resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
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.
July, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 07
We Get Letters & E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
The following letters were not published in the printed edition of Massage Today. E-mail your comments to . Some letters have been edited for clarity.
In this segment:
Letters regarding Ralph Stephens' March article, "A Trade or Profession?" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/03/11.html).
Letters regarding Cliff Korn's March editorial, "The Evils of Money," (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/03/09.html).
Letters regarding Cliff Korn's April editorial, "Of Foxes and Henhouses," (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/04/11.html)
"Ralph Stephens' rants are thought-provoking"
I have to admit that Ralph Stephens' rants are thought-provoking, and this installment in the March issue is no exception.In my experience, massage is neither a trade nor a profession, but rather a vocation -- literally, a calling or even a spiritual calling. Caring human touch is the basis of massage, and is the energy that facilitates healing in all modalities. Without it, massage is just physical therapy.
The proliferation of mediocre schools is not what makes mediocre therapists, as Mr. Stephens asserts. This is a symptom, not the cause. The cause is mediocre students. (No, I don't teach massage nor run a school.) Cartoonist Gary Larson caught the essence of the problem in his cartoon strip, "The Far Side," when he showed Captain Hook in a job counseling office trying to decide whether to be a pirate or a massage therapist.
The fact is, a good student will become a good therapist even after going to a mediocre school, because he or she will make the extra effort needed. Conversely, you can send mediocre students to the best schools in the world and train them for thousands of hours, and they will still be mediocre therapists. This is true in all fields.
A 1988 Chinese study found that experienced qi gong masters emitted greater than 20 dB (100 times) more infrasonic acoustic energy from their hands than the control group. If this test or one like it could be applied to massage therapists, perhaps we could weed out mediocrity so that Mr. Stephens could sleep at night.
Warren Marsh, NCTMB
I'm a massage therapy student in Ohio, and will graduate around Thanksgiving, sit for the exams, and (as long as I pass) be able to stick those three important letters -- "L" for Licensed, "M" for Massage, and "T" for Therapist -- at the end of my name.
I plan to further my education after graduating by learning and adopting a large number of different modalities to be the best therapist I can. With regards to the whole Trade/Profession argument that's abounding in the massage world (and in particular this publication over the past few issues), I say "Phooey!" Let's look again at the definitions that Ralph R. Stephens gave us:
As far as I see it, we're both. We're skilled practitioners who work on the body for a fee (or not if you're so inclined) and require specialized training and education. In most cases, we continue to educate ourselves beyond graduating from school: we attend seminars and workshops; learn special modalities; and work with our peers to train and develop further skills.
Do allopathic doctors graduate into their professional lives without having skills? Would you want a doctor to operate on you with no surgical skills? Do architects graduate without specialized or extensive training? Would you hire an architect to build you a house if he or she didn't how to apply the laws of physics to construction?
The argument for massage to be seen as a profession instead of a trade smacks of elitism and wanting to be elevated to the mythical status that doctors, lawyers and accountants. Vice versa, wanting massage to be seen as a trade smacks of not taking pride in our continuing education, interfacing with all other facets of the medical community and building on the knowledge that already exists.
The "rub" is that educational standards and requirements differ from state to state for massage, and there's no baseline for education. There's no overall organization responsible for overseeing and regulating massage nationally. The current national examination, the NCETMB, is performed online -- theres no practical exam. How on earth, as physical professionals, can we not be tested on our palpation and manipulation skills? Some states regulate massage and provide their own examinations and licensure, while others do not. Some states don't even require a certification, never mind a license.
There needs to be a national licensure organization, just like there is for registered nurses. With a national organization at the helm, establishing a baseline for education, there would be a nationally recognized license that would allow therapists to work easily in different states (as they often find hard to do right now). Massage would also attain a level of acceptability within the medical community that it currently doesn't have; massage therapy can only benefit from such a thing.
In Ohio, massage therapy is a limited branch of medicine and regulated by the State of Ohio Medical Board. I'm proud of that, because massage therapy is perceived to be a healing profession, with regulation comes compliance and protection of the client base. We still suffer by not having practical testing, but I think we're better of than a number of other states.
Jason Paul McCartan
"Cliff Korn's column...opens a needed dialogue"
I just finished reading the March 2004 edition. Congratulations on the success of this magazine. I'm writing because I agree with Cliff Korn that massage therapists are under paid because many of us love what we do and aren't good business people. But, as our profession works diligently to increase the level of public awareness to the benefits of massage therapy it is time our profession stop putting a zero or discounted value on the importance of our work.
For example, in the article "Are You Sitting on a 24-Karat Gold Mine?" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/03/07.html), Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway's ideas for increasing business is to discount a massage by 50 percent or offer two massages for the price of one. I have yet to see any other profession offer suggestions such as this, unless they are selling a commodity that is overstocked. In the world of business it is important to know your target market. If massage therapists wants to increase their businesses, they should be more proactive. But, that doesn't mean selling services at a discount. There are plenty of other things that therapists can do to keep clients, such as sending birthday cards or reminder notices. As our profession becomes more aligned with the health care field, articles on how to run a successful health care practice would be appreciated.
