resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 1)
Maintaining joint health should be a daily focus for athletes. Joint health is a complex issue for everyone, but for athletes it poses a greater concern.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
We Have Come a Long Way – But There's a Long Way to Go; Grounded and Connected.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
A New Era of Injury Awareness Means a New Focus on Prevention
Despite a dramatic Super Bowl last month, the National Football League has taken quite a few hits lately concerning player injuries, particularly concussions.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Leg Length and Pelvic Fixations
A common component of low back pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Signs of SIJ dysfunction can include fixation with reduced range of motion, and localized pain or joint laxity and inflammation.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
What's Triggering That Point?
An orthopedic friend recently saw a patient of mine. He felt an injection of a trigger point (TP) at the upper trapezius and surrounding areas was necessary, since that was the patient's area of chief complaint and there was a tender, radiating nodule.
Connections Worth Making
"If most doctors are like me, [they are] isolated physically and professionally. I do not make the time to connect with other doctors and also a lot of doctors do not want to be connected for a lot of reasons. Dynamic Chiropractic keeps me grounded and connected.
Online Efforts That Convert Traffic Into Patients
Most chiropractors are using "dinner with the doc," "refer a friend," customer appreciation days, grand openings, health fairs, chamber of commerce meetings, and other networking events to get new patients.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
The Easy Way to Learn How to Document ICD-10
The 2015 Work Plan for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) includes a focus on chiropractic services. This means chiropractors can expect to see more audits and reviews in the coming year because private payers pay attention to the OIG's focus as well.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Adjusting the Occiput on the Atlas
You may never see a particular set of patients in your office – the ones who are either afraid of neck adjustments or have had a bad experience. A vast majority of those who had a bad experience did not have a life-threatening vascular event.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
April, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 04
Massage Education Failing, Part II
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Editor's note: Part I of this article appeared in the March 2002 issue. The article is available on line at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2002/03/13.html.
Since last month's column, hundreds more poorly trained massage therapists and bodyworkers have graduated from lousy schools and are struggling to create a practice.Thousands of people seeking help from massage therapy and bodywork will not find it because of the ever-increasing number of incompetent, inadequately trained practitioners.
More horror stories about sub-standard schools are pouring in: programs issuing 1,000-hour certificates but only providing 350 hours of training; continuing education providers reporting appallingly poor basic skills and vocabulary in practicing therapists. It is embarrassing when I am confronted by an individual like the shuttle driver who took me to the airport recently. She grew up getting massage from osteopaths (now a lost art). She has been trying to find a decent massage therapist for years. Of the last two she tried, one just rubbed some oil around, and the other made her sore for three days. Both were working in chiropractic offices. She said she has given up finding a decent massage and now just gets chiropractic. This is the backlash that is going to sweep over our profession if something isn't done soon about the state of our training system.
But what about the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)? Doesn't it guarantee competency, at least in the states in which it is administered? I live in one of those states. No! The NCETMB does not weed out incompetent therapists. It is a lowest-common-denominator system. It promotes mediocrity. It surveys the profession to get the basis for the exam. So, 50% or more of the people it surveys received lousy education and know little about massage. How do they fill in the surveys regarding what entry-level knowledge is essential? Most of them do not even know what they don't know The exam will continue to sink to the lowest common denominator and allow those with substandard education to become the norm. Its pass rate (over 90%) indicates that it is not a substantial filter.
Schools teach the test to make sure their graduates pass. Lousy schools do nothing but teach the test. No hands-on skills are required to pass the exam. No patient skills are required. All that is required are some short-term memorization of intellectual knowledge. This does not guarantee competency, and it most certainly does not set any standard of excellence.
Unfortunately, the NCETMB is the only "legally defensible" exam we have. State boards are almost forced to use it. I have supported and defended the exam over the years. I am sad to say I do not see any alternative available at this time, so I continue to support it. It is probably better than having no exam at all. However, as part of this discussion, I must point out the nature of the beast. The NCETMB is part of the problem of substandard education in our profession. It must be changed in some way, or it will be part of the downfall of our profession.
But what about research? If we can just validate our procedures and prove that massage is effective, won't that bring respect and creditability to the profession? Of course not -- it will just create further backlash, in that the majority of massage therapists and bodyworkers are incapable of reading a study and duplicating its results.
All those who promote research to validate massage should realize that if they prove something that the majority of the therapists cannot accomplish, their beloved research effectively becomes invalid and a waste of time and money. Further, instead of promoting massage and bodywork, it will cause a huge backlash against it. For example, if someone proves that massage therapy reduces acute low back pain, the public will go in search of such relief.
How many therapists will they have to visit before finding one competent enough to get the result predicted? Probably a dozen or so. How many will the public try? Probably one. What are the odds of them getting help? Less than 50%. What will they tell their friends about massage? They'll tell them that massage doesn't work. Will their friends try massage, after hearing that rave review? Probably not. How many people will a physician refer based on a study that claims to prove that massage will help with carpal tunnel syndrome? One, maybe two. If they do not get the reported results, not only will the physician not refer to massage therapists for carpal tunnel, he/she will probably will not refer to massage for anything. Research results cannot be duplicated in the hands of inadequately trained practioners.
Those who cry for research the loudest (who usually just happen to be researchers), should redirect their efforts toward improving the quality of education in this profession before they destroy it with their good intentions.
I want to emphasize that there are many great schools turning out well-trained, highly competent practitioners. These school operators see the degradation that is occurring in the education area of our profession. I know they are very concerned about substandard schools. We must find a way to eliminate substandard training programs without punishing excellent schools in the process.
Our profession fell into its darkest age in the 1940s because of incompetent schools. This dark age lasted for almost 40 years, during which time the majority of the public associated most massage with prostitution. Will history repeat itself? It usually does. So, shall we be relegated to the bath houses of an increasingly sexual society? Shall we again split into two groups, some of us becoming medical practitioners under the thumb of the allopaths as slave labor in the PT rooms, and the rest labeled as "sensuality workers"?
Let me guess - you don't like these options, do you? Neither do I. We will have to put on our thinking caps and figure a way out of this, and very soon. It will have to be done by the profession, that's you and me and thousands like us working together. Let the dialogue begin. Let it swell to a thunderous roar!
Tune in next month to learn how government and regulation are another part of the problem, not the solution.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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