resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Extraordinary Vessels and Emotional Healing
In addition to the 12 primary Organ-related meridians in the body, there are other energy circulation channels that have been mapped out by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Probably the most significant of these are called the Eight Extraordinary (or Extra) Vessels.
10 Life Lessons That Will Change the Way You Practice
"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" I have posed this question for years to groups I've spoken to across the country and around the world.
Weight Training: Are Cheat Reps Worth It?
While resting between exercises at the gym recently, a young lifter asked me for a spot on a set of barbell bench presses. The bar was loaded with a moderately heavy amount of weight that at first glance appeared to be too heavy for his frame.
Obesity is a Shen Problem
The expressions "obese" and "obesity" are not pejorative terms. They are scientific terms, determined solely by the Body Mass Index scale, which combines a person's height and weight in a mathematical formula. A number of 30 and above denotes "obesity."
Beauty is Averageness
After seeing Kim Kardashian's face all over the Internet -and my inbox- following her posting on getting facial acupuncture, I recalled the work of Michael Cunningham who was at the University of Louisville when I was doing my doctoral work.
News in Brief
In Remembrance: A Moment of Silence for Robin McKenzie (1931-2013); DC Re-Elected to Co-Chair AMA Code Review Board; WFC Celebrates 25 Years.
Dry Needling is Acupuncture: But What of Education? What of Public Safety?
One of my patients told me recently, that their physical therapist used a "dry needle" and that it wasn't acupuncture. Apparently, physical therapists (PT) are taught to tell their patients that "only acupuncturists practice acupuncture."
Chiropractic Care for Veterans: Serving Those Who Served (Pt. 2)
To what extent do you think the role of chiropractors in the VA can serve as a model for greater chiropractic integration elsewhere in the American health care system? That's a very important question.
Treating Rib Joints to Protect Thoracic Stability
It is an exciting world that awaits us when we go to work every day. We deal with all types of people who present with varying health conditions we can (hopefully) help alleviate.
The Physiology of Anger
Most of us recognize and have felt anger at some point in our lives. Anger can be seen as a natural response to some kind of pain, whether emotional or physical.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
The "Great Opportunity" for Chiropractic: Expanded Scope of Practice; The SOAP Note: An Effective Tool for Documentation; Treating Patients Goes Beyond Following Established Protocol.
Healing the Qi: The Boston Marathon Bombing
On Monday, April 15 2013, locals and visitors from around the globe gathered for the world's largest marathon in the city of Boston. With 23,000 participating in the race and many more on the sidelines, the marathon represents a Boston institution.
Three Essential Herbal Products For Your First-Aid Kit
There are three Chinese patent medicines that belong in everyone's first aid kit. All three are for topical application, and all three provide extraordinary benefits unavailable from any domestic over-the-counter.
A Solution for the Primary Care Crisis?
A white paper generated by the ACCAHC Primary Care Project and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Senior Research Scientist, Michael Goldstein, PhD, addresses a clear oversight noted in recent workforce analyses designed to assess the nation's primary care needs.
Becoming a Concussion Expert in Your Community: What You Need to Know (Part 2)
What makes an individual an expert in concussions? Obtaining education about concussions and treating concussed patients are two factors that lead to expertise.
Weaving Eastern & Western Medicine Together: Q&A with Beijing's Dr. Kezhen Zhang
Dr. Kezhen Zhang M.D., is currently the founder and president of Beijing Taijitang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital.
Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapments
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve arises from the 2nd and 3rd lumbar nerves. It is formed in the psoas muscle and emerges from its lateral border to cross the iliacus muscle and exit the pelvis.
It's About the Word
The new patient was already a fan of chiropractic. "I liked the guy a lot," he said of the previous DC he had consulted. "But he is on the other side of town, and I just can't get there after work. So he sent me to you, since you're his buddy."
Maintaining Professional Boundaries in a Facebook World: Social Media Guidelines for DCs
A few months ago, I received an unexpected message on my Facebook account: "Hi Doc, do you remember me? I'm so happy to find you here on Facebook. It's been years since I have seen you and I'm glad to reconnect with you.
Protein and Weight Loss
Recently I was asked by the staff at Dynamic Chiropractic to referee some of their water-cooler discussions regarding nutrition. Topping their list was this one about protein and weight loss: "Why is protein important for weight loss and how much should I eat?"
A Medication Primer for Alternative Health Care Practitioners (Part 2)
Morphine is arguably the greatest drug of all time, at least in the sense that it is so powerful in relieving pain.
Pre-Conception Wellness: What Do Your Patients Need to Know?
Deciding to have a baby is one of the most important decisions a woman will ever make. But how many women are really prepared for a healthy pregnancy?
Study: Acupuncture for Acute Low Back Pain More Effective Than Drugs
New research by Korean doctors of Oriental Medicine suggested that an acupuncture method could reduce acute lower back pain faster and more effectively than conventional drug injections.
The Monkey on Your Back
Many practitioners run their clinic without any extra help—at least initially. I've always been pretty good at multi-tasking. Having nine kids taught me how to wear multiple hats and juggle a lot of responsibilities. Running a clinic is similar.
