Massage News for Today’s MT

This selection of massage news articles will help you keep on top of what’s happening in your industry.

Integrative Therapies Reduce the Cost of Chronic Conditions

According to a new report, users of integrative health care experienced 60% fewer hospital admissions, 62% fewer outpatient surgeries and 85% lower prescription costs.

Described as an “exhaustive analysis” of current research on the role of integrative health care—massage, chiropractic, naturopathy and acupuncture—the paper published by The CHP Group delves deeply into current research about specific integrative health modalities and their role in safely treating certain persistent chronic conditions. Specifically, the paper looked at research on chronic low-back pain, neck pain and chronic headache/migraine.

“As the growing base of scientific evidence is incorporated into clinical protocols and practice guidelines, integrative health services will provide more value where there is greater integration into conven­tional health care systems,” a press release stated. “Including collaborative, patient-centered, evidence-based integrative health services for the management of chronic condi­tions delivers value in both lower cost and better outcomes.”

The CHP Group maintains a network of integrative practitioners across the Western U.S., working with health plans and employer groups to provide integrative care. The report may be downloaded here.

70: % of Americans with moderate-to-severe symptoms of anxiety or depression who reported that one of the top three things contributing to their mental health concerns is loneliness or isolation. —“COVID-19 and Mental Health: A Growing Crisis,” a spotlight report published by Mental Health America.

NCBTMB Announces Three-Goal, Three-Year Strategic Plan

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) recently announced its three-year strategic plan focused on three key goals:

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Dolly Wallace

1. Board Certification: NCBTMB grows the community of Board Certified therapists by creating awareness of certification’s value to therapists and stakeholders.

2. Approved Provider Program: Through the Approved Provider program, NCBTMB promotes and upholds the highest standards of continuing education.

3. Infrastructure: NCBTMB builds a strong and sustainable infrastructure to ensure growth of its essential programs and to respond to new opportunities.

We are excited about creating a community that supports fellow certificants and encourages other therapists to pursue certification,” said Dolly Wallace, BCTMB, LMT, and NCBTMB president. “It is our hope that fellow massage therapists will join us and be a part of that community which recommends and encourages certification.”

Fingerprints Required Soon in TX

Texas massage therapists, school owners, instructors and massage establishment owners must submit their fingerprints for a national criminal history check by Sept. 1 to be in compliance with a statewide law enacted in 2019. This is a one-time requirement. The prints will be used to check each person’s nationwide criminal history. For more information, click here.

Irene Smith, Hospice Massage Educator: 1946–2021

Irene Smith, CMP, an educator and developer of hospice massage and touch for HIV/AIDS patients, died the evening of April 4 at the age of 75. The case of death was cancer. Her death was announced by assistant Trish Crawley on Smith’s Facebook page.

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Irene Smith

Smith founded Everflowing in 2001, an organization dedicated to educational outreach and teaching skillful touching as an integral component to palliative care. She also ran Service Through Touch from 1982 until 1999, through which she created massage programs for people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Smith was born in Texas in 1946. She graduated from the Los Angeles School of Massage and began her massage career in 1974. Smith’s bio notes that she taught health care providers and bodyworkers “tactile support skills for caring for ill and dying persons and create[d] resource materials utilized by institutions worldwide.” She authored the book, “Massage in Hospice Care: An Everflowing Approach.” She worked as an assistant to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, for 10 years.

During her final days, in hospice herself, she was surrounded by caregivers. Smith wrote the following message on her Facebook page on March 10:

“Dear beloved friends … so many thoughts with me, however the primary thought is about the love and kindness you have shown me through this time of great suffering. I’m held and soothed with your acts of kindness, and cradled in your love. Although I cannot respond to you each [individually], my hope is that you find yourself with this community message. Words escape me but the feeling is that of being lifted out of the darkness into the light on the wing of angels of which each of you are a feather. I would not change one moment of my life for it has brought me to this moment of being so deeply cared for and loved. With all of my heart forever, Irene.”

Massage therapist Rhonda Steger, who learned about hospice massage via Smith’s webinars, articles and website, wrote this statement on Facebook, reprinted here by permission, upon hearing of Smith’s passing, “Oh Irene … You’ve meant so much to so many people. You’ve touched countless lives, including mine. You were my inspiration, my education and my muse. I could never have had the passion for hospice care without you. God speed on your Heavenly journey.”

Smith was a frequent contributor to MASSAGE Magazine, writing on hospice care and working in the health care environment.

Who Believes Health-Related Conspiracy Theories?

Health misinformation on social media threatens public health, as incorrect viewpoints spread rapidly, say the authors of research focused on who is most susceptible to online health misinformation.

Their research indicates a person who is susceptible to online misinformation about one health topic may be susceptible to many types of health misinformation, and “individuals who were more susceptible to health misinformation had less education and health literacy, less health care trust, and more positive attitudes toward alternative medicine,” according to a synopsis of the article, “Who Is Susceptible to Online Health Misinformation? A Test of Four Psychosocial Hypotheses,” published in Health Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association.

Could understanding who is susceptible to online misinformation lead to more empathy for clients who balk at wearing a mask and other COVID-19-related policies?

Americans are (Still, Very) Stressed

A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that in early 2021 U.S. adults had reported the highest stress level since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Stress in America: January 2021 Stress Snapshot was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association.

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• Eighty-four percent of Americans reported feeling at least one emotion associated with prolonged stress in the prior two weeks. The most common were feelings of anxiety (47%), sadness (44%) and anger (39%).

