resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
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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