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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
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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