resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
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."
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?
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.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.