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Last week I wrote a post on Facebook about some of the myths of massage. My statement on this issue was and continues to be that I am not accusing anyone of telling a deliberate lie, nor am I attacking the character of any teacher who has helped to perpetuate these myths. I choose to believe that everyone has good intentions.

Before I became interested in the evidence-based practice of massage, I’ve been just as guilty as sharing some of them myself. There seem to be so many of them, and in my opinion  people tend to blindly accept what they learn in massage school. We view teachers as authority figures, but the fact is, teachers have a tendency to repeat what they were taught in massage school…so they pass that on to their students, who in turn share that false information with their clients, with the best of intentions. Some of those same students go on to become the next generation of teachers, and those same myths just keep being perpetuated.

Yesterday I heard from Lee Kalpin of Ontario, who shared a few more of these massage myths with me. I am presenting them here, and if anyone has any valid research references that will back these up as fact, please feel free to post it for our enlightenment.

- Massage removes toxins from the muscles.

- Lactic acid is responsible for DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

- Massage can get rid of cellulite.

- It is contraindicated to massage a person who has cancer (or had cancer).

- If you massage a person who has consumed alcohol, it will increase the effects and make them more intoxicated.

- You can strengthen muscles by performing tapotement.

- You can straighten a scoliosis by doing tapotement on the weak side and stretching on the tight side.

- Manual Lymph Drainage causes the lymphatic channels to collapse for 20 minutes so you cannot do any other manipulations after MLD.

- You should never do more than 3 trigger point releases in a treatment (no reason stated for this one – it was just stated as a fact).

- Ischemic compression for trigger point release should be done as deep as possible.

- Only deep massage is therapeutically effective – as deep as possible. Lighter massage is just for relaxation.

- You should not massage pregnant women during the first trimester.

- You should not massage the feet and ankles of a pregnant woman as it may cause her to miscarry.

- Drinking lots of water flushes toxins out of the system – encourage the client to drink water after a massage.

- You cannot massage a person who has “high blood pressure” – definition needed about how high is high, and cause of hypertension.

- You must massage toward the heart or you could damage the heart valves.

- It is contraindicated to massage pitted edema.

I must say that I have heard all of these at one time or another. Where did they come from? I don’t know. As one FB friend said “I heard it from some reputable teachers.” And they probably heard it from their reputable teachers.  So let’s just let the buck stop with us. If the words “research shows” are going to come out of your mouth, then back that up with the actual research reference, and if you can’t produce any, don’t say it–to your students or to your clients. If all the evidence you need is that massage helps people feel better, then let that stand for itself and don’t make wild claims. And please, as I said above, if you have the research to prove any of these statements, share that with the rest of us.

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Adrian, I too am a student, and like you currently studying TCM and shiatsu.  Six weeks into the quarter, I have been amazed at the effects on the body of Therapeutic Touch and Shiatsu meridian work.  But I disagree with you (slightly) on a couple of points.

Any kind of massage therapy including energy work increases circulation; alcohol is metabolized at an established rate.  Increasing circulation will increase the rate of absorption of any alcohol in the system.  So, we agree on this.  However, drinking water won't make you excrete your vitamins-- vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins perform their duties in the presence of adequate hydration--which I hope we agree is a good thing.  In fact, you can monitor your health by looking in the toilet bowl.  If a bit after taking a high potency multivitamin your urine stream is bright yellow, you're excreting prodigious amounts of vitamin C--meaning that you currently aren't fighting a disease.  But if you're fighting a cold, your body will utilize all the vitamin C and the high potency vitamin will produce urine with a slightly green tint (excess B complex which is normally masked by the C).  BTW, my choice of multivitamin is always the highest potency on the shelf. 

As for the ancient Chinese therapies, they've been in flux for all of the 4,000 years--nothing, not even ancient Chinese medicine-- is set in stone.  Shiatsu, an amalgam of Western anatomy and TCM wasn't developed until the early 1900s by a Japanese gentleman named Tamai Tempaku.  Google "reflexology" and be amazed at how many totally different reflexology charts you'll find--they can't all be "the one."  The chart you're being taught is probably quite different from the one I'm being taught.  

