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Finding a Place for Massage in the Doctor’s Office

Published on May 15, 2013 by Scott Rudeen

As a Broadview University-Layton massage therapy program instructor, I enjoy sharing case studies associated with current lessons. Too often, the scenarios shared are from a mental catalog separated by memory into files bearing titles like “Don’t be this therapist” and “What a great outcome!”. This new file bears the title, “Opportunities are everywhere.”

massage therapy programI was attending my physician’s appointment when a sweet, young, and very pregnant nurse who knew my professional association quietly approached me to ask for a chiropractic referral.

Awkwardly, since we were standing in a Western medical clinic, I responded that I could assist her, but begged the question, “Why?” I viewed the situation and determined she had unlimited medical resources at her disposal and by career association indicated support of Western medical concepts.

To my ignorant surprise, she identified she was in a lot of pain and felt as though a rib was “out” and believed a chiropractic adjustment would pop the rib back into place and relieve the pain she was experiencing with very shallow breath.

Immediately, I moved into assessment mode and became a massage therapist. I began with an impromptu client interview asking her questions associated with her complaint. I followed the questions with simple assessment activities. She was compliant with each inquiry and activity requested. Upon review of the information, I suggested I could help her as I believed the issue was soft tissue in nature and not skeletal.

Before I knew it she had shared our discussion and conclusions with the office. In a blink, the office administration was collecting equipment, clearing a patient room, and making space for a prenatal massage.

Forty minutes from the initiation of massage protocols, we emerged from the room. That same sweet nurse was breathing without pain or restriction. An eclectic application of massage modalities suited for prenatal massage addressed the soft tissue restriction in the serratus anterior muscle, which had previously impaired costal movement due to a trigger point and subsequent muscular tension—all of which prohibited pain free functional respiration. Massage therapy skills are useful in many situations, even Western medical offices.

By Kelley Sloan, Massage Therapy Program Chair, Broadview University-Layton

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