resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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?
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
July, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 07
We Get Letters & E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Editor's Note: Some letters have been edited for space and clarity.
Controversy Over Fees
I would like to thank Alice Belusko for her letter to Massage Today (March 2003, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/03/15.html) in reference to my article, "Fees" (October 2002, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2002/10/10.html).
In response to Alice's statement, "I'm not sure if [Vivian] has personally done 25 hours of massage, week in and week out, for any substantial period of time.If she possessed this type of experience, I'm sure her article would have defended the billing fees of LMTs": In my defense, I did not begin to perform massage therapy until I was 45 years old. I worked seven days a week, every week, on seven to eight patients a day. I worked this way for over a year from 8 a.m. until sometimes as late as midnight, often going home in tears with sheer exhaustion. I charged $25-$40 per massage, each being one hour or more, mostly deep-tissue. I opened my own office after a year.
During this time, many of these clients became medical and insurance-related cases. Alice misquoted or misunderstood me in her letter by saying I had charged $95 per massage in 1984-85. I first charged $35 to $40 until I began the prescribed therapy. I then raised the medical-case fees to $56 for years, until I got the nerve to raise prescribed fees to $65. I finally raised the basic rate to $75 in late 1997 for hands-on services, and added $20 for a modality if prescribed (whether or not it was for one or four modalities).
I also served for nine years as the insurance committee chair for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA). We worked very hard to get laws passed that required insurance companies to reimburse massage therapists for massage when prescribed by physicians. We were successful partly because we showed that we provided the same services as other providers, but at a savings to insurers. At the time, workers' compensation was paying a maximum of $58.50 per treatment, which was my average, since most of my cases were from workers' compensation. Now, worker's comp payments average about $96.
Why did I have a successful business? Because I built a reputation providing quality services at reasonable prices people and insurance companies could afford.
Florida law states in essence, "If a policy covers massage then it shall cover the services of one licensed to perform massage."
Make no mistake. All the insurance companies have to do is write massage out of the policies, and WE ARE DONE! Insurers are looking to save money. If we provide the best for less - I didn't say for nothing, only less - then, we will be searched out, not written out.
P.S. At age 63, I still carry my table and give as good a massage as anyone. The client or insurers will still get what they pay for even though I do not charge upwards of $150 or more for the therapy. Luckily, I was able to retire on the measly low rates I charged, so now I do not have to do that. I sincerely wish that for all of you!
I just had to respond to the ludicrous letter from Alice Belusko. I do not dispute the title "My hands are just as important as a surgeon's hands," but all goes downhill from there; the rest of the letter is basically bereft of reasoning.
To the whine: "Do you know how many years the therapist can work? When was the last time you saw a 60-year-old massage therapist dragging his or her table through someone's front door?" I am almost 60 years old, and I can still perform this "heroic" work. I had the basic common sense to purchase a light weight table and a carrying case, so I can actually carry, rather than drag the table. Why would someone who has 25 hours of massage every week, year after year, avoid the common sense to rent an office and avoid all this pathetic dragging?
I agree with Vivian that billing $145 to $175 an hour is excessive. I bill according to Medicare limits, all of my fees, whether private insurance or Medicare. The amount allowed in this area for manual treatment is $25.34 for a 15-minute increment. An hour would be $101.36. This is what anyone would get for this treatment, including occupational or physical therapists who have much lengthier education requirements.
If it's worth it to you, pay it out of your pocket, but spare the rest of us the rapidly accelerating insurance rates by gouging insurance companies and giving responsible LMTs a bad rep.
I am writing in response to Vivian Madison-Mahoney's article, "Fees" (October 2002). With all due respect for Vivian's areas of knowledge and expertise, I feel that the massage practitioners who have invested in specialized training, and have committed to doing the work that results in the resolution of repetitive strain injuries; whiplash; frozen shoulder; failed back surgeries, etc., are well able to command rates other than those commanded by massage therapists with "minimal training." These techniques produce real results.
It's a big world out there, and while traditional forms of bodywork certainly have their place in the scheme of things, perhaps a broadening of perspective would refresh not only Ms. Madison-Mahoney's frame of reference, but also acquaint her with new vistas of paradigm in our wonderful profession - ones that the medical profession are only now beginning to turn to.
The average case of carpal tunnel syndrome costs around $100,000 between lost productivity, worker's compensation and medical costs. A few treatments with a massage therapist highly skilled in the techniques which resolve soft-tissue dysfunction and syndromes (which end in "itis") is a sure bargain.
C. Carow, NCLMT
"A Fully Trained Massage Therapist is a Medical Professional"
This is a commentary to Vivian Madison-Mahoney's view on the "Medical Massage Controversy" (April 2003, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/04/07.html).
I am not really sure when "massage" became nonmedical and started to be linked to pleasure, mischief and more. It is not accidental that a massage therapist is called a therapist - a therapist being a medical professional, according to my terminology.
In my opinion, a fully trained massage therapist is a medical professional. I would like someone to explain the difference between a regular massage and a medical massage. If I visit my massage therapist, I will tell him/her where it hurts, which area to concentrate on and which ones to avoid; he or she will do their best to comply. I am usually relieved of pain (if sometimes only temporarily) and feel de-stressed and relaxed - an added benefit.
This I do, because I would rather eliminate aches and pains the natural way than to pop any kind of pain medication, even if it is "only an aspirin or Tylenol", or similar. For those kinds of ailments, I do not need a doctor's prescription, but would recommend that insurance companies provide reimbursement for visits to a massage therapist just as they would for visits to any medical professional; this, along with other complementary medical modalities, should be addressed by the insurance companies, as they will be saving money in the long run by investing in preventative and natural health care from the start. If we would all ban together to make this happen, then we would make progress in all of our fields.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Madison-Mahoney that schools should devote much more time to the medical side of how massage can relieve a number of conditions, and when to refer a client to a doctor; agreed that many years of experience will give a massage therapist more confidence and expanded knowledge, but the base education should be more solid than what is being taught in massage schools today. If like in the medical profession, the massage profession could implement various degrees of LMT to assure clients of the courses and CEDs a therapist has studied and earned, or the specialty of an individual therapist, this would elevate the level of the massage profession and hopefully, one day, will eliminate associating the profession with escort services.
Hannelore R. Leavy
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.