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Massage Today
February, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 02

We Get Letters & E-Mail

By Editorial Staff

Mixed Feelings About Mississippi's Massage Law

Dear Editor:

Mississippi's ruling on CranioSacral Therapy (CST) has opened a huge can of worms ["CranioSacral Therapy Outlawed in Mississippi?"].

Let's see, this would rule out the periodontist who must hang on to my jaw for several hours to do his work (my neck was practically frozen until I got CST), and the dentist is prohibited from applying his work.

The chiropractor must do the adjusting without affecting soft tissue (now let's be fair - tit for tat). Since we are being territorial, we must be fair. General practitioners can no longer tell us to open up and say "aah" while depressing the tongue, because they will be affecting the movement of the facial bones. Yes, that is how little pressure CST applies. Can we hug without moving bones? And, really, a five-minute kiss can move more cranial bones than one can imagine. Is all that to be outlawed?

In my opinion, I believe there may be a purposeful splitting of hairs spawned from professional jealousy, without any consideration for the patients benefiting from CST in particular. It is my opinion that this is all politically motivated. How many professions will this affect? We have to be fair.

Donna Snow-Spears, LMT, NCTMB
Ormond Beach, Florida

Dear Editor:

Shortly after massage school (I've been practicing for seven years), my osteopath told me that while in school he saw one student deafen another student before class by "practicing." The teacher fixed the damage immediately, but this story made an impact on me. I was looking for growth in the scope of my practice at the time. I truly agree with my DO that we, as massage therapists, don't really have the educational background to practice without harming. This young osteopathic student was well into his education at the time of hurting his classmate, by the way. I say, "Yay, Mississippi!" I do think, however, that MTs with further credentialing (such as RNs) should have places like The Upledger Institute where they can study.

Moreyn Life Kamenir
Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Dear Editor:

Who benefits from a law that prohibits CST? Could it be that this entire issue over the wording in the law, which was originally designed to prohibit massage therapists from practicing chiropractic, is now being used by the same industry to push massage therapists off the CST-providers list? If this issue is allowed to stand, any massage modality that indirectly and/or passively moves osseous tissue will be prohibited. Think about it. That will include Swedish massage and passive range of motion. This [law] threatens to end massage therapy as a valuable alternative to the traditional medical model. If this law is not dealt with soon, it could cascade into other states, like Texas, Florida, or California. I can guarantee that the rest of the country is watching us; we must take action. Massage therapists must rise up as one voice to put a stop to this.

I was told by a senior member of the Texas House of Representatives that chiropractors and other interested professions (i.e., PTs) submit this same sort of bill to the congressional floor every fourth year (at the same time that new medical bills are in committee). He told me that these efforts of prohibiting massage therapy from practice always fail, due in part to the fact that the right to move osseous tissue among MDs and DOs is also being threatened. We need to help Mississippi find the same justice.

Claude Barrett, RMT
Garland, Texas

In Support of COMTA

Dear Editor:

I wanted to voice my opinion and concerns with the lawsuit brought against COMTA []. When I read this article, I became sick to my stomach. I have been a massage therapist for 11 years and have been the director of a massage program for six. I can't begin to describe my disappointment with the Galen Institute for its lack of desire to elevate the profession of massage.

The idea of an accrediting body is to give a profession a set of standards that is recognizable and uniform. When there is more than one agency doing this, it sends an unclear message to the public about the qualifications of the practitioners. I am also an athletic trainer and have seen the benefit of one nationally recognized accrediting body. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) began certifying only athletic trainers that have graduated from accredited programs about six years ago. Lists of competencies were created so that no matter where a student has graduated from, they will be able to perform certain skills. This hurt some internship programs but has elevated the profession to a new level. This is exactly what COMTA wants to do.

