resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02
Challenging Sacred Cows, Round Two
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Part I of this column in November 2011, rang a bell with many of you, mostly positive. I sincerely appreciate all the responses. I hope even more of you sent your input to the governing bodies of our profession. They need to hear the roar of the crowd in their boardrooms.
I want to clear up something before I go forward. First, an esteemed colleague and visionary of our profession wrote to me asking if I did not believe in science because of my comment, "While I am not a fan of evidence-based medicine..." Of course I believe in science. In fact, I believe Science is Golden. However, I am a seeker of truth and, quite often, science has become the seeker of political expediency. There is too much pseudo-science going on out there that's being accepted as truth. I am a huge fan of research and science. However, I do not see that evidence-based medicine and the resulting standards of care protocols have improved the health of the public. I do not believe that if we go to evidence-based massage protocols (for this you shall do that), we will serve the individual client better. It is an allopathic paradigm, based on obsolete Newtonian physics, desperately trying to protect allopath's Central Dogma. If we are going to base massage on research, it should be quantum physics-based, a new paradigm that treats the individual holistically. Sometimes I am probably too idealistic.
We have this deep longing to validate our profession through research. Yet, our profession is based on totally arbitrary standards, established out of expediency or consensus with no evidence or research to support them what so ever. Still, we defend them as if they had validity. Where did the 500-hour entry level standard come from? It was chosen in about 1985, primarily for the economic benefit of schools and to create more massage therapists faster. It was a down to a price instead of an up to a standard decision.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) institutionalized the 500-hour standard with its job task analysis. This was a classic case of "research" stacked to produce a desired outcome. The resulting certification exam degenerated into an entry-level licensing exam because that was where the money was. Yes, it was partly because it was the only "legally defensible exam" available and making it a licensing exam (forcing people to take it) generated the money to launch the organization successfully. However, it was a bastardization of the original vision, which was to elevate the profession with a meaningful certification. Instead, it set the lowest common denominator and institutionalized it.
There has been no scientific competency research to justify any of our various entry-level hour standards, 500, 650, 750, 1000 or whatever. Before we set any more standards based on arbitrary numbers of hours, we need competency-based criteria as to what is a required skill-set to provide excellent massage to the public. Work soon to be published by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) will clarify the MTBOK and map its knowledge, skills and attitudes into specific learning objectives. It is time we stopped picking our standards because some number looks or feels good. It is even more important that we stop picking hour numbers because that is how many it takes to get student aid, or maximize school efficiency or other greedy financial reasons. It is time we put the good of the massage consuming public first and focus all our efforts on serving them the best we can, with the highest quality and competency reasonably possible at entry level.
Where did 12 hours of mandated continuing education a year come from? It, too, is a dartboard number with no basis in reality. Is a day and a half a year really going to elevate anyone's skills? Is an unsafe therapist going to be made safe by 12 hours a year of forced attendance at some course or by purchasing a home-study program?
Since we so lust for research to validate what we do, how about validating our own standards with some? What proves that three hours of ethics every four years has any effect on the ethical behavior of our profession? Prove 12 hours (or however many hours) a year of mandated continuing education protects the public or brings about professional development. If you can't prove it, drop the mandate. What proves a provider approval process improves the quality of continuing education? All provider approval does is create cash flow for organizations and state regulatory boards. It does nothing to insure quality. It is another lowest common denominator process because if it is not, lawyers will tear it down. That is the society we live in. (Other times I am a realist.)
I am a continuing education provider. It is in my best economic interest to work for standards that force more people to take more continuing education. However, money is not my motivator. Providing the public with the best possible massage is. I do not think people forced to take continuing education necessarily learn a thing, practice safer, or utilize what they might learn. People should take continuing education because they want to better serve their clients, to become more successful, to grow and lots of other positive reasons.
As our various organizations attempt to improve our status by raising arbitrary standards, the new students, practitioners and providers are being "taxed" to death. As I look over the landscape of our profession, the most glaring inadequacy I see is the lack of standards and qualifications for massage instructors. While I am not a fan of following the allopathic model, in this case, I think it is time we follow the lead of nurses (and primary/secondary schools) in establishing qualification for massage educators. We need more quality in education, not necessarily more quantity. The time has come for this stage of advancement in the massage profession.
A new organization has been created and is working toward this and other improvements in massage education. It is the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. You need to support this group immediately and help bring about this important plank in the professional development of our profession – the establishment of standards and training programs for massage therapy instructors at all levels.
We need to demand our standards for educational hours and continuing education hours be based on quality, scientific, non-politically or economically influenced research instead of "dart board numbers." If we can't prove it, why do it? Here is a great job for The Massage Therapy Foundation and a good reason to support and donate to them, too.
Membership organizations should be encouraged to contribute and support these efforts, but have little or nothing to say in the process. Their primary interest is more members, which is the main reason we have the mess of regulatory incongruences and arbitrary standards we have today.
As The World Turns
Meanwhile, the FDA is posed to take away food supplements. If you value your access to supplements, check out my previous article at www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14523. We are in the economic and political mess we are in because of the Ruling Class in Washington, DC. They write the laws, not Wall Street. As we enter this election year, remember it is all the fault of incumbents. Vote against every incumbent, of either party, every election. It is our only hope of breaking the Ruling Class and restoring freedom, which brings prosperity.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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