Now, before I'm jumped on, I accept that the body still has its secrets--quantum physics has opened the minds of many who were once skeptical of ancient medical practices.   Including me.  A few weeks ago, on the first class of the Fall quarter, I announced to my fellow students that the energy modalities were all bunk, that its practitioners were either delusional or snake oil salesmen.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In class I have felt...something.  Something strange and wonderful.  My mind has been opened.  Conversely, has yours become closed?

You're right to assume that, no, I probably won't choose one of the energy modalities for a specialty.  But I won't scoff when someone claims to have received great benefit from one of its practitioners.  When I encounter a condition that evidence-based clinical massage cannot effectively treat, and allopathic medicine can't fight with a drug, I will refer to a feng shui or shiatsu practitioner.  In fact, just this week I did refer.  A client has an inoperable brain tumor ,and she had given up all hope.  I pleaded with her to resume her medical treatments (Western medicine) and simultaneously schedule a session with my Eastern modalities instructor, a lady who has amazing power in her hands.

I know Laura only through her articles and postings here on the forum, but without a shadow of a doubt I believe that Laura is open to all the possibilities, including the mystical wonders of TCM.    

 

Personally I dont see how a massage therapist can hurt a fetus unless he or she is totally unconscious, and or abusive...

Gary W Addis said:

Adrian, I too am a student, and like you currently studying TCM and shiatsu.  Six weeks into the quarter, I have been amazed at the effects on the body of Therapeutic Touch and Shiatsu meridian work.  But I disagree with you (slightly) on a couple of points.

Any kind of massage therapy including energy work increases circulation; alcohol is metabolized at an established rate.  Increasing circulation will increase the rate of absorption of any alcohol in the system.  So, we agree on this.  However, drinking water won't make you excrete your vitamins-- vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins perform their duties in the presence of adequate hydration--which I hope we agree is a good thing.  In fact, you can monitor your health by looking in the toilet bowl.  If a bit after taking a high potency multivitamin your urine stream is bright yellow, you're excreting prodigious amounts of vitamin C--meaning that you currently aren't fighting a disease.  But if you're fighting a cold, your body will utilize all the vitamin C and the high potency vitamin will produce urine with a slightly green tint (excess B complex which is normally masked by the C).  BTW, my choice of multivitamin is always the highest potency on the shelf. 

As for the ancient Chinese therapies, they've been in flux for all of the 4,000 years--nothing, not even ancient Chinese medicine-- is set in stone.  Shiatsu, an amalgam of Western anatomy and TCM wasn't developed until the early 1900s by a Japanese gentleman named Tamai Tempaku.  Google "reflexology" and be amazed at how many totally different reflexology charts you'll find--they can't all be "the one."  The chart you're being taught is probably quite different from the one I'm being taught.  

Now, before I'm jumped on, I accept that the body still has its secrets--quantum physics has opened the minds of many who were once skeptical of ancient medical practices.   Including me.  A few weeks ago, on the first class of the Fall quarter, I announced to my fellow students that the energy modalities were all bunk, that its practitioners were either delusional or snake oil salesmen.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In class I have felt...something.  Something strange and wonderful.  My mind has been opened.  Conversely, has yours become closed?

You're right to assume that, no, I probably won't choose one of the energy modalities for a specialty.  But I won't scoff when someone claims to have received great benefit from one of its practitioners.  When I encounter a condition that evidence-based clinical massage cannot effectively treat, and allopathic medicine can't fight with a drug, I will refer to a feng shui or shiatsu practitioner.  In fact, just this week I did refer.  A client has an inoperable brain tumor ,and she had given up all hope.  I pleaded with her to resume her medical treatments (Western medicine) and simultaneously schedule a session with my Eastern modalities instructor, a lady who has amazing power in her hands.

I know Laura only through her articles and postings here on the forum, but without a shadow of a doubt I believe that Laura is open to all the possibilities, including the mystical wonders of TCM.    

 

the Shiatsu points mentioned by Adrian supposedly can cause a woman in 3rd trimester to start labor contractions too early. 

