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resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
ICD-10 Is Not Scary (and Not About Billing)
In my 13 years of consulting with doctors on billing and coding matters, ICD-10 has aroused the biggest combination of misguided fear and ignorance I can remember.
Online Marketing Basics: Google Ranking, Part 1
We all know there is so much opportunity with online marketing. And, let's face it, if you don't have a presence online with a website and social media, you are probably not where you want to be.
Medicine as Metaphor
The practice of medicine is both an art and a science. We study and learn the system so that when the time comes to apply it, there is a greater possibility of successfully helping others.
Colon Health and TCM
I still remember many years ago, the loud "Yuck" from my wife at the time when we were together watching the Chinese movie "Last Emperor."
Abdominal Acupuncture for Eye Healing: The Sacred Turtle and Ba Gua Map
Our ideas about western medicine have shifted in recent decades, while the public is asking more from health care providers.
Adding Microneedling to Your Clinic for Results and Profit
Microneedling has taken the beauty world by storm over the last 10 years. Under the names dermaroller, microneedling or skin needling you will see these treatments listed in the services of nearly every fashionable beauty salon and day spa in the country.
Making Public Health a Chiropractic Priority
As highlighted in this edition's News in Brief, Rand Baird, DC, MPH, FICA, FICC, editor and occasional author of our long-running column, "Chiropractic in the American Public Health Association", was recognized by the organization recently for 40 years of membership.
Can Acupuncture Treat Knee Pain?
Recently, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that, "neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function" among older chronic knee pain patients.
Treating LBP in Golfers: Beyond Basic Assessment
The drive to master the most efficient swing demands a tremendous amount from the lower back. Maintaining stability in a flexed posture, supporting torso rotation and repetitively supporting the golf swing all put the lower back in a vulnerable position.
Melatonin: A Promising Natural Agent in the Prevention of ALS
A number of years ago, experimental studies suggested melatonin could block key steps in the development of Alzheimer's disease, primarily by acting as a brain antioxidant and inhibiting the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.
A War You Can Help Patients Win
The average American consumes approximately 60 percent of calories from sugar, flour and refined oils. A donut is a good example of a so-called "food" that represents these calorie sources.
Data: The New Frontier in Health Care
Your practice is empowered with the data you need to improve patient health, run a more efficient (read: profitable) practice, get paid in timely fashion and help show the efficacy of chiropractic on the national stage in the midst of sweeping changes in health care!
The Roots of TCM in Depression Treatment
In traditional Chinese medicine, there is historical precedent for the treatment of so-called "Shen" (Heart-Mind) disorder, or disorder/dysregulation of the spirit, which is also considered as distinct but not separate from the cognitive function of the brain.
Lower-Extremity Overuse Injuries: Primer on Causes and Corrections
From ankle sprains to stress fractures, shin splints to plantar fasciitis, the research is clear: These common overuse injuries of the lower extremities – among dozens of others – may be related to abnormal foot function in your patients.
The Art of Creating a Healing Space
I always advise my graduates to examine their group practice or treatment rooms with fresh eyes after they leave my CE workshops. I tell them, "Ask yourselves - is your space qi filled, welcoming and healing? Or is it cold and clinical?"
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 3
Dr. Nguyen Nghi (NVN) was born in Vietnam and is one of the most important scholars, writers, teachers and practitioners of modern time. Many of his theories and applications are the source of modern teachers from Europe and the United States.
The Integrative Medicine Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
The conversation is changing in the broader healthcare community with patients actually moving the discussion toward more integrative topics. Patients today want to know their options.
Technology Meets Practice: Chiropractic Every Day
About a year ago, I had an interesting conversation with a DC who made house calls. When I asked why, she was quick to explain she learns much more about her patients when she sees them at home than she could ever observe in the office.
News in Brief
Support of F4CP Continues With Latest Donations; Walter Reed Honors Dr. William Morgan; Recognizing 40 Years of Public-Health Activism; Allstate Decision Reversed.
Aetna Updates 97140 Policy
In a development the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors is calling "a resounding victory for chiropractors nationwide," Aetna Insurance Company has updated its national reimbursement policy regarding 97140 (manual therapy), reaching an agreement two years after the association filed a declaratory judgment suit in federal court against the insurer.
Exploring and Learning from the Gift of Life
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to teach cadaver dissection classes and workshops with Stephen Cina at the New England School of Acupuncture over the past seven years, first through the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Program and later as a NESA elective course.
Treat Every Patient as an Athlete
Frontal-plane movement pattern dysfunction can set the stage for musculoskeletal injury. Frontal-plane stabilization is essential during the normal activities of daily living: think single-leg stance and gait cycle.
July, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 07
It's Time to Start Bursting the Education Bubbles
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Changes are upon the education community in the U.S.A. Massage education is no exception. In the mid-1980's, we had relatively few massage schools, best guesses are around 100 total. Massage schools peaked in 2009 at about 1,600.Now, the number is down to about 1,300. We have gone from about 74,000 students enrolled in massage therapy programs in 2005, to just over 40,000 in 2013. Talk about a bubble bursting - the trend is down with only 26.2% of massage schools reporting growth in enrollment since 2010. It is still amazing how we train more than 40,000 people a year, yet our profession has only grown 181,600 therapists in the past 14 years.
Something is very wrong with our educational system to produce that degree of dropout and failure. Are we as a profession in decline? (These numbers are from the recently released ABMP biennial massage therapy school enrollment census for 2013 and previous therapist surveys. Thanks to ABMP for this incredible work and for permission to share it here.)
There is also a lawyer bubble. Law schools became huge profit centers for colleges and the number of law schools increased from 175 in the 1980's, to 201 in 2013; however, the number of law school applicants is down 38% in three years. Reasons given are interesting. Seems law school deans are less than honest about the legal profession when recruiting. Seems most law students arrive at school misguided about the nature of legal practice. There are twice the graduates as there are jobs. Anything here look familiar? Both professions need a bit more honesty in advertising and recruiting.
The higher education bubble has also burst. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the average "tuition discount rate" offered incoming freshmen last fall by private colleges and universities has reached an all-time high of 45%. At the same time, the "sticker price" tuitions at both private and public colleges increased by the smallest amount in 2012-13 than any of the last dozen years. Is higher education a worthwhile investment if it entails five, even six-figure college loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?
Educational institutions have been awash with federal cash for decades. Federal Title IV funding has driven massage school expansion and enrollment, especially in for-profit corporate and chain schools. Now Americans owe more in student loan debt than we collectively owe on credit cards. What have students been getting for the money they owe, as well as the money the Feds are paying their schools on students' behalf? More administrators and more bureaucracy. "The scariest number I've seen is that in the Cal State system between 1970 and 2008 ... the number of faculty only went up 3%, but the number of administrators went up 237%," said Sean Flynn, a Scripps Economics professor. "The entire educational system has had massive amounts of money thrown at it and most of it has gone to things that have not improved the actual educational outcomes."
If the profession of massage is going to thrive and be an active participant in the healthcare community, either allopathic/traditional, alternative or hopefully both, some serious changes must be made in our educational system and they must be things that improve educational outcomes. Otherwise, we will be in a continuous down trending decline.
We need better screening of students, more honesty in marketing and trained, professional educators in the classrooms. This must start with the adoption into state laws or rules of teacher training standards for massage school instructors, phased in of course, but as quickly as possible. We need comprehensive teacher training programs and to bring them about we need the commitment and financial support of the major membership associations.
The beginnings of such programs have been created and published by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) as the Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP). Phase One of the TESP is now published and the development of the other phases is beginning.
Educators – Get Involved
The Alliance is the only stakeholder organization in the massage/bodywork profession that represents and advocates for our educators – schools, school instructors and CE Providers. If you care about the future of massage education, you need to belong to and participate in The Alliance. There is so much to be done. It needs to be done by our own educators.
The Alliance is hosting its annual conference this month, July 18 – 20, 2013, in St, Charles, Mo. (St. Louis). It is not too late to register and attend. If you want to join and be part of the greatest "brain trust" in massage education, if you care about the future of this profession, if you care about the direction of massage education and if you want to help raise the quality and abilities of massage teachers, you need to attend. Register now at www.afmte.org and help create a "Culture of Teaching Excellence."
The Bigger Picture
Setting standards is a great first step. Next we have to develop curriculum to train teachers to teach the lineage of our profession with both heart and mind. The dirty little secret here is that we need to develop the standards to create a group of teacher trainers – a group qualified to teach teachers how to teach. So it is a three-tiered process: training trainers, who train teachers, who teach students.
It is time our massage educators become active, yes vocal, in supporting The Alliance, creating the TESP and implementing changes in our massage educational system that brings about improved educational outcomes.
Until we can consistently turn out well-trained, skilled therapists, we will never be able to deliver the full potential of massage to the public. If we want to take our rightful place in the forthcoming integrative medicine system or even be accepted by the public as a reliable therapy for relaxation (or more), we must expedite the development of teacher standards. To my fellow educators at all levels - get involved and be a part of bringing our profession to its next level. It is educators that must lead the way.
Background Checks? Just say "NO!"
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is trying to impose background checks on therapists and even on continuing education providers. Somebody over there own an interest in a background check company? The problem with continuing education in the massage profession is not that criminals have become CE providers and are perpetrating crimes on CE course attendees. It is insulting and degrading that one of our stakeholder organizations thinks so little of us. Many of us fought for years to get out from under discriminative, degrading local ordinances requiring police inspections, STD tests, chest X-rays and generally treating us like prostitutes until proven otherwise. Now our own stakeholder is throwing us back into that era. Shame on you NCBTMB. I support your Board Certification Program, but not if it requires us being treated as criminal suspects. Background checks have no place in an advanced credential for a healthcare/wellness profession.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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