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Massage Today
July, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 07

Stop the Music

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB

Many well meaning, concerned people are watching our profession decay from within and are sincerely trying to do something about it. I appreciate that. However, PLEASE STOP with the more hours legislation.

STOP with all legislation efforts for just a moment. Unfortunately, this column will probably not get published in time for this year's legislative season. Most state legislatures adjourn for the summer, but they'll be back, so let me explain my plea.

Our problem is not our quantity of entry-level hours. It is the quality of those hours; 600, 650, 680, 750 or 900 poorly taught hours will not make a better entry level therapist than 500 poorly taught hours, and might actually make a worse one. The longer an impressionable student is exposed to ineptness and incompetence, the less chance they probably have of rising above it. There is no verifiable basis for these numbers except for schools to get more Title IV finding. Always follow the money trail. Neither students nor the public are being protected or served by these random hour efforts.

One of the biggest complaints therapists have is lack of portability from one state to another. This is a real problem due to the total mish-mash of licensing laws successfully lobbied for by AMTA with no plan, rhyme or reason to them other than to get something, anything passed. While done with good intentions, the lack of a strong piece of model legislation and guidance from national, coupled with inexperience in legislative processes and statute language by local volunteers, has resulted in too many laws that inhibit the profession instead of enhancing it. AMTA says it supports portability, yet it has made it almost impossible. Passing more arbitrary hours standards and creating more fiefdoms of unique hours and requirements is just making a bigger mess than we already have. STOP IT!  You've made a big enough mess that is going to be very difficult to fix as it is. Sit down, back off and let the pros take this over. You mean well, but you know not what you are doing.

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards is currently working on a piece of model legislation to improve the profession and bring about a well thought-out law that all states can work toward, to bring about portability and standardization of our profession's licensure laws. PLEASE stand down and allow them the time and space to get this document created. Then use your energy, enthusiasm and resources to support them in getting it universally passed and implemented. The result will be a much more beneficial, enabling system of regulation that will actually benefit individual therapists, particularly with scope of practice and portability.

It Can Happen Here, Probably Will

People have lost access to hundreds of over the counter herbal medicines in Jolly 'Ole England recently as European regulations came into force. Sales of all herbal remedies, except for a small number of popular products for "mild" illness such as echinacea for colds and St John's Wort for depression have been banned in the European Union.

For the first time, traditional products must be licensed or prescribed by a registered herbal practitioner. The British Government, "wanted to ensure continuing access to unlicensed herbal medicines via a statutory register for practitioners to meet individual patient needs."

However, most remedies were lost as it was only open to those who could afford the licensing process, which costs between #80,000 to #120,000. At least 50 herbs, including horny goat weed (so-called natural Viagra), hawthorn berry, used for angina pain, and wild yam will no longer be allowed to be stocked in health food shops, says the British Herbal Medicine Association.

The United States has signed on to this agreement. It will happen here soon if something is not done. Still think the allopaths support alternatives? We are small potatoes compared to the loss of business herbs and supplements cost them. The medical-pharmaceutical cartel does not make any money off of healthy people. If wellness broke-out it would be an economic disaster. The goal is to keep people ignorant, confused and sick thus dependent on the medical-pharmaceutical-government cartel. Our societal ethic condones justifying human suffering in the name of profit. This must change for us to evolve. The cartel is swatting the biggest losses to their revenue first. They will come after us with the same vengeance eventually. We will either be co-opted by losing our scope through restrictive legislation, as is already happening (P.T's are currently carrying the water on this), or placed under gatekeeper control. If all you do is general, non-specific relaxation massage you probably have nothing to worry about. Just because I am paranoid does not mean they are not out to get me.

A further example of government healthcare in action happened recently, when the Detroit Police Department, at the command of Child Protective Services, unlawfully kicked down the door of a woman's home and kidnapped her 13-year-old child. Her crime? She chose to follow a doctor's recommendation to take her daughter off a pharmaceutical drug treatment prescribed for psychosis that was worsening the child's symptoms, and instead chose to use natural remedies to treat the condition. The child's condition began days after forced vaccinations. The drugs to treat the post-vaccination "psychosis" made the child's condition worse. Stop the drugs, lose your child and go to jail. Still think the United States and our healthcare system have some soft spot for alternative methods? When we impact drug sales, lookout. This impacts women the hardest. The profession of massage/bodywork is 80 percent women. What are you doing about this?  This is part of the ongoing encroachment by government agencies on the freedom of choice in healthcare. The survival of the therapeutic (clinical) side of our profession is dependent upon people having the freedom to choose their provider and methods of healthcare. Once lost, it will be very difficult to get it back. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

On A Positive Note: How To Earn More

A great business lesson is this: Generalists get paid, specialist get wealthy. The more specific and precise you work, the better your chances of a successful practice. Invest in continuing education courses that train you to predictably and consistently help people get out of pain and your practice will get busier. I have many testimonials from my students that verify this statement.

Best wishes for a great summer. Hope to see you at a seminar somewhere or back here this fall. Be well!

Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.


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