• Additionally, two in three adults (67%) said the number of issues America is facing is overwhelming to them. Those issues that respondents pegged as significant include the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (80%) and U.S. political unrest (74%).

“Nearly a year into the pandemic, prolonged stress persists at elevated levels for many Americans. As we work to address stressors as a nation, from unemployment to education, we can’t ignore the mental health consequences of this global shared experience,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer. “Without addressing stress as part of a national recovery plan, we will be dealing with the mental health fallout from this pandemic for years to come.”

The APA recommends as stress-relievers taking a break from the news and social media, reflecting on positive aspects of one’s life, exercise, humor and staying connected to friends and family. (This publication will add: Get massage.)

$404.66 billion: Projected size of the global complementary medicine market by 2028, according to Grand View Research, growing from $100.04 billion in 2021.

Groups Merge to Promote Integrative Health

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Two groups focused on integrative health care have announced the merger of their business operations, with the purpose of advancing integrative health care globally.

The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM) represents 20 national integrative health and medicine organizations, schools and organizations representing traditional world medicines, and emerging professions that are engaged in self-regulation or working toward licensure. The Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) is involved in education, clinical care, research and policies that contribute toward transforming the health care system into one that emphasizes health and well-being.

The merger will formally bring the licensed integrative health professions of acupuncture and East Asian medicine, chiropractic, direct-entry midwifery, massage therapy and naturopathic medicine into AIHM. “It signals that professional silos are truly coming down,” said Tabatha Parker, AIHM executive director.

Together AIHM and ACIH will offer evidence-based education through conferences, e-learning, webinars and interprofessional fellowship in integrative health and medicine.

Massage Practice Awarded for Resilience

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MINDBODY software company recently announced the recipients of its 2020 Visionary Awards. Bodywise Massage Inc. was awarded in the category of Consciously Evolving, an award category that acknowledges businesses that balanced safety and business acumen during the year.

The massage practice is located in San Rafael, California. According to a statement released by MINDBODY, “Every time a new challenge presented itself, Bodywise Massage found a solution. When the business originally closed, the wellness studio offered distance reiki energy healings. Then, when only outdoor massages were allowed, the business renovated its courtyard to create a private treatment oasis.”

The Visionary Awards celebrate those businesses that use Mindbody’s product and have demonstrated adaptability, strength, determination and community in the face of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

One-Third of Patients Put on Ventilator Report PTSD Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by a terrifying event, according to the Mayo Clinic, and involves such symptoms as flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Massage therapy has been found effective through anecdotal and scientific evidence to relieve symptoms of PTSD and is employed frequently in work with U.S. military veterans and survivors of domestic violence and other trauma.

A study out of the UK, “Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in COVID-19 survivors: online population survey” (cambridge.org), confirmed the hypothesis that PTSD symptoms were disproportionately elevated in those requiring inpatient admission.

The authors noted, “especially those requiring ventilation support, compared with those who had mild COVID-19 symptoms that had been managed at home … [and] these group-level differences controlled for relevant demographic characteristics, medical and psychiatric history, as well as background levels of anxiety and depression.”

The authors noted that their screening tool was not definitive in determining if the formal definition of trauma was met in relation to a person’s COVID-19 experiences, or if PTSD symptoms had persisted for sufficient time to constitute PTSD rather than an adjustment reaction. 

“Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of following up survivors of COVID-19 infection for PTSD,” they noted.

New Multicultural Group Seeks Founding Members

A new group that intends to provide tools and education to health-and-beauty therapies, with an emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism, has launched.

Toshiana Baker founded the Network of Multicultural Spa and Wellness Professionals (NMSWP) in early 2021 to support multiethnic and multicultural health care professionals. She said NMSWP is needed because she found in her spa and wellness career that “true diversity and inclusion” were lacking. Baker has worked in spas as an esthetician and educator for 15-plus years and also founded SpaWorx, a spa-and-wellness business consulting firm.

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Toshiana Baker

Baker said in an NMSWP press release that the increased collective awareness of racial inequities, disparities and lack of representation of people of color within the mainstream last year was the final nudge she needed to launch NMSWP.

However, she added that the spectrum of representation in today’s global marketplace goes beyond race, and pointed to the global population becoming predominantly multiethnic and multicultural.

“We need to be about the business of better preparing and supporting the multicultural and multiethnic healers and practitioners across all disciplines to better serve the multiethnic and multicultural client,” Baker said. “Anything less is incongruent and inauthentic.”

A paid membership is required to access NMSWP’s content and resources, which include monthly video trainings and, interviews with experts and vendor resources.

Study Says: Three Out of Four CBD Topical Products are Mislabeled

Many reputable companies serve the massage industry with CBD topicals formulated for hands-on sessions—but with hundreds of companies now offering products to the general public, a new light is being shone on label-versus-ingredients discrepancies.

CBD educational platform Leaf Report recently enlisted a testing lab to test 40 popular CBD products and found that of the 40 topicals, 31 (77.5%) did not contain the amount of CBD claimed, with most having more CBD than advertised.

Why would this be? Topicals are more difficult to formulate, as they require the blending of CBD with many other ingredients; also, CBD topicals often contain small amounts of CBD, which means that differences of even a few milligrams can have a big effect, according to a statement from Leaf Report.

“To illustrate this, consider a CBD cream with 500 milligrams of CBD and another one with 50 milligrams. A difference of 5 milligrams would change the accuracy of the first product by only 1% compared to 10% for the second one.”

The best way to ensure you are getting the amount of CBD you think you’re buying is to check the company’s third-party test results, which should be posted to the company’s website.

About the Author:

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Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor-in-chief. Send your news leads to edit@massagemag.com.


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