resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
November, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 11
No Danger Here?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Massage education is still failing. There are, of course, great massage schools and continuing education programs out there; they are not the subjects of this article. Unfortunately, the number of poor programs and providers overshadows the good ones.While every profession has its outstanding and average schools, nowhere is the spectrum from best to worst as wide as in the massage profession. It's embarrassing and disgraceful. Why do we tolerate it? This profession has backed away from educational standards many times. It seems, for the most part, we educate "down" to a price, never "up" to a standard. It is amazing that when higher educational standards are proposed, the greatest outcry comes from school owners. Their complaints are understandable when the standards would penalize good schools with bureaucracy and paperwork (without effectively weeding out or improving poor schools). Proposals of this nature should be rejected; however, the profession and its best educators should embrace standards that would weed out poor programs and allow good programs to do a better job. Unfortunately, they often do not.
At one time, the AMTA had a 1,000-hour standard, but hardly any of its approved schools (at the time) actually provided 1,000 hours of education. When this was discovered, rather than enforce the 1,000-hour standard, AMTA deferred to school owners and lowered the standard to 500 hours. A huge opportunity was lost. More recently, COMTA, the only massage accreditation agency that has, in my opinion, any credibility, conducted a survey of educators and schools. The survey results established guidelines that would provide quality, competency-based massage education programs. Still, the very schools that submitted survey data later protested the results, claiming the new proposed program was too long. To prevent mutiny, the proposed hours were scaled back. Another huge opportunity was lost.
Last month, Massage Today ran a story that the "mean ole' Florida Board of Massage Therapy (FBMT)" tried to raise the required hours for massage education programs in Florida (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/10/02.html). But FLAME, a group of massage schools, fought it. What was FLAME's argument? "The purpose of the FBMT is to protect the public. The FDOE [Florida Department of Education] could not show that massage therapists graduating from a 500-hour program were a danger to the public." Is this what our standards, or lack thereof, should be based on? Some influential school owners evidently believe that their programs are successful if they train future massage therapists just enough that they are not a danger to the public. It doesn't matter if students are taught to do any good or help the public; competency or having skills to be a successful health care provider are not important. What is important is to simply not be a danger to the public. Is this something to be proud of?
Things could be worse. We're ahead of the allopaths (MDs, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.). In the U.S., they get away with killing over 250,000 people a year (by their own figures), and no one seems to care. That is really dangerous - more dangerous than drunk drivers or wars, which people seem to care about. Allopaths go to school for a long time. Maybe the massage school owners are on to something: just provide enough training to not be dangerous. Perhaps running students through programs that leave them unable to succeed (thus` ensuring a huge dropout rate from the profession) is the way to go. The market will never become saturated with therapists, and the schools will always have a demand to fulfill. The few students with drive and motivation will acquire post-school training and do well. The public will not be in any danger. It's nirvana. I guess we should be proud. NOT!
The latest insult to massage education is a group of school owners who have decided that going through a real accreditation process is too much of a hassle. After all, who knows what a school should have to do or teach other than its owner? This group claims to have created an accreditation process that virtually any school can complete over the phone in 30 to 45 days. Great! Another for-profit organization selling accreditations! Do you know of a profession, especially a health care profession other than massage therapy where this happens? Their name will not be mentioned, as I do not want to give them the free publicity. Shame on you all who participate in this or other mail-order accreditation. It is nothing to be proud of - it is just short of being consumer fraud.
Some time ago a Texas therapist wrote to me. At the time I thought it was a bit extreme, but now I am beginning to believe he is onto something: "We must recognize that schools are part of the massage industry, but not part of the massage profession. It is up to practicing professionals to demand educational standards and not leave educational quality up to the schools. It is up to the schools to meet the demands of the profession, not dictate where the profession should go."
The danger is, if we do not clean up our educational act pretty soon, there may be a backlash against our profession that will greatly impede our ability to help people. Research is proving the benefits of massage, but the typical therapist can't understand a research study, much less duplicate the technique. The public expects the results proven in studies, but seldom finds it. Physicians refer to massage therapists based on research results, and the patient comes back with stories of shamanism and incense - probably not harmed, but probably not helped, either. It is time to end the idea that just "not being dangerous" is good enough. Let's continue to do no harm, while putting emphasis on higher educational standards that better train therapists to maximize the potential benefits massage therapy can provide for the good of humanity.
The holiday season begins this month. Get out and shop until you drop; the economy needs your help. I hope you sell more gift certificates than you printed; however, try to keep in mind that the real reason for these holidays is not material but spiritual.
May your holidays be joyous, healthy and filled with the true spirit of the season.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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