resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
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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