therapy in our office with acute, sub-acute, and chronic conditions. Once again, all patients are required to have been medically evaluated prior to treatment in our office. Patients are treated for their specific presenting symptoms and may need to be treated one, two, or three times per week to start. As the patient’s pain subsides, treatments are cut back. This depends on the Physicians diagnosis and whether it is a degenerative condition. Then a maintenance schedule is applied. Specific clinical treatment goals are established for each patient and these goals include the objective of reducing inflammation and normalizing range of motion.