If you visit the website of the JAMA and search on the word chiropractic, more than 200 results appear. If you sort that list chronologically and look at the oldest entry, you will find "Medical News" that includes the following.
March, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 03
Education Where Does Advanced Begin?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
I primarily spend my time as a continuing education provider for the profession of "Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork." To be approved by our national certification board (NCBTMB), a continuing education course must be "based on continued competence and enables the certificant to build on their knowledge, skills and abilities." That sounds great.However, there is a problem. What knowledge, skills and abilities do all massage therapists have? Too broad of a question? OK then what knowledge, skills and abilities do all massage therapists certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork have?
How can a course be developed to continue the education of a therapist when there is no definition or standard of what entry-level education is? What techniques, muscles and bony landmarks do all schools teach? What can you count on every massage therapist to know? Where does advanced training begin? Sadly, as much as I love to teach advanced techniques, I continually must teach the difference between effleurage and deep friction; that deep friction is a technique, not how hard you press, because it can be done quite lightly. The majority of therapists don't know correct body mechanics, such as how to stand and how to align the thumbs to prevent injury. Not one therapist in a recent class I presented could accurately palpate the quadratus lumborum. Three participants were instructors at the host school. Everyone in the class was a licensed therapist, a graduate from a COMTA accredited school, and had passed the NCETMB.
It's not that I mind teaching these things. I am delighted to teach whatever is needed to help therapists more effectively help more people. However, it would be nice to get beyond thumb alignment being continuing education someday. Until then, I will, of course, continue to bring therapists up to speed on body mechanics and palpatory skills that should be taught in massage school as I teach the advanced techniques.
It might be said that NCBTMB has defined entry-level education from the results of their job task analysis surveys. However, those definitions include many techniques peripheral to massage. A therapist can pass the exam by getting all the esoteric questions correct and not know much anatomy. The body of knowledge covered by the NCE is so vast and varied it can only be tested superficially. Further, it can only be taught superficially. No massage school can teach it all, in any depth, in 500 hours.
When the national certification program was expanded (during its creation) to include everything for everyone, it became nothing for anyone. But, it's legally defensible. So, we are back to the question: What can you reasonably assume all massage therapists know when you are creating a continuing education course? Sadly, the answer is nothing. You cannot assume everyone knows deep friction from effleurage (basic massage strokes). You have no idea what muscles a particular therapist knows how to palpate accurately. There is no common working posture taught universally, and some schools teach none at all. Some entry-level programs get all jacked up and teach NMT or other advanced techniques without teaching the foundational basics like strokes, body mechanics, anatomy and palpatory skills. As a result, they grind out undertrained, overconfident graduates, most of which flounder until failure in one to three years. Schools have created a perpetual motion machine because a rapidly expanding profession can never be staffed when there is this high of a dropout rate. Students typically model the values, awareness and vision of their instructors. Until we can find a way to improve the level of the typical instructor in the typical massage school, it will be difficult to improve the quality and longevity of the entry-level therapist. Of course, there are great instructors and great schools, but they are the exception, not the norm. This is true in any profession, but in our case the norm is very low. The norm has to be raised.
The massage school community needs to let go of, among other things, the vague anatomy standard based on hours, and agree that an entry-level therapist will know a defined list of terminology, contraindications, muscles (O.I.A.), bones, bony landmarks, working postures and massage techniques. Everyone must know the list to graduate and to become licensed or join a professional membership organization and get the beloved insurance policy. We don't have to go overboard. The list doesn't have to be that long - after all, it's entry-level - but it needs to be established and enforced. Of course, a school could teach more depending on its program. The public needs to be able to count on the fact that all massage therapists at least know a common body of knowledge and terminology. So do physicians, those Gods of Allopathy we so desperately seek referrals from. This might help us get more.
I am not about to propose the list myself. It's not the place of one person to do so. It should be the assignment for a group like the Council of Schools or some other body of professional massage educators to hammer it out. Does this mean I am advocating standardized education? Yes, but only to the degree that all students learn a core body of knowledge. Beyond that, every school could do its own thing. Think there is any chance this might happen?
Sadly, I do not see any chance in the current system, but I have high hopes for the new Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and the licensing exam they are considering helping to bring a better-defined entry level. As a great spiritual teacher once said regarding a seemingly impossible situation, "There is always hope."
In my last column, I shared some information on aspartame and its potential relationship to cancer. Now there is more. It seems mixing aspartame with monosodium glutamate (MSG) causes nerve cell damage, especially in developing nervous systems. The dosage a child might get in a drink or junk food snack can interfere with nerve signaling systems and can actually stop nerve cell growth. Learn more at www.organicconsumers.org/toxic/msg010306.cfm.
The organic food system is under attack and is being co-opted by petrochemical-based agri-business. Your help is needed. This same site can fill you in if you care to know. Quality food is the necessary foundation for physical health, just as quality thought is basic for energetic health. Our access to quality organic food must be defended for the sake of our children and the eco-system of the world. Don't wait - it may soon be too late.
Stubborn sternocleidomastoid muscles can sometimes be convinced to relax by working the sternalis and the upper half of rectus abdominis. Want more? Let me know. Oh, and please send me your favorite therapy tip or trick so I can share it with others so we can all help more people. Send it to .
See you about May Day with another basket of goodies.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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