resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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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