resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
March, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 03
A Trade or Profession?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
There it was: a CBS MarketWatch story raving about how the stock of trade schools (career colleges) rose dramatically in 2003. The article listed the "10 hottest fields," and guess what? Massage therapy is the top training program being added to trade schools.Hey colleagues, we're number one - in trade schools - which brings us to the question: "Is the practice of massage therapy a trade or a profession?"
While many of us have always considered it a profession, massage is being increasingly taught as a trade. Let's look at what the dictionary* has to say about this:
The practice of massage involves skill and it can be an occupation, so it clearly meets the definition of a trade. A profession requires extensive education or specialized training. Massage education involves specialized training, but is it extensive? Certainly not at the entry level, and therein lies the problem.
Extensive education is available for those who desire it. There are schools out there that offer more than the minimum requirements to get licensed or pass the National Certification Exam; however, they are few and far between. In most areas, extensive training is only available through advanced continuing-education programs.
Currently, a group of school owners in Florida feels there is no need to increase the educational requirements, so long as the massage therapists cause no harm to the public. It is sad that this group believes our standards of professional training involve teaching students just enough to not harm the public. While that's better than what can be said about many allopathic practitioners (who inflict a lot of harm and bury their mistakes), it sells massage-therapy education short. Why can't we set standards high enough to teach students to do more than not harm the public?
I agree with the argument that more hours for the sake of more hours is not an improvement; 1,000 hours of lousy education is worse than 500 hours of lousy education. Merely raising the entry-level hour requirement will not improve the quality of massage education or the competency of graduates. The root of the problem lies with the low quality of the hours offered. How can we improve massage education and shut down poor-quality schools? (Not necessarily small schools - there are many excellent small schools.)
Massage therapy and bodywork is spiraling down from the fastest emerging new health care profession to a trade because of a lack of enforceable educational standards. What stands in the way? MONEY. Massage schools are a huge part of the massage industry and sit on a raging river of money. School owners and associations need the continuous flow of new students and members. They both see financial disincentives if the entry-level bar is raised, so they resist such attempts. Short, inadequate programs ensure a high dropout rate from the expanding profession, which maintains the demand for new students and graduates.
The low-entry bar, unenforceable educational standards, high dropout rates, and the way massage is currently taught as a trade from "school-in-a-box-curriculums" will slowly drag our profession down from first-door health care providers to tradespeople in relaxation spas and physical therapy departments, working for slightly above minimum wage. While some schools lead by example with excellent programs and superb instructors, others prey on students - often on many levels. What can be done at this point? It is difficult to get in the way of a river of money. It will usually sweep you away or drown you. It is this cash flow that chains us to the status quo of lousy schools. Many of us have searched in vain for effective solutions, and the only organization that has tried to place high standards on massage schools didn't cover its bases and may be sued out of existence.
In the February issue, Cliff Korn talked about "Appreciative Inquiry" - a system of finding the positive and then working to create more of it (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/02/11.html). Now, I really like that! I have written previously in this column that you get what you concentrate on. It should be obvious that if you concentrate on eliminating sickness, poverty, cancer, drugs, or anything else, the results are always more of what you don't want. The mind is the creator, and you manifest what you concentrate on. Look around. How successful have the "wars" on poverty, cancer and drugs been? There is more poverty, cancer and drugs than ever. How well has the allopathic medical system - with its entire focus on sickness - done at reducing sickness? It has failed miserably. There is more sickness than ever. (Sorry, but sanitation and hygiene have reduced sickness - not allopathic procedures!)
Those of us who care about education have to change our focus. If we keep focusing on the lousy, "just-do-no-harm" mindset, all we will get is more of the lousy. We need to stop concentrating on lousy schools and the problems they cause. We have to find and focus on the positive and the excellent in massage education. We have to hold up the great schools as models, and steer potential therapists toward them. We have to find the greatness, and work to make it the norm. We cannot fight the current cash-flow-based education system in the trade of massage, but we can begin to create a new channel for cash to flow toward professional excellence. This will build the profession toward being the premier wellness modality in health care.
It is a bold, daring concept to work toward excellence in a culture that holds the likes of Homer and Bart Simpson as its role models, and works to suppress excellence and achievement in the name of "fairness." Remember, life is not fair. Fair is for underachievers; Fair is somewhere between average and poor, and that is not good enough for the health care of our fellow man.
To my colleagues who care about what's left of the massage therapy profession, let's begin thinking about what is excellent in massage education. Let's focus on making high standards the rule, not the exception. We will not fail to bring about what we concentrate on. It's time to start working to implement this concept of Appreciative Inquiry. As one of my teachers told me, "Keep your eye on the donut, not the hole."
*MicroSoft Word 2001 Dictionary
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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