resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Decoding the Mystery of Medical Insurance Acceptance
In the constantly evolving profession of acupuncture, one of the least understood areas is medical insurance acceptance. The profession is filled with controversy surrounding this topic: Is it ethical?
Integrative Cancer Care: Chiropractic for Chemotherapy-Induced Hiccups
Hiccups (singultus) are a frequent occurrence during cancer treatment. The cause of the hiccups may be the chemotherapy drug itself, such as Cisplatin; or the prophylactic use of corticosteroids such as Decadron, which is used to prevent nausea and/or vomiting.
Workers' Back Pain: Causes, Costs & Solution
You will want to share two important papers published in the past several months. Why? When read separately, each provides valuable information relevant to your patients, community and practice; together, they tell a compelling story.
Getting Paid by Medicare Is Getting a Major Adjustment
The 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was signed into law to implement a new approach to clinician payments and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.
First Annual ICD-10 Updates Take Effect
Yes, there was an update to ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1. It was a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and will take place every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
Update from the International AIDS Conference
The 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, brought together more than 15,000 of the world's leading scientists, activists, funders, policy makers, and consumers from 153 countries.
Dysautonomia: The Medical Condition You May Already Be Treating
TCM practitioners have spent thousands of years healing patients without knowing or needing the names of their diseases as defined by allopathic medicine. We have syndrome names that are both poetic and efficient.
Six Things Every DC Should Know About the Zika Virus
The Zika outbreak continues to spread across the continental United States and U.S. territories. We offer this brief overview on this important public health problem for the practicing doctor of chiropractic.
Upgrade to "Parker 2.0" in Las Vegas
Continuing your education and refining your practice: two key elements of a successful chiropractic career. Parker Seminars promises both as it celebrates its 65th anniversary in Las Vegas next February, according to Parker University President, Dr. William Morgan, and seminar consultant Dr. Mark Sanna.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy: Multi-Faceted Approach Including Laser Therapy
Peripheral neuropathy affects at least 20 million people in the United States1 and nearly 60 percent of all people with diabetes suffer from diabetic neuropathy. Many suffer from the disorder without ever identifying the cause.
U.S. Olympians Have a DC in Their Corner
It's probably old news to you that doctors of chiropractic play an increasingly prominent role in treating athletes, from youth sports participants to weekend warriors, to elite / professional competitors.
Pediatric Footwear: Function Over Fashion
As practitioners, it is not uncommon for parents to bring us their children to treat or ask us questions related to the pediatric population. Children's feet tend to be a perplexing region for parents and practitioners alike.
National Board Apologizes for Testing Issues
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) has issued a formal apology following a series of computer-based testing malfunctions that impacted two separate examinations (March and June 2016) and caused "widespread confusion and frustration" to the nearly 1,500 examinees taking the tests.
Four Ways to Attract Patients
Acupuncturist A has been in practice for six years and has struggled since day one. She spends as much time and money on marketing as she can, but since her practice is slow, her budget isn't that big.
Natural Cancer Prevention: Pomegranate for the Prostate
In recent years, the ingestion of pure pomegranate juice (8 ounces per day) has been shown in clinical studies with human subjects to slow, and to some degree, reverse, the progression of prostate cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in North American men.
Going Beyond Just Feeling Good
We all know that most patients come to us for some pain complaint: neck pain, back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc. We also all know that acupuncture is a great first-line care for these issues, as well as supporting overall health and wellness.
Pediatric Asthma: A Case Study
I have had very good success with pediatric asthma, combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal products. Treatment is given over four to eight months, twice monthly, with herbal formulas rotated every month.
Power to the Patient
Against a backdrop of splintered political parties, polarizations within nations, civil unrest, and distrust of established government (such as the growing anti-Washington, D.C. sentiment) comes the not-so-surprising finding that health care authorities and practitioners (with perhaps the exception of insurers) are turning over more and more powers to the individual patient.
Treatment Success at the Won Institute
According to the World Health Organization's 2003 report titled, "Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials," acupuncture has been shown to improve many physical, emotional, and mental conditions.
