resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
The Role of CE for Massage Therapists
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
A couple of states and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) are questioning the need for continuing education (CE) for massage therapists. The repercussions of removing CE will affect the massage therapy profession and ultimately the quality of care for clients in those states who implement the policy. Professionals interested in the advancement of the profession should be paying close attention to this debate.
Unlike other healthcare fields such as physical therapy or occupational therapy, massage therapy is actually two primary "tracks." The first track is geared towards the use of massage as a personal care service, with a focus of general relaxation and wellness enhancement. While massage performed for personal care can enhance health, the focus of this track is not the use of massage as a specific treatment. The second track is the use of massage as a healthcare modality. Massage therapists using massage as a healthcare modality address pain and injury complaints, from the mild to the severe, or other issues of compromised health for an individual.
There currently exist no state licensure credentials that distinguish personal care massage therapists from those using massage as a healthcare modality.
Public safety is the primary issue when evaluating the need for CE. Sometimes the public safety concern is conflated to issues of hygiene or ethics only. However, massage as a pain or injury intervention and treatment modality is anything but benign. When performed inappropriately or for a medical condition where it should not be used, there is clearly the potential for harm to the client. Those working with massage in this capacity must be familiar with the contraindications, assessment and treatment protocols, as well as the cognitive components (anatomy, biomechanics, condition specifics, etc) that function to inform the therapist's work with their clients. In addition to the number of other skills that contribute to quality care such as client relations, care and clinical experience.
Right now, for the massage profession, it is inappropriate to remove provisions for maintaining licensure that require advancing the education and training of therapists beyond the entry level. While CE is genuinely debatable for massage therapists working exclusively within the personal care track, it is not for those applying massage as a treatment modality for specific healthcare needs. Without a method for discriminating between the two tracks, CE requirements need to be maintained for the entire massage profession.
Why CE Must Remain a Requirement
There are many good arguments in favor of continuing education in the massage profession. Below are the primary points that frame the importance of the issue.
First, CE fills in training gaps in basic education. The minimum requirement for licensure in many states is 500 hours of training. Even in a top-notch 500 hour program, this is nowhere near enough time to prepare an individual for the complexities of clinical practice that are required for advanced therapeutic massage treatment. While many schools are increasing their requirements and trying to prepare their students for the higher expectations of today's clients, there is no standardization in curricula to meet this particular goal and no state licensures specifically for this type of work.
Second, CE develops clinical competence. It is through the gradual and continual efforts to develop clinical competence that a massage therapist develops their professional skills to a level sufficient to treat clients with musculoskeletal conditions. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has noted that clinical competence is not the achievement of a static set of skills. Rather, competence is something developed over time as an individual continually invests in their own self-improvement. The ACGME has described six core competencies that should be developed by medical professionals, which are a very good model for skills a massage therapist in the healthcare environment should aspire to as well. They include: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, professionalism, interpersonal and communication skills and systems-based practice.1
Thirdly, CE protects the public. With few exceptions, massage therapists today seek to boost their clientele and practice by taking advantage of the demand for therapeutic massage. If CE is not mandatory, many will not choose any training above and beyond their entry-level training. This is simply not adequate for the many complex clinical decisions faced in addressing compromised health conditions. It is through mandatory CE that massage therapists address their knowledge and skill gap so they can practice in a manner that is competent, effective and safe to the public. Continuing education is the graduate program in the massage therapy field.
Currently, the massage profession by default is set up with a built-in reliance on CE. As the massage profession develops and its healthcare track matures, perhaps it will seek accrediting evaluation criteria that emphasize its role as a therapeutic treatment (similar to the programmatic accrediting criteria for physical therapy and occupational therapy).
With standardized curricula, assessments and accreditation criteria aimed at producing massage therapists equipped for the therapeutic roles they eventually choose, perhaps then we can debate the need for mandatory continuing education. However, note that there is a strong history in every healthcare profession of continuing education requirements in order to maintain the competence level of practitioners.
Resources & Recommended Reading
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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.