resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
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?
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
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.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
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.
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.
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.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
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.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
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.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Challenging Sacred Cows
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Some big changes are coming in the regulatory and professional development areas of our profession. While we are making these changes, it is time to have an open discussion about several "sacred cows" that tend to come along with regulation.
The first is continuing education. I am a huge believer in continuing education, especially for a profession that has such an abysmally low entry-level education standard. However, there are two ways to go about it, forced and voluntary. Which is best?
In a series of columns some years back (November 2006, January, March, and May 2007 issues of Massage Today), I explained that professional regulation of healthcare professions (licensing) hides under the mantra "to protect the public." The "safety of the public" is supposed to be the reason for licensing. This is utter nonsense and typical government-bureaucrat double-speak. Never has the public gone to the legislature demanding protection from a healthcare profession, or probably from any other profession. It is always the profession(s) going to the legislature begging for a government-granted monopoly to practice their discipline without competition. The "public safety" line justifies regulation and allows government to expand (revenue and staff) and the profession to control entry into the field while mandating professional development (cash flow). Never believe what bureaucrats and politicians say. Carefully observe what they do and its effects. There lies the truth – it's a form of outcome-based education.
The classic and most obvious example of this is the fact that medical doctors and their system, regulated by the state's medical boards, are allowed to kill more than 250,000 people a year through mistakes. This is by their own figures. That's more people killed by doctors than by guns, drunk drivers and wars combined each year. The public isn't being protected at all, the profession is. Try to discipline an MD. You have to go through the medical board. Same for all licensed healthcare providers. Regulation is really to protect the profession from the public. However, if for the sake of discussion we accept the public safety premise, is there ANY evidence out there that mandatory continuing education hours have any positive effect on public safety? The Pew Foundation did a study sometime ago and could find no evidence.
Are some people being injured by massage therapists? Of course. However, there is virtually no documentation of massage related injuries. Many experienced therapists, including this author, report anecdotally helping people recover from injuries received at the hands of other therapists. It is happening. The question becomes, is there any reason to believe that mandatory continuing education will prevent or lessen any of these injuries? If there is no documentation of injuries from massage, no documentation that continuing education would prevent injuries that might be occurring, and no documentation that continuing education protects the public, why is it mandated in our statutes?
The obvious answer is professional development. We have such a low entry level we need further training some say. But do we really "need" it? If a massage school graduate wants to function at entry level and just give nice soothing, general, non-specific massages for the length of their career, do they really "need" continuing education mandated for license renewal? If they cannot do that safely without forced CE Hours, maybe we need to raise our entry-level standard. It is time to have this discussion, factually, and make the decision based on evidence. While I am not a fan of evidence-based medicine, for decisions like this, I am a believer in no more government regulation than necessary. This is a discussion we must have and now is the time.
Why now you ask? Because the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) along with other stakeholders in our profession are about to create a new continuing education provider approval process and FSMTB is also writing a model massage law. Also, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is currently revising their continuing education provider approval process. Now is the time to review our concepts of regulation before these documents are written, as it will be very difficult to change them once implementation starts.
How much continuing education do we really need to renew a license to practice massage? Is there any public safety reason for mandatory CE Hours? Maybe mandatory CE hours should only be for true public safety issues like CPR-First Aid, abuse reporting, etc.? However, do those courses really improve public safety? Prove it!
How many LMTs have used CPR-First Aid on a patient in their practice? How many people have been "saved"? Is the time and money invested giving any return other than to the providers of the classes? Do we really need CE provider approval at all? If so, why? Virtually every provider that applies gets approved. All that is required is paperwork filled in correctly and money, so what's the point?
While we are at it, do approval processes for continuing education providers in any way protect the public? Where is the evidence one way or the other? Provider approval has become a cash cow for the NCBTMB and some state boards. More and more state boards are getting into the act. It is merely a tax. This time consuming and expensive tax gets passed along to those who take continuing education courses. Is a continuing education class any better at protecting the public or promoting professional development because some instructor or quite commonly a school administrator can fill in a bunch of paper work and submit a fee? Once approved, the worst provider and the best are equal.
Please note, I have not advocated any position on these issues. I will do that in my next column. In this article I want to stimulate your thoughts, your input and your involvement. We can talk about it here in the pages of Massage Today, and I am sure we will, but it will be best, and most influential, if you send your input to: the FSMTB ( ), ABMP ( ), AFMTE ( ), and AMTA ( ) as well as other stakeholder organizations. This is your chance to be heard, to have real input on the future of this, your profession. A stakeholders meeting is coming up soon, in October I believe. Seize the moment and let somebody know your ideas and concerns. If you don't, you have no grounds to complain later. If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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