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Massage Today
May, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 05

We Get Letters & E-Mail

By Editorial Staff

"A touch condescending"

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Steve Miller's Arizona center and the article, "Advanced Certification: The Future of Massage Therapy?" (

While I applaud Mr. Miller for his efforts to enhance the practice of massage by raising skill levels, he should realize where the average massage practitioner's head is. I, for one, would like to see another level [of education] added for seasoned, dedicated and skilled practitioners. Ralph Stephens had a great name for this position: Soft Tissue Specialist; however, I do not feel that mastering courses like calculus is necessary. A four-year bachelor's degree may be asking too much for therapists who are well past the age of 40, but may have 10 years or more of massage experience. I have a bachelor's degree and enough extra courses - albeit in differing fields of study - for a master's degree.

In fairness, I feel [Miller's] center should be open to considering practitioners with a two-year associate's degree and five years or more of massage therapy experience, plus required CEUs and documented community service. They may have to pass an entrance exam, also. This should be enough to propel a therapist to a higher certification. Also, as massage practitioners, we do not need to "kowtow" to the allopathic establishment.

If the only reason for advancement in "real" health care is to bill insurance, then I feel (as I am sure many other massage therapists do) that this is not a necessary degree. Remember, as massage therapists, we would be the "low man on the totem pole" - below physical therapists. Do we really want to adhere to the system of "sick" care and greed? We would lose our holistic-minded focus and intent. Until every state has insurance laws like Washington - where insurance pays for massage in all instances - this therapist wishes little or no part of the insurance world's mess. I feel that Steve Miller's original idea and intent for our profession is worthy of consideration, but some kinks need to be worked out before many massage practitioners, such as myself, give their heartfelt approval.

Harry Waranch BA, LMT,CNMT
Palm Coast, Florida

Dear Editor:

Maybe I am taking this the wrong way, but does anyone not find the new DMT Certification a touch condescending? It almost seems like it is stating that DMT certification is better than an LMT. I think that it is awful that providers in Arizona won't take claims from massage therapists, but I believe that it is a ridiculous notion to try to create a certification for insurance companies to accept massage therapy - especially with the certification requirements that the DMT program requires. It would seem that Mr. Miller made the criteria based on qualifications that he has already achieved - regardless of his real skill - because everyone knows that "book smart" is helpful but does not make you a good massage therapist. His advanced certification is based completely on what you know, as opposed to how effective you are. Plus, it is extremely elitist, and, I believe, disenfranchises the existing [massage] community and will cause a division within the community. A more effective way to have insurance companies recognize massage is to keep doing what has been done: validating massage therapy, not individual therapists - as Mr. Miller proposes to do.

Joshua Levenson
Charlotte, North Carolina

Dear Editor:

In addition to calculus and statistics, Steve forgot to include a background in quantum physics, advanced human psychoanalysis, and anthropology in his new advanced massage therapy program. Some public service on the Space Shuttle might also be helpful. Sorry, he hit my sarcastic nerve.

Dennis Diehl, LMT
Greenville, South Carolina


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