Linda DeGray, MA, LMT
I have converted to the electronic form of Massage Today and it works great for me; the reminder in my e-mail box prompts me to read it. My only complaint is the same one I have about the paper issues: I mean to read just a couple of columns and wind up perusing the whole thing!
As always, Cliff Korn's [March 2004] column makes great sense and opens a needed dialogue. When I began massage practicing therapy in the 1970s there was a prevalence of the attitude "a massage should be as free as a hug," and for many, that outlook still has unwarranted resonance. The psychological makeup of caregivers and the prevailing attitude in the marketplace combine to create treacherous territory. Some massage consumers consciously or unconsciously expect that the therapist who enables their wellness should enable non-massage benefits as well. Although I do not practice anymore, I have acute memories of frequently hearing, "You have such a gift!" and having to ready myself to deflect attempts to receive my "gift" gratis.
I developed this rationale: My time and good name are all I truly have in life. I will give away some of the treasure of my time by doing massage, but it will be in exchange for someone else's treasure (of money or services), and will be done in a way that enhances my good name. I still donated my time to charitable enterprises and felt that was a way of adding to my good name.
Most schools are run by massage therapists who struggle with business concepts and applications. Just as one school in my old neighborhood had an entirely inadequate and absurd class in ethics ("Don't have sex with clients" and "Never break contact with your client's skin during a session"), some schools minimize or skip the very important topic of how massage works in the real-world marketplace
I hope your call for better a business foundation in massage schools brings about therapists who are better equipped to run their businesses.
P.S.- Regarding another issue you mentioned in your column: Do you remember Andrew Weil's address to the AMTA National Convention in New Orleans back in the 90s? He said that as he left Alaska to fly to Louisiana, people there were envious of his opportunity to be among hundreds of massage therapists. On the airplane he contemplated the shift of public attitude toward the profession. At the New Orleans airport he got into a taxi and when the driver asked what he was doing in New Orleans he said he was there to give an address to a meeting of the American Massage Therapy Association.
"Massage, huh?" the cabby said. "I bet you get lucky a lot."
Regarding Cliff Korn's March 2004 editorial, I definitely agree that massage therapists need to evaluate their fees based on their levels of expertise and their local market; however, I disagree with the insinuation that a massage therapist should charge more when "more advanced skills" are necessary to provide massage to his or her clients.
My physician does not charge more to bring all his knowledge to bear in diagnosing and treating patients, nor does my chiropractor charge more for a difficult adjustment. I passionately believe that my clients come to me for all my expertise, and to charge more or less for certain techniques would violate my code of ethics. That may be part of the reason I have never had to advertise, why many of my clients have been with me for over a decade, and why my appointment book is as full as I want it to be. I also believe that a "relaxation" massage, in many instances, is as therapeutic as a massage labeled as "therapeutic." The wise therapist is the one who recognizes and honors the value of both.
Paula Z. Hamelik, LMT
I have over 15-plus years in this business and can relate to this article. It was not long ago when folks said, "customer service in the health care field" when asked what I did for a living. NOT FOR FREE is what I take serious issue with in this article! I value myself as an incredible human with an ability to effect lives and not a work drone in a mundane field of body "fluffing." I disagree that most massage therapists/bodyworkers devalue themselves or are afraid of money or even success. Extreme cases are in all professions; for the purposes of this letter, set those aside.
In my experience it's those clients/patients that need us the very most that canot afford it. If payment had been demanded for all of our services and I taught my students to demand payment, that would be wrong! Yet, I would be monetarily thousands of dollars richer in cash. Yet, at what ultimate price would I have had to pay for such?
This is a healing-art profession; we are neither hairdressers nor car mechanics -- both wonderful fields, yet not the same. We are the tools that enable others to "heal" themselves in a triad of ways: body, spirit, mind. It is my divine gift to be able to work in this field. The inability to "share" or "give" free touch is more of an issue than the worthiness of the receipt of payment for it.
I have worked and felt, at times, like I had lost my ethical soul in several extremely high-end Houston "conveyor belt" spas, that charge clients an hourly rate for 50 to 55 minutes, give them some herbal tea and a promise for a brighter day. Really, the most ethical thing to do is to assist clients in a longer session that tackles the problem; explain the reasons for them to be aware of how to modify their actions/behavior to enhance each day of their life; or, in many cases, refer them to a specialist, such as a chiropractor or medical doctor -- not focus on "washing instructions for that fancy terry robe" that came with their spa visit or sell them some "magic cream" to make it all go away till next time; moreover, in my experience it's the "spa employers" that treat each therapist like a lower-class citizen and not appreciate the "gift" they have as a part of their intuition. That really knocks down even the healthiest spirit of a therapist.
