resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Beware of the Backlash
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
The backlash against our profession has finally begun. I was asked by a resort spa to do special medical massage training for its staff. In the conversation, the spa manager confided that it is getting harder to sell massages to guests. The reason he gave was that guests have received too many lousy massages at resorts and spas. They have either been injured or received a less-than-relaxing rubdown that did not help them at all, so they have written off massage. Therefore, these affluent guests, who can afford our services out-of-pocket, are writing off our profession as worthless, or worse, dangerous. This is the beginning of the backlash against the massage profession. I am surprised it has taken so long.
All the research that has been done validating massage becomes worthless if the typical therapist cannot reproduce the results. When the typical massage school student does not really know the difference between deep friction and effleurage, much less anatomy, how can they read a research protocol and duplicate the treatment? I have been told, "Silly boy, it is not necessary to know anatomy, all that is needed is a good intent. Just feel the energy and let it guide you." All I can say to this ignorance is that even if you are going to be a psychic surgeon, you need to know the difference between a tumor on the liver and the gallbladder before you begin the removal.
As we frantically beg for acceptance by the allopathic medical establishment (that is, MDs), do we believe we can garner much respect given the average competency of our profession?
A fellow instructor told me of a spa owner who said they would rather risk the chance of a lawsuit than put money into educating their staff on techniques and hygiene for stone massage. Some spas only change the stone water once a day. (How green of them.) How can this happen in a profession that is theoretically about health and healing? It happens as the heart of the profession is replaced by bottom-line mentality. Professionalism and professional ethics are more difficult and expensive for schools to demonstrate and teach, and for operators to maintain. Investors and investment groups are only interested in massage for the return on their investment (the bottom line). This mentality abuses both the therapists and the clientele. Both are beginning to figure this out. The number of people entering the profession is leveling off and now the public is walking away.
Debra Brooks, PhD, said, "When you lose the heart of a profession, you lose the art of a profession." It has been the art of our profession that attracted people to massage. The art provides the caring, healing and true health care. We are losing the art at an ever-increasing rate, and as we do, consumers will walk away in greater numbers. They get all the science and routines they can stand from the allopathic providers for "free" via insurance. The public came to us because we were an alternative. We had the science with a heart that gave the art, which finally provided the individualized attention people needed to heal.
Now we seem to have either one or the other. Some therapists learn the science, but not the art of touching from the heart. Others learn lots of new age/artsy stuff (which is different from the art of professional practice,), but not enough science to be safe and effective at the physical level. As we have become branded, integrated (look what has happened to osteopathy since it became integrated - if you are old enough to remember) and educated by investors, we have lost more and more of the heart. Our profession has disintegrated into first a trade and then down to just a job. Sometimes success, as measured in numbers, is a hollow victory.
What will our profession do about this? Probably nothing in the near future. It's hard to stand in front of the cash-flow train of the schools and large spa/clinic operators at this time. The marketplace will eventually force corrections. The marketplace is ruthless and it won't be pretty.
In my January column, I mentioned a possible correlation between trigger points in the Achilles tendon and restless leg syndrome (RLS). I received two very interesting e-mails on the subject. The first suggested that RLS is the body discharging the excess energy from overconsumption, especially eating too much meat and sugar. The second suggested a correlation with nerve entrapment in the psoas muscle. If you have experience with RLS and would like to share, please e-mail me.
Your Government and Mine
As the presidential circus moves across the country, notice there is only one candidate who has come out publicly for freedom of choice in health care and who supports unfettered access to alternative therapies. All the rest propose completely allopathic systems. One candidate wants to force everyone to get annual tests and vaccinations, calling this wellness care.
Meanwhile, over at the FDA, political appointees accept and approve bogus studies from approval-seeking companies, often against the recommendations of FDA staff. Thus, we are being force-fed GMO foods while the rest of the world is trying to ban them. We use our economic leverage to try to force it down their throats, too. Most recently, the FDA approved milk and meat from clones. How can this be? There haven't been enough clones producing meat and milk to feed a significant test group of people to determine its safety. Politicians, not objective scientists, have ruled it as safe. Whenever there is a political or corporate gain to "scientific research," follow the money trail and you will find the truth. The truth is seldom what you are being told by the mainstream media.
We are endangering our own food chain with GMO foods and "terminator" seeds. Without quality food, there can be no health, and health is the most important thing there is. Massage should be about health: maintaining it, enhancing it and, if necessary, restoring it through healing touch and advocating a healthy lifestyle. We are selling ourselves short when all we do is push oil around. More in May.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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