resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
The Large Intestine Official
The large intestine (AKA colon) is the great eliminator, or as J.R. Worsley called it, "The Drainer of the Dregs." Dregs are defined as the remnants of liquid with its sediment left in a container, or the basest, least valuable portion of anything.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
Correcting Rib Dysfunction: Improve Patients' Pain, Posture and Breathing
As chiropractors, we tend to focus on the spine, and rightly so. Many problems our patients face can be corrected by manipulating the correct spinal level.
Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
Chiropractic in Texas Is Under Attack
The profession of chiropractic faces an unprecedented challenge in Texas, an attack that is more aggressive, sustained and dangerous than anything previously seen. The medical lobby has launched a coordinated, multi-front assault.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
News in Brief
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) board members recently met with the Korean Customs Service, which is similar to the FDA, to discuss herbal safety and importation issues.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02
Electile Dysfunction: Setting a Dangerous Precedent
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
With the 2016 Presidential campaigns sucking up all available bandwidth in the media, there were two recent elections in the massage therapy field that passed under the radar that raise deep concerns about fairness, transparency and democratic process.
I'm talking here about the Board of Directors elections for the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Both elections featured dubious changes in voting procedures that were not authorized by the respective memberships of these non-profit, tax-exempt organizations. The changes have resulted in the diminishment of the voice of the members and the further concentration of power in the hands of very few people.
AMTA's annual election for its Board of Directors and Officers have not garnered much attention in recent years, with less than 3% of the 56,000 professional members voting. However, these elections have been run according to an open and fair process, with all AMTA members having equal opportunity to run for seats on the Board. A Commission on Candidacy (itself elected by the membership) was in charge of ensuring that candidates met basic qualifications in the AMTA Bylaws.
This past August, the AMTA Board changed the entire election structure, giving the President the power to select the Commission on Candidacy (COC). The COC, in turn, was empowered to select a slate of candidates from the pool of those who submitted applications, with just one candidate for each Board seat. The entire slate was presented to the membership during a two-week window in November for an "Accept" or "Reject" vote. By the way, the voting instructions gave no information on what would happen if a majority of members rejected the slate. If that wasn't bad enough, the new election structure removed the ability of AMTA members to select the association's President and Vice Presidents. The officers are now chosen by the Board of Directors, after the rubber-stamp election takes place.
AMTA's 2014 Board elections reached a new low in cronyism, as Board members were allowed (for the first time) to publicly endorse their favorite candidates. The 2015 Board election has now enshrined cronyism as the law of the land, as the entire selection process is now controlled by the association's President. And this closed-shop mentality was used effectively to screen out some highly qualified candidates who would have pushed the association in much-needed new directions. Bar the door to change, and order up another round of drinks to celebrate!
The press release sent out by AMTA on the recent election touts its success in doubling the participation – up to a whopping 6%. They claim that 87.7% of the 3,389 members voted to approve the slate. Since there were no other choices or options given, this vote cannot be given any more credence than someone hitting the "Like" button on a Facebook post.
Why does this election process and the AMTA Board even matter? Because the organization is a public trust, and it is sitting on a cash reserve of $15 million that could be used to truly advance the profession and improve the quality of services provided. As it is, much of the association's money is used for the care and feeding of itself, the professional staff, and its state chapters. AMTA is little more than a social welfare club for those who serve in "leadership" positions at the state and national levels – massage therapists who get free travel, lodging and CEU's for conferences and conventions. Fun for them on your dime.
Here's another way to look at what has happened: Imagine that the election process for your local city council was changed by the council without being put to the voters for approval. The new rules allow the mayor to choose a committee to hand-pick candidates, and only one candidate is presented to the voters for each open council seat. And once the election is complete, the council chooses a mayor from within its own group. Conflict of interest? An affront to the principles of representative democracy? You're damn right it is, and it's exactly what AMTA has committed.
Their claim to being a "member driven organization" is now a total lie. They are now driven by the President and Executive Director, supported by a 1% "Ruling Class." No dissent allowed. And yes, I am an AMTA member.
It Gets Worse
Well, it's no prettier over at FSMTB, where its leaders have gradually reduced the power and voice of the state massage regulatory agencies that constitute the membership of this important organization. Just before representatives of the state agencies gathered for their Annual Meeting last October, the process for electing members of the FSMTB Board of Directors was changed without the permission of the Member Boards. Sound familiar? In the new process, candidates (hand-picked by the Nominating Committee) were pitted against each other for specific seats, instead of all candidates running at large for the available seats on the Board. It's a mystery who decided which candidates were to run against whom. And forget about Member Boards being able to nominate candidates from the floor during the meeting – that right was taken away a few years ago.
This last-minute change to the election process did not go over well, and a number of Member Boards abstained from the vote to express their concern with an action that had been taken without their permission. The meeting was further muddied by a vote taken on a resolution introduced by the New Jersey Board to change the exam requirements for the MBLEx. The resolution was passed by the Delegate Assembly, but was later invalidated by FSMTB staff because a page was left out of the materials provided on this resolution. Why even hold these meetings, with the appearance of a representative democratic process, if it can all be changed by the whim of professional staff "behind the curtain?"
FSMTB appears to be emulating some of the worst behavior of NCBTMB when that organization was in its heyday. Over the last several years, the Federation's annual meetings have become vacation junkets ... on the beach in San Juan, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and most recently in Albuquerque for the big international Balloon Fiesta. That one ensured there was plenty of hot air to go around at the meeting.
The success of the MBLEx has taken FSMTB from poverty to poshness in just seven years. With the organization now sitting on a cash reserve of about $8 million, they should be utilizing it for the good of the profession. As I mentioned in my last column, FSMTB can't even make good on its most basic obligation to provide exam preparation materials to students and massage schools. Why should we trust them to handle continuing education approvals?
As the expression goes, "Follow the Money." In the case of these two organizations, it leads to the executive directors of AMTA and FSMTB – each of whom are making more than $300,000 per year in compensation. These individuals are the ones in real control, with the glad-handing Boards of Directors there mostly for show. The problem is that the people in these elected positions have forgotten that they have the power to hire and fire their executive directors if they are not performing up to snuff. It's time for them to wake up and find association management professionals who can bring these organizations into higher levels of service.
If you care, you must put pressure on your State Massage Board to work to reform The FSMTB. If you are an AMTA member, you should let them know how you feel, and soon. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and involvement. If you don't protect your rights and freedom, they will be taken away. And they are very hard to get back.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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