Category Archives: from the administration…

In Memoriam: Dr. John Upledger

A couple of weeks ago, on October 26th, Dr. John Upledger, founder of the Upledger Institute and a developer of Craniosacral Therapy, passed away at his home in Florida. Upledger, an osteopath and medical doctor, began researching the craniosacral system and developing Craniosacral Therapy (CST) in the early 1970s after observing that restriction of dural tube movement – resulting in dural tension and pressure changes in the cerebrospinal fluid – had an effect on systemic and nervous system health through altered intensity, frequency, or volume of nerve flow. Upledger referred to the cranial bones, the sacrum, and the coccyx, as “levers which can be used to evaluate and treat dural membrane abnormalities” by subtly shifting fascial layers.[1]

In 1986, Upledger established the Upledger Institute to dedicate himself to researching and training others in Craniosacral Therapy. Since then, this work has deepened our understanding of not only the craniosacral system, but also of its interconnectedness with other body systems. Still, for decades, the mainstream medical establishment vehemently fought the basic concepts that underpin CST. For one, the common wisdom among American medical practitioners and scientists was (and still is, in some cases[2]) that the sutures of the skull fuse in childhood and are thereafter immovable, thus disallowing the mechanism of the treatment; however, Upledger himself engaged in research at the University of Michigan’s Department of Biomechanics as far back as 1975 that he claimed “proved that skull bones do not fuse.”[3]

Research over the last 40 years has not brought resolution to the question of suture fusion; but part of what has brought CST increasing legitimacy is its success as a treatment for children, and medical practitioners generally agree that the sutures remain moveable in youth. And so, over time – and largely because the treatment is non-invasive and presents no risk of harm, at worst simply failing to provide benefit – the mainstream medical world has increasingly begun to accept both the anecdotal benefits and the physiological tenets of Craniosacral Therapy. As studies are undertaken to examine the effects of CST on everything from multiple sclerosis to asthma to pregnancy, a number of renowned American medical facilities have begun to provide the treatment as part of “complementary” and “integrative” healthcare offerings.

As a scientist trained in vigorous research methodologies, Dr. Upledger was quick to clarify that he did not see his research as “a criticism of scientific technology,” nor as opposed to medical practice. But he was concerned that physicians had “neglected the development of the use of [their] hands as diagnostic instruments” and so he issued a “plea for a balance between what our hands can tell us and what sophisticated instruments and biochemical analyses can tell us.”[4] Unfortunately, Upledger foresaw a trend that has only become more complicated by modern medical models which often limit the time a doctor can spend with a patient and thus any opportunity to truly engage with them through touch. But as the debate over appropriate health care reform continues, perhaps we should heed the decades-old wisdom of Dr. Upledger, who wrote in 1983 that “the cost of health care can decrease considerably if ‘touching skills’ are developed and used by health care professionals.”[5]


[1] John E. Upledger and Jon Vredevooogd, Craniosacral Therapy (Seattle: Eastland Press, 1983) 61.

[2] See, for example: Steve E. Hartman and James M. Norton, “Craniosacral Therapy is Not Medicine,” Physical Therapy 82, no. 11 (November 2002): 1146-1147,; Thomas Zane, “A Review of Craniosacral Therapy: Science, Fads, and Applied Behavior Analysis,” The Current Repertoire (Fall 2011),

[3] John E. Upledger, Craniosacral Therapy: Touchstone for Natural Healing (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2001) 11.

