resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
August, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 08
We Get Letters and E-mail
Editor's note: Massage Today received a large response to Ralph Stephens' July 2010 article, "Marching Toward Therapeutic Irrelevance", with the overwhelming majority in favor of the article. The following are some of those letters received, along with one response from Mr. Stephens.
MTBOK "Still Evolving"
We would like to respond to comments by Ralph Stephens in your July issue and correct misinformation some seem to have about the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK).
The MTBOK was developed as a resource to inform and guide those within and outside the massage therapy profession including massage therapy schools, massage students, practitioners and researchers. It also is intended to inform and guide the profession in the areas of massage therapy practice, accreditation, research, certification, education and licensure. It is an evolving document and none of us should expect it to be perfect. With its publication, it is available to all--for study, comment, and improvement.
We especially want to clarify that its release does not change any massage therapy laws, regulations, curricula or legal scope of practice. The areas devoted to definitions and scope of practice are intended to speak to baseline, entry-level massage practice --taking into consideration that current entry-level standards vary widely and help define that practice. Some of the MTBOK is aspirational. The developers clearly state that massage therapists often do other things or incorporate a variety of modalities into their practices that require training and education beyond what should be expected of baseline massage therapy education.
Our profession is still evolving and so will the MTBOK. We encourage everyone connected with the profession to read the full document at www.mtbok.org and add comment and feedback at .
The eight members of the MTBOK Task Force contributed a tremendous amount of time and energy to this project; the result of which is this document. We are grateful to them for their commitment and welcome the input and guidance of the entire profession to build upon this inaugural body of knowledge for the massage therapy profession.
Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Stewards
Medical Massage Therapist?
I agree with Mr. Stephens' comments. I live in the Tri-Cities in Washington state. There are three massage schools here that crank out multiple therapists every year. Are they well trained as medical massage therapists? They all say they are. We contacted one of the local schools a couple of years ago offering a medical massage training. We asked what that constituted and were told Soap Charting and Insurance Billing were part of the curriculum. My wife and I are both massage therapists as well as health care professionals with a college degree. We found this to be laughable. I wrote to the Department of Labor and Industries in Washington state, voicing my concerns that not everyone is qualified to see their patients.
I was told that until our professional organization comes up with a definition of what "medical massage" is, the Department of Licensing could not offer a separate license for spa and medical massage. Most of the massage therapists in town were basically taught spa massage, and they lack specific technique, clinical experience and general medical backround to be therapists. The doctors don't know the difference, the public doesn't know the difference and no one is regulating who calls themselves "medical massage therapists".
Group Health has moved in the right direction creating the "Clinical Massage Therapist" designation. Until medical massage becomes at least an associates degree it will not be taken seriously. It means nothing to the medical profession if you prove the benefit of massage therapy in one or one hundred studies. They couldn't care less. I have been a respiratory therapist since 1986. Doctors are business men with stethascopes. It's about volume, money and standardization. One day they will put you in a box, take away your individuality, narrow your scope of practice and give you a discount in the gift shop on your birthday. On that day you will have become part and parcel of the great medical system.
Disappointed and Dismayed
I just read your article in Massage Today. WOW! I've been saying that for years! I've read your articles before, (and was not offended), but this one spelled it out completely.
I have a degree in accounting, which I practiced for 20 years before becoming a massage therapist. I've been practicing for 9 years in my own massage business. I've taught in the massage schools, been a member (and officer) in my local AMTA, and sat on the massage board for my state.
This is how I see it:
When I first went to massage school, in 2001, massage therapy was just beginning to open up wide. I had great hopes and expectations for the future of massage therapy. I must say that I am disappointed and dismayed at what is happening today. The schools are charging 3 times the price for less instruction from incompetent instructors, and putting out MTs like water. Now that the FSMTB has watered down their MBLEx exam, everyone passes! Very few new MTs take the NCTMB or NCE because it is more expensive and much more difficult. I've had LMTs tell me that they could have passed the MBLEx without ever taking a massage therapy class, let alone any extensive anatomy/physiology class. So we have a lot of LMTs out there, but their abilities and education are highly questionable. It's like the box of chocolates: you never know what your gonna get!
