resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
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 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.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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.
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?
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
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
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