resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
June, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 06
We Get Letters and E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be edited for space and clarity, and published in a future issue or online.Please send all correspondence by e-mail to or regular mail to:
Regarding the National Certification Board
It's been said that criticism is free advice offered by people who truly care. So on behalf of the NCBTMB, thank you for caring about national certification and for the chance to share an insider's view ("Lots of Stuff," May 2005, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2005/05/07.html).
Things are not always as they appear. Tempting as it may be to point fingers when the going gets tough, the board is sensitive to the recent controversy and takes personal responsibility for the decisions and leadership of the NCBTMB. That said, the nomination process was flawed and required intervention. The board made changes to the process and continues to review policies that ensure propriety, and help us practice what we preach.
Losing two executive directors, a board chair and chair-elect, has been extraordinary. While others may view them as detrimental, these events have helped the board reconnect with the principles of consensus and accountability and thus made it possible for us to let go of an 11-year relationship with our management company. Quite simply, the NCBTMB is transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood, and growing up. We appreciate that a mature organization values its stakeholders, understands its purpose, recognizes its strengths, identifies how it needs to grow, and implements strategies to that end. By electing Elizabeth McIntyre - an experienced and qualified board member - as chair-elect, seeking an executive director whose loyalty is to certificants, and hiring personnel who value the industry, we hope to demonstrate our learning and that we're listening to those we serve.
Cliff, please continue to voice your concerns as you see them and join us as we begin a new era for the NCBTMB. Together we can discover the good that is yet to come.
Garnet Adair, chair NCBTMB
I appreciated your article in the April 2005 issue that puts some serious questions to representatives of the National Certification Board ("Winds of Change Blowing at NCBTMB," www.massagetoday.com/archives/2005/04/01.html). One point that I would like to highlight and would like to see addressed further is the following quote from Garnet Adair:
This statement makes it sound as though the candidates who take the test actually get to discuss any concerns they have over difficult or unclear questions with someone who can do something about it; this is decidedly not so. When I took my exam back in December 2000, I was not even allowed to see which questions I missed - just that I passed the exam. And as I understand it, candidates are also not allowed to remove test questions from the test site. How are they supposed to remember the unclear questions after answering 160 test questions? And to whom could they even address these concerns?
Real "beta testing" in the computer software world involves users who actively test a new piece or component of software and offer feedback to the programmers and designers about how it can work better. As I see it, there is no feedback mechanism to the NCB. I am beginning to agree with those who feel that the NCB's power is getting out of control.
Andrea Porter, LMT
I had the opportunity to read the article and interviews regarding the NCBTMB and just had to e-mail you. I certainly had to chuckle when I read the reply to Massage Today's question regarding the monopolization of the massage therapy profession by the NCBTMB and AMTA. The response was: "They are another professional related organization. One is a membership organization; one is a voluntary certification."
Voluntary? It has been my experience in dealing with states that use the NCBTMB as their certifying exam that it is anything but voluntary. I just needed to voice my opinion.
Marie A. Ruberto, Managing Director
"Rather than reinvent the wheel, let's clarify our use of already defined terms"
Since every profession needs a clear scope of practice, it was refreshing to read Ralph Stephens' March 2005 editorial titled "What Scope of Practice?" (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2005/03/11.html). While I agree with Mr. Stephens regarding our need for a well-defined, cohesive scope of practice, any massage legislation must be inclusive of our entire profession to represent more than special interests. As a 25-year practitioner and massage educator, I am often dismayed with the widespread impression of many massage graduates that they are medical practitioners able to treat condition Y with technique Z. How did a "medical" scope of practice - that a massage therapist can evaluate, diagnose and treat soft-tissue disorders - seep into so many massage training programs?
This approach creates several problems. First of all, massage therapists generally lack training in a preliminary step of this cause-effect equation - evaluation X. Before being qualified to evaluate soft-tissue disorders, physical therapists undergo four to six years of education and training. Also, they are often required to gain some years of clinical experience before being allowed to practice evaluation on their own. Although competent and well-trained manual massage therapists help many people with soft tissue problems, it is doubtful that evaluation skills could ever be adequately taught in 500-1,000 hour massage therapy programs.
Second, evaluation is prohibited by the scope of massage practice defined in many state laws. Both the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) and the American Medical Massage Therapy Association (AMMTA) recommend and/or require specific continuing education classes to standardize evaluation and treatment skills in medical massage (Mr. Stephens' classes are on both lists).
Yet 24 states with licensing laws include statements to this effect: Massage is defined as excluding the diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease or any service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, nursing, chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, or podiatry is required by law. Since many of the manual therapy techniques advocated as medical massage arose within the practice of medicine and physical therapy, conflict is inherent if we practice them within an X-Y-Z medical protocol.
While my preference is for the more personal, holistic approach to manual therapy offered by "medical" massage therapists, as both a client and practitioner I will continue to rely on medical professionals for evaluation and diagnosis.
Consulting with them about the medical conditions of our clients builds bridges between our professions. Furthermore, given the history of costly legislative battles between chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and others squabbling over "turf," it is highly unlikely that even a well-organized massage coalition will ever be able to afford the lobbying clout to change the laws already on the books. And do we want to?
Rather than be PT wannabes, let us own and promote what massage already offers: effective methods that promote deep, profound relaxation; pain, muscle tension and stress reduction; and the enhancement of health and well-being. Practitioners can still practice "medical/orthopedic massage" within a remedial / holistic context (already written into many state laws) to alleviate symptoms and improve the structural balance of a client.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, let's clarify our use of already defined terms. Since "medical" is defined as relating to the science or practice of medicine or treatment of disease, "medical massage" should be inclusive of all massage methods applied to people with medical conditions. Many agree that what the AMMA and AMMTA call medical massage is better described as orthopedic massage. Why not call it what it actually is?
Third, advocates of the medical/orthopedic massage would separate the profession into relaxation and therapeutic modalities. Why? Relaxation massage is therapeutic. It just may be the truest application of medical massage for the injured, ill and dying today. Medically based relaxation massage deserves more acknowledgment than it receives.
Since I may be ill and for sure will be dying some day (as will you), I take great comfort in knowing that many massage therapists today practice in hospitals and hospices. Read the state laws and it becomes apparent that massage does have a defined scope of practice that is fundamentally holistic. We simply need to hone it and then collectively and proudly own it.
Mary Ann Foster, BA, CMT
I completely agree with Mr. Stephens that a simple scope of practice is easy to sell politically. The scope of practice he describes is essentially diagnosing and treating minor myofascial conditions using manual manipulation, mechanical and electrical devices, and nonprescription medication. This scope of practice is proven to be successful, as it is the scope of practice of the chiropractic and/or physical therapy profession.
Allowing a massage therapist to use electricity, manual manipulation or to diagnose is a difficult political sell. First, it infringes on the chiropractic and PT professions. More importantly, it is difficult convince most people that a vocationally trained massage therapist is capable of diagnosing problems. At present, diagnosis of myofascial problems is limited to college-educated people. If you strip out the controversial language, the scope of practice becomes the treatment of minor myofascial conditions. This may work.
Bruce Klein, ND
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