resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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