resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
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
Where Did All the Graduates Go?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
A very strange thing is happening in our profession. It has been going on for some time. The numbers are frightening and hardly anyone talks about them. Do you know that massage therapists are disappearing at an alarming, almost inexplicable rate? What, pray tell, is happening to all of them?
It is absolutely amazing how many massage schools there are "out there" and how many people graduate from them. Yet, the total size of our profession has not grown anywhere near the rate it "should" have. It seems we have an incredible percentage of our graduates dropping out of the field and fairly soon after graduation.
The following statistics are courtesy of ABMP. They have been conducting very thorough surveys since 1988 to track the profession and provide it with improved services and products. Here is what they found in their bi-annual surveys to determine the total number of practicing therapists/practitioners in our profession.
1998 = 139,390
In 14 years, there has been a net gain of 181,610 massage therapists. That is an impressive number. The massage profession is growing, on average, 12,972 per year. Hip hip hurray!
But wait, for the same 14-year period, according to ABMP's bi-annual school universe survey, massage schools handed diplomas to 748,752 individuals. That is a yearly average of 53,482 diplomas. What happened to the other 40,510 each year? Where did they go? How could there be such a huge drop out rate, almost 75%? I am shocked.
This is a significant indictment of a large portion of our education sector that seems to be fleecing people who, after their school experience, either run away or are unable to find career opportunity. I know that not all people who go through a massage school program intend to practice professionally. I went to school with some people who were in the program for personal growth, their own health, or to just practice massage on their family. However, that was less than 10%. Not a statistically valid number, I am sure, but let's just say 10% never intend to practice.
Some become so excited about healthcare that they immediately or eventually go on to other fields like physical therapy, nursing, chiropractic, etc. I just had a pre-PT graduate in a seminar who is taking a break from college and attending massage school, but who intends to get her PT degree and incorporate lots of soft tissue care into her PT practice. I know of MD's who have gone through massage programs to learn about this alternative therapy to better utilize it or prescribe it. This sector might be another 10%. Together this explains about 8,100 out of 40,510 each year on average for 14 years. That's still 32,410 MIA's. Does anybody wonder or care what happened to them?
I have asked colleagues what they attribute the high drop out rate to and many opinions are given, most based around inadequate training in what it takes to develop and maintain a practice. Opinions are abundant, excuses plentiful, but it is difficult to explain a 75% dropout rate without casting suspicion on unscrupulous recruitment.
In my opinion, we have a moral crisis. It mostly goes back to the "Seven Deadly Sins of Massage Education" I listed in the August 2012 issue, coupled with two additional factors. We have recruited people into the profession promising easy work and high pay. Both lies. Not everyone and not just anyone can do this work, yet everyone is told, "sure you can." One student was told by her high school counselor, "go to massage school, its easier than cosmetology." The example set for most students, in way too many schools, is dishonesty. Dishonesty occurs from copyright violations in teaching materials, to instructors who are unskilled in the teaching process and sometimes in the work, or worse sexual predators, to false promises of "at your convenience employment for big bucks," to exploiting students in school clinics. Most programs' graduates are inadequately trained in technique, self-care, and business/marketing skills, while given unrealistic expectations. When reality hits, they fail, get injured or run away.
Those 32,000 people a year are a cash cow for schools. I am not against profit or success. Massage is great knowledge for people to have and will probably positively impact their lives and the lives of their family and friends, whether they practice professionally or not. So, the question becomes, is this a problem for concern, or just a statically interesting phenomena? Are these 32,000 people each year happy with their outcome? If so, fine. But if not, we have a real problem that needs to be addressed, and soon.
At one time, massage was rated as the profession with the highest job satisfaction score. Yet, we lose 32,000 people a year. Are we still satisfied? Are we content with this failure rate? Should all schools be required to survey their graduates after two or three years and find out if they are doing massage, and if not, why? Are prospective students being advised of this dropout rate? Should they be?
Best Laid Plans
A year ago I announced my intended retirement and a "Farewell Tour." The best laid plans. Then I met with the Social Security Administration and the IRS. Always do that before planning retirement – they are very much involved. Seems I dare not retire until I am 66, my new "full retirement" age, or the IRS will take about 50% of what I make over social security and there is no way I am going to submit to that. The "Farewell Tour" is temporarily cancelled and I am gearing up for another two years on the road. I will be presenting my medical massage certification series one more year and adding a new series of seminars – Neural-Reset Therapy (NRT). I look forward to sharing as much as I can with as many as possible in the next two years so that when I do retire, I can go anywhere and get a great massage!
Send the Bums Home
The elections are upon us. As usual, I am against the Ruling Class (incumbents) and urge you to send them home. The Ruling Class is the problem, not the 1%. In three election cycles, we could have this mess cleaned up if everyone voted against every incumbent. If you really think about it, you'll do it!
It's That Time Again
Most faiths have a holiday during this time. There is a reason for this season besides shopping and gift certificates. Make it a joyous time for those around you.
I want to thank Massage Today for another year of ink and all of you who read this column. Think more next year, and join in to help bring the massage profession up to its potential, for the sake of suffering humanity. If the world doesn't end in December, I look forward to seeing you next year, here and out there at seminars or wherever we are destined to meet.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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