resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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 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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
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.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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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