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We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
July, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 07
Marching Toward Therapeutic Irrelevance
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Editor's Note: To read Ralph's previous articles, go to: www.massagetoday.com/columnists/stephens.
From previous articles, I have been accused of being irrational and needing to do more homework. Seems I pushed too firmly on a few buttons. Homework will be forthcoming along with a softer touch. Once again, I will state that my purpose here is to provoke thought and constructive debate. I am not being critical of anyone or anything just for the sake of "stirring the pot." It is not my intention to be negative or to create fear. I am sharing my view, in hopes of having a positive effect. Sadly, even the most constructive criticism or observation can be perceived as threatening to the "leadership," who I know really do mean well. I know them. I love them. I am just questioning the outcomes that I see resulting from their actions that I feel are detrimental to those of us who take the word "therapy" seriously, or should I say, "to a deeper level."
Actions and outcomes are much more meaningful to me than intentions and words. I am trying to defend and protect the rights of massage therapists and bodyworkers to practice clinical, therapeutic massage and bodywork.
I stand in the river shouting for the sake of suffering humanity that desperately needs the benefits of skilled, specific, therapeutic touch from well-trained professionals with tears in my eyes as I believe the scope of practice, the necessary level of education and thus, the public's access to the care they need and seek is being washed away.
In every state that has gained massage licensure, a sudden explosion in the number of schools has occurred. There has not been an adequate supply of trained massage teachers with years of successful practice experience, so these schools recruit needy therapists with minimal experience off the street, and put them into classrooms in many cases with little or no preparation. In many schools, one instructor is burdened with teaching an entire massage curriculum. There are few, if any requirements for instructors in massage schools to be trained and proficient in the core competencies of teaching.
The competency of the profession is eroding as a result. The national average pass rates have been dropping on the NCE over the past decade (down to 61 percent at last report). Is this the way to improve our image with either the public or the medical professions?
Research Without Education
I love research. Nothing wrong with better understanding what we do. "Evidence-based massage" is a new mantra. Like evidence-based medicine this will support orthodoxy, stifle innovation, and force providers to treat conditions, not people. We are counting on research to be our key to acceptance by the "integrative medicine" community. Yet there is no guarantee that when we have every single aspect of massage documented and validated by research, that they will embrace us. Especially when our entry-level of education and competency is laughable to them. It is not what we say we are, but what we can actually deliver, consistently, to the public that will put massage on the map as a profession.
The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) project had potential to be a positive force in our professional development. Instead it has become an instrument to effectively suppress clinical massage. Any therapeutic scope of practice that is left in our massage laws is being defined out of our scope by MTBOK. You can see this document at: www.mtbok.org. You can get more of my take on this project on my blog at: http://ralphstephens.tumblr.com.
Losing the Future
The less we can do, the less valuable we will become in the health care system of the future. If we legislate and educate ourselves into therapeutic irrelevance, we will not have time to resurrect the full potential of massage therapy and will be passed by.
My colleagues, what do you want for your profession? Or do you care? If you do, make yourselves heard. I am trying to preserve our right to perform "therapy." Where are my fellow educators? PC got your tongues?
See you in September when I will begin a series of historical columns to show the lessons our profession failed to learn and appears to be repeating. Be Well.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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