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Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
May, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 05
Massage Education Failing, Part III
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Editor's note: Part I of this article appeared in the March 2002 issue; part II appeared in the April 2002 issue.
In my last two columns, I have pointed out the downward spiral occurring in the education side of our profession.This discussion was inspired by the results of a poll that showed over 50% of practicing therapists felt they had received substandard education, ranking their education as "fair to poor." In the first column, I discussed the overall problem of incompetent schools. Last month, I explained how the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is part of the problem and is incapable of being part of the solution in its current form. This is based on the fact that the knowledge base it tests is determined by a survey of the profession. As the profession expands with more and more poorly trained therapists, the survey will bring back data from a "dumbed-down" profession. This will continually reduce the level of material covered on the exam to the lowest common denominator of an ever-less-educated profession.
I have also explained that research will not help elevate a profession that is incapable of reproducing the results found by the research.
It was brought to my attention that we need to offer suggestions when pointing out problems. Those suggestions will come in future columns. Before a solution can be created, the problem must be clearly understood. The options for a solution must also be understood. It should be clear that the current national certification process is part of the problem and offers no way out. Research will not help at this point, either.
The problem is bigger than just the education of our profession. The massage/bodywork community has become the landing site for every new-age idea to come down the pike. Esoteric and fringe massage techniques seem to be a safe port of harbor for poorly trained instructors and practitioners who lack a solid educational foundation in the basic sciences and manual therapies. In its attempt to accept everyone, every theory, every technique and every practice, the massage community and it's "mis-leaders" have failed to clearly define itself and set clear standards for education and licensure for massage therapy. Due to this failure, the profession has been unable to achieve the recognition and credibility massage/bodywork deserves as a health care profession. By lacking boundaries and by trying to be the campground for every group, cult, mystic, shaman and personality whose ego requires a special name for their version of the same strokes, we have reached a point where we have no idea what we do or who we are, and neither does the public or the health care profession.
The blame for this can be placed squarely at the feet of the associations and pseudo-associations of this profession. The pseudo-associations are not associations at all, but for-profit corporations who are nothing more than mail-order vendors of insurance and meaningless credentials. The only significant, valid professional association has repeatedly backed away from setting meaningful standards, definitions and legislation because it might exclude someone and lose some checkbook members.
Both types have been largely controlled by a few individuals who have recognized and taken advantage of the extremely high level of practice failure in new massage graduates especially, among the twenty something generation. This failure rate has created an opportunity for schools and associations that prey on the constant influx of new students -- about 50,000 per year. With this constant turnover, the "leaders" pretty much run the show the way they want. Any standard that would in any way restrict entry into the profession, even if it improved the quality of the profession and the care received by the public, is a threat to the "leaders" cash flow. Naturally, they resist standardized licensing and the setting of any other meaningful standards. There will be no help from the insurance vendors. In fact, they will fight every effort to improve the situation. The only hope for help from the true association is that it is possible for concerned, "new blood" to become actively involved and change the direction currently being followed.
So, what about government regulation? Is it a solution, or another part of the problem? Think about it. The only excellence you'll find in our government is in its military and propaganda systems. The rest of the time, government is inept, inefficient, and another lowest-common-denominator system. The departments of education do little regarding enforcement of standards at postsecondary schools, especially "trade schools." They do not have the staff to monitor the hundreds of schools in each state for compliance. They respond only to complaints, and then usually are unable to do much. Why? Because it usually becomes the school's word against the student's. Our regulatory boards (licensing boards) are in the same position. They are not set up to monitor schools and often do not have any authority over schools other than to approve a submitted curriculum. As I mentioned in the March column, anyone can get a curriculum approved, because even if they are totally incompetent, the state board must help them until they get the forms right, and then must approve them. If standards were set higher, regulatory/licensing boards would just have to help more.
Regulation will have to be part of the solution eventually. However, it will have to be done skillfully, so as not to burden the good schools to the point of extinction. That result would leave only community colleges and general business schools, whose primary concern is their automechanic and cosmetology programs.
To the people that I now have hopping mad, remember: Our profession's education system is failing, and you know it. Do not direct your anger at me for being the one to say so. Don't shoot the messenger. Direct your energies toward a constructive solution that will do the most to help humanity. Change is often painful and growth is often difficult. However, if we as a profession do not do something soon to rescue our failing education system, we may be faced with the possible loss of the ability to practice that which we love.
Next month, I will share more massage education horror stories and begin presenting suggestions for change.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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