resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
April, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 04
Massage Education Failing, Part II
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB
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, NCBTMB.
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