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News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
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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