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Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05
The Importance of Language
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Last month, I wrote about the differing perceptions of massage and bodywork from practitioners. The words used to portray what we do have differing meanings to different people. I'd like to expand on that theme a bit, because when we get out of our own professional realm, the meaning and significance of words become even more important.This can certainly be true in our practices when our patients/clients perceive our words as meaning something different than we intended. I always find it beneficial to come to agreement with a client as to what terms mean. For example, take the word discomfort. When working a trigger point in infraspinatus, or using an elbow for compression on a piriformis attachment, that definition can become very important. Where language misunderstandings become really problematic though, is in the regulatory arena. Here wording is critical, from the standpoint of the regulators, from the practitioners being regulated, and from the public who is being protected by the regulations. Obviously in the best of all worlds, the wording chosen in statute and rules will provide all concerned parties with the protection and safety net intended by the process. This does not always happen though, as the following example illustrates.
New Hampshire has had a long and successful history of licensing massage therapists. The state's Department of Health & Human Services administers the massage licensing program. There is a three-member Advisory Board of Massage Therapy that advises the Commissioner of Health and Human Services on issues relating to massage therapy. To correct a perceived problem concerning the Department's ability to discipline errant therapists for inappropriate touch, the Department lawyer, in concert with state Legislative Services lawyers, added the following clause to the rules governing the practice of massage:
This added definition in the rules seems pretty innocuous on quick read, but when dissected and put into the context of actual practice, the words exceed the needs of the situation and adversely impact the practice of massage in that state. There are times in a massage practice when intention can carry the day if specificity of technique comes up short, but this is never the case in a regulation! In dissection, the above definition states that the intentional touching of a client's genitalia is a therapeutic aspect of massage, and it only becomes inappropriate when done without the informed consent of the client. I don't think this was the intent of the drafters. The statement is actually true when directed toward breasts or buttocks, but I have never met anyone whose practice involved anything other than adult entertainment who would argue that touching genitalia was a therapeutic aspect of massage.
So how does one resolve the meaning gaps in language issues such as just presented? In this instance, the members of the Advisory Board each responded in writing stating that the inappropriate sexual contact definition was badly chosen because:
So was this language issue resolved? The written response from the Department was that the rule would allow the Department to do what they needed to do in the prosecution of those harming the public, that it was not intended to demean the profession, and that the language would stand as approved.
No one was really wrong in the situation cited above, but I feel it is an example of unfortunate language affecting the practice of professionals when the profession isn't regulating itself. In this instance, a state beaurocracy solved a problem against the wishes and judgment of those selected by them to represent the profession. Had there been a massage regulatory board instead of an advisory board, I doubt that this would have occurred. I am of the opinion that the massage therapy field is best served by self-regulation. Licensees should have recourse to have complaints heard and adjudicated by their peers.
Last month's Massage Today included an article by David Frostad on the National Alliance of State Massage Therapy Boards (NASMTB). The state of Mississippi has just become the 30th state to regulate massage. I would welcome 50 states; all members of the NASMTB, with common regulatory language that has been developed by massage therapists and designed to enable increasing standards of care while benefiting both the public and the practitioner.
I feel it is important for everyone reading this article to consider the power and importance of the words we use. English, as most of the world's languages, is rich in vocabulary specifically to express nuance of thought. When creating written documents designed to stand the test of time, nuance and understand become increasingly critical. In our emerging profession there has been and will continue to be creation of organizational bylaws, practice standards, efficacy claims, regulatory statutes and rules, etc. I urge everyone to remember that what you meant to say has no bearing on how others view and use your document. What you have actually said will remain for a long time. I guess I am calling for a bit of activism on your part. I suggest that it is important that you read and understand the laws that govern your practice, and the bylaws and standards of the associations/organizations you choose to join or be credentialed by. With a critical eye, determine what the documents actually say and the perceptions of meaning that might occur. Then call or write the organizations/agencies responsible for the document and state your concerns. After all, it's your practice that is affected.
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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