resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
July, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 07
Ethical Considerations for Pediatric Massage
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
The practice of massage therapy is generally regulated throughout the U.S. with many states having standard guidelines and a method of licensing/registering massage therapists and practitioners.As a therapist, you must always adhere to the guidelines mandated within the area (geographic location) you are practicing. When working with pediatric populations, it is especially important to have a solid grasp of legal mandate, as well as ethical considerations due to the fact that not everyone has a clear understanding of pediatric massage therapy. Clarity and consistency will help develop a professional understanding of nurturing touch as an important part of every child's life.
Within a pediatric healthcare practice, privacy, safety and care is of the utmost importance. While these same qualities are important for all clients, children require a practice of extra special care. By learning and following a professional code of ethics, you will not only be able to better assist clients, their families and other healthcare providers through interactions, but will also ensure you are received as a professional service.
What are Ethics?
As healthcare providers, we are judged on our technical competence in our profession and the ability to build trust in others. In order to project this allure of pride and confidence in our field, we must have it within ourselves; when you practice ethically not only do you have more pride in yourself, but also your profession. Traditionally, ethics is defined as a philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; concepts of good and bad, right and wrong. Ethics encompasses our moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior, the correctness of specified conduct and the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
Is It Legal?
Understanding the legality of your actions is an important factor in the decision-making process. With child clients, we face another layer of legality due to requirements of consent from not only the pediatric client, but also their parents/guardians, and in some cases, their healthcare provider.
Is It Ethical?
Professional ethical behavior relates to your actions and being sure they are consistent with the standards established or practiced by others in the same profession. It is best to adopt a standard of ethics that serves your practice and clients well and stick to it.
Is It Fair?
This is an area that is subjective and many people have a different understanding of what they feel is fair. We base our beliefs and understanding on what we feel is fair, while another may feel differently or may have chosen to do something in another way. Always reflect on whether the decision you are making may result in harm or an arbitrary benefit. If this is the case, then it is not considered "fair." With each child and family we must practice the same care and regard to safety, boundaries and scope of practice, no matter what.
Children need clear boundaries, as do health providers. It is imperative that we understand and follow good professional and personal boundaries to establish the best care.
Within the guidelines of informed consent, a client/patient must be fully informed of the care you wish to provide so they may make an educated choice in receiving hands-on care. This is the client's legal and ethical right to direct what happens with their care plan, their body and to consent to, or refuse therapy. For children, this may involve their parents or healthcare provider's request for you to provide massage therapy. Typically, a child is not calling you to schedule an appointment, but when a child says no to any part of the massage, or wishes to have it change, this is to be respected, whether the massage is medically ordered or not.
Many children don't understand what massage is or how it might be beneficial. Having a good explanation of massage therapy in terms they understand, along with why massage might be beneficial, will help you to inform and receive an appropriate consent to begin or continue your session.
Always respect cultural, ethnic and religious beliefs of the patient and family and do not impose your own beliefs or values. "The United States is becoming increasingly culturally diverse and this trend is expected to continue throughout the 21st century. One does not have to look far to see this reality, especially in metropolitan areas. In some cities (e.g., Miami, Los Angeles) persons in business and others must be bilingual to communicate. With the increase in cultural diversity comes a responsibility for ethical thoughtfulness on how this diversity affects health care practice." (Ludwick & Silva, August 14, 2000)
Working with children in hospice and palliative care can be emotionally different than working with other pediatric patients/clients. Not only are you dealing with your own belief system, but you may be challenged with the question, "What will happen when I die?" Children of all ages may pose this question. First, recognize your beliefs may not mirror those of the child or their family, and it is not your place to "fix it" or even answer it directly. You might try using a reflective response of, "What do you think will happen?" Listen to their response with open ears and mind. Do not judge, do not place your beliefs onto them and do not try changing their mind to your beliefs. You can always respond with an answer of, "That is definitely possible," or "That sounds lovely." The reality is whatever your beliefs may be, we do not know what will happen if the child is to pass, but being present is essential for the child.
Other Situations to Consider
Navigating the waters of massage can be tricky when you are working with children. The question of who is the client may be raised during the session. While it may seem obvious, when you work with children with special healthcare needs, you are often interacting with tired and stressed parents or healthcare providers who may need a shoulder massage. It is crucial to ask yourself if this seems appropriate, should a second appointment be scheduled for the caregivers or is it ethical to provide massage for the parents when referred to work with pediatric patient?
To Drink or Not to Drink
Should I offer my client a drink of water at the end of the session? In this question, we are reflecting on a typical practice of many massage practitioners. Offering a drink of water at the end of the session is almost industry standard, but not when dealing with children. Children can have many different healthcare concerns and may not be in a position to make this decision on their own. If they are undergoing medical treatment or have a special healthcare plan, having a drink of water could be harmful. Anything taken by mouth needs to be done under proper advisement, which is not your decision to make. Accordingly, it is out of your scope to determine if water is appropriate before, during or after your hands-on session.
What if I see signs of abuse or neglect, or if my pediatric client tells me they are experiencing abuse or are feeling suicidal? These type of events need to be reported as soon as possible. By working with the public as a healthcare provider we are mandated to report these situations. Some children have no one else they can speak with, or feel comfortable to talk to, so you may be it. If you have concerns that are real and legitimate, making an anonymous call or reporting it to your supervisor in a healthcare setting is required. First, do no harm, which means you should report when you feel harm has come or will come to your client.
How do I assess appropriate boundaries if my client is not able to communicate with me? Often times, communication is largely non-verbal. Always look at your client's body language and recognize their unique engagement and disengagement cues. If you feel you are not able to read your client's cues, or if communication is difficult, than speak with the client/patient's immediate care providers to seek guidance on communication. Parents and healthcare staff communicate with the child under their care on a daily basis and it is not safe to assume that you will already know how to recognize each child's cues. Taking the time to meet them at their level and communicate with those around them is extremely important.
Is it alright for me to accept gifts from my clients or their family members? Generally speaking no, this is not acceptable. Think carefully about why you are being given the gift and how this will impact the relationship. Remember, clients and family members sometimes struggle with receiving the generous gift you are offering, but it is simply what we do as massage therapists. Children may color you a picture or card as a thank you for their massage and this is generally acceptable to receive. However, if they offer you their favorite stuffed animal, it is best for you to ask them to keep it safe until you return another time.
Working with pediatric patients and clients is rewarding and different than working with any adult population. Knowing how best to communicate, maintain boundaries and practice ethically makes all of the difference to the child, their family and their healthcare team.
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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.