resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
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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