Chapter 10: Contributing to Research on the Value of Massage

Title

Chapter 10: Contributing to Research on the Value of Massage

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Description

In this chapter, Ms. Sumler sketches her participation in research into the value of massage for patients with peripheral neuropathy and deep vein thrombosis. She also discusses how her own perspective on massage changed through these collaborations. She explains how one study led to a change in the organization of the scheduling of massage.

Identifier

Sumler,PSS_02_20180910

Publication Date

9-20-2018

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - The Researcher; The Researcher; Definitions, Explanations, Translations; Professional Path; Professional Practice; The Professional at Work; Patients; Patients, Treatment, Survivors; Cancer and Disease; Discovery and Success

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Yeah, that sounds like a really well-run process. Yeah. Did you want to talk at all about the work that you did with Dr. Bruera on the research studies? Because we hadn’t talked about that part of your contribution to MD Anderson.

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Yeah, so I know with Dr. Bruera... I mean, I worked on kind of some case studies that were with—to see—(laughs) showing that massage was safe and beneficial for patients who had deep vein thrombosis. And so those were some case studies, yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Now, how did that work? Were you called in at the very beginning of planning that research study, or...? Because what I’m interested in is you’re not traditionally in the scope of research, so how did you get brought into the whole research process?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think what happened was I was treating patients that we saw mutually, (laughs) and so I was seeing patients for massage. I had had some questions about a patient who... I’m trying to remember in particular. So it was a patient who had had a DVT in her leg, and then she was wanting some massage on that leg, but she hadn’t had Dopplers, but she’d been on treatment for a very long time, on anticoagulation for a long time. She wasn’t having any more symptoms. And so anyway, it might be a patient like there where, can I touch that leg? Normally we wouldn’t touch it. Can I touch it at all? What can I do? Having those kind of conversations. “How can we help this patient?” And then there were just other patients who we were... And so then I think they just thought, oh, let’s do these—this case series. First it was a case study, and then a case series, on massage, modifying massage—

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

What did you discover?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

—to help patients. That we could help patients, they could benefit for pain, anxiety, distress, and it was safe. We didn’t... So we could do modifications that were safe, we didn’t have any adverse events, and the patients benefited. So...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

What other projects did you work on?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I also worked on a research study in our department with Dr. Lopez on massage and peripheral neuropathy.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

I’m sorry, what is that?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. And so we were looking at patients who they had to have a certain level of severity of symptoms in their feet, and we had four different groups—this research hasn’t been published yet, and it’s still being analyzed, so I don’t—I haven’t heard what the results are. I just know what patients would tell me. But we had two different treatments, treating different parts of the body. Patients could have neuropathy in their hands, but they had to have it in their feet, as well, if they did. So we had two different massage treatments. They were both... But we had different dose that they received. So we were looking at four different groups.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

And what were you hearing from the patients?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Most patients were benefiting, so things like a patient would say, “I always have to wear these soft slippers because if I go barefoot I feel like I’m walking on broken glass, so I never go barefoot, and the other day I realized I was at the end of my driveway going to get the mail and I was barefoot.”

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Oh, gosh.

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Yeah. So things like that. There were some patients who were like, “Uh, I don’t know if I feel anything different,” but a number of patients who felt like they were—their symptoms were less severe, or they were having more sensation. People would say, “Oh, I could feel more than I thought I could.” So...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Is participating in that kind of research study sort of—does it give you a different perspective, or does it make your practice faceted in any way?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think being able to participate in a study like that really makes me think differently, because over the years I would hear the patients say the same thing, like, “Oh, it’s like—somehow you get through the numbness. I can feel more.” Or like, “I could feel better for one to four days.” Usually they say neuropathy was improved for one to four days. But I never thought about, well, what type of chemotherapy are they on? Would they just feel better anyway? All those types of questions I didn’t think about. So it really helped me to think differently, kind of, about it. And so...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Yeah. Do you plan on participating in additional studies? Is there anything coming down the line?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I haven’t heard (laughs) of anything in particular. I would love to. I mean, we’ve also done some other studies where we just are looking at massage, like, benefiting just, like, the different symptoms in the ESAS, like just a number of different symptoms, looking at—we’ve looked at our chair massages, our full-body massages, our inpatient massages. We’ve looked at kind of patients and caregivers, also dose, whether it was 30 minutes or 60 minutes. And so one thing is that we’ve found that for our outpatients, because we either offer a 60-minute visit or a 30-minute visit, that they were both beneficial. And so we are going to be piloting going to 45-minute visits, instead of offering 30 and 60, so that we could open up our template to be able to try to see more patients.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

See more patients, yeah.

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Yeah, because as it is, one problem that we have is that sometimes patients are stuck in another appointment, or sometimes they don’t feel good, and so we’ll have cancelations or no-shows at the last minute, and our PSCs are good at getting people in those slots, but it doesn’t always happen. And so if we have more slots I think we can see more people, so I’m excited about trying that.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Do you think people will be bugged if they don’t get their 60 minutes? (laughs)

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Yeah. People will be, because especially (laughs) people want longer than 60 minutes. They’re like, “Well...” Somebody told me the other day, because we’ve put a sign up saying that’s going to be happening, and somebody’s, like, going, “Remember me? I’m the one that wanted 90 minutes? So can I schedule a back-to-back 45?” And I’m like, “You can’t.” (laughs) So... But so we’ll see. I think people will be receptive when they hear we can help more people. It will still be a benefit, and if we can benefit more people, because I think usually people want to help more people, so... But yeah, I think there will be people who are... Yeah. Yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

There will be people that...?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Are just, “No, I’m not going to drive across town, park, (laughs) walk there, do all that.” And so then maybe that’s somebody who doesn’t—either that’s a service that’s not for them. Maybe they... I think there are patients who maybe they need an oncology massage therapist who can come to their home, or maybe they can get massage in the community and maybe they’re not needing, like, a special... Maybe where they’re at, they are not needing the modification that we do. And some people might need that, and that’s what we’ll be offering. (laughs)

Chapter 10: Contributing to Research on the Value of Massage

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