resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
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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