resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 08
The Fight for California
By Ramon G. McLeod, Editor-in-Chief
It looked like a done deal. An anti-prostitution law was moving quickly in the California legislature that would have dramatically changed the rules for massage therapists. Assembly Bill 1822 was clearly an assault on the profession, yet very little attention was being paid to it, which is exactly what its proponents expected.
Back in April, passage seemed assured. Who was going to speak out against something targeting human trafficking and prostitution? It was a slam dunk. An easy win.
But those who wanted this bill, which would have required massage therapists to seek in-person police investigation for work permits, hadn't counted on the mild-mannered Ahmos Netanel, executive director of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), or Mike Schroeder, one-time chairman of the California Republican Party and owner of American Massage Council, an insurance business for massage therapists.
Nor did they count on a massive outpouring of opposition from an awakened community that turned what could have been a disaster for massage therapy into what appears to be a come-from-behind victory for practitioners in the nation's most populous state.
Just under a year ago, California therapists worked under a hodgepodge system that required therapists to be approved by local police departments before they were given a permit to work in a specific community. This meant that if they had clients in different jurisdictions, they had to obtain approvals from each locality individually.
After years of lobby by the community, and most particularly, the California Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, Senate Bill 731 was enacted to rationalize the system. A statewide certification board was created, the CAMTC, which was charged with the task of verifying criminal and educational backgrounds before a permit to work was issued. With this certificate, a therapist can legally work anywhere in the state. Local police approval was no longer necessary as all applicants were to be screened based on criminal records provided by the state Department of Justice.
Seemingly out of nowhere, in early 2010, the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), led by the group's president, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Mannheimer, began to forcefully lobby for massive "reform" to SB 731.
At the core of what would become AB 1822 was a return to local police vetting of applicants. The CAMTC would continue to exist, but it would essentially become a rubberstamp for the applications approved by local authorities. The real authority would be re-invested in local police departments. The chiefs association went to Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda) to get him to sponsor the bill. As part of their pitch to him, the chief's association argued that the CAMTC didn't have the resources to handle thousands of applicants for state certificates. Furthermore, the association cited a "random/regional sample" of CAMTC applicants in San Mateo city and regions around the city conducted by the chief's association had found that 89 percent of these applicants were prostitutes or had questionable backgrounds. The implication was clear: massive numbers of prostitutes were filing applications to the CAMTC, an organization incapable of handling the work.
In a letter to Swanson, Manheimer wrote: "The specter of the CAMTC, with their limited resources, successfully screening out illegal operators and Human Trafficking victims is completely unrealistic. Additionally, CAMTC is not suited or situated to investigate, deny, suspend, or revoke those who are operating outside the law."
That set off the firestorm.
The Flame Thrower
While Mike Schroeder has a long history in both state and national politics, including a well-earned reputation for feistiness, in recent years he's been very much under the radar as a political force in massage.
"Typically, I don't function on a political level as it relates to the practice of massage," he said. "My role has been to construct a low-cost malpractice insurance program for massage therapists nationally."
Chairman of the California Republican Party in the late 90s, and vice-chairman of the national party during that same period, Schroeder said he has a 24-year history with the profession and was enraged by both the content and the implications of AB 1822.
"When Swanson and the police chiefs suggested that 89 percent were prostitutes, well that was simply a blatant lie," he said.
He said, the police chiefs association, and in particular the group's president, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Mannheimer, were "hoping they'd get away with this ... with leaving the impression that most massage therapists are prostitutes.
"They didn't think they were going to get called on it," he said. "They (the police chiefs association) wanted their turf back, simple as that ... But they've had 50 years to cleanup human trafficking and haven't been able to do so.
"The (current) system now is far more effective in stopping actual prostitutes. They can't 'shop' for jurisdictions with lax permitting and claim to be certified," he said. "And it prevents legitimate massage therapists from being treated like prostitutes and going from city to city to prove that they aren't ... we weren't going to go back to that."
The Quiet One
Those who know Ahmos Netanel use words like "thorough", "gracious" and "professional", but rarely does one hear him called "bulldog".
But during the battle over AB 1822, Netanel came forward with devastating documentation and used careful lobbying to help turn the political tide against the proposed law.
Netanel and Schroeder both realized that the critical element that had conviced Swanson to bring out the bill was the strong support of the California Police Chiefs Association and that groups' survey claim that 89 percent of CAMTC applicants were prostitutes or of unknown backgrounds.
But no where did the police group offer up any evidence that CAMTC had allowed any criminals to actually get through their screening process, which after all, is what matters.
And that's what Netanel seized upon. And then he turned the tables on the CPCA. Netanel produced Council data showing that it was police departments allowing criminals to pass background checks, not the Council.
"The CAMTC has never approved anyone who was not already approved through the DOJ (Department of Justice)," said Netanel. Then he produced a devastating bit of evidence: "CAMTC has rejected 3,424 applicants, who had passed background checks by local law enforcement, but when checked through CAMTC's process did not pass muster. In fact, so far 346 of those already approved locally were found to have criminal backgrounds and denied the statewide certification."
In late April, as publicity over the proposed law began emerging, the scattered opposition to it began to coalesce. The American Massage Therapy Association, California Chapter, came out in formal opposition to the bill. The ACLU followed suit: "While we support effective efforts to curb human trafficking and child prostitution, we do not believe that requiring massage therapists to complete background checks by local law enforcement - rather than a statewide organization - will combat trafficking. Instead, bad actors seeking to avoid detection will operate further underground to avoid subjecting themselves or the girls and women they are trafficking to increased scrutiny by local law enforcement."
But the key to what would lead to a major gutting of the most onerous provisions of the bill was a massive letter writing campaign. Urged by Massage Today, the heart of the campaign was an email form addressed to all the members of a key committee about to hear the bill. Within 48 hours of the form's posting committee members received more than 2,000 emails in opposition to members of the key committee that was about to hear the bill.
Swanson backed off his support of the original language in the bill and by the time a vote was taken by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in late May, the bill had been massively amended. The bill's language regarding local certification of individual massage therapists was removed. It also calls for the addition of two law enforcement members to the CAMTC including a Police Chiefs Association position and a Sheriffs Association position, and includes an added section to strengthen enforcement against illegal operators of massage businesses.
The CAMTC is looking for additional improvements, but Netanel said, "we are pleased with the direction it has taken." Schroeder, reflecting back on the course the bill has taken said he "felt pretty strongly that the profession would rise up. I was convinced that the minute we spoke out it would react exactly as it did. "I hope now that there will be a little more reluctance to attack this profession," he said. "They thought we would be a total pushover and couldn't exercise any power ... they were wrong about that."
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.