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.
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.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
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.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
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.
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.
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