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Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
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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