resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
August, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 08
Knowledge and Networks
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
As an unabashed academic and massage instructor, I've a tendency to look at how we organize and model our accumulated knowledge about the wider context of bodywork. The maps we create have significant effects on how we approach the acquisition and conveyance of knowledge, skills and abilities.
Massage, particularly when defined in an encompassing context of all touch practices, has many different subpractices (see my article, "Swimming Upstream Toward Effective Practice," in the March 2003 issue, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/03/13.html.) and many different theories of underlying action.When I periodically hear about someone advocating creation of "massage tiers," I have difficulty understanding how such tiers translate into measurable improvements in our ability to practice across the scope of what we might do. My worry is that such tiers have little to do with improvements, and everything to do with rites of initiation.
The criteria for evaluating the need for training and education, I believe, is that it is objectively needed to produce effective practice, including the technical, business and interpersonal facets. I also believe there is a tendency in our profession to want to use training as a gauntlet to promote commitment, the basis of which is noted by James Atherton in a short review of cognitive dissonance:1 "Ordeal is therefore an effective - if spurious - way of conferring value on an educational (or any other) experience. 'No pain, no gain,'as they say. The more difficult it is to get on a course, the more participants are likely to value it and view it favorably regardless of its real quality." Robert Cialdini makes similar observations in his treatment of social influence.4 Advocating training on such a basis is, I believe, a disservice both to the student and the ultimate consumers. Atherton is correct in noting the often spurious nature of the result.
For a long while, I thought the underlying problem with tiers was simply a factor of inadequate definition and too narrow motivation. Recently, I've realized that the problem is inherent in the broad scope of bodywork - tiers assume that knowledge is structured like a tree, with specialty branches spreading out above a single root. In contrast, massage knowledge forms much more of a web of interconnecting clusters, a shape that looks like a tree only when viewed very close at a single area of entry. In the more interior regions of such a web, the connections branch off to other clusters, eventually reaching other entry points and destroying the illusion of a single tree on which to base the concept of tiers.
Such webs occur throughout knowledge connections, social structures and the structures of life itself. Physicist Mark Newman has organized a gallery of web pictures showing their pervasive occurrence 6 and written an extensive technical review article on research into the structure of networks.5 Barabasi and Bonabeau wrote a recent introductory review,3 and Barabasi has written an excellent lay-oriented book on this research.2
Moving ahead with this idea of networks, consider putting together an online encyclopedia, containing pages for all the pertinent sections of knowledge for everything in massage and bodywork. This shouldn't be too fine-grained: something on the order of the sections in the chapters of a book. Technique sections might have demonstration video clips attached. By looking at the hyperlinks between pages, we would better understand the interconnection between information in different clusters. Areas with a lot of mutual interconnection would be self-defining as a study area. If an area exists that's linked from everywhere, it would pretty much have to be a natural core area.
Things that come to mind are information on touch itself, as Ashley Montagu put it, "The human significance of the skin." Other areas that I see as likely core foundations would be business skills, particularly for those running their own practices, and interpersonal skills. Areas on Western anatomy and physiology would have great emphasis from orthopedic massage but much less direct access from sections on Asian bodywork or energy work.
In summary, our overall knowledge of massage is too diversely connected to be tree-shaped, having a single core and specialty branches. Everything is by some route interconnected, but the density of interconnections varies greatly and creates separate clusters of study. Such a structure captures the paradox of being too diverse to ever appear to have a single root, yet too interconnected to appear totally separate. Massage is thus a totality that thwarts our efforts to compactly define it while greatly rewarding our efforts to pursue its many links.
Editor's Note: Due to the transient nature of the Internet, some links may not be operational.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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