resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
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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