[4] Upledger and Vredvegoogd, 242

[5] Ibid., 243

Botanica 2012: Integrating Plant-based Medicine

Next week, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland will host Botanica 2012, “an international celebration of plant therapies and clinical aromatherapy.” The inaugural conference, which will host a diverse group of speakers from around the world, is intended to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, but is also meant to provide a forum for the promotion of plant-based medicine (phytotherapy) and to “raise the profile of evidence-based integrated clinical aromatherapy interventions.” [1] Researchers will present a variety of topics, from the results of aromatherapy on patients with dementia in France to the effects of herbs and aromatherapy used to treat World Trade Center rescue personnel after September 11, 2001. The conference program ends with a day of workshops that offer equally wide-ranging subject matter, from the acupressure application of aromatherapy for gynecological symptoms, to introductory gemmotherapy—described as “plant stem cell medicine” for its use of embryonic phytotissues.[2]

Though known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Europe and the US, traditional or plant-based medicine is the mainstream in much of the “developing” world, and the World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the population in Africa and Asia depends on traditional medicine for primary health care.[3] It is based in knowledge that is often passed down from mentor to student; and the evidence of its efficacy is thousands of years of now predictable outcomes. In our Western medical systems, entrenched in the use of chemotherapies (that is, chemical or pharmaceutical intervention), CAM practitioners around the globe are increasingly seeking to consolidate evidence-based knowledge as a counterbalance to the perception that pharmaceutical interventions are more legitimate or safer because they undergo standardized testing.

In Europe, the use of CAM by medical doctors is quite prevalent; a majority of European countries have some kind of national legislation in place to regulate the most commonly used therapies, and insurance systems—both nationalized and privatized—largely cover such treatments.[4] A 2010 report by a European alliance of CAM organizations noted that 65% of Europeans use CAM therapies. In Germany alone, 15,000 medical doctors have also been trained in naturopathic medicine, and 70% of general practitioners say they prefer to prescribe herbal medicines.[5]

In the United States, the regulation of CAM therapies exists only at the state level, if at all, and CAM remains relatively dis-integrated from the mainstream American medical system. In fact, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines complementary and alternative therapies as “those not considered part of conventional medicine as practiced by medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals.”[6] A branch of the National Institutes of Health, the NCCAM aims to apply the conventional model of “rigorous scientific investigation”[7] to CAM therapies, and American insurance companies cite a lack of such investigation as a primary reason for non-coverage of CAM therapies, along with “minimal cost-effectiveness research and the absence of practice standards.”[8] The implication is that conventional medicine is better researched and better standardized, but a 2005 Institute of Medicine report “stressed the application of uniform rules for testing…of all therapies (both CAM and non-CAM),” wherein the “ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive, evidence-based health care system with an unbiased approach to diverse experiences of health and healing.”[9]

A trend toward regulating these therapies predictably has supporters and detractors in both the conventional and alternative medical worlds. There are many CAM practitioners who fear the “village herbalist” will be lost amid efforts to standardize types of care that are intended to be uniquely individualized; and some medical doctors, skeptical of CAM, argue that research on these therapies unjustifiably legitimizes them. On the other hand, some CAM practitioners feel that the integration of these therapies into a more pluralistic healthcare model realistically demands a move toward more conventionally scientific systems of evidence collection, and many want this research to be driven by the CAM community in a bottom-up approach that circumvents any top-down standardization that may otherwise be imposed by the conventional medical community. Like so many professions and practices that face increasing regulation, the debate over CAM regulation is bound to continue, taking on new forms over time. Conferences like Botanica 2012 offer participants with diverse experience and backgrounds the chance to share not only evidence-based knowledge on plant-based therapies, but also to evaluate and discuss the place of CAM practices in the global healthcare debate and to strategize on appropriate paths toward better integration of these therapies into widely varying healthcare systems.

[1] Botanica 2012,

[2] Botanica 2012, Programme,

[3] World Health Organization, Media Centre, “Traditional Medicine,” Fact sheet No. 134 (December 2008)

[4] The Regulatory Status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Medical Doctors in Europe (The CAMDOC Alliance, January 2010),

[5] Ibid., p. 18.

[6] National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Health Info, “What is CAM?”

[7] National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, About NCCAM, “NCCAM At a Glance: Mission and Vision,”

[8] David Nemer, MD Candidate (Harvard Medical School, 2013),”Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States,” November 15, 2010, p. 4,

[9] Ibid., p. 6.

