resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
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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