resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
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.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.