Changes on the Horizon

Lane’s construction of a new Downtown Center, due to be finished at the end of this year, means that the Massage Program will have a new home as of the Winter 2013 term. We are excited to be in a brand new building and look forward to discovering all that it offers, but the move will also bring inevitable challenges. Over the past year, as faculty and staff have learned about certain constraints of our new space, we have discovered that the program will have to undergo a number of adaptations when we move. In order to “test run” these changes, we are implementing them in the Fall 2012 term, even though we will not yet occupy the new building. Some of these changes are subtle, but some are quite significant; here is a summary:

  • We are introducing a cohort-driven educational model, wherein students will be accepted into a 14-person cohort and move through 6 pre-scheduled terms with the same group.
  • We are initiating an application process for admission into the cohort as of the Fall 2012 term.
  • Cohorts will begin each term, not just in the fall (i.e. 4 cohorts will begin each year).
  • Classrooms will seat only 14 students, so we are unable to continue to insure open-entry for students who must leave the program before completion.
  • Terms will be 10 weeks, not 11.

One of the most difficult transitions we face is moving away from a level of flexibility that has allowed us to have an open-entry/open-exit option for all students in the past. With fewer classrooms to operate out of, accommodations in scheduling and enrollment have proven the most challenging. As we embrace all that a cohort model can offer our students—such as strong senses of both continuity and community—we recognize that this transition will mean the program no longer feels as accessible to some kinds of students. We are working hard to account for all potential students, and will be strategizing on how to increase flexibility, pathways, and options; the brainstorming has already begun, but we will need to experience our new home in order to know just what is possible.

We are also aware that a number of changes on the horizon will catch current students in a potentially confusing space between the old and the new. As we have always done when the program has undergone change, we will work with any student who encounters the growing pains of these transitions to insure that they can complete the program in an efficient manner. Some modifications to classes may particularly affect current students. Several changes are in the works; some were launched this term and the rest will begin in the fall. These include:

  • Communication from the Heart will be replaced by a new class, Introduction to Massage & Communication. This first-term, half-term class will continue to present important foundational communication skills, focusing on constructive dialogue with classmates and instructors, and exploring communication styles. Since knowing our needs helps us communicate them, students will also be asked to think about how they learn and study so that they can develop the support that will help them be successful. And, to prepare for the giving and receiving of touch, the power of touch and of non-verbal communication will also be discussed.
  • Introduction to Palpation will be split into an upper body and lower body section (mirroring the upper level Kinesiology classes), allowing students more time to absorb and integrate content.
  • Energy Systems is now called Introduction to Acupressure to better reflect class content.
  • Hydrotherapy will no longer be taught on its own, but will become a part of a new class, Massage VI. This last-term class will introduce hydrotherapy and postural analysis techniques and will ask students to consider real-life scenarios in the creation of integrative treatment plans. At the end of the term, students will work together to make decisions about testing and complete their exam applications.
  • The Palpation Intensives, now taught as upper body and lower body all-day seminars, will be replaced by Palpation Lab—a last-term intensive review that will be spread over five days instead of two. The one-day intensives will remain available for several terms to accommodate pre-cohort students who are completing the program during our transition period!

Despite all best efforts, these next several terms are bound to be full of a few surprises and a few trials—for faculty, staff, and students alike. With patience and understanding, we hope these growing pains can be minimal. And with some creativity, we hope that the potential for our new program in our new home will prove to be much more than we can yet imagine!

Kinesio Tape: Fad or Phenomenon?

If you’ve watched any of the 2012 Olympic Games over the past week, you cannot have missed what looks like an explosion of colorful and creatively-inspired Kinesio taping on the bodies of athletes from all sports. Kinesio tape was developed in 1973 by a Japanese doctor but finally gained popularity outside of Asia when it was handed out to 58 countries at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since then, it has become ubiquitous at international sporting events, despite limited scientific evidence that it is more effective than traditional rehabilitation techniques and amid concerns among some in the medical world that athletes and non-athletes alike may put so much trust in the tape that they do not sufficiently rest injured muscles.

