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Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
February, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 02
Trust and Expectations
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
By now, you have probably already read this issue's top story outlining assertions of wrongdoing in the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork's (NCBTMB) election process.The news of this possible wrongdoing pains me; the situation is needless and is potentially evidence of a betrayal of trust by one of the most powerful and influential organizations in the massage therapy profession.
I know it also pains the volunteers who serve on the board and committees of the NCBTMB. Their organizational culture is not one that enjoys or allows much airing of dirty laundry; however, initial fact-finding indicates that Elizabeth McIntyre's complaint contains a certain amount of credibility since the NCBTMB's documented bylaws and policies have been vague in defining criteria.
In a nutshell, McIntyre maintains that although she is currently a sitting member on the Board of Directors (BOD), the NCBTMB nomination committee advised her that she does "not meet the current criteria for consideration" to run for a second term. According to McIntyre, this incident suggests that the NCB's nominations process is not fair or equitable, and further asserts that personal differences within the BOD affect the election process and that a "power play to control the BOD and the ballot process is occurring." If McIntyre's assertions ultimately prove accurate, the NCBTMB has exhibited an egregious breach of trust in the community it serves and will have outlived its useful life.
Of all the entities in our profession, the NCBTMB has long touted the highest of ideals and standards. Its statement of organizational purpose - its entire reason for being - is to foster high standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of services through a recognized, credible credentialing program that assures the competency of practitioners of therapeutic massage and bodywork. If the NCBTMB is indeed stacking the deck and manipulating the elections process to ensure a skewed result in populating its BOD, then it is the worst violator of its own standards. A grand house on a crumbling foundation cannot be expected to stand for long.
I am pleased that the NCBTMB took McIntyre's complaints seriously and investigated them. To the best of my knowledge, the NCBTMB nominating committee does not have substantial criteria to review for anyone desiring to run for the BOD. NCBTMB Bylaws state only that "Members of the Board of Directors, except for the public member, must: 1) be Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB), 2) have a minimum of three (3) years experience in the profession of therapeutic massage and bodywork, and 3) be in good standing with the NCBTMB." Period, exclamation point - that's it.
Unless there is a secret document in a safe somewhere, to my knowledge, the above passage is the sum and substance of qualifications for someone to sit on the BOD. It is also the only criteria mentioned in NCB's Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, or Policies and Procedures. Without some clearly defined hurdles for prospective board candidates to clear, it is unfathomable to me that a nominating committee would find a sitting board member who has not been censured or sanctioned unqualified for re-election. Is the NCBTMB suggesting that it made grave errors in the past by letting McIntyre "slip through by mistake" and can correct that mistake by pulling her name from the ballot now? Does the NCBTMB think the certificant base is too stupid to realize that there might be better candidates for the position than an incumbent? Either suggestion makes me shudder.
As saddened as I am by this story, I am equally saddened by what has not been affirmed in all of this. I know many of the NCBTMB volunteers personally; I know them to be decent, honorable hardworking people doing their best to do right by the profession and the public. I also know that, contrary to McIntyre's allegations, the NCBTMB Board of Directors has no interfering capabilities in the nominating process or a desire to do so. The committee who reviewed the candidate's applications worked autonomously from the BOD. I know because I "lived in that house!"
I have chaired NCB committees, served as a director, and ultimately served as a chairman of the BOD. I know the culture; I know the effort those individuals expend on our behalf to make our profession the best it can be. I remember the untold hours I spent as chair of that organization dispelling myths about the NCBTMB. It is easy to suspect the NCB of myriad faults. It is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt, autonomous, voluntary credentialing organization and as such, it doesn't have "members," or need to answer to or provide answers to massage therapists as a whole. I feel that the NCB has frequently accepted poor advice from its advisors and has chosen to use "legalspeak" to avoid real answers to real questions by real massage therapists. Coupled with a history of poor customer service, the NCB became an easy target for distrust. Those who choose to look, however, will find that the intent - if not the results - has always been for the highest good. I have personally never been more proud of any activities than those I did in support of the NCBTMB's goals.
The NCB certainly has not asked for my opinion of what to do about the situation it finds itself in now, but as I understand it, its recent problem-solving actions have gone a long way to ensuring that similar election questions are no longer raised. For one, it is in the process of completely revamping the entire election process from the bottom up. Giving McIntyre another chance to get on the ballot seems like a good first step to problem resolution. Developing real qualifications and criteria in policy that is made public is another step. If McIntyre's name is ultimately put on the ballot, it is then the responsibility of every eligible voter to determine if someone who took an internal matter and made it public while also campaigning for public support (an activity prohibited by NCB policy), can actually serve as an effective member of the team. I think not.
The NCBTMB has well over 80,000 certificants. A large majority of states regulating massage utilize the National Certification Examination (NCE). While it is technically a voluntary credentialing organization, the fact that many states require the NCE makes dealing with the NCBTMB an involuntary requirement. The NCBTMB arguably impacts more massage therapists than any other entity in our history. As such, the expectations are that the high ethics and standards espoused by the NCBTMB are reflections of how it functions internally. If it is it to remain in a position of authority and influence, the NCBTMB must earn the right to do so and accept the needs of the profession - not determine, then dictate them while breaking the rules it has set for itself.
The fact that it has recognized its systematic shortcomings and is actively arranging to revamp its systems to earn public trust, shows that NCBTMB's lofty ideals have not disappeared. McIntyre will get another shot at having her name on the ballot, as will all others who were previously reviewed by the NCBTMB's nominating committee. Hopefully, the form-letter language will be modified so that rejected candidates will understand that there were other, more qualified candidates to choose from, not that they didn't meet ambiguous selection criteria.
One of my favorite "curmudgeons" said recently, "In the absence of sufficient supportive information, the human brain will nevertheless construct meaning." I hope I have not fallen into that trap in my observations here. Scandal is a terrible thing for everyone, and this one certainly gets in the way of much of the good that the NCBTMB has done for the profession. If the NCBTMB satisfactorily exorcises this demon, I feel it deserves our support in fulfilling its ideals. If it chooses not to or fails to do so for other reasons, it will have not regained our trust and will likely wither and die.
Thanks for listening!
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters related to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue or online. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to or by regular mail to:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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