resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
November, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 11
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Much is being written these days about the need for quality massage education. Massage Today columnist Ralph Stephens wrote an entire series of articles on the topic. (Editor's note: See Ralph's five-part series, "Massage Education Failing." Other massage and bodywork publications also are covering educational issues, and it is a frequent topic on massage and bodywork internet chat rooms.Most of the press laments the mediocrity of available educational opportunities. I hope to talk a little bit about some exceptional education I recently encountered, and how sad it made me to realize that mediocrity still exists.
In a related note, I just received a Federal Register notice requesting third-party comments on the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) expansion of scope to include massage therapy educational programs and institutions. This expansion would allow institutions accredited by NACCAS to offer massage therapy programs, based on educational standards identified by the cosmetology profession, rather than the massage therapy profession. This development could change the view that massage therapy is in control of its destiny, especially with the Department of Education. I also question its effect on the future of excellence in massage education. If approved, one certain outcome would be massage therapy being taught by non-massage therapists. I don't think cosmetologists should be teaching people how to be massage therapists, any more than massage therapists should be teaching people how to become cosmetologists. I am all for ubiquitous accreditation of massage schools. I think it would solve a multitude of sins, including easing the job of massage therapy regulation and reverting national certification to the voluntary credential it was designed to provide. However, I do think massage school accreditation should have a programmatic theme, with massage therapy taught by massage therapists as a core requirement.
I attended a convention recently that provided continuing education opportunities for attendees. As I am a frequent convention participant, this is nothing new to me. I usually search the convention brochures for topics that interest me and hope to glean useful tidbits of knowledge. This time, I chose differently. I chose the workshops based upon the presenters, not the topics. I wanted to experience presenters I knew to be superb, or who had been touted as being the "best of the best." I ended up in four different workshops, each offering three CEUs. I chose The Pregnant Pelvis by Carole Osborn-Sheets; The ABCs of Meeting with Physicians by David Kent; From Ringworm to Eczema: What is That? by Ruth Werner; and one other that I will describe shortly. I usually avoid three-credit-hour classes, because they tend to be "teasers" for more in-depth classes, but with these four, I was not disappointed! All the presenters were excellent, and the workshops were robust with useful knowledge.
The fourth workshop in particular spurred my thoughts to write this column. I participated in Cancer and Massage: The Real Issues, taught by Tracy Walton and Gayle MacDonald. The material was well-prepared and skillfully presented. The course handouts were scholarly works in and of themselves. The workshop dealt in considerable depth into the pathophysiology of cancers, and stressed modifications to massage procedures involving site; position; speed; scheduling; stroke; pressure; duration; rhythm; lubricant; and environment. In clear, concise terms, the presenters stressed the importance of investigating the side-effects and complications of common cancer treatments before proceeding, and reasoning through the possible beneficial and harmful effects of techniques on clients'conditions. They illustrated information trees to help in gathering information using a logical progression, and suggested ways to fill in information gaps. They also focused specifically on lymphedema and lymphedema cautions, and provided examples of communication and health history forms specific to cancer patients. The instructors' thorough preparation and presentation enabled them to offer huge amounts of important information in a short amount of time. It was obvious that individuals with cancer experience safe, effective massage on Walton's and MacDonald's tables. Other class participants shared some of the reasons that safety through knowledge was important. One indicated that while working under the direction of a chiropractor, he was instructed to work more aggressively on a client's shoulder and now felt guilty because the work had spurred the onset of lymphedema. Another said he would never again work on a client with cancer, as he felt inadequately educated to take on that responsibility after having a previous client die hours after leaving his table; he wondered if he was partially responsible.
Whether you've been in practice for years, or only a month, you probably have countless stories of clients who either forgot to share pieces of information with you, or outright lied on intake forms. Many of us have experienced the client who checked all the "no" boxes on our forms and then presented with the unmentioned sternum-to-groin zigzag scar! I think we need to expand our knowledge base to pick up on health history gaps quicker, so we harm fewer of our clients. Scars are easy because we can see them . . . potential complications/considerations below the surface pose a more difficult challenge.
As a friend and I left the workshop, we discussed at length the impact and importance of high-quality education such as we had just enjoyed. As is the case with many of our peers, we both entered the field when work on cancer patients was contraindicated. My friend is a knowledgeable and skilled educator himself, so I was particularly interested in his thoughts and opinions. We came to the conclusion that basic massage education in America is sorely lacking, and that all massage therapists should access to the information we had just received, in the interest of safety and concern for our clients' well-being. So many people desperately need educated and compassionate touch to facilitate their healing. My friend was truly disturbed that he lacked the time to revamp all the curricula he currently taught, to incorporate higher levels of pathology awareness. I think we all need to experience excellence so we can better identify the mediocre. I think we need to demand more from our continuing education programs, and encourage those entering the field to demand more from the schools that populate our profession. Education excellence should not be every massage therapist's expectation, but every massage therapist's right! Much of the public thinks we have it now. As Star Trek Captain Jean Luc Picard says so aptly, "Make it so."
Thanks for listening!
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue. 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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