resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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
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.
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."
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.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
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.
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.
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.
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
Massage Education Failing, Part IV
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; part III appeared in the May 2002 issue.
When I started this series of columns on education, I knew there was a huge problem in the education sector of our profession.I had no idea how bad it really is. I get more horror stories every week. Just like the Standard American Diet, it is S.A.D.
Before I share some of the best of the worst, I need to issue a correction to a statement I made in the April column. I stated that the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork had a pass rate of over 90%. While true at one time, in 2001 the pass rate for first-time test-takers was 78%. This is either movement in the right direction on the part of the exam, or the reflection of more inadequately trained massage school graduates sitting for the exam. It's probably some of both. I apologize for my factual error and will be more careful in the future. I stand by my other comments on the exam, including my support for it.
Our overall education system in this country is in a bureaucratic mess. Postsecondary schools cannot refuse to enroll anyone, for fear of being sued for discrimination or violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. They often cannot fail any student because, in some states, the student can go to the Proprietary School Board and file a grievance. In some states, it seems that failing grades and absenteeism are not sufficient grounds to deny someone their "right" to graduate. Schools must let anyone in and everyone out. How can we have any kind of quality education system when the government deliberately thwarts schools setting any kind of standard for entry and graduation?
One large trade school with campuses in several states teaches its massage program from videos. Instructors are only room monitors. The instructor is never allowed to touch a student for any reason. How can students learn quality touch when they have never experienced it? This is an accredited school that offers up to a two-year degree. So much for the two-year degree becoming a meaningful standard.
Another school is reported to have a staff of five recruiters and only two instructors.
Students have dropped out of massage school and opened their own schools. Now their students are dropping out and opening more schools. The downward spiral continues.
These are not the worst stories. The worse cases are too embarrassing to put out on public display. Hopefully enough of you care about this situation to do something about it. Changes must be wrought by concerned groups of therapists and educators at the state level. It would be nice to have some national leadership, but there is none in sight at this time -- so think global and act local.
What can be done? The challenge is to create change that improves or eliminates poor schools without punishing the good schools. Big does not mean good. There are lots of really excellent programs that are small.
Several important steps can be implemented without punishing good schools. These are prerequisites, standards for instructors and teaching assistants, and student tracking of programs. These can be implemented through statute or administrative rule by massage boards in licensed states, by proprietary school boards and by departments of education. It will take a lot of prodding by advocates. There will be much resistance by many schools and associations who do not want the cash flow disturbed.
Prerequisites for Acceptance into Massage School
Currently, a student can graduate from high school with straight Ds and sign up for massage school. The school slides them through and another incompetent therapist hits the streets, treating the public to substandard massage, driving the public away from our profession. I propose that before being allowed to enroll in a massage/bodywork training program, the potential student must complete at least two years of postsecondary education (college) with a grade point average of 2.75. Included in that training should be at least one semester of anatomy, one semester of physiology, one semester of marketing/advertising and one semester of basic business accounting. Every other health care profession has educational prerequisites. Most require at least a BA or a BS. I am not suggesting a degree be obtained, just successful educational experience equaling four semesters of full-time student status.
Instructor and Teaching Assistant Credentials
If an instructor cannot make a living doing massage they should not be teaching it. It is time to require instructors in massage schools to have either three years of successful practice, or one year of successful practice and formal teaching credentials. After three years of practice, they may become full-time instructors and would not be required to maintain a practice. These standards would not be necessary for instructors teaching anatomy, business marketing, etc; however, they should have appropriate credentials in the subject taught. To be a teaching assistant, individuals should have at least one year of successful practice. What is successful practice? I will let you argue that one out among yourselves. Regardless, something has to be done to stop massage schools from hiring their failures and making them instructors.
Student Tracking of Massage Programs
All students enrolled in a massage training program should be required to keep daily diaries of the instruction they receive, documenting every hour of time spent (both subjects and instructor(s)). A well-kept diary is great evidence to prove a school did or did not provide the advertised or required program. This will allow regulators to efficiently identify deficient schools. The record should be kept by individual students and never be in the possession of the school. This simple step alone will shape up or eliminate most inadequate schools. It won't improve quality, but it will improve compliance with standards and with the advertised program.
Chew on those ideas. Talk among yourselves. Begin to take action as you see fit. I'm out of space again. Next month, I'll discuss accreditation, school mentoring and more. Strive for excellence -- it is attainable!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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