resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
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.
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.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
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.
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.
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.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 03
Massage Education Failing
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
The February issue of this fine publication featured a most disturbing poll. Over 55% of the respondents felt they received fair or poor training from the massage school they attended.Less than 30% felt their training was excellent. (Editor's note: See "How would you rate the training you received at your massage school?" in the MassagePoll archives, available at www.massagetoday.com/massagepoll/01archive/12_01.php.) This is a disgrace. It should be an embarrassment to everyone in this profession. I knew it was bad, but not this bad. The edu-crats will whine that this was not a "valid instrument." The mis-leaders of this profession have consistently disregarded and denied the clear will of the majority, and they will ignore this. I see this poll validated every weekend when I conduct continuing education seminars. The overall skill level of entry-level therapists is declining.
Yes, there are great schools out there turning out therapists who are better trained than ever. This is not about them. I do not mean to tar them or their graduates. However, someone has to point out the truth about education in this profession. My next few columns will attempt to do just that. Hopefully they will spark dialogue that results in action to clean up the educational system of our profession. We must police our own.
There was a time when experienced, successful therapists with good communication skills felt the need to open massage schools, to pass along what they had learned and to grow the profession. At that time, the typical students were in their mid-20s or older, usually with some postsecondary education, and were switching careers. They had somehow discovered massage and had a burning passion to learn the profession. Seventeen years ago, there were about 50 massage schools in the entire country. Virtually all of them were good programs with experienced instructors.
Times have changed. Now massage schools are being opened by opportunists trying to "catch the wave." Sadly, the instructors in many programs are therapists that are so unsuccessful in their private practice that they are willing to work for $12-$15 per hour teaching, not because they want to or because they are good communicators/teachers/examples, but because they have to in order to pay their rent. Thus, the failures are training the future therapists in many cases. Yes, good schools are being opened, unfortunately at a ratio of about one good school to five poor ones. If this continues for too long, we will drown in mediocrity.
Students are younger, often just out of high school. Several have told me they chose massage because their counselor told them it was easier than cosmetology school. Others were promised unrealistic incomes by massage school recruiters. Usually "big bucks from insurance" was implied. It is sad, I daresay disgusting, when a profession with so much potential uses a promise of participating in an extortion scam as its recruitment tool.
When I was chair of a state regulatory board for massage, I was often asked, "What do I have to do to open a massage school?" After explaining the paperwork process, I would ask how long the individual had been a therapist, and if they had any background in education. The answers I heard were sickening. One woman stated that she was still a student in a massage school, but could see that schools were where the money was, so she was opening a school as soon as she graduated. She had no teaching experience. She does now, at the expense of her students. Applications were submitted with schedules that did not add up to the number of hours advertised. How can schools provide quality education when they are run by people too stupid to fill in the application for school approval? Of course the board would reject such incorrect applications, but unfortunately, the way the bureaucracy works, the board has to clearly explain what the proposed schools did incorrectly and allow them to re-submit. Usually within two to five additional tries, they would finally get the application right. The board would then be forced to approve them, knowing more lousy schools were coming on line.
Complaints have been filed against incompetent schools by students and graduates. Unfortunately, after filing their complaint, massage therapists seldom testified against a school. They seldom kept records of the hours and subjects received until after the fact, which is not valid evidence. Students and graduates were often threatened by the school owners. One school owner had a biker type for an intimidator; another threatened witchcraft and voodoo spells. Without evidence and witnesses, boards can take no action and the lousy schools continue to rip off their students. The public is ripped off because it keeps getting inferior massage and bodywork from the schools' graduates. Our profession is eroding rapidly. These poorly trained therapists are opening their own schools or becoming instructors at schools. The downward spiral accelerates.
Lousy therapists can come out of the best schools, and great therapists can come out of the worst schools. However, when over half of the respondents feel they received a fair to poor education, it means that about half of the therapists out there are inadequately trained and are not capable of doing good work unless they are self-motivated to make significant investments in additional training. This means that the majority of people receiving massage are receiving substandard work. This is going to backlash on our profession.
The poll from last month should be a call to action. It will be interesting to see if it will be. Tune in next month to read why research and the National Certification Exam will compound the problem.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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