Kinesio tape is said to create “space between the epidermis and dermis, enabling a better flow of blood and lymphatic fluids,” allowing for “excessive heat that can damage” the body to be shunted away more efficiently.[1] Its developer, Dr. Kenzo Kase, also claims that the tape can: (1) correct muscle function by strengthening weakened muscles, (2) improve the circulation of blood and lymph by eliminating fluid in the tissues or bleeding beneath the skin by moving the muscle, (3) reduce pain through neurological suppression, (4) reposition subluxated joints by relieving abnormal muscle tension, helping to restore the function of fascia and muscle, and (5) increase proprioception by  increasing stimulation to mechanoreceptors located in the skin.[2] However, even true believers in the tape, such as UK distributor and Kinesio taping trainer Kevin Anderson, say “there’s nothing magic about the tape” and that it does not improve muscle strength. And Anderson admitted to The Guardian that research on the tape has indeed lagged far behind the upsurge in its use.

Studies on the efficacy of Kinesio tape are inconsistent and most have not involved randomized controlled trials, which are the standard in medical research; but a February 2012 meta-analysis (an evaluation of studies to date) found “little quality evidence to support the use of [Kinesio tape] over other types of elastic taping,” though it cited case studies and anecdotal evidence as sufficient to warrant further “well designed experimental research.”[3] Based on these recent investigations, it is safe to say that there is modest support, at best, for the claims made by Dr. Kase. And in the UK, a complaint has been lodged with – and upheld by – the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), against claims made on the website, including assertions that the tape, “removes lymphatic fluid congestion, improves kinesthetic awareness,” and that it can “substantially aid sufferers of Lymphadema.” Such claims concern some because they seem to be directed beyond the world of sports, for example to people facing post-surgical complications, and after a review of the evidence used to substantiate such claims, the ASA has ordered that they be removed from the site.[4]

But, even if Kinesio tape’s most significant effect is that of a placebo, some experts say that this psychological advantage “could make all the difference between success and failure” for elite athletes.[5] Some of those athletes and their trainers swear by the tape – called “bloody brilliant” by British physiotherapist Paul Hobrough – because they say it allows them to treat and train with injuries that would previously have kept them off the track, pitch, field, or court for several days. And so, whether it is fad or phenomenon, expect to see plenty more Kinesio taping at the Olympics and beyond.

[1] Patrick Barkham, “Kinesio tape: the latest must-have treatment for sports injuries,” The Guardian, July 29, 2012, (accessed August 3, 2012).

Carrie Rayette Hendrick, “The Therapeutic Effects of Kinesio™ Tape on A Grade I Lateral Ankle Sprain” (PhD dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 2010). Available at: (accessed August 3, 2012).

Williams, et al., “Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries: a meta-analysis of the evidence for its effectiveness,” Abstract, Sports Medicine 42, no. 2 (153-64), (accessed August 3, 2012).

“ASA Adjudication on LimbVolume Ltd,” Advertising Standards Authority, (accessed August 3, 2012).

Kate Kelland, “Olympics-Scientist skeptical as athletes get all taped up,” Reuters, July 31, 2012, (accessed August 3, 2012).

Massage Takes a Summer Road Trip with the AMTA…

Last Thursday, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) did what many Americans will do this summer – they started out on a road trip. As part of new, ongoing efforts to educate the public on the health and wellness benefits of massage (and to promote the professionalism of their members), the AMTA has taken a multi-faceted approach, working to increase public awareness through media campaigns and a social media presence, and now through its “Consumer Experience Tour,” a mobile exhibit that left the Chicago area last week and will move east, through Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, before ending in North Carolina for the AMTA 2012 National Convention in early October.

