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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 08
Massage Profession Growing Up
By Christy Schumacher, NCTMB
Thanks to integrative medicine and the growing inclusion of massage therapists in conventional medical and health care treatment protocols, there is a growing segment of professionals who call themselves massage therapists, but provide services and expertise that go beyond either the delivery or teaching of massage therapy.We are business consultants, entrepreneurs, authors, marketers, academics and otherwise substantial contributors to varying industries that go beyond luxury and personal services to include medicine and health care, exercise and sports, among others. With these advancements, we are able to influence the politics, economics and delivery of health care in ways that advocate on behalf of patients and expand our options as professionals.
A little over a decade ago, I began studying massage therapy, nutrition, herbology and other means of "natural" healing. By 2003, I was practicing as a licensed massage therapist and obtained my National Certification in 2005. After developing a love of massage and integrative medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, etc) I decided to design my bachelor's degree around patient advocacy and the ethics of integrative health care. However, the love I had for practicing massage therapy was striking compared to my other endeavors. Even after graduating from a great university with a self-designed degree, I chose to continue on as a massage therapist at the spa where I worked for more than two years. However, in 2008 I found myself abruptly on disability with little chance of re-entering the massage profession. I began to wonder: if one cannot physically provide massage full-time (or even part-time, in my case), how can they call themselves a massage therapist?
After recovering from a number of orthopedic surgeries, almost two years on disability and facing a faltering economy, I decided to re-enter the integrative health care field through volunteer work. It was important to me to help an organization that understood how necessary it is to expand access to massage therapy and other integrative health services to under-served and low-income populations. My time in school revealed that the overwhelming majority of consumers of massage therapy (and other complementary and alternative health care services) are people that mirror several of the following demographics: white, middle to upper-class, college-educated and female. My contention is that massage therapy can provide an extraordinary contribution to the health care system of the 21st century for all communities regardless of status. And after going through an extensive orthopedic disability, with limited to no ability to access these services through my insurance, I became overwhelmingly committed to working to advance the massage profession for all patients.
At the end of 2010, I made contact with Alternative Healing Network, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in San Diego. The organization itself has three main endeavors: free weekly clinics in under-served neighborhoods, special events such as a Healing Arts Festival and an integrative health and wellness center called Adams Avenue Integrative Health. As soon as I began volunteering, I realized how special this organization was. This was the perfect opportunity to utilize my expertise in integrative medicine and contribute to the evolution of our health care system.
Alternative Healing Network is close to reaching sustainability through its storefront wellness center, the Adams Avenue Integrative Health. Profits subsidize services on a sliding scale, allowing access to almost all income levels, but more importantly, the storefront provides the means to provide free services each week in under-served neighborhoods. In 2011, an additional monthly clinic was started to provide services to survivors of domestic violence (and the employees who work at the shelter). This system of community service through internal sustainability is quite unique; most non-profits rely primarily upon grants and donations. It was an intriguing concept and one that I saw much potential in.
As the Chief Executive Officer, I have novel ideas about how to run Adams Avenue Integrative Health and make it truly sustainable while providing a template for the future of health care. One of the first changes I made was to announce that gratuity was included in our existing prices. Obviously not an easy sell to my staff, this has proven to be an incredible means for improving access to those who would otherwise not utilize massage for regular wellness care. My reasoning behind this: when do you tip your nurse, your doctor, your physical therapist or your phlebotomist? These are respected professionals who are considered legitimate health care providers. Why should we give our patients or clients another reason to not consider us similarly? Allowing consumers/clients/patients a means to access massage without the stress of not knowing how much to pay or tip, has been a powerful incentive to sustain their patronage.
One of the most interesting facets of my time at the center, is drawing upon my expertise in patient communication, compliance and ethics. I fully credit my education and work as a massage therapist in my by ability to speak to these issues. Every massage therapist knows that when someone gets on your table, they feel apt to reveal anything and everything to you. Often times, this bumps up (or even crashes) against our scope of practice as therapists. We have all been asked questions about things that are completely beyond our scope of practice and we must learn effective ways to answer these questions. Now that my job is to manage a team of varied clinicians, it is clear that this is not unique to massage therapists. In fact, all health care providers encounter this and benefit from knowing where their scope ends and their colleague's scope begins.
Leading a team of complimentary and primary health care providers is an incredibly fulfilling way to continue a career as a massage therapist. The technical education, the professional experience and the people I meet and work with have made it all worthwhile and unspeakably fulfilling. There are many ways to call yourself a professional massage therapist and pursue your ultimate dreams of helping those around you reach and maintain health and wellness.
Christy Schumacher is a medical ethicist and massage therapist who works with integrative health care practitioners to improve access to and utilization of professional massage therapy within conventional medicine. She has a strong background in public health, evidence-based medicine and outcomes-based models of care.
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