resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
March, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 03
A Trade or Profession?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
There it was: a CBS MarketWatch story raving about how the stock of trade schools (career colleges) rose dramatically in 2003. The article listed the "10 hottest fields," and guess what? Massage therapy is the top training program being added to trade schools.Hey colleagues, we're number one - in trade schools - which brings us to the question: "Is the practice of massage therapy a trade or a profession?"
While many of us have always considered it a profession, massage is being increasingly taught as a trade. Let's look at what the dictionary* has to say about this:
The practice of massage involves skill and it can be an occupation, so it clearly meets the definition of a trade. A profession requires extensive education or specialized training. Massage education involves specialized training, but is it extensive? Certainly not at the entry level, and therein lies the problem.
Extensive education is available for those who desire it. There are schools out there that offer more than the minimum requirements to get licensed or pass the National Certification Exam; however, they are few and far between. In most areas, extensive training is only available through advanced continuing-education programs.
Currently, a group of school owners in Florida feels there is no need to increase the educational requirements, so long as the massage therapists cause no harm to the public. It is sad that this group believes our standards of professional training involve teaching students just enough to not harm the public. While that's better than what can be said about many allopathic practitioners (who inflict a lot of harm and bury their mistakes), it sells massage-therapy education short. Why can't we set standards high enough to teach students to do more than not harm the public?
I agree with the argument that more hours for the sake of more hours is not an improvement; 1,000 hours of lousy education is worse than 500 hours of lousy education. Merely raising the entry-level hour requirement will not improve the quality of massage education or the competency of graduates. The root of the problem lies with the low quality of the hours offered. How can we improve massage education and shut down poor-quality schools? (Not necessarily small schools - there are many excellent small schools.)
Massage therapy and bodywork is spiraling down from the fastest emerging new health care profession to a trade because of a lack of enforceable educational standards. What stands in the way? MONEY. Massage schools are a huge part of the massage industry and sit on a raging river of money. School owners and associations need the continuous flow of new students and members. They both see financial disincentives if the entry-level bar is raised, so they resist such attempts. Short, inadequate programs ensure a high dropout rate from the expanding profession, which maintains the demand for new students and graduates.
The low-entry bar, unenforceable educational standards, high dropout rates, and the way massage is currently taught as a trade from "school-in-a-box-curriculums" will slowly drag our profession down from first-door health care providers to tradespeople in relaxation spas and physical therapy departments, working for slightly above minimum wage. While some schools lead by example with excellent programs and superb instructors, others prey on students - often on many levels. What can be done at this point? It is difficult to get in the way of a river of money. It will usually sweep you away or drown you. It is this cash flow that chains us to the status quo of lousy schools. Many of us have searched in vain for effective solutions, and the only organization that has tried to place high standards on massage schools didn't cover its bases and may be sued out of existence.
In the February issue, Cliff Korn talked about "Appreciative Inquiry" - a system of finding the positive and then working to create more of it (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/02/11.html). Now, I really like that! I have written previously in this column that you get what you concentrate on. It should be obvious that if you concentrate on eliminating sickness, poverty, cancer, drugs, or anything else, the results are always more of what you don't want. The mind is the creator, and you manifest what you concentrate on. Look around. How successful have the "wars" on poverty, cancer and drugs been? There is more poverty, cancer and drugs than ever. How well has the allopathic medical system - with its entire focus on sickness - done at reducing sickness? It has failed miserably. There is more sickness than ever. (Sorry, but sanitation and hygiene have reduced sickness - not allopathic procedures!)
Those of us who care about education have to change our focus. If we keep focusing on the lousy, "just-do-no-harm" mindset, all we will get is more of the lousy. We need to stop concentrating on lousy schools and the problems they cause. We have to find and focus on the positive and the excellent in massage education. We have to hold up the great schools as models, and steer potential therapists toward them. We have to find the greatness, and work to make it the norm. We cannot fight the current cash-flow-based education system in the trade of massage, but we can begin to create a new channel for cash to flow toward professional excellence. This will build the profession toward being the premier wellness modality in health care.
It is a bold, daring concept to work toward excellence in a culture that holds the likes of Homer and Bart Simpson as its role models, and works to suppress excellence and achievement in the name of "fairness." Remember, life is not fair. Fair is for underachievers; Fair is somewhere between average and poor, and that is not good enough for the health care of our fellow man.
To my colleagues who care about what's left of the massage therapy profession, let's begin thinking about what is excellent in massage education. Let's focus on making high standards the rule, not the exception. We will not fail to bring about what we concentrate on. It's time to start working to implement this concept of Appreciative Inquiry. As one of my teachers told me, "Keep your eye on the donut, not the hole."
*MicroSoft Word 2001 Dictionary
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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