Do not get me wrong, my hourly rates are higher than the average massage therapist, and justly so, due to my years of experience and education. As the sole-proprietor of my business, every day is a profit or loss. Just put it into perrspective of life: every moment is priceless; use each one for the "higher good," and abundance is yours! I practice bodywork to create such happiness and peace for others in our world.
What do we receive in compensation for these "freebies?" It's called "Karma," and each day it comes back to me, so make a mental note in your check register. Each day of my life, I am thankful and privileged to "touch others" for my bounty of health, family and prosperity.
I will never regret my "free" hours of "touching the lives" of the terminally ill hospital patients and families, AIDS clients, breast cancer survivors, war veterans, nursing home residents, newborn babies or burned children, animals and laid-off Enron employees. These bodies riddled with disease, disfigured through physical or emotional trauma and tortured by neglect are the most valuable of my clients.
Most importantly, it is a privilege to be there for them, and I never, never told a soul or promoted these "good deeds" for monetary gain from them or other clients. It is my gift to receive them into my life as a reminder of my own abundance in all aspects.
So who is receiving more? Think on that. I am thankful that my check register is filled with notes in black ink and sometime numbers in red. It's not the measure of the bottom line...behold the "Brass ring" that I hold.
Sheri Wood-Rogers RMT, MTI
More From the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy
The following letter is in response to Cliff Korn's April 2004 editorial concerning rule changes to the massage licensing law in North Carolina (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/04/11.html).
Read a letter from the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy's legal counsel in the June 2004 issue at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/06/12.html, and Mr. Korn's comments regarding the letter in his June 2004 editorial at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/06/09.html.
As the former Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (Board) and former chair of the board's School Approval Committee, I am responding to your editorial in the April issue of Massage Today. From my perspective, the article is inflammatory, inaccurate, and poorly researched. That you would receive information from an "individual" who suggested you "take a peek at the rules" and then choose to publish an article without bothering to confirm or verify facts demonstrates irresponsible journalism. I question what agenda and whose agenda you are attempting to convey to your readers.
First, let me state that I am not a current recipient of your publication. I was given the article when I attended the Spring conference of the North Carolina Chapter of AMTA (AMTA-NC) held recently in New Bern on March 26-28. Copies of your editorial along with copies of the draft of proposed rule changes by the board were provided to the chapter membership. I was concerned that your editorial comments were presented as factual, along with comments by the leadership of this organization, about the negative impact of these rule changes on the practice of massage in the state. Your editorial was touted as proof of this fact.
This was the first time I had attended an AMTA-NC conference. As the program director for the Therapeutic Massage Program at Pitt Community College in Greenville, NC, I had taken a group of my students to the conference as a way to introduce them to a "professional organization." Imagine the surprise of new students to see an article on the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy presented in such a negative light, especially when their instructor was a former member. They were confused about what to think. It left them with negative impressions of the North Carolina board, before they had any experience with this regulatory agency.
I would agree with your statement in paragraph 4, of your editorial: you did provide a "brief analysis." I would also add from my opinion it was inadequate. For your information, North Carolina is the only state with massage regulations that do not have another state governmental agency administering some part of the licensing process for schools of massage and bodywork therapy. This responsibility used to be the domain of the North Carolina Department of Community Colleges (NCCCS).
When the North Carolina Massage and Bodywork Practice Act (our massage law) was written, it was assumed by the authors that the NCCCS would continue the licensing of massage and bodywork schools and the massage board would approve school curricula and instructional staff. After the Practice Act was passed, and the board was appointed, it was discovered that, due to state regulations, the NCCCS no longer had the statutory authority to license massage and bodywork therapy schools.
For the board, this meant it had to bear the full responsibility for creating and administering a comprehensive school approval process. As a former member of this agency, I can attest to the fact that the board had never imagined that it would be forced into the regulation arena without adequate funding or staff to administer such a program. As you may know, approving a school on paper is not the same as verifying compliance with all standards. As a result of this, the board formed a School Approval Committee, which I chaired.
For your information and enlightenment, there were no "former school owners" on this committee. Besides myself, the committee was made up of the board's public member (an attorney who is the current board chair, and who has taught in the state university system), and another therapist member of the board with years of practical and teaching experience. We all have advanced degrees. As a foundation for our research, we examined educational standards from the NCCCS, Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), as well as other state regulations. At that time I was maintaining my own private practice. I cannot speak for the other members of my committee, but I spent countless hours researching these processes and during that time reduced my practice to four days per week so that I could provide a service to my profession and contribute to the professionalism in the field.
Furthermore to insinuate that a "proprietary school owner" spearheaded the increase in school fees to drive small schools and the community colleges out of the massage education business is just plain irresponsible and complete nonsense. The fees that the board has collected to administer the program are about 25 percent of the actual costs. Without funding from the legislature, (which is precluded under our Practice Act) or another agency to administer the licensing process, the funding would have to come from the regulated group: the schools themselves.
There are several other issues in your article that I would like to address:
Candace C. Frye, MA, LMBT
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