Using the Lens of Chinese Medicine
One of the most common medications I see in clinical practice on a daily basis is fluoxetine or Prozac. Consequently, I hear many complaints concerning the side effects of this medication and am frequently asked by patients to help manage these side effects with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
September, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 09
Bad Dog and Good Dog Let Out
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
I have championed the term "medical massage" for several years. I think it's the best term to separate specific, therapeutic, outcome-based massage from relaxation massage (and certainly from adult entertainment).Medical massage clearly is neither relaxation nor entertainment. This easily is understood by the public and the medical profession. Unlike some, I don't think medical massage must be done in allopathic-controlled situations. I don't think it should require a diagnosis by a physician, and it doesn't need to be done under the supervision of one. Of course, it could be done in that setting, and it's fine if it is, but it should not have to be. We are first-door providers. Medical massage doesn't have to be paid for by an insurance company, but it could be. What makes a massage medical is not who pays for it or who authorizes it, but that the therapist, using advanced massage skills and techniques, is attempting to reduce the musculoskeletal complaint(s) of the patient.
The popularity of the term medical massage has grown very rapidly and it's only to be expected that over-eager people will try to gain control of it. Sadly, the first attempt has been made. David Luther and his association, the United States Medical Massage Association (USMMA), have sued State Farm Insurance. I have no problem with suing insurance companies, and his main goal - to prevent downcoding of claims submitted by massage therapists - is an honorable one. However, in the process, he has tried to get a judge to define, "Who is a medical massage therapist?" He told the judge it would be a member of his organization. Now granted, our profession does have trouble defining itself, but the last thing we need is to have some politically appointed lawyer/judge defining us based on an entrepreneur's bottom line. The USMMA doesn't have enough members to fill the demand Luther is trying to capture and control. His actions will more likely deny care to those who need it, instead of providing it. This is heavy karma to take on, in my opinion. Would you want to have to join some association just to be able to call the work you do "medical massage," or to be able to bill for it under that term, or under the codes for manual therapy and massage therapy?
I suspect the USMMA will face a huge backlash, not a huge surge in membership because of this action. I use history as my basis for that statement. How much good did it do the AMTA to write itself into laws, effectively giving it monopolies in some cities or states? It brought about lawsuits, bad public relations and resentment. The gain was short lived; the loss ongoing. Fortunately, the AMTA has learned this lesson the hard way and dropped the strategy. The USMMA will have to learn it, too. Associations are like governments - they both must be watched constantly. Their very nature is to acquire power and control by stealing it from the individual.
My biggest concern is that this will create a huge backlash against the term "medical massage" and we will lose the best term we have to reach both the public and our allopathic colleagues. I hope we don't let the action of an individual, an association or a judge cause us to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This event reminds me of an old fable about a beggar finding a magic lamp and letting the genie out. The genie granted one wish and the beggar wished for all the money in the world. He got it, only to find that the rest of the world, now absent money, had developed new exchange systems for value. All of the beggar's newfound money was worthless. Trying to gain a monopoly on medical massage will result in the same effect. A new term will be coined and the profession will move on. I only hope this can be resolved without losing the term, or the potential it provides our profession to help humanity.
I always believe in giving credit where credit is due. ABMP has stepped up to the plate to significantly fund and support the formation of a federation of state regulatory boards for massage therapy. This is huge and ABMP deserves respect, admiration and kudos for this visionary project.
Professional regulation is done at the state level, which is good. However, this requires that each state have its own law and its own board. There are no formal channels for these boards to communicate with each other. Due to the lack of leadership and consistency from the association that has passed the hodge-podge of laws for massage therapy we now have, it's becoming more and more difficult for a therapist to move from one state to another or for continuing education providers to present nationally. There is no mechanism in place to work on reciprocity, a uniform code of ethics, disciplinary procedures, education standards and a host of other issues. On two previous occasions, the formation of such an organization has been attempted. However, it was an effort by volunteers, most of whom were already overcommitted, and there was no funding or administrative support available; thus, both attempts failed. Since then, more states have become regulated, with laws written by well-meaning people who have little, if any, regulatory expertise and little guidance. So, the situation has become even worse.
Almost every other regulated profession has a federation of regulatory boards working on issues of mutual concern. Nurses, chiropractors, social workers, etc., all have organizations that provide interstate communication for their boards. I know how necessary it is that our profession develop such an organization, as I was on the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners for eight years. It's in the best interest of the profession and the public that this federation, or whatever it comes to be called, be established - and that it be successful.
A very competent group of people are working on this project and they deserve to be supported and encouraged. Thanks ABMP, and all the volunteers participating in this landmark effort. May your efforts be rewarded with acceptance and success. Lead on!
Summertime done come and gone; my, oh my. Hope yours was a good one. See you this fall!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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