resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
June, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 06
Should We or Shouldn't We?
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Regulation and licensing of somatic therapists is again making news. After several years of little or no activity in this area, several states are now considering if licensing, in the form of practice acts or title protection acts, is superior to the "unlicensing" regulations now approved in Minnesota and being considered elsewhere.
I know of precious few issues within the massage therapy and bodywork realm that stimulate such response as the issue of whether or not to regulate the profession.It seems to make otherwise rational people froth at the mouth, and normally caring, sensitive, client-centered individuals stand on their soapboxes and hurl vindictive epithets toward any individual speaking for the "other side"!
I would like to explore a few issues concerning regulation in this column, in the hopes that it stimulates an ongoing discussion among you, the readers. Nothing would please me more than to have Massage Today become a clearinghouse for the ideas and concerns surrounding licensing. This is a big issue affecting us all, so please share your opinions on the subject!
In this column, I'll limit my thoughts to the issue of state licensure. It is my opinion that municipal regulation of somatic therapies isn't worth discussing, as it is (in almost all cases) actually attempting to regulate prostitution instead of whatever the title of the section of the law reads. Municipal regulation, in the absence of state licensing, is in my opinion, detrimental to the profession. It is confusing to practitioners, employers, educators and the public. I am familiar with no other health care profession that deals with municipal as opposed to statewide regulation.
Perhaps that is an element of the problem -- many of us don't see ourselves as part of the greater health care field. A state employee who oversaw many allied health groups once said to a group of massage therapists arguing this point, "Excuse me, you already are part of health care. Get over it!" Coming to grips with what it means to be a part of the overall health care environment may be important in this discussion. In my experience, the municipal regulations don't particularly address health care. The people I know who practice in nonregulated states have stories to tell: doing outcall in five communities and needing business licenses from five different jurisdictions; needing blood testing and fingerprinting in some towns and criminal record checks in others; and some towns requiring CEUs and others not; some requiring work on same-sex clients only, others requiring windows on all treatment-room doors. How ludicrous. How demeaning. Occupational therapists, physical therapists, dental hygienists, psychologists, nurses, opticians, etc, would never put up with such nonsense, but many massage therapists accept this situation as customary and normal.
As I gear up for a rant here, let me also say that I am positively sick to death of those who argue against regulation by demanding "proof" of harm against the public. (Many states require evidence of harm before granting regulation.) They will sit and fill bandwidth on web pages, listservers and publication "letters" sections stating that there is no measurable proof of public harm, and that therefore it is unconscionable to regulate the practice. They choose to define harm in their own terms for their own purposes, and develop tunnel vision that "harm" means only "grievous physical harm." As most who have served on massage regulatory boards know, there is a constant stream of instances of public harm from massage therapists. These are frequently confidential in nature, so they aren't normally used in the conduct of a public discussion. Such instances of harm run the gamut from inappropriate touch to unethical business practices, but certainly they all constitute harm to the public. Unfortunately, a somatic practitioner practicing in an unethical or unsanitary fashion can also cause the physical harm the regulation naysayers find so little evidence of.
This certainly begs the question as to whether licensing will do away with those who abuse good practice and ethical behavior. Of course it won't do away with them, but the jury is still out on whether licensing minimizes or lessens the frequency of public harm. What I see as a good argument for licensing is that it frequently provides a peer review process for those against whom complaints are made. Most states already have laws enacted to deal with inappropriate touch and unethical business practice, but require filing of criminal charges to do so. For most matters dealing with unhonored gift certificates, scope-of-practice concerns, etc., I see real benefit to peer investigation and adjudication rather than police and/or court intervention. I'd prefer the police investigate meatier issues.
As I see it, the issue is not whether the profession should be regulated, but by whom, and to what standard! I encourage massage therapists to impact their own destiny by expressing their thoughts and opinions on such issues as who should be included/excluded form massage regulation; what scope of practice entails; what the eligibility criteria should be; and how a therapist demonstrates initial and current competency. Coalitions are usually the best vehicle for determining the answers to these questions and obtaining a semblance of consensus. The Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Practice Organizations has a very workable model for a coalition at www.adeptsys.com/federation/Legislative_Packet/legislative_packet.html.
I suggest the key point to this discussion should not be whether there is evidence of harm, or whether or not licensing "legitimizes" the profession, but whether consumer access and confidence are enhanced or diminished, and whether it gives practitioners more or fewer professional career choices.
Thanks for listening!
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.