Gordon J. Wallis said:
Personally I dont see how a massage therapist can hurt a fetus unless he or she is totally unconscious, and or abusive...

Gary W Addis said:

Adrian, I too am a student, and like you currently studying TCM and shiatsu.  Six weeks into the quarter, I have been amazed at the effects on the body of Therapeutic Touch and Shiatsu meridian work.  But I disagree with you (slightly) on a couple of points.

Any kind of massage therapy including energy work increases circulation; alcohol is metabolized at an established rate.  Increasing circulation will increase the rate of absorption of any alcohol in the system.  So, we agree on this.  However, drinking water won't make you excrete your vitamins-- vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins perform their duties in the presence of adequate hydration--which I hope we agree is a good thing.  In fact, you can monitor your health by looking in the toilet bowl.  If a bit after taking a high potency multivitamin your urine stream is bright yellow, you're excreting prodigious amounts of vitamin C--meaning that you currently aren't fighting a disease.  But if you're fighting a cold, your body will utilize all the vitamin C and the high potency vitamin will produce urine with a slightly green tint (excess B complex which is normally masked by the C).  BTW, my choice of multivitamin is always the highest potency on the shelf. 

As for the ancient Chinese therapies, they've been in flux for all of the 4,000 years--nothing, not even ancient Chinese medicine-- is set in stone.  Shiatsu, an amalgam of Western anatomy and TCM wasn't developed until the early 1900s by a Japanese gentleman named Tamai Tempaku.  Google "reflexology" and be amazed at how many totally different reflexology charts you'll find--they can't all be "the one."  The chart you're being taught is probably quite different from the one I'm being taught.  

Now, before I'm jumped on, I accept that the body still has its secrets--quantum physics has opened the minds of many who were once skeptical of ancient medical practices.   Including me.  A few weeks ago, on the first class of the Fall quarter, I announced to my fellow students that the energy modalities were all bunk, that its practitioners were either delusional or snake oil salesmen.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In class I have felt...something.  Something strange and wonderful.  My mind has been opened.  Conversely, has yours become closed?

You're right to assume that, no, I probably won't choose one of the energy modalities for a specialty.  But I won't scoff when someone claims to have received great benefit from one of its practitioners.  When I encounter a condition that evidence-based clinical massage cannot effectively treat, and allopathic medicine can't fight with a drug, I will refer to a feng shui or shiatsu practitioner.  In fact, just this week I did refer.  A client has an inoperable brain tumor ,and she had given up all hope.  I pleaded with her to resume her medical treatments (Western medicine) and simultaneously schedule a session with my Eastern modalities instructor, a lady who has amazing power in her hands.

I know Laura only through her articles and postings here on the forum, but without a shadow of a doubt I believe that Laura is open to all the possibilities, including the mystical wonders of TCM.    

 

Well Ive never worried about massaging a Pregnant women any more then anyone else.. Ive massaged them at all points during their pregnancy.  And I've done that in medical clinics and chiropractic offices.    Ive never worried about specific points.

Gary W Addis said:
the Shiatsu points mentioned by Adrian supposedly can cause a woman in 3rd trimester to start labor contractions too early. 

Gordon J. Wallis said:
Personally I dont see how a massage therapist can hurt a fetus unless he or she is totally unconscious, and or abusive...

Gary W Addis said:

Adrian, I too am a student, and like you currently studying TCM and shiatsu.  Six weeks into the quarter, I have been amazed at the effects on the body of Therapeutic Touch and Shiatsu meridian work.  But I disagree with you (slightly) on a couple of points.

Any kind of massage therapy including energy work increases circulation; alcohol is metabolized at an established rate.  Increasing circulation will increase the rate of absorption of any alcohol in the system.  So, we agree on this.  However, drinking water won't make you excrete your vitamins-- vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins perform their duties in the presence of adequate hydration--which I hope we agree is a good thing.  In fact, you can monitor your health by looking in the toilet bowl.  If a bit after taking a high potency multivitamin your urine stream is bright yellow, you're excreting prodigious amounts of vitamin C--meaning that you currently aren't fighting a disease.  But if you're fighting a cold, your body will utilize all the vitamin C and the high potency vitamin will produce urine with a slightly green tint (excess B complex which is normally masked by the C).  BTW, my choice of multivitamin is always the highest potency on the shelf. 