I have been to the COMTA accreditation workshop and have seen the competencies and other school requirements. I truly feel that by moving in this direction, our profession will be elevated to a new level and gain new respect. Having worked in many different environments, one hesitation in accepting massage as a legitimate modality is the inconsistency of knowledge bases from therapist to therapist; massage will be more readily accepted by creating some uniform standards and educating the public about those standards.

The comment was made that completing an accredited program cannot guarantee a quality student. That is true. No method of education can guarantee a quality product because there are many other factors besides knowledge that go into making a therapist. Having a set of uniform required skills will at least guarantee a consistent level of training. The big outrage is that some schools do not agree with COMTA and that, as Chris Folkers states in the article, "Presently, many schools out there will never meet and live up to the criteria for accreditation, either due to course hours or financial restraints. This puts these schools at a disadvantage when prospective students read from other agency Web sites that accredited schools are better than nonaccredited schools."

If some schools don't make the cut, so be it. Why should we continue to tolerate schools that put substandard therapists into the profession? Shouldn't the focus be on the good of the profession and not the individual? Massage regulations will vary from area to area, but that does not mean we should lower the educational standards to meet the regulations, it should be the other way around. The "don't pass, don't pay" approach to accreditation is not the common-sense approach; it is the stupidity approach. We continue to settle with just the bare minimum and feel that if we have to conform to higher standards we are being forced into doing something wrong. How can making the profession better be wrong? It is not a policy of exclusion, but one of qualification. There are no uniform standards for massage education and it is a shame that for the sake of financial gain, there may not be.

Steve Jurch, MA, ATC, LMT
Charleston, South Carolina

Taking a Different Kind of Stand

Dear Editor:

I read Cliff Korn's editorial, "Take a Stand" (, with interest. Potential government "oppression" is why I've opposed state regulation and the attempt to "legitimize" massage by kissing up to "authority" from day one. It's a major reason why I quit the AMTA and haven't joined any other group. The AMTA was, and probably is, also obsessed with kissing up to conventional medicine. "Ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?"

So ego, professional hubris and greed drive us more and more into the limelight, until the threat to [our own] vested interests becomes more and more obvious. Naturally, chiropractors are threatened - much what they do is obviated by the proper visceral and soft-tissue work. By the way, this exemplifies a prevalent symptomatology in the alternative venue in general - an egoistic professional jealousy, wherein "my" modality is the answer.

I've written to various proponents of statewide standards/licensing, begging people not to pander to bureaucracies, which are notorious for serving agendas driven by lobbies. I've suggested we'd be better off in the bureaucratic shadows than in the limelight, and that massage was doing quite well just loping along in the background. But now, thanks to zealots, we're very likely seeing the tip of the iceberg of the regimentation that may descend as we try to define every little thing and move from art to "science." Even in face of this evidence, however, you insist that fighting state hall is best. Thus, thanks to screaming about what we can do, instead of just quietly doing it, we are faced with energy-draining activism to "buck the current trend" that's liable to take a decade or more, if it gets us anywhere but all "bucked" up with red tape, regulation, higher licensing, education and insurance fees, and so on. Talk about jumping into the belly of the beast!

Here's my stand: If you're in a state where state regulation isn't in place but is being pushed by the zealots, do your best to discourage their misguided enthusiasm. The one who will suffer most from this egoistic drive to stand out is the client, who will have to pay more and more per treatment to cover the costs of this yuppie mentality.

Peter G Tocci, BA, MT
Leominster, Massachusetts

Kudos to Korn

Dear Editor:

I loved Cliff Korn's recent articles on New Jersey's new proposal, Mississippi's law, etc. It doesn't seem like anyone is fighting for massage therapists in this country other than Mr. Korn and Massage Today. Where is the AMTA on all these issues?

Richard Popp
Des Plaines, Illinois

Massage Therapy Survey Results

Dear Editor:

Regarding "Three Surveys Confirm Massage Relieves Pain" [Dec. 2003,]: How can a massage therapy survey conducted by the AMTA (or any other massage organization) have any credibility? A proper and respectable survey should be conducted from an independent source.



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