The AMTA Massage Therapy Tour – expected to go nationwide in subsequent years – is scheduled to coincide with sporting and cultural events that draw diverse crowds, from Columbus, Ohio’s Jazz and Rib Fest to Manhattan’s Third Avenue Merchandise Fair. According to Association President Cynthia Ribeiro, the hope is that, by reaching millions of people at such events, the message of the AMTA can begin “shifting the thinking of the public to recognize the value of massage for their health.” At each stop, AMTA-member therapists are encouraged to volunteer by giving demonstration massages that offer people a taste of skilled touch. And, the AMTA will engage local media along the way, proactively seeking interviews and snagging air time on newscasts to further advocate for the profession.

While only early tour dates are confirmed and posted (see the schedule here), people are encouraged to follow the progress of the AMTA van by keeping tabs via social media, on the AMTA Facebook Page or on their Twitter feed. You can even watch the tour online in video clips from events!

This endeavor by the AMTA, and many being undertaken by other organizations and associations that support the massage and bodywork professions, are the result of increasingly synchronized efforts among these groups, which extend from two Leadership Summits held in the last 10 months. Representatives from the AMTA were joined at these summits by those from Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF), the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE), and the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). These joint efforts are meant to clarify the roles of each of these groups and explore how best to collaborate in supporting advancement of the profession.

Changes to testing, credentialing, and educational standards are likely to emerge as these groups work toward a more cohesive mandate; hopefully, what has been seen by many therapists for years as unnecessary competition among these organizations will fade as they unite in attempts to move massage therapy toward greater portability, consistency, and visibility. On this last front, it seems the AMTA Massage Therapy Tour van is a great way to start!

from the AMTA Facebook Page

The New LCC Massage Web

Hello all!

You may have noticed that this website underwent a redesign a few months back. This was part of a larger effort to streamline our web presence and to better reach out and connect with students and LMTs. We’re doing that through a number of new means, which we are hoping to use with greater efficiency and purpose as we learn how each best serves our larger goal of supporting the massage community.

In the social media realm, we are now using a Facebook Page as a site for reminders, announcements, and job postings. To avoid redundancy, this site now links to the Facebook Page for job postings; you don’t have to Like us or be on Facebook to see them, though. We are on Twitter as well, where we mostly re-tweet interesting articles and announcements about massage, health, and the local community. You can also see our Twitter feed (the things we post and re-post) without being on Twitter yourself. (You can link to both at the right, in the box titled “Connect With Us”.)

We are also working to stay connected to our alumni, both virtually and in person. We are emailing CE offerings, volunteer opportunities, and meeting announcements to our growing alumni mailing list (which you can also – surprise! – link to from the bottom of this page); and we are holding Alumni Meetings on the first Monday of every month, from 6:00-8:00pm, to encourage and support professional networking and education. These meetings are open to non-alumni LMTs as well, so join us and bring your colleagues!

Postings on this blog have fallen off as we have developed new social tools, but we are rediscovering the value of longer-than-Facebook-posts posts, and we will be blogging a bit more; so, look for more here soon!

Thanks :)
LCC Massage

Massage at the Marathon

Collaboration between Lane Massage and Eugene Marathon organizers was once again a wonderful success. Massage students, who gave some 500 free massages at last year’s race, were in high demand this year as well. A Register Guard article, titled “Going the Distance” made mention of their work. Here’s an excerpt:

Paramedics on hand at the finish line got to enjoy watching the race with no hospital runs, at least through late morning. But a free massage station beneath the grandstands resembled a military field hospital. It had 25 tables and was staffed by students from the Lane Community College massage program. By four hours into the race, the tables were all in use and a crowd of stiff and sore runners sat in a makeshift waiting room for their turns.

Lane Massage is proud to be represented so professionally by our exceptional students, and to play such a welcome role in events that bring our community together!

Winter 2011 Student Community Volunteerism

In just the winter 2011 term alone, Lane Massage students performed 294 hours of community service! Some of the agencies and organizations they gave the most hours to include:

  • Willamette Valley Cancer Center (19.5 hours)
  • U of O Dance-a-thon (15 hours)
  • Sponsor’s Women’s Program (14 hours)
  • Lane CC Health Fair (12 hours)
  • Project Homeless (11.5 hours)
  • Tamarack Wellness Center (10 hours)
  • Looking Glass (8.5 hours)
  • Umpqua Home for the Handicapped – Roseburg (8.5 hours)

Students also performed 50 hours of service at nursing and foster homes, and assisted living facilities. The Lane Massage Program is proud to have such dedicated and compassionate students!

