resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 12
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Staring into crystal balls to discern future trends is more often than not like starting Monday morning without downing a stiff swig of fresh brewed coffee after a fiercely active weekend - mostly an experience of perceiving fog.Still, every now and again, the clouds shift and a few shapes become perceptible. As the nights become longer and cooler (yes, even in central California), and the streetlights glow through the dark and mist, it seems a suitable time to ponder shapes faintly seen ahead.
Massage is rapidly paddling into the mainstream of culture, but few appear to have looked far downstream. It's not so much that there are rapids ahead, as the character of the river is changing as we emerge from the secluded canyon in which we've been both hidden and sheltered. I've recently been looking at massage education statistics for California. One such statistic shows that since the beginning of 2002, there have been half as many career colleges adding massage training to their programs, as there have been startups of dedicated massage schools. Career college programs were only about one-third of all non-degree programs prior to 2002 and have increased by 75 percent since the beginning of 2002. From the hour-distribution of new entry programs (Table 1), it also seems that new massage schools and new career college programs are targeting different student populations.
Relatively few stand-alone massage schools in California are accredited and tapping into federally sponsored financial aid. Instead, the vast majority of such schools in California glean their financial solvency by targeting pay-as-you-go students - students often making mid-career transitions.4 One reason for this is simple: many programs are shorter than the federal financial aid minimums of 600 hours for loans 2 and 720 hours for Pell grants.2,3
The U.S. Department of Education approves agencies that accredit schools because accreditation is a big part of the gate-keeping on financial aid. To assure their stability, schools applying for accreditation must have been in existence for more than two years. Stand-alone massage schools tend to be accredited by program, while colleges tend to be school accredited. Because of the two-year rule, accreditation by school rather than by program can be a significant competitive advantage, particularly if graduation from an accredited school is required for licensing. Career colleges tend to be veteran players in the financial aid and accreditation end of the marketplace, and have now spotted massage training as an attractive market. As Ralph Stephens exclaimed in his July column, "We've made it!"
The academic college community, both public and private, is another new training provider with growth potential. Both career and educational colleges can leverage support for courses over multiple health care professions. They can provide a broader choice of electives, including courses in small business management, communications, and psychology that are synergist to successful practice. Colleges often have media departments to help with developing presentation materials and with moving parts of traditionally lecture-based courses online. Colleges can also wrap associate degree programs around certificate programs, providing greater educational portability and more career flexibility.
Community colleges often benefit from state support motivated by effective workforce development. Here in central California, the program at De Anza Community College, initiated in the early 1990s by Jeffrey Forman, provides an example of two-certificate programs leading potentially into an associate's degree.5
The competitive exclusion principle of ecology states that two species that compete for the same resources cannot stably coexist. One of the two competitors will always have an ever so slight advantage that eventually leads to extinction of the other. Survival strategies for both species and businesses include finding a niche that avoids head-on competition, gaining the upper hand via internal efficiencies8 and making use of spatial heterogeneities to find a local advantage.6
In California, a large diversity of massage schools (over 200) has managed to survive together via these strategies. Local regulations have differed from place to place, even within the same region, and schools have found different training niches and targeted different student markets with different length programs.
One aspect of most licensing legislation and something many of us in California are trying to avoid, has been to force all schools, stand-alone, career, and college, uniformly into the same educational hour-requirement niche.
Texas, one of the holdouts in this rush, seems about to join the crowd, judging by last month's article in Massage Today (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/11/04.html). The Texas Association of Massage Therapists (TAMT) seems not to discern the difference between state regulation that does not require a program to be more than 300 hours, and regulation that forbids it to be longer. Massage schools in Texas could get more change than they anticipate.
Ultimately, the career schools and community colleges, now that they have found the market, will seem likely to grow to dominate the market from 600 hours upward. Just as Southwest and Jet Blue have redefined profitability for airlines, careers schools and colleges may do so for massage training. Nature has a path of ecological succession after a forest fire, with initial grasses and herbs giving way to shrubs, giving way to different stages of trees.9
Stand-alone massage schools and the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation's (COMTA) focus on them may be part of the "shrub phase" of succession in massage education. Current massage-only schools, could well need to either broaden their offerings or create partnerships with colleges, teaching under the latter's school-accredited umbrellas.
For the individual practitioner, heavy reliance on financial aid implies that most will enter practice with a significant debt burden. Needing to pay down loans will likely impel recent graduates into jobs at spas and health clubs rather than the riskier entrepreneurship of trying to start a sole practice. Over the next decade, it's likely that massage training will become much more like any other career training, partly from new competitors and partly from uniformity created by legislation.
The challenge comes in guiding this natural succession to give students full worth. The emphasis should be on outcomes carried into practice rather than simply hours on the meter.7 Such outcomes are not just limited to technique, but include the interpersonal relationship facets of our massage profession.10
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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