resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 05
Massage Education Failing, Part III
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB
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, NCBTMB.
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