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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
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.
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.).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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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