As for the ancient Chinese therapies, they've been in flux for all of the 4,000 years--nothing, not even ancient Chinese medicine-- is set in stone.  Shiatsu, an amalgam of Western anatomy and TCM wasn't developed until the early 1900s by a Japanese gentleman named Tamai Tempaku.  Google "reflexology" and be amazed at how many totally different reflexology charts you'll find--they can't all be "the one."  The chart you're being taught is probably quite different from the one I'm being taught.  

Now, before I'm jumped on, I accept that the body still has its secrets--quantum physics has opened the minds of many who were once skeptical of ancient medical practices.   Including me.  A few weeks ago, on the first class of the Fall quarter, I announced to my fellow students that the energy modalities were all bunk, that its practitioners were either delusional or snake oil salesmen.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In class I have felt...something.  Something strange and wonderful.  My mind has been opened.  Conversely, has yours become closed?

You're right to assume that, no, I probably won't choose one of the energy modalities for a specialty.  But I won't scoff when someone claims to have received great benefit from one of its practitioners.  When I encounter a condition that evidence-based clinical massage cannot effectively treat, and allopathic medicine can't fight with a drug, I will refer to a feng shui or shiatsu practitioner.  In fact, just this week I did refer.  A client has an inoperable brain tumor ,and she had given up all hope.  I pleaded with her to resume her medical treatments (Western medicine) and simultaneously schedule a session with my Eastern modalities instructor, a lady who has amazing power in her hands.

I know Laura only through her articles and postings here on the forum, but without a shadow of a doubt I believe that Laura is open to all the possibilities, including the mystical wonders of TCM.    

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a lot more intricate and difficult then just touching one point and causing a miscarriage. 

Gordon J. Wallis said:
Well Ive never worried about massaging a Pregnant women any more then anyone else.. Ive massaged them at all points during their pregnancy.  And I've done that in medical clinics and chiropractic offices.    Ive never worried about specific points.

Gary W Addis said:
the Shiatsu points mentioned by Adrian supposedly can cause a woman in 3rd trimester to start labor contractions too early. 

Gordon J. Wallis said:
Personally I dont see how a massage therapist can hurt a fetus unless he or she is totally unconscious, and or abusive...

Gary W Addis said:

Adrian, I too am a student, and like you currently studying TCM and shiatsu.  Six weeks into the quarter, I have been amazed at the effects on the body of Therapeutic Touch and Shiatsu meridian work.  But I disagree with you (slightly) on a couple of points.

Any kind of massage therapy including energy work increases circulation; alcohol is metabolized at an established rate.  Increasing circulation will increase the rate of absorption of any alcohol in the system.  So, we agree on this.  However, drinking water won't make you excrete your vitamins-- vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins perform their duties in the presence of adequate hydration--which I hope we agree is a good thing.  In fact, you can monitor your health by looking in the toilet bowl.  If a bit after taking a high potency multivitamin your urine stream is bright yellow, you're excreting prodigious amounts of vitamin C--meaning that you currently aren't fighting a disease.  But if you're fighting a cold, your body will utilize all the vitamin C and the high potency vitamin will produce urine with a slightly green tint (excess B complex which is normally masked by the C).  BTW, my choice of multivitamin is always the highest potency on the shelf. 

As for the ancient Chinese therapies, they've been in flux for all of the 4,000 years--nothing, not even ancient Chinese medicine-- is set in stone.  Shiatsu, an amalgam of Western anatomy and TCM wasn't developed until the early 1900s by a Japanese gentleman named Tamai Tempaku.  Google "reflexology" and be amazed at how many totally different reflexology charts you'll find--they can't all be "the one."  The chart you're being taught is probably quite different from the one I'm being taught.  

Now, before I'm jumped on, I accept that the body still has its secrets--quantum physics has opened the minds of many who were once skeptical of ancient medical practices.   Including me.  A few weeks ago, on the first class of the Fall quarter, I announced to my fellow students that the energy modalities were all bunk, that its practitioners were either delusional or snake oil salesmen.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In class I have felt...something.  Something strange and wonderful.  My mind has been opened.  Conversely, has yours become closed?

