resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
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
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.
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.
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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03
What Scope of Practice?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Most professions clearly stake out a scope of practice and then work to expand it. They work to plant it into law in each state and then grow it at every opportunity. Not the massage profession.We have consistently avoided defining our scope of practice. Our national leadership has consistently refused to draft model legislation and work to pass a standard law in every state so practitioners can have mobility, and the public can depend on a massage professional to meet consistent competency standards. Instead, volunteer therapists in each state have written their own laws from scratch, with minimal, if any, guidance. In the last two years, both the AMTA and ABMP have published some models, but they are suggestions - more guidelines than goals to accomplish.
Most massage therapists do not understand the legislative process and the nuances of drafting practice legislation where words mean something and a lack of words means something; mistakes have been made, not learned from, and made over and over, wasting years, thousands of dollars, and countless hours of effort. For proof of this, consider the hodgepodge of inconsistent licensing laws that have been passed, some of which are more of an impediment than benefit to practicing professionals.
In some states, teaching a seminar entitled "Medical Massage" is against licensing regulations. Due to poorly written laws, in some states, massage therapists cannot practice CranialSacral Therapy; in other states, stretching and exercises have been removed from our scope of practice. Some of our best educators cannot teach in some states because the way they practice the strokes (the same used by all forms of touch therapy) is not described or titled "correctly." Quite honestly, this is an embarrassment.
Whenever we have been challenged, we have given up scope of practice. Our scope is now more restrictive than it was 20 years ago. Some of our licensing efforts have become nothing more than a tax to practice, in some cases a voluntary tax. Want a license? Here you go. Don't want one? Fine - do your thing. The few good state licensing laws are constantly under attack, and there appears to be little effort by the professional associations to defend what we have, much less go for more.
Unfortunately, we are so politically correct that we dare not offend anyone. Since any time a group takes a stand on something - right or wrong - it offends someone or some other group, the massage profession has been very careful not to declare a meaningful scope of practice, a meaningful definition of our profession, or a meaningful piece of model legislation. The absence of leadership is not due to incompetence. Consciously or unconsciously, it is driven by money.
Nothing had better get in the way of the cash flow. The cash flow comes from anyone and everyone getting in easily and quickly. Zip them through school, sign them up in some association, sell them an insurance policy and maybe a license. In a few years most fail because of a lack of skills in both technique and business management; however, they are replaced by even more, quickly trained therapists.
The legal environment does not really matter; in fact, better for it to be muddled. As long as we can push some oil around and use the word "therapeutic," the system works very well for the system. "The mill" grinds up therapists, while the regulators, insurance vendors and associations fleece them. The 500-hour standard is a joke - it's not even long enough to be recognized as a profession by the government, which always sets the lowest possible standards for everything (well, except for taxes). Yet, a significant number of people in this profession feel 500 hours is too high.
The only thing saving this profession is the incredible power of caring touch, the good hearts and intentions of the majority of the people entering this profession, and the far too few excellent schools, whose owners really are dedicated to quality training and to the profession. Sadly, most of these owners have been therapist/educators for a long time and they are nearing retirement. When that generation hangs up their towels, I wonder who will carry on? Oh well, the cash flow won't go down without a fight. Corporations and bureaucracies are very good at maintaining the status quo. That said, may I suggest what I think our scope of practice should be? (Since it is my column, of course I can!)
The scope of the medical massage therapist or any massage therapist/bodyworker is simple. We should have the scope of practice to assess and treat - yes, treat - minor myofascial complaints. "Minor" meaning surgery is not required. (So the complaint can be major to the person with it! But surgical intervention is elective, not required.) Myofascial - meaning muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
To do this we treat (there's that "T" word again) the soft tissues and the tonus mechanism (system) of the body using manual manipulation methods; stretching and movement; hydrotherapy; mechanical/electrical devices, which effect muscle tonus; nonprescription medications (homeopathy, herbals, supplements, etc.); and nonprescription topical applications. This is clear, simple, concise, and very open. If you think about this, you will realize what an incredible scope this would give us. I'll bet we could get that (and more) in every state with well-written legislation and the support of our patient base. Of course, to get it, we may have to increase training and competency. (Uh-oh. That will threaten cash flow. Sigh.)
Yes, this would probably mean a split in the profession to separate the amateurs from the professionals at both the school and therapist levels. The professionals might have to be divided into relaxation and therapeutic levels. Not necessarily, but probably. More training coupled to competencies, not just hours, will likely be required.
Obviously, this is an editorial / philosophy column. It is not intended to impose anything on anyone but to create awareness, plant seeds and encourage you to think. Keep thinking. I'll be back with more for May Day.
Try This: When faced with a complicated or seemingly difficult patient complaint with an intimidating diagnosis, approach the patient lovingly and respectfully, giving him/her your undivided attention. Respecting all applicable contraindications without causing pain (discomfort is ok, but pain is not), work to reduce muscle tone, ischemia and trigger points, increase circulation, and restore range of motion. By normalizing soft-tissue and movement, it is amazing how many complaints quickly lessen or go away.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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