resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
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.
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.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
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 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
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.
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Learning the Right Way to Get Started in this Business
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
So many students of massage ask me, "How do I get started?" To me, it is not how to get started, it is IF you get started. You have to start where you are with a goal and start working toward it.Most of the time, new therapists "just want to help people" and because of the lack of emphasis placed on entrepreneurism and self-promotion in massage school curriculums, they are at a loss as to how to reach the people they desire to help. Often, instructors in massage schools are teaching because they could not create a successful practice for themselves. Another common path to teaching is they destroyed themselves physically using poor body mechanics and now are teaching those to their students.
We handicap our students with unqualified "educators." We shouldn't be surprised at the outcomes. We so desperately need instructor standards but that gets in the way of several different cash flows, so the focus is on hours.
To students of lousy massage schools – it is now up to you to acquire the skills you are lacking on your own. Keep the faith and keep focused on your desires and goals. Find the resources, magazines, DVDs, continuing education programs, the Internet, etc., and get the skills you need to market yourself and your services.
An Aquarian Paradigm
When I came into the massage profession, way back in the last century, the paradigm was (as one of my favorite instructors called it) "Piscean." It was from the Age of Suffering. The "no pain-no gain," philosophy applied to massage as well as to athletics. This was somewhat understandable for the more dense bodies of the time, when everything required more physical effort. Cars required strength to drive. Keyboards of the day, called typewriters (or pianos), required strength to push the keys down. Vacuum cleaners were very heavy and not self-propelled. People needed to endure the therapy to get better. One had to suffer for one's mistakes. While we are still tied to the Laws of Cause and Effect today, people are less dense physically. We now have more mental-emotional stress on our systems and fewer physically exertive requirements. (This is why we now have to "work-out" to stay fit, as opposed to a couple generations ago that "physically worked" and thus were fit.) However, about that same time, a more "Aquarian" paradigm was arising. This was lighter, softer, more energetic ways of changing the body and relieving pain. Some systems were grounded in the physical sciences of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. Others were more esoteric, subtle, or energetic.
As we learn more about the body, we have come to realize that pain-causing therapies are not as productive as once thought. Pain activates the nociceptors and causes contraction, not relaxation. We have learned that stimulating the mechano-receptors, adequately but not excessively, will cause the most "relaxation" of muscles. While "deep tissue massage", which has become massage sold by the pound - usually ineptly applied - will satisfy some patients' masochistic needs emotionally, it is far from the best way to relax either muscle tissue or the nervous system. In addition, such therapies are physically demanding on the therapists and sadly many skilled therapists are forced to give up massage after a few years due to massage related injuries of thumbs, fingers wrists, shoulders, backs, etc. While many of these injuries are directly related to poor body-mechanics training in massage schools, many people who are drawn to the profession just do not have the physical capacity to perform strenuous, repetitive techniques. It is so sad to see therapists who have worked so hard to learn great techniques and built up a successful practice, then have to give up the work they love due to occupational injury.
Throughout my 28 year career, I have performed and taught many very physical forms of massage and my students have done very well with them because I was blessed to have been taught good body-mechanics at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics and passed them along to my students. However, even with the finest of body-mechanics, repetitive activity can take its toll.
I have always appreciated the "physicalness" of massage. But I have felt and taught for some time that what we are doing is really just a game of stimulus-response with the nervous system. Muscles are very good soldiers. They do exactly what they are told to do by the nervous system. They can contract or relax and they do so very precisely on command. You cannot beat a muscle into relaxation, try as some might. Even if you can, and some believe you can - okay fine - but why put the patient and yourself through that unnecessarily when all you have to do is give a gentle, quick stimulus to the mechano-receptors and let them cue the nervous system to relax a particular muscle?
Actually, the body does this every time we move. It is called reciprocal inhibition. Sherrington's Second Law says that when a muscle is contracted, its antagonist is inhibited (relaxed). Now, this inhibition only lasts for the moments of movement, but why can't this mechanism be utilized in a way that does last and in fact "resets" muscle tonus to "normal" or "default" levels? Many therapists have asked this question and some have experimented with ways to accomplish it. However, their methods were sadly lacking, inconsistent, unpredictable, incomplete and short lived.
Finally, someone who happens to be a good friend and colleague, has taken the time to do the research and put in the thousands of hours of clinical time to perfect a system to accomplish the desired results. His name is Lawrence Woods and he calls this system Neural Reset Therapy® (NRT). As I mentioned in my last column, this is the biggest advance in massage technique I have found in my 28 years as a therapist. It is the equivalent of the impact St. John Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) had on my practice and the profession in the late 1980's. It is a game changer.
Imagine having a patient contract a particular muscle against a simulative resistance for a few seconds, resulting in the "resetting" of the tonus of a target muscle. Imagine being able to relax a muscle by stimulating the same muscle on the opposite side of the body, thus not having to press into or stretch the tight or painful muscle at all! Imagine that you can accomplish this with large movements, without much strength, no holding tender points or deep stripping through tissues, straining your thumbs. The patient gets almost instant pain relief without experiencing any pain during the process. This is NRT (www.neuralreset.net) in action. It has completely changed my way of addressing soft tissue, has taken virtually all the load and strain off my body and brought about relief from a variety of problems from athletic injuries to neurological disorders for my clients.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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