And, we can thank the State Boards for watering down their tests, also. They love the MBLEx, because since more pass, they get more licensing fees. I don't even want to get into the politics and power struggles involved with boards and associations. It's all about money!
So, we have an influx of many LMTs, but the only ones who are making money is the schools and the State Boards. The massage therapists certainly aren't making a ton of money.
I have quite a turnover in my therapists. They don't want to work; they don't want to work when the clients can schedule (after 5 p.m. or Saturdays), they don't want to spend any money on hands-on classes so they can hone their skills or learn new ones...
I'm not sure what the answer is, but you are right! Where are all the professional LMTs who should be screaming at the tops of their lungs to make a difference? Chances are, they are afraid of the powers that be, and don't want to stir up the waters. The more mediocre LMTs, the less other medical professionals respect us. I don't blame them!
Well, I've said my piece. I wish I could say that I feel better. But, I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who sees! Keep writing your articles about the truth! Sometimes it is painful, but needs to be said.
Tina Elwood, LMT, NCTMB
Misrepresentation of MTBOK
In his July 2010 column, Ralph Stephens misrepresents the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK). He says, "[The MTBOK] has become an instrument to effectively suppress clinical massage." Excuse me? Since he doesn't give the reasons why he believes that, where do I even begin to clear up his confusion? I'll simply give a counterexample: me. My practice is primarily clinical massage, everything I do is in the scope defined by the MTBOK, and my clients get spectacular results. So his claim is clearly false.
He states that, "Any therapeutic scope of practice that is left in our massage laws is being defined out of our scope by MTBOK," and, "The less we can do, the less valuable we will become in the health care system of the future." To think that defining our massage therapy scope of practice will limit what we can do in our practice is a common misconception, one that would have been clarified for Mr. Stephens if he had attended the MTBOK webinar on June 23. (Find the recording here: http://www.mtbok.org/mtbok_project_webinar.html. I highly recommend it.) In fact, you are free to combine massage therapy with other types of treatment, provided you have the training and skill to do so. So you're free to incorporate aromatherapy into your practice, or herbology, or selling fish for that matter. As long as we're clear that selling fish is not massage therapy.
He says, "'Evidence-based massage' ... will support orthodoxy, stifle innovation, and force providers to treat conditions, not people." To the contrary, the MTBOK expects massage therapists to "develop an inquiring mind and question current massage therapy practice," and encourages them to "participate in massage therapy and/or related research," so that we all contribute to an advancing body of knowledge. Which raises the question: Did Mr. Stephens even read the document?
I totally agree with him that the public needs "skilled, specific, therapeutic touch from well-trained professionals." The MTBOK is a giant step forward in raising the standards of our profession. If enough of us get behind it, it can have a major influence on massage therapy training, licensure, regulations, portability across state lines, professionalism, and acceptance by the medical community -- to the benefit of us and those we serve.
If Mr. Stephens has any informed complaints about the MTBOK, he can participate in revising it for the next version, as it is intended to be a living, evolving document. So can any of us, and I encourage everyone to do so.
Terry Kahn, BA, CMT, NCTMB
I enjoyed reading your article in the July issue of Massage Today.
I definetely agree with you!
Louise Leguizamon, LMT
Love your article! I am the last person to be considered PC which is probably why I can't keep a teaching job. Students love me, but administrators have turned education into a lifestyle preservation venture. I have even ben told "I would rather work with someone I like than someone competent"!
I applaud your efforts,
I wrote to you about a month ago through your website regarding your article. I couldn't agree more!!! The strangling of our potential to offer true healing therapeutic work is absurd and serves no one. I have been educating the general public and corporate america in fitness and health for over 30 years as a trainer, coach, administrator, and massage therapist. I have seen a dramatic decline in the willingness to explore our craft to its true value. The fear surrounding this myopic mindset is obvious and the MTBOK just adds to it. How can I help support your stance and get massage therapy where it needs to be??
Michael Alan, LMT, CPT (1996 -2010)
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