resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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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