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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
September, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 09
The Ethics of Learning
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
I got an e-mail the other day from a massage practitioner interested in my MotherMassage home study program. She also wanted the name of a practitioner in her area who had taken my three-day workshop so my student could teach her the hands-on techniques.Or, she asked, could she just learn prenatal massage from the videos on You Tube?
I subsequently logged on to the prenatal massage videos posted there and was horrified. After viewing many of them, I can see how the misinformation by these self-appointed "experts" can be confusing and misleading for practitioners and outright dangerous for expectant mothers. There was only one clip (shown on CW11-TV) that demonstrated accurate and appropriate massage techniques.
I am not shocked at this anymore. I have become inured to these cheap shots. I get this all too frequently in my classroom when massage practice managers send one or two employees to take my class for the sole purpose of teaching the rest of the staff the prenatal protocol when they return. I hear this same scenario from other presenters as well. For any facility to offer specialized treatments by unqualified practitioners is unethical and irresponsible. I ask you: Would you want to receive a medical procedure from a doctor who was shown the procedure once from someone who just learned it themselves? Or perhaps from a doctor who watched the procedure on a video or read about it in a book? I don't think so.
While one certainly is more extreme and potentially life threatening than the other, the same conceit remains: The only way to learn a technique and receive the on-site supervision of a trained professional is to attend a workshop in the preferred modality offered by a qualified practitioner.
I am confounded that massage professionals who mostly go into this proud profession because they want to help people and believe in natural healing processes, would cheat the very people whom they claim to care about. What does this say about the state of our profession? Are a few rotten eggs going to spoil it for the rest of us who do take the time, expense and care to come to a class?
I recognize the majority of massage practitioners are conscientious and eager to learn new modalities to enhance their professional and personal growth. But there still are too many out there who think buying and watching a video or reading a book qualifies them to practice a new technique and charge their clients a premium for their new skills.
Home study courses or textbooks alone can't teach hands-on training even if a video is part of the package. Those practitioners who take the easy way out and avoid attending workshops and pursuing continuing education courses, do themselves and (worse) their clients a great disservice.
Approved programs are offered all over the country by qualified professionals. Determined and interested massage practitioners have numerous opportunities to enjoy these stimulating workshops. Motivated practitioners might have to travel far distances (and incur steep expenses) in order to receive the training they seek, but the education and experience are well worth the trouble. I have had students from Europe, America and the Caribbean, and even students with young children attend my classes. So these difficulties don't have to become road blocks.
Hopefully, advanced education courses are taken because of interest in the subject matter, not simply to fulfill statutory or national continuing education requirements. Regardless of the impetus, attending hands-on classes still remains the only effective way to learn hands-on modalities.
Massage videos or reading a book can serve useful purposes. They can reiterate and reinforce techniques that already have been learned in the classroom and they can remind practitioners of body-saving and hand-saving mechanics. But they should not serve as the primary source of training. You can't ask a video/book questions and the video/book cannot provide feedback as to whether or not you are doing the techniques correctly.
Home study courses also fill a void. They provide fundamental information about a modality to offer an overview of a specific technique. From that, students can determine if they want to pursue the subject further and attend a class. These home study courses don't - or shouldn't - qualify anyone as a specialist in a specific modality. Nor should anyone assume proficiency in a technique because they passed a home study program. To call yourself an "expert" in a modality after a home study program or video presentation is dishonest at the very least and borders on consumer fraud.
Massage practitioners and bodyworkers must embody high standards of training and professionalism. Watching a video (whose sources are sometimes questionable) or reading a book (also sometimes questionable) and considering oneself adept and competent are not the ways to set and uphold these standards.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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