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Massage Today
January, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 01

Winter Wonderland

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB

A new year is here. I hope you had a joyous season and sold lots of gift certificates! In my previous column, I pointed out that professional regulation, the fancy term for licensure, is not really for the good or safety of the public, but for the good of the regulated profession.

The public never has demanded regulation of a profession; it's always the profession that asks for it.

The professions want the monopoly and the other favors granted by the state, so they do what they must to get the legislators to grant them. Legislators will grant almost anything for enough campaign contributions or perceived support. This is why the medical lobbies are more successful in legislative efforts than the alternative disciplines. It's all about money in politics. Notice the DCs have become quite influential lately? They have quite a bit of money now, too. Interestingly, they now are often lobbying against good licensing laws for massage therapists or lobbying for bad ones. How quickly they forgot their own struggle to gain licensure and now want to pull the ladder up behind themselves or gain control over another profession. The AMA model and attitude is contagious, I guess.

Everyone says regulation is for the safety of the public, especially the public health bureaucrats who administer the laws. Some actually believe it. They don't think and discern enough to see through the propaganda. There always is "doublespeak" in government, like the "anti-cloning bill" in Missouri that legalized cloning, the Medical Privacy Act that made your records available to just about anyone but you and your family, and my favorite, the Paperwork Reduction Act that created more forms than ever. The public wouldn't stand for this stuff if it were accurately named and simply written. Laws are written carefully and deliberately. The authors know exactly what they are creating and why, except in our profession.

Can some good come to the public from licensing? Of course, and it does. Everything is a trade-off in this world of duality. The public receives a certain level of guaranteed mediocrity, a lowest-common-denominator standard, which feels like safety to them. The government gains revenue and more control, and the profession gets its monopoly (if the law is correctly written). It's important to understand this, as it's the game being played. For the most part, our profession is trying to play the game with a very naïve understanding of it, and as a result, we are losing instead of winning. This is obvious by the hodge-podge of laws we have passed, some of which place more restrictions on what we can do than are placed on unlicensed providers. Our current level of legislative skill is allowing the other players to use the system against us. We can do better, and we must. Next time, I will discuss one of the most important protections licensing provides - the disciplinary process, which was created to protect providers from the public.

Disconnected Perceptions

When surveyed, 80 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with the cost of health care generally. Fifty-four percent are dissatisfied with the quality of health care in general. However, when asked about their own care, 57 percent said they are satisfied with the cost and 89 percent said they were satisfied with the quality. What an incredible disconnect. This is the "I'm OK but you're not OK" perception of life. Sadly, people will give up being okay just because they think others are not. Then, neither is OK and things get progressively worse. This shows how effective the government-media cartel has been in disparaging the best health care system on the planet, bungled as it is, as it attempts to make people believe there is such a crisis that the government must step in and provide universal health care. People have become so mind-numbed they can't tell the reality of their experience from the unreality (lies) of the media propaganda. The government wants complete control over your health care because that gives it complete control over you, in particular, and the complete control over population in general.

The state (the government) should exist to benefit its citizens. That never lasts long, as the power-hungry politicians, who fear nothing more than intelligent, free, self-reliant citizens, incrementally corrupt the system until the citizens exist to benefit the government. The people are conned into voting to tax themselves more and to give up their freedoms and rights, in return for the false sense of security they receive from an ever increasing and intrusive government.

The November 2006 election was a classic case of people's minds being manipulated into believing something quite different than the actual reality. By the way, I am not a Republican. I am an Independent. That being said, the irrational behavior brought about a good result in the "throw the bums out" effect. Now, if we can just throw the bums out every election until we get to the point that no one ever serves more than one term, we might have a chance at saving our Republic form of government. (No, it's not a democracy!)

Nothing sums up the current political situation better than two quotes from one of my heroes of the alternative health movement, Bob Livingston, who writes:

"Politics is the art of political persuasion to get people to act and live against their best interest." And,

"The only way to accumulate wealth or to keep your health is to ignore the political, economic, and medical propaganda. It is all big business with the agenda of keeping you impoverished, keeping you sick, and keeping you ignorant. Despotism depends on our ignorance and intellectual laziness. The manipulated crowd is lazy and ignorant."

I bring up this perceptual disconnect because there soon will be a movement to resurrect the Clinton health care program. More on that to come in my next column. For now, just know that had the program passed as written, all independent massage therapists who address specific conditions (pain, injuries, headaches, etc.) would have been put out of business, or worse.

Try This

When treating tennis or golfer's elbow, remember that while the injury occurs just distal to the lateral or medial epicondyle of the elbow respectfully, the muscles course all the way to the hand and fingers. Be sure to examine the entire length of the muscle with massage and stretching and you will get faster and better results than just treating the injury site.

Enjoy this year's winter wonderland, wherever you are. Being a Midwesterner, during these three months I hope for global warming (just kidding). I'll be back again in March. Bring your kites.

Survey of the Week: Flu Shots Contain Mercury

A survey of more than 9,000 Americans found that an overwhelming majority of people had no idea their flu shots contain mercury. "More than 75 percent of Americans feel a mercury-containing flu shot should not be given to a pregnant woman or a child," said Lisa Handley, a founding parent of, the group that organized the survey. Handley's own son, Jamison, had an adverse reaction to a flu shot containing mercury in 2003. "I know firsthand how life-changing a flu shot with mercury can be, since our son began his regression into autism after his flu shot." In 1999, government agencies called for the removal of Thiomersal, the mercury-based preservative in most vaccines. Then, in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated, "Mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children." Despite these actions, 90 percent of this season's flu vaccines still contain Thiomersal. Learn more at

Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.


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