resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
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.
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.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
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.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
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.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
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.
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?
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.
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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