resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
July, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 07
"Using" Medical Massage
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Regular readers of Massage Today know that I give my opinions freely. I've been doing so as long as Massage Today has existed. (I think this is my 52nd editorial.) Sometimes I write about things that are, in my mind, detrimental to the profession; other times I write about things I have found uplifting and beneficial.I much prefer the latter, but frequently get bombarded with things that seem so incredibly stupid to me that the uplifting and beneficial topics get pushed further and further back in the pile of topics to write about. Such is the case this month.
I have in the past written about "Medical Massage." Search massagetoday.com and you'll find not only my editorials (most recent being www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/10/09.html), but a slew of other articles on the benefits or perils of "Medical Massage."
The players looking to be involved or control "Medical Massage" are growing exponentially. Two organizations in particular appear to be posturing to make themselves the only "official" players in the game. Both the United States Medical Massage Association (USMMA, formerly the American Medical Massage Therapy Association, or AMMTA) and the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) are each calling themselves the biggest, best and largest organization representing medical massage therapists in the whole wide world.
Actually, they both indicate on their Web sites that they are so altruistic as to represent the interests of all massage therapists, not just ones practicing in the medical side of the business.
The USMMA site says:
A cynic's hat may sit comfortably on my head but I think that the rhetoric from both of these organizations sounds more like marketing than anything else. I believe the sales term is "puffery," which means greatly exaggerating the benefits of a product with the intent of capturing a prospective buyer's interest. Puffery is frequently entertaining but consists of promotional claims that no one out of diapers takes literally.
My intent here is not to ridicule the two organizations, because both have tangible benefits to those choosing to align themselves with one or the other. Both can provide guidance and solid principles for succeeding in a complex niche of our profession. Don't think for a minute, though, that these or any other individuals or organizations out there that can make a buck off the term "Medical Massage" is without an agenda!
As example, the USMMA recently filed a class-action lawsuit against State Farm Insurance Company in Pennsylvania for "down-coding" CPT code 97140 (Manual Therapy) to 97124 (Massage Therapy).* The case was apparently settled out of court and David Luther, speaking in his newsletter stated:
Note: Do you believe it? The USMMA had the audacity to suggest to a judge that only members of its association or people who have taken its 'week-long intensives' should be allowed reimbursement for manual therapies. I think the situation is best summed up by someone whom I see as one of the great critical thinkers of our profession. I will reprint his letter to the editor of here in its entirety.
Here, here, Whitney! The profession owes you a round of applause for following up on this issue and making those phone calls and sending those e-mails.
Both the USMMA and the AMMA, with their own definitions of "Medical Massage," are now critical of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), which recently issued a press release stating:
I hope AMTA truthfully includes the "profession" in its discussion, including the AMMA and USMMA, since those organizations have more history and background information than most. If the discussion is kept in-house or with limited interaction with the diverse components of our field, I fear the AMTA will cause more harm than good, as it will actually encourage more attempts to grab market share through inappropriate legal action and decisions. The longer this argument continues, the more likely that there will be irreparable harm.
Maybe I have a tendency to look only at obvious or simple solutions, but according to my trusty Webster's New World College Dictionary, both terms in question are already defined. Cobbling together the most likely definitions, "Medical Massage" is defined as "Rubbing or kneading a part of the body, usually with the hands, with the objective of treating, curing, and preventing pathologies, relieving pain, and improving and preserving health." How hard was that?
The August issue of Massage Today will have a more in-depth article concerning the issues I've mentioned in this editorial. Since there are precedents here that can affect a large part of our profession, I ask you to "stay tuned."
Thanks for listening!
*Two days after this article went to press, Massage Today received new information verifying that this lawsuit had not been filed by David Luther, et al., but by an individual massage therapist, Tracey Roberts. David Luther and the USMMA became involved independently, and neither he nor his organization are named subjects in the lawsuit.
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters related to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue or online. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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