resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
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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