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Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
March, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 03
Health Care Reform and the Massage Profession
A Crisis Too Great to be Wasted
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
The current economic downturn is a crisis "to great too be wasted," according to our new president's chief of staff, and we will soon see some form of socialized medicine. It is not a question of if, it is a question of what and when. The point of this dose of reality is this: How is the massage and bodywork profession positioned to maintain its viability when health care is nationalized?
Health and health care is not really a right, it is a responsibility. Sadly, people in general do not want to take that responsibility and further, they want someone else to pay for their own irresponsibility and misfortune. We are in a period of rewarding bad behavior and poor decisions.
When "the people" ask the government to take over their personal responsibilities, this transfers individual rights and freedoms to the government. (And politicians can hardly wait.) The government that controls the health of its people controls its people. Ultimately, the State wants to manage its "human resources" (that's you and me) to maximize productivity for the State. It will take awhile, incrementalism is essential, but eventually it leads to population control.
Allopaths Versus Massage Therapists
In a government run system in the United States, "traditional medicine" (allopathy) will rule. Retirement is very unproductive and bad for the environment. In between, the allopaths get to skim their profits. Where does a health-based paradigm fit in? Think about it if you dare. Only a significant shift in societal consciousness (awareness) will change this.
The pharmaceutical-medical lobbies have the most money and thus access to the best politicians money can buy. The alternative health movement's window of opportunity is rapidly being closed, much to the delight of the allopathic system. Alternative providers tend to promote health and allopaths abhor health.
If that statement shocks you, and it is suppose to, remove your emotion and objectively look at our current health care delivery system. There is no economic incentive to the system to get or keep people healthy. They only make money off of sickness and symptoms. There is relatively little money to be made curing conditions, and even less preventing them. There are huge amounts of money to be made treating never-ending symptoms. This is why effective cures, cancer cures for example, are suppressed or run out of the country. Follow the money trail. You have to see the overall structure and philosophy of the system. Once you can, it is crystal clear. Of course there are exceptions within the system.
There will be a potential opportunity to bring wellness based care to the forefront in a nationalized system and that could be huge for us. It could save money and prevent a great deal of suffering (like 250,000 people dying from the allopath's admitted mistakes each year). Sadly, the government is not interested in cost-effectiveness or optimizing your wellness. It rewards inefficiency and ineptness. Allopathic sickness care is the epitome of both.
Current Bill in the House of Representatives
How will massage and bodywork, as a profession, be affected by the implementation of socialized medicine? It could be as benign as being left alone. If the Clinton plan is revived, we could have to become employees of hospitals or physicians or face being felons. There is currently a universal health care bill in the House of Representatives, HR-676. In this bill there are provisions for alternative providers to participate in the plan as long as they are licensed. This means our colleagues in states that are not licensed or that have some lesser form of regulation than full state licensure could be put out of business. Also, one of the three ways HR-676 will be funded is with taxes on the self-employed. That's a lot of us.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services' first first assignment will be handling health care reform. Obama's top pick for Health Secretary, former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, abruptly withdrew his nomination after admitting his failure to pay about $140, 000 in back taxes. While Daschle is out, his nomination gives us some guess as to the types of policies we will see after an eventiual appointment. Daschle, who was voted out of office by his own constituents in November 2004, has said the Clinton plan failed because it had too many details. Instead he proposed to pass a skeletal bill and let bureaucrats make the administrative rules that will fill in the details of the plan.
[Editor's note: As of press time, the appointment of the Secretary of Health and Human Services has not been made.]
The Crisis is Too Great to be Wasted
Bureaucrats are not very supportive of us. If you doubt this, notice how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration treats herbs and supplements. Notice how the Department of Agriculture treats the organic food movement. There are plenty of precedents to make one quite concerned about how the bureaucracy might treat us and what amount of freedom they would give us to do therapy.
Who is going to watch out and stand up for us when this "health care reform" is created? Who is going to be the voice of alternative providers? Who will offer a serious wellness model beyond mandatory allopathic tests and vaccinations?
Where are our beloved membership organizations on this issue? Are they ready to represent you, to protect you, to insure you are at least allowed to continue to practice? Will they stand idly by and let us be put under the thumb of allopathic gatekeepers, making us unwanted slaves in the physical therapy departments? If you care about this, you might want to find out what their plans are, or if they are just counting on hope. Hope has never accomplished anything.
Take Action: What We Can Do?
It will be in the best interests of all of us to be in contact with our U.S. Representatives and Senators and let them know we deserve a place as the first door providers we are now, in any new system they may implement. We need to lobby strongly for our right to practice therapy both with and without gatekeeper supervision. Let me be clear on this. If you want to work for the government that should be your choice, but if you want to work for the patient, outside of the government system like most of us are now, you should have that right too.
If we are forced to become employees of hospitals or physicians or can only access patients through controlled referral, we will not last long. Remember, they ran manual therapy out of medicine here a long time ago. It is not profitable enough.
To survive as first door providers, we will have to lobby individually and through our associations. Are we up to the task? If all else fails, we may have to play dumb and say, "Hey, its just a massage."
Happy kite flying! See you in May with how we may get sucker-punched by research.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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