You're right to assume that, no, I probably won't choose one of the energy modalities for a specialty.  But I won't scoff when someone claims to have received great benefit from one of its practitioners.  When I encounter a condition that evidence-based clinical massage cannot effectively treat, and allopathic medicine can't fight with a drug, I will refer to a feng shui or shiatsu practitioner.  In fact, just this week I did refer.  A client has an inoperable brain tumor ,and she had given up all hope.  I pleaded with her to resume her medical treatments (Western medicine) and simultaneously schedule a session with my Eastern modalities instructor, a lady who has amazing power in her hands.

I know Laura only through her articles and postings here on the forum, but without a shadow of a doubt I believe that Laura is open to all the possibilities, including the mystical wonders of TCM.    

 

That Science Daily article discussed a bit above refers to the paper Massage impairs postexercise muscle blood flow and "lactic acid" re.... The paper, however, is based on an inaccurate premise and it doesn't provide anything new.

The inaccurate premise is that lactic acid is a problem. In fact, it is partially burned fuel. When the muscle mitochondria cannot process pyruvic acid as fast as intense exercise is creating it (in the breakdown of glycogen via glycolysis), the pyruvic acid is reversibly transformed into lactate. This process essentially halves the rate of acidification. Following intense exercise, blood lactate peaks after about 10 minutes (the time for diffusion from the cells) and then decreases rapidly. Pyruvic acid essentially is as the start of the aerobic Krebs (citric acid) cycle. This is all in any standard exercise physiology book such as McArdle or Scott & Powers.

Lactic acid: New roles in a new millennium reviews fairly current lactate metabolism research.

I'll note that Diana Thompson did us a nice favor by writing up s prior, similar discussion as The Lactic Acid Debate

Here's a page from one of the editions of McArdle showing the rate of decrease of blood lactate following intense exercise.

Several years back, I collected a number of references pertaining to sports massage. The pertinent ones here are by Shoemaker et al. (1997) and by Hinds et al. (2004).

The first notes the lack, not surprisingly, of a change in arterial blood flow with massage. The second notes that an increase in superficial circulation with massage likely comes at the slight expense of deeper circulation. Apart from the error in premise of the Wiltshire paper, this would be consistent with the results reported there.

Absolutely agree with your post. Below is the link to overview of the subject. I'm hoping that it somehow

will provide more details.

Best wishes.

Boris

http://www.scienceofmassage.com/dnn/som/journal/1009/sports.aspx

 



Keith Eric Grant said:
That Science Daily article discussed a bit above refers to the paper Massage impairs postexercise muscle blood flow and "lactic acid" re.... The paper, however, is based on an inaccurate premise and it doesn't provide anything new.

The inaccurate premise is that lactic acid is a problem. In fact, it is partially burned fuel. When the muscle mitochondria cannot process pyruvic acid as fast as intense exercise is creating it (in the breakdown of glycogen via glycolysis), the pyruvic acid is reversibly transformed into lactate. This process essentially halves the rate of acidification. Following intense exercise, blood lactate peaks after about 10 minutes (the time for diffusion from the cells) and then decreases rapidly. Pyruvic acid essentially is as the start of the aerobic Krebs (citric acid) cycle. This is all in any standard exercise physiology book such as McArdle or Scott & Powers.

Lactic acid: New roles in a new millennium reviews fairly current lactate metabolism research.

I'll note that Diana Thompson did us a nice favor by writing up s prior, similar discussion as The Lactic Acid Debate

Here's a page from one of the editions of McArdle showing the rate of decrease of blood lactate following intense exercise.

Several years back, I collected a number of references pertaining to sports massage. The pertinent ones here are by Shoemaker et al. (1997) and by Hinds et al. (2004).

The first notes the lack, not surprisingly, of a change in arterial blood flow with massage. The second notes that an increase in superficial circulation with massage likely comes at the slight expense of deeper circulation. Apart from the error in premise of the Wiltshire paper, this would be consistent with the results reported there.

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