resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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