resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
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.
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.