resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
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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