resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
May, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 05
An Opportunity and a Double Cross
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
The recently passed stimulus bill has lots of interesting stuff in it. Several clauses of the bill deal with health care. There is $1.1 billion allocated to "comparative effectiveness research," looking at outcomes of different medical procedures.Will this research embrace, or at least include, alternative therapies such as massage? Boy, could we score big if the studies are set up fairly. Who is representing our profession, and advocating that we be included?
The American Massage Therapy Association's (AMTA) government relation's person told me that they have a legislative tracking service in relation to massage. But she was unaware of HR 676 (see previous article, MT March 2009, for my discussion on this bill) or any clauses of the bailout or stimulus bills. However, they are sending a representative to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) meeting soon.
An Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) spokesperson said they are very aware of the legislation and are closely monitoring the situation. They are optimistic that changes in health care regulations will include us and other alternative disciplines. They do not have a formal action program or policy in place at this writing but they are ready to work for us when they see an opportunity to do so. At least they are in the building and in the right room, taking notes.
A new kid on the block with great potential is the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC). It will be interesting to see what this group will be doing for us and other alternative disciplines in the future. They are already at the table, hard at work. Kudos to ABMP and IHPC! (More on IHPC in the July column.)
The transition to nationalized medicine will take several years, maybe longer. Will we be allowed into the new system? If not, will we be allowed to exist outside the system and still do therapy? How will the computerization of everyone's medical records affect us? Will we be part of it? Will we have access to it? Can our profession maintain its first-door provider status? Massage therapy as a wellness-based, alternative discipline cannot thrive if placed under gatekeeper supervision. (Access by prescription, and limited to only what is prescribed.) The PTs are already there, so where would we fall in the hierarchy?
The public is looking for alternatives to the current sickness-care system. The government is looking for more cost effective procedures since they are going to be picking up the bill. This is a perfect storm for our profession (and all the alternative professions) if we can get to the table and be heard. Massage therapy is the premier wellness modality and the most cost-effective, soft-tissue, pain-management therapy there is. It would be a crying shame if we get left out of the coming nationalized system as it is created just because no one was able to speak up and represent us. It is imperative that we get in on the early stages of any new health care system's development. Not just for the thousands of massage therapists, but for the millions of people we could help.
The Sucker Punch
While it is important to play ball in good faith with the government and the allopathic sickness-care industry, we must be aware at all times what the bureaucracy is up to so we can hopefully protect and defend our freedom to practice. Our profession has made a huge (for us) investment in research trying to validate what we do. It is important to study how massage works and its best applications. However, research is a double-edged sword, as this next report shNew FDA regulations are now threatening to ban any food supplement that has been researched in clinical trials. Currently, Section 201 of FDA regulations already prevents the marketing of dietary supplements which have been subject to published clinical studies, but only when they have also been the subject of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application.
The FDA's unprecedented, controversial and ambiguous changes to regulations, may mean that all food products, including dietary supplements, could be barred from being marketed if they have been the subject of published clinical studies. Gretchen DuBeau, executive director of the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF), explains further: "This would strangle innovation. It would create a 'Catch 22' situation in which supplement producers who undertake scientific research on new supplements will find that their very research will lead to a ban on the proposed supplement."
It appears they are going after Stevia initially, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener, which is considered a threat by the giant sugar and artificial-sweetener industries.
See how we are being sucker-punched here? We are told that claims of effectiveness cannot be made without research to back it up - never mind clinical observation for several hundred years. It has to be current valid "research." They thought that would prevent the alternative health community from being able to make any claims because we could not afford to do the research. Now that research is being done that threatens pharmaceutical sales, they will ban the sale of products proven to be effective, classifying them as "drugs" that must be controlled for the "safety of the public." We are in a period of time where the mindset will be that the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the group is considered necessary. That's all well and good, unless you are an individual.
How does this apply to massage? Glad you asked. Those of us in alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture are told we need research to validate what we know to be true. Research is now proving us right. Will they now take our research and ban us from doing procedures with which we get positive results? Would they do that? Will we get sucker punched by research, like the supplement industry just has been? Let's hope not. However, they justify human suffering in the name of profit. Where is the profit? Not in massage or other alternative therapies. We cannot follow the allopathic model and be an alternative to it at the same time. Health care freedom is something we will be able to tell our grandchildren that we once had.
All conditions in the physical begin as discordant thoughts and emotions in the mind. The physical condition distracts us from perceiving and recognizing the mental disturbance. For true healing to take place, the mind must be illumined to its part in the condition. Until the causative thought pattern, usually subconscious, is changed, the symptoms will return. Mind-body healing is the cutting edge of health care. Massage can bring about awareness on more than just a physical level. Be a teacher, particularly of awareness of the self.
We live in interesting times. See you in the July issue for America's birthday.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.