resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
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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