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Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Less Time Than Required
Q: When is it appropriate to use a modifier -52? Can I use it for a timed service when I do less than the time required by the code?
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. 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.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
Code Connection: Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
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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