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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Massage therapy and bodywork has certainly come into its own in the last 10 or so years. It is no longer unusual to see articles mentioning the benefits of our services in national publications.Reviews of resorts in travel magazines usually mention spa services available. National network and cable television series are more likely than ever to have massage therapists as characters (some with adult entertainment industry stereotypes, although some without). I regularly hear my peers express delight or indignation at how a therapist was depicted or how a modality was described in the media. Usually I just smile and think how thankful I am that we, as a profession, are so universally known as to be included in coverage of everyday life.
However, I must admit that two recent depictions stopped me dead in my tracks. Either I'm missing the boat on how other massage therapists conduct their practices, or writers are incorporating a lack of education in their coverage. I am a subscriber of Travel + Leisure, a publication of American Express Publishing Corporation. Their April 2002 issue ran an article titled "The Good Life" that reviewed three venerable resorts in Carmel, CA. The author describes in some detail the property amenities, including golf, food, staff professionalism and guestroom ambiance. He also reports on his massage experience at each property. Describing the new spa at one property, he notes, "Popular as it is, I found the service there confused, the massage room noisy, and the massage below par." I'm glad I didn't read this in a national magazine after one of my massage sessions! The disturbing aspects come in the next two reviews, though.
Of property number two, our massage critic says, "My Ranch Classic massage was far better than the usual rub-a-dub hotel version, with as much adjusting as there was kneading." He went on to mention the therapist by name and quoted him as saying, "I like to get something accomplished."
In the final property review, I read, "I was jelly by the time the masseur arrived. The therapists come to your room here. Mine quickly kicked off his Birkenstocks and set up his table in front of the fireplace. He was partial to chiropractic and cranial work -- more adjusting -- and clearly very experienced."
So what do you think the odds are of these therapists being chiropractors masquerading as massage therapists? How would you feel if an article in a national magazine let all the world know that you were practicing out of the scope of practice of your stated profession? Will more of the public be climbing on your table be looking for osseous and soft tissue work because of this depiction? In my mind, this article is more dangerous than the occasional TV show depicting a massage therapist engaging in hand release, as was recently aired on HBO.
The March/April issue of Healing Retreats & Spas also attracted my attention, with an article entitled "Rules of Engagement." The author of this piece is bound and determined to uncover the prurient aspects of sessions behind closed doors. He uses as a premise for his exposé his observation that Americans have a curiously conservative perspective regarding nudity and touching. He notes that topless bars and nudist colonies are viewed as dens of sin and freakish third dimensions, and then concludes that, "it is not surprising that these hang-ups cross over into the spa experience." He really said that!
This intrepid reporter travels from Beverly Hills to New Orleans for his story and admits to "pushing some conversational boundaries at thirteen spas in ten different cities." He seems quite shocked and amazed when the professional spa staff he "interviews" while on the table erect a wall of silence around his attempted discussions of nudity, sexuality and boundaries. I'm not at all surprised, as it seems like a natural response to a weirdo! My guess is that they also proceeded to demonstrate their trigger-point proficiency with thumbs and elbows to stimulate a subject change!
Undaunted in his lack of success in getting a hot story from therapists, the reporter relates stories from clients. One tells of how she experienced orgasm during her first three massages, and now consciously makes herself avoid orgasms when she gets a massage. The reporter then tells of his own experience where during a "Swedish massage in the Lake Tahoe area" the therapist repeatedly touched his erection. He called it inadvertent, even though it was repeated while she was working both legs. His story makes me wonder what "spa" he was visiting.
He concludes his article by saying, "So the next time you wonder to yourself, 'What just happened?' push it to the back of your mind... at least until the treatment's over."
My problem with this last article is that it is in a nationally distributed magazine designed to promote spa use! My guess is that prospective clients who are new to massage and bodywork will be scared to death to schedule themselves on a table after reading his article. I doubt that is something desired by the magazine's advertisers! I also doubt that you would like to get a lot of new clients referred from either of these articles. Both take the authors' perception of our profession and promote it to the world as a reality. I believe both seriously missed the boat.
What do you think?
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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