Can Massage Therapy Help Prevent Colds?

Research studies do suggest that massage therapy can positively impact and manage inflammatory and auto-immune conditions in the human body.

What does this mean…exactly?

A published study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals (Sep 2010) suggests that 53 adult subjects receiving a 45-minute massage therapy session showed measurable and significant increases in the volume of lymphocytes in their systems.  Who can’t use some more dis-ease sentinels in their circulatory system?

250px-SEM_LymphocyteThe more T-Cells and B-Cells that are keeping watch in our bodies and effectively eliminating viruses that would otherwise keep us from our jobs/passions and normal lives, the better.

Especially in the winter months, when cold and flu season is at its peak because viruses survive longer in colder, drier open air during transmission from host to host, it is good to know that there are studies out there that record the positive effects that a massage therapy treatment can have on a human body.  In my opinion, repeated exposure to massage therapy can have the cumulative effect of the results of this single study, although more research needs to be done to prove it empirically.

Let’s not give those viruses a place to cozy into for, at best, a few days or even a week or more…being out of the loop in a cold/flu state is No Fun.  If you have to have a cold, your immune system and its ability to respond are your first, best line of defense and correction – Be Well: get a massage!

You can subscribe to the National Institute of Health’s PubMed Central (PMC) for free and read thousands of published research articles, just like this one, at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/

HIPAA On the Horizon

Client safety and confidentiality the intent of HIPAA – improves alternative health care industry

If you’ve ever thought twice about filling out a health questionnaire that your massage or bodywork practitioner has asked you to complete, you are not alone. It is within the scope of a Practitioner to ask questions about your health in order to provide you with the best service possible – safeguarding your state of health, knowing and practicing the contraindications for you and the bodywork you are receiving, and preventing any complications in providing that service. With rising fraud crimes and use of electronic filing systems, it is a valid concern of the Client and Practitioner that information can be misplaced, mishandled, and miscommunicated.

In 2003, the healthcare industry adopted a government standard for getting and keeping your personal health information for purposes of practicing medicine and filing insurance claims. It is named HIPAA: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA has three major purposes:

  1. To protect and enhance the rights of consumers by providing them access to their health information and controlling the inappropriate use of that information;
  2. To improve the quality of healthcare in the United States by restoring trust in the healthcare system among consumers, healthcare professionals and the multitude of organizations and individuals committed to the delivery of care; and
  3. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery by creating a national framework for health privacy protection that builds on efforts by states, health systems, individual organizations and individuals.

Bodyworkers and Clients alike will be satisfied to know that the HIPAA law in place today protects the Protected Health Information (PHI) of the Client in every aspect of the healthcare information-gathering process when insurance claims are filed with companies such as BlueCross and BlueShield.

At this time, compliance is not mandatory for Bodyworkers in the industry of Alternative Healthcare (unless the information is used in an insurance claim situation), but many Information Technology systems are developing in order to accommodate the eventual governmental requirement. If you didn’t know already, currently it is industry-standard to get a written release form from the Client in order for the Practitioner to give or receive health record information from the Client’s doctor.

Look in the near future for your practitioner to have HIPAA information and compliant forms with his or her intake form to assure you that your information is handled with the level of concern and confidentiality it deserves.

On the Record – CAM Products and the FDA (revised)

This may be something you’re interested in: the adequate protection your health through regulated consumables: now, or in the future.

Last year, I wrote an article that outlined the FDA’s attempt to regulate CAM products, including massage therapy oils/consumables, to the Nth degree, mirroring Sweden’s [Medical Products Agency’s] current regulatory process for products on the shelves in their country.

Haven’t heard any more about it?

Well, here’s a recap of the article I wrote with some ancillary information you may be interested in reading. When you’re done, read on about a new initiative to reform the FDA – and understand how you can help yourself and the country’s regulation of food and drugs.

The Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) industry has boomed over the past 10 to 20 years. Thousands of CAM products and services have flooded the market, in which there is also the same demand – and it only grows. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that in May 2004, 36% of Americans, aged 18 or older, used some form of CAM product or service. This number is expected to increase dramatically over the next 10 years and beyond.

There is some concern in the general public, the CAM practitioner community, the bodyworker community, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the growing popularity of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the implications for regulation of the consumable products that are an inherent part of the delivery of the CAM service. The FDA is proposing regulation by law of the industry of CAM by regulating the CAM products that are used by practitioners in the industry.

The FDA Stance. They state that in the interest of the safety of the general public that utilizes the services and products of the CAM practitioners, they are considering restricting use of certain types of products that are produced in circumstances that are not advisable or regulated by the FDA, a governmental agency acting on behalf of the Consumer. Click here http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/06d-0480-gld0001.pdf to read their Draft Guidance and reasoning on the subject.

The CAM Practitioner Stance. Most tissue-manipulation and energy bodyworkers use only their hands (and no implements or organic products internally) and external lubricants to manipulate the tissue through the skin of the client. There are other CAM practitioners (like nutritional counselors and holistic doctors) that prescribe nutritional supplements, botanical or essential oils, and dietary aids and foods, under which the FDA would like to categorize, label, and regulate the production of these CAM products. What “CAM products” will become is: difficult to find – less available if laws regulate what can be purchased; more expensive to purchase – because of less competition and the cost to produce the product under FDA regulation; more processed, less organic – because of the proposed pharmaceutical nature and process of the production of CAM products; and, the variety of products will be greatly diminished due to the origin of the products not being approved by the FDA to be legally prescribed or sold for use in CAM practices.

The CAM Client Stance. The general public wants to know what is in the products that are being used on their skin and inside their bodies. They are becoming more aware of the old adage “You are what you eat” and how true it is in regard to what ever a person is exposed or consumes. They have a right to understand and be able to choose the products they are exposed to or consume based on the latest information possible from a consumer group that acts on their behalf. The possible regulation by the FDA may: limit the types and variety of products available to the CAM Client thereby removing a choice, raise the cost of obtaining these products due to the regulatory nature of the production of the CAM products, increase the safety of the products being used on or in the bodies of the CAM Client thereby reducing the physical response to a product that has been untested for safety and effectiveness toward the condition it is meant to address, and possibly change the face of the products that will ever be available to the CAM Client based on the recommendation of their CAM Practitioner.

Your Stance. The FDA is accepting and registering public comment for purposes of survey and public record about their proposal. You have the opportunity to register your opinion for the record, and may do so here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oc/dockets/comments/COMMENTSMain.CFM?EC_DOCUMENT_ID=1451&. If you are concerned about the CAM products that are on the market today and want to voice your opinion to the FDA, you’ll need to do so by April 30th, 2007, to be “on the record.”

There is a new movement, on behalf of consumers and the public affected by the current practices of the FDA, to bring to the attention of Congress the deficits the FDA places on the newest markets of drugs and CAM products; “new science.” The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) is leading a campaign to reform the FDA, starting with a petition that will be delivered to Congress.

To read what the petition is about and to sign it electronically or print a copy to send to your elected Congressperson, visit the AAHF online.

You are the “one more” signature closer to changing things…