Monthly Archives: November 2013

Using therapy to improve population health

Posted in Blog at Nov 23, 2013

Kristy Brown, Centrex President & CEO, is a guest columnist at McKnight’s Long-term Care News & Assisted Living blog. Her most recent article, “Using therapy to improve population health” discusses finding creative ways to motivate people to commit to a healthy lifestyle and the role of therapy in that process.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, my father-in-law was a doctor with a vision that far surpassed those of his era. He wanted not merely to treat patients, but to head off future illnesses that might afflict them due to unhealthy choices. If he determined patients were obese, he would attempt to assist them with finding a diet and exercise plan that worked for them. He did not shy away from talking to people about things that would change their lives for the better.

Today, this approach has particular appeal for healthcare professionals who want to achieve the Triple Aim created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: improving individuals’ experience of care, improving population health and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. This post is about improving population health—one of a provider’s greatest challenges.

I write this because in all my years of working in rehabilitation, I have been in hundreds of independent and assisted living communities that cater to the older generation. I have seen beautiful fitness and pool areas that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — and next to no use of these fitness centers. What good does this do for older people in our communities?

Click here to read the full article.

Massage & Well-Being

Posted in Blog, Centrex University at Nov 4, 2013

The following article is excerpted from American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA):

 

Stress is an inevitable part of life.

No matter how organized your schedule, laid-back your attitude or carefree your lifestyle, very few people escape stress. And, the more we learn about the physical effects of stress, the more we begin to understand how important it is to find ways to deal with stress.

From meditation to regular exercise, people have found a wide variety of ways to combat stress and stay healthy. Now, some research is beginning to piece together the benefits massage therapy can add to your health and wellness program.

 

Power of Touch

In a 2010 study, scientists at Cedars-Sinai investigated the physical effects of massage therapy, finding that the 29 subjects who received 45 minutes of Swedish massage had an immune boosting response when compared to the 24 participants who received 45 minutes of light touch. Hormones and blood cells were measured before and after the massage, and at regular intervals up to one hour after the massage was done.

“This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” explains Dr. Mark Rapaport, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and lead author, in a report in the Los Angeles Times. “People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle, but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

The blood tests of participants who experienced Swedish massage showed changes indicating a benefit to the immune system, including a sizeable decrease in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behavior. Scientists also noted a small decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. Interestingly, lymphocytes—cells that help the immune system defend the body from disease—also increased in the Swedish massage participants. Of important note is that these results were seen after a single massage. So, consider making massage therapy a regular part of your health and wellness regimen.

 

Talking to Your Doctor

Unlike in the past, more and more physicians are beginning to explore the benefits that massage therapy can offer their patients. Also, more and more patients are beginning to proactively take the reigns of their own health care outcomes, investigating and asking about complementary therapies on their own. According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and Samueli Institute, a nonprofit research organization, 40 percent of hospitals indicated they offer one or more alternative therapies—up a full 37 percent from 2007.

“Today’s patients have better access to health information and are demanding more personalized care,” says Sita Ananth, study author and director of knowledge services for the Samueli Institute. “The survey results reinforce the fact that patients want the best that both conventional and alternative medicine can offer, and hospitals are responding.”

Of the hospitals that responded to the survey, 64 percent reported using massage therapy as part of outpatient care, and 44 percent use massage therapy as part of inpatient care.