resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
August, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 08
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Healthy competition benefits everyone. Our entire system works on competition, capitalism and the free enterprise system. One of the only situations I can think of in our history when competition wasn't healthy was the Old West gunfight! Is the shootout coming in the massage industry? Our profession has several "big guns" that appear to swagger through the countryside.Usually, they are able to "play nice," but if some of the communications I've received recently are any indication, a few of them seem ready to call each other out and swap hot lead!
The "big guns" I am speaking about here are the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the fledgling "big gun wannabe," the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Another "big gun," Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) seems to have elbows on the swinging doors of the saloon peering out at the OK Corral observing the activity.
Most Massage Today readers first heard about the FSMTB in our July (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2005/07/01.html) and November 2005 (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2005/11/05.html) issues. In the November issue, I wrote,
"At its recent meeting, FSMTB also determined that one of the areas of greatest concern expressed by both state massage therapy boards and massage therapy schools is the examination program administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). From the FSMTB perspective, the continued reliance on this exam program is being questioned for a number of reasons, including: 1. Long-standing problems with delivery of basic services, such as exam registration and approval of continuing education providers; 2. The fact that state boards have had no direct input into the design and administration of this examination program, nor any role in the policy making process of NCBTMB; and 3. Inconsistencies between the eligibility requirements set by NCB for this exam and the specific curriculum standards upheld in each state where massage therapy is regulated. FSMTB stated these are not only logistical problems; they also might present issues of legal exposure for the state boards. As a potential solution, the FSMTB has been researching the establishment of its own national licensing examination."
The NCBTMB, of course, has long been known for its certification program and associated entrance-level certification examination, which many states also have chosen to utilize as a licensing examination. In a letter to "Members of the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Community" and to massage therapy state regulatory boards, the NCBTMB expressed dismay that the FSMTB actually went ahead with plans for a licensing exam. (The two organizations had discussed ways to collaborate, but those discussions obviously weren't of sufficient substance to dissuade the FSMTB from its initial idea.) NCBTMB's letter states, "The NCBTMB's experience to date has been a series of mixed messages from FSMTB, which first challenged the validity of NCBTMB's examinations and then sought to transfer ownership of the these examinations to their control." The negativity continues in a recent communiqué from the FSMTB that raises the following questions and concerns:
The AMTA has chosen to insert itself into the FSMTB/NCBTMB squabble by, on several occasions, supporting the NCBTMB position through its own statements. In a letter to its members, AMTA recently wrote, "AMTA supports one set of massage therapy exams for the profession, those created and administered by the NCBTMB."
As the NCBTMB prepares itself to "gun down" the upstart FSMTB, with AMTA handing over extra ammunition, I wonder why. To me, other than the obvious issues of garnering or retaining cash flow, this is a tempest in a teapot. All of the involved organizations make one-sided statements without explanation, assuming readers will just accept the statements as truth. I have yet to hear an explanation from any AMTA source that would explain why one set of exams is better for the profession than two, 12 or 112. The AMTA also has given no reason for choosing why the exams created and administered by NCBTMB are any better than those from any other test developer. One wonders why it would disenfranchise another organization's attempt to develop something "new and improved," and who might actually be able to do the job better! The NCBTMB gives no rationale for how a purposely developed licensing exam would "further divide the profession," any more than it is divided by multiple professional associations or multiple educational accreditation organizations. The board provides no examples of how reciprocity would be adversely affected by multiple entry-level exams any more than it is by multiple massage school diplomas. As I see it, this is just turf protection and spin.
In my world, competition is a good thing. I'm a better massage therapist because there are others in my community also striving to be the best they can be. I think the AMTA and ABMP are better professional associations than they would otherwise be if they were not both there to offer alternative choices. I think the NCBTMB will become a more responsible certification provider if there is another organization offering an alternative entry-level examination. The fact is that standards are the key to effective assimilation of multiple choices in almost any situation. It is accepted accreditation standards that allow a degree from thousands of colleges/universities to be accepted as a prerequisite for graduate education. As long as similar standards are applied to the FSMTB's new exam as to the NCETMB, then there should be no noticeable difference to the entry level therapist - other than it might be easier to schedule an exam after graduation.
But other than giving my opinion on this issue, I'm laying low and keeping my head down in case bullets start to fly!
Thanks for listening.
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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