resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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?
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
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.
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.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.