The 6-term Plan

Hello all!

As many of you may recall from your attendance at a pre-registration informational meeting, we recommend that most students take at least 6 terms to complete the massage program. This recommendation is based on the fact that you are developing not only new skills but also new sensory awareness, and it takes time to hone those skills and that new awareness before entering into massage practice.

We understand that some students have a relevant academic or health care background, or even come to us with experience practicing massage in other places, and may move through the program at a faster pace. Additionally, some students are managing very busy lives and full-time employment while attending school, and they may move through more slowly. The fact that we have an open entry-open exit program means that students are afforded endless options regarding how they arrange classes and at what pace they complete them.

This flexibility is generally a significant advantage to our program, compared to others that lock students into very strict scheduling. However, it also means that students may face increased scheduling conflicts as they mold the program around their lives, because class and instructor scheduling can only be organized to avoid conflicts based on one “ideal” plan. We feel the 6-term plan best balances students’ desires to become licensed and begin their practice with the need to give new knowledge, skills, and senses some time to develop. Therefore, that is the plan on which we base our class scheduling. Unfortunately, this means that if you have completed classes outside of that plan’s recommendations, you may face some scheduling challenges as you move through the program.

We understand that it can be frustrating when scheduling dictates, for example, that you extend your education by one term to complete just a single class… But we also hope you can understand how hard we work to reconcile instructor schedules (after all, our instructors are all working practitioners with busy lives!) with both student needs and the functional capacity of classroom availability. As enrollment at Lane increases, and more credit classes are held in the Downtown Center, our scheduling will become ever more constricted. Please refer to the 6-term plan as you plot your course through the program, and know that, despite our best efforts, any other plan may not be so well accommodated by scheduling. We will continue to do our part to try to meet students’ needs (a day/night class rotation, for instance), and are always brainstorming about how we can further improve both the massage program as a whole and our support to students specifically!

Thank you all for your curiosity, passion, and desire to learn!

Winter 2011 Registration Notes

Here we are again, students: Winter registration is upon us…
In the past, some of you have trouble trying to register for classes due to settings in the system to do with pre-requisites. So, a few notes.

Registration for continuing education classes opened just yesterday, on December 1st. If you were unable to register before now, that is why, but…

1. If you have ever taken a credit-level class at LCC, you are forever considered a credit-level student and must be released for registration by Kathy each term. This simply requires you to email Kathy with your name and L# at the start of registration so that she can override the system defaults.

2. Registration for courses that require you to have completed a pre-requisite will not be possible until you have finished this term and your instructor has entered your grade for that pre-requisite class.

Finally, please remember that if you wish to be in a class that appears online to be full, you are asked to come to the first day of class and discuss your options with the instructor. Students who are registered sometimes do not show up, making room for others. Accordingly, attendance on the first day of class is mandatory, so if you are registered for a class that you plan to attend through the term but you are unable to be present on that first day, you must contact the instructor (all instructors have an envelope icon next to their name in ExpressLane; clicking on it will allow you to email them) so that they do not offer your spot to someone else.

Please contact Kathy if you have registration questions, or the appropriate instructor(s) if you have any questions about particular classes. Thanks!

Spring 2010 Laws & Ethics

The spring 2010 Laws & Ethics class will be offered in a condensed format at the end of the spring term. It will be on Monday and Thursday evenings, from 5-7:00 pm, beginning on Monday, May 3rd. Due to the Memorial Day holiday – on Monday, May 31st – the last class of ten will fall on Monday, June 7th. The Aspire catalog was printed before changes to the class schedule were made, so it does not reflect these changes. Please be sure to make note of the altered schedule in your own planning!