resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Spinal-Cord Injuries: Saying No to Steroids
With steroids, epidural and otherwise, in the news lately for their overuse when treating back pain (and their danger when tainted by fungal meningitis), it was high time for a policy change, and we've got one, from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
Calcium Supplements and Mortality
When the National Institutes of Health's AARP Diet and Health Study reported that men who took calcium supplements had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared those who didn't, it was the third large cohort in six months with alarming findings regarding calcium supplements.
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
Covering Chiropractic as a Profession, Not a Single Service
Recently Dynamic Chiropractic published a front-page article about various state essential health benefits and referred to Oregon and four other states not currently providing chiropractic as a covered benefit.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
The Pallof Press for Core Stability Evaluation
Many people become injured because of instability, weakness and poor neural-sequencing patterns in the core. Lack of bracing and support from the inner core cylinder during coronal and transverse movements makes the body vulnerable to compensation injuries.
In a previous column, I discussed the history and definition of evidence-based practice (EBP), and expressed concerns with how the concept has been narrowly construed by some academics and payers.
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Exercises for Back Pain: Low-Compression Training Program
This program is intended for two groups of people: 1) those who want to engage in resistance exercises for the major regions of their body without developing back pain in the process; and 2) those who already have back pain and want to do resistance exercises, but consistently re-irritate their back when trying to do so.
Business Building: What's Your Strategy?
I know some in our profession love to debate about whether or not spinal curvatures change as a result of our chiropractic adjustment, but I have a question that hits a little more close to the belt than that: Are chiropractors capable of change?
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
News in Brief
Cancer Treatment Centers of America Continues Support of Chiropractic; ACBOH Announces 2013 Practical, Written Exam Dates; PCORI Approves Funding for Research on Spinal Stenosis; Macquarie University to Cease Offering Chiropractic Program.
Repeating Bone-Density Tests
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women older than age 65 undergo bone-density testing. However, organizations in general have not stated when repeat bone-density testing should be done.
Medical Payola (Part 2)
Not only has Medtronic made billions selling expensive screws and hardware for highly controversial spine fusions, but a Senate investigation also found Medtronic felt compelled to write and edit medical journal articles attributed to outside physicians that downplayed the risks of the company's best-selling bone graft, Infuse.
Telecommuting and Technology: Ergonomic and Worker's Comp Considerations
As our world becomes more and more reliant on technology, equipment becomes more dependable and we become increasingly more comfortable with e-mail, the fax machine, the Internet and the smartphone, it is becoming easier and easier to work away from the office.
History Repeating Itself in Wisconsin?
Thirteen years ago, the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association (WCA) "agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that [the association] orchestrated a conspiracy among WCA members to increase prices for chiropractic services and to boycott third-party payers to obtain higher reimbursement rates."
Chiropractic Research: A Moral Issue
This year I've had the opportunity to go to three great chiropractic research conferences; the ACC-RAC, the Fédération Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS) Congress and the World Federation of Chiropractic Congress.
Wisconsin Exam in the Spotlight
You've passed your national boards with flying colors, including Part IV, the practical examination, at a combined cost of more than $3,000.
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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