resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
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.
March, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 03
Swimming Upstream Toward Effective Practice
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Every now and again, I find myself grabbing some morsel of thought and running upstream through the frothing waters of accepted massage opinion, much like a salmon returning to its home waters. Today's morsel stems from a question posed to me about "how to improve the profession of massage." The center current of opinion, down which most previous effort has run, is that credibility for massage practice is obtainable by coercing the profession together through licensing and mandatory certification. Licensing, however, was never a tool designed by the government to imbue credibility and excellence of practice. It was only intended to protect the public from practices that could cause great physical or economic harm, and for which reasonable consumer knowledge and caution were inadequate remedies. There are no medical statistics indicating that massage practices, especially at the levels covered by licensing, fall into this camp. Similarly, mandatory certification has fallen short of addressing needs of practice that are sufficiently focused to be evident and useful. Applied nonspecifically, certification exams needlessly eliminate many people who are not proficient at short-term memorization, yet could contribute successfully into the more kinesthetic subpractices of massage. Such exams also are often too general to benefit subpractices more dependent on the manipulation of remembered details.4,5
Instead of the route of government-coerced cohesion, I believe it is past time to acknowledge and value our diversity of subpractices. It is time to create guidelines that provide specific guidance to schools, students and employers for what we actually do in different venues or subpractices of massage. I have taken a rough cut at defining a set of such subpractices in Table 1.
Note that the subpractices do not organize in a single line of increasing knowledge and skills. Likewise, the various subpractices are not all at the same level of knowledge and skills, but simply in different directions of applied technique. Therefore, we can talk about tiers and experience meaningfully only within a given subpractice. Across the total scope of practices, there are different needs for details of anatomy and clinical technique; skills of basic touch and human presence; formality of personal appearance; business skills; and interpersonal skills of communication, psychology and sociology. In many of the areas, communication skills and understanding of the applicable psychology may be as or more important to outcomes than particulars of massage technique. The importance of attitude and support noted for sports injuries is equally applicable to supporting recovery from illness in hospital settings or enhancing quality of life for the aged.2,7
My examination of guidelines on the process of creating guidelines has resulted in Table 2. Key aspects of the process are that it be evidence-based; involve all key players; and allow for its own evolution. We must take on the intensive process of first defining massage subpractices, then working with all affected parties to define knowledge, skills and abilities needed to practice effectively in each venue. It is only by hammering out a rough consensus of all participants for each subpractice that we will achieve workable guidelines. It is only when such guidelines have proven to be both useful and widely used that they should be considered as standards.
In seeking to form guidelines that promote our ability to engage effectively in a subpractice of massage, it follows immediately that we need a measure for effectiveness. In this, we owe a debt to the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). In 1906, Pareto observed that 20 percent of the Italian people owned 80 percent of their country's accumulated wealth. This 80/20 rule of imbalance has since been found to be applicable to many situations.6, 8
Based on the 80/20 rule, we may reasonably expect that, day to day, 80% of the tasks will be performable using about 20% of the subpractice expert's domain-specific knowledge and skills. The implication is that, if a person entering the subpractice comes with this 20% of the subpractice down cold, they will be able to accomplish much without having to stop constantly to consult a mentor or information resource. In all likelihood, they will have much more time and leeway to accumulate incrementally via experience the subsequent 80% of skills and knowledge. By encoding such expectations into guidelines that meet the criteria of Table 2, I believe that we can do much to make our efforts at training and practice more effective.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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