resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
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.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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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