resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
July, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 07
Put Your Hands on Your Monitor, Part Two
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
In my last column, I made two errors. I would like to set things straight right up front. I don't bury my mistakes. First, I stated that the Career College Association (CCA) was part of a campaign to reduce classroom hours in massage programs.That is false. I received inaccurate information from a usually reliable source. While individual schools are working to replace some classroom hours and, in some cases, already are providing distance learning programs to all students, the CCA's President, Nicholas J. Glakas, has made it very clear that CCA, as an organization, is not involved in any such campaign. I apologize for my misstatement and for any angst or problems it might have caused.
Second, due to a poorly worded sentence, some people wrongly assumed I was attacking and demeaning the disabled, the handicapped and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It was never my intention to do so and I am sincerely sorry if it appeared that way to anyone. A longer version of this apology was published in the June We Get Letters & E-mail section of Massage Today (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/06/14.html). I support the ADA and the rights of disabled individuals to have full access to society and, in particular, the massage profession and massage education programs.
The classroom hours standard for massage education was established in approximately 1985 to guarantee massage schools actually were providing the amount of training hours advertised. I am not aware of any distance learning technology that was in existence at that time. There were no career colleges with massage programs at that time either. This standard has been consistent for more than 20 years. It has been written into the licensing statutes or administrative rules of most regulated states. In other words, in many states, it's the law that massage schools must provide classroom hours. Nothing has changed recently to inflict classroom hours on massage schools.
Sadly, many schools are breaking the classroom hour laws and providing distance learning programs in states where classroom hours are required and where the NCBTMB test is the licensing exam. One of the classes many schools provide, or want to provide by distance learning technology, is ethics. Teaching an ethics class illegally! This is pitiful. What a great example for new students - if you don't like a law, just ignore it. Why should students or therapists obey the laws and rules of the profession if the schools don't? This is a dangerous example to set. Where does it end? What's wrong with a "happy ending" if it generates more profit?
Can ethics classes be taught effectively with distance learning technologies? It doesn't matter. It's illegal or against the rules to do so. It's the same for any other class at this time. Until the law is changed, schools are obligated to follow it, so the question becomes irrelevant.
Why my passion over education standards? I entered this profession 20 years ago. It was the establishment of education and licensing standards that elevated massage in the public's awareness. If standards are lowered, making it easier and easier to gain entry into the profession of massage, there is a significant threat that the line between ethical and unethical will blur or disappear. Do we, as a profession, want that to occur? Is it worth taking any chance that it might?
What is the future of the massage profession? Here is a quote to me from one of the career college distance learning advocates: "You represent 'the old guard' of massage therapy (Thank you) and many of your associates are either close to retirement or will sell their schools to a corporation. It is obvious to us that revolutionary changes are in motion that will change the massage guild into an allied health career profession."
Allied health is not alternative and it's not independent. It's under the complete control and direction of the existing medical system. Is this where you want the profession to go? Do you want to be under the PT assistants?
I have nothing against career colleges or corporations. I do have a problem with the ones that are breaking the rules established by the profession they are serving not to mention the laws established by many of the states where they operate.
Maybe we are framing this debate incorrectly. Maybe the classroom hours standard is not the best way to insure quality, ethical therapists. How about a new standard that specifies the knowledge and hands-on skills that a graduate should be able to demonstrate, not just the hours of a program and where they are taught? Of course, this would mean changing a lot of laws and administrative rules. So while the profession develops a new meaningful education standard, let's also develop a piece of model legislation that gives us real professional recognition and protection while guaranteeing the public's access to our services.
Here is my compromise suggestion: Career colleges want the laws and rules changed so they can provide distance learning. We need a more uniform series of licensing laws. How about we work together? Let's develop new education standards. I suggest we start with the New York law at 1,200 hours and add the specifications of what a graduate should be able to do in order to graduate. With a program of this length, distance learning could be used for lecture classes. Concurrently, we should develop model legislation. It's time we strive for the highest common denominator instead of the lowest. The career colleges can then use their lobbying funds to enact the law changes. They will get a huge return on this investment from longer programs, uniform standards and distance technology implementation. However, until the laws are changed, through the legislative process not the courts, schools should obey the existing laws and standards. Fair enough? The right minds could bring this about in two to three years. How about it?
This is an editorial column and is thus my opinion or "My View From Here." I speak only for myself and not for any organization. I can see from "here" that any further discussion of massage educational issues on my part is a waste of good ink. I have brought the issue(s) up and offered my suggestions. It's up to the organizations and other stakeholders (that's you, by the way) to determine the future of this profession. If you care at all, get involved. Hold your associations, regulatory boards, schools and fellow therapists accountable and let them know your views and positions. If you don't work to determine your destiny, your opportunities and your profession's standards, a few others will, and they will not have your best interests at heart. Democracy only works with an educated, informed, participating population. Apathy is the food on which tyrants grow. In these times, tyrants seldom are individuals; they are more likely to be organizations, bureaucracies and large businesses. This column will no longer discuss massage education. I have other fish to fry.
See you in September!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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