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In the Unlikely Event of an FDA Recall ... No News Has Been Good News
East Asian herb product manufacturers have practiced impeccable diligence by complying with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and providing the practitioner community certificates of analyses that detail laboratory testing results for things like heavy metals and toxic elements.
Safety First, Protecting the Patient: A Herbal Certification Program by the NCCAOM
The acceptance of acupuncture and Oriental (East Asian) medicine in the U.S. has made tremendous strides over the last 30-plus years. AOM/TCM is no longer "alternative or complementary" medicine. Yet, as acupuncture has become more mainstream, acceptance of herbal medicine has lagged behind.
The Opioid Crisis: "Let's Roll!"
Sept. 11, 2018 will mark the 17th anniversary of the horrific terroristic attack on the U.S. Whenever I think about that day, I am reminded of the heroes on Flight 93 who took action to keep the airliner away from Washington, D.C., by making it crash into the ground near Shanksville, Pa.
A Functional Approach to Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is recognized as one of the top chronic illnesses plaguing our society today. Here are some quick statistics on the prevalence of both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes:
News in Brief
Chiropractic Takes Leap Forward in France; New ACA President Named; Sherman College Responds To "Choosing Wisely" Recommendations; R.I. DCs Speak at Medical CE Event.
The Veteran's Choice Program & Your Claims
Q: I have recently begun treating veterans under the Veteran's Choice program. I am getting paid just fine for acupuncture codes and evaluation and management services but have been denied all physical medicine codes including infra-red heat 97026, massage 97124 and manual therapy 97140.
Preparing for the Opioid Patient: The Future of the Acupuncture Profession
In the future there will be many more clients with opioid addictions in acupuncture practices. Acupuncture is being promoted as an excellent resource to help with recovery from opioid addiction.
Fixing a Major Practice Hurdle in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed Assembly Bill 834, legislation repealing the requirement that DCs wishing to practice in Wisconsin score higher on Part III and Part IV of the NBCE examination than is required in most other states.
Lancet LBP Series: Relevance to the Chiropractic Profession
The Lancet Low Back Pain Working Group consists of a team of leading international experts on back pain from different professional backgrounds and from countries around the globe. The group published a series of three papers in The Lancet on March 21, 2018, and have subsequently received significant media attention. Here is a summary of the relevant data from these three important papers.
The Pain of Chemotherapy: A Case Study
The primary reason for presenting this case study and patient is to review the pain relief response she experienced from micro-current electro-acupuncture for taxane induced neuropathy.
Standard Process Unveils Nutrition Innovation Center
The North Carolina Research Campus, a 350-acre research center in Kannapolis, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, is a research collaborative that includes university, corporate and community partners.
Renew Your Passion: The National
It's another August day in Florida with temperatures reaching almost 90 degrees. The sun is shining through the tall windows of the Hyatt Regency Orlando on all the attendees at The National by the Florida Chiropractic Association.
Corporate Chiropractic (Pt. 2): The Dark Side
In a previous DC article (May issue), I tried to make the case that the trend of corporations and franchises delivering chiropractic care might actually be positive.
Practicing Tai Chi Between the Seasons: Balancing the External and Internal Environments
Each morning for the past week, I have found myself to be a bit more tired than usual. There were nights when I went to bed a little late and nights I went to bed early, but it didn't make a difference.
The Spirit of the Points: The Pericardium Meridian (Part 2)
As indicated in part one of this series, the vast majority of our patients, regardless of the presence of physical symptoms, are also imbalanced at the levels of mind and spirit. The ancient Chinese knew that to treat the whole person, all levels must be taken into account so that complete balance and harmony can be achieved.
Leave Acupuncture to Acupuncturists
Colorado acupuncturists are desperately fighting to reverse a recent decision — the passing of HB18-1155 — that adds dry needling to physical therapists' scope of practice. You can support Colorado acupuncturists by signing their Change.org petition here.
Mineral Nutrition for Athletic Performance and Recovery
Research on sports, exercise, and mineral nutrition has been ongoing for decades. It is widely held that strenuous exercise can increase the need for minerals.
VA and Medicare Billing: Case of the Missing Modifier
Indeed, the Veterans Administration is paying directly to chiropractors for care under the VA Choice or PC3 Program. There are currently two administrators for this program: Health Net for the northeast and TriWest for the southwest (approximate geographic regions).
Text Neck: Assess and Adjust
A common presentation in a chiropractic clinical practice is the patient with neck pain and stiffness. Patients usually report limited range of motion on rotation of the head and neck.
Legos Lead to New Patients
It's time to examine a different way of envisioning the marketing and promotional flows in your office. This 10,000-foot perspective I like to call your practice's "marketing Legos." Much like the Legos we all played with as kids – now you get to sort them out in practice!
A Report From the 3rd Annual ASA Council Congress
This past March the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) was proud to hold its third annual ASA Council Congress in Denver, Colorado.
The Gut/Brain Relationship: Exploring Brain Diseases
Several thousand years ago ancient Chinese doctors stressed the importance of a healthy diet, and leading a healthy lifestyle as the primary ingredient to maintaining health.
Art of the Associateship: Success Is in the Finances
Finances are an important part of any business relationship. Money serves as the fuel for all business operations and ultimately the long-term success of owners, employees and customers. This is especially true in the world of health care.
Give Obesity the Attention It Deserves: Practice Pointers
During my earlier years in practice, I first became aware of the obesity problem in New Mexico because of an offer to star in a movie.
Low Back Rehab: Hip Mobility
The strength of chiropractic physical rehabilitation is first and foremost CMT, closely followed by our appreciation of a whole-body approach to balancing the entire kinetic chain.
K2: The Supplement for Your Anti-Aging Treatments
While aging as a whole is inevitable, some aspects of aging may actually be caused by a simple vitamin deficiency. That's right – wrinkles, stiff muscles and decreased athletic performance can all be symptoms of just one micronutrient deficiency: vitamin K2.
NIH Agenda: How Will More Drugs Help?
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins announced in April that his agency will be partnering with drug manufacturers to address the opioid and pain crisis. The project is known as the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative.
A Five-Step Plan for Marketing the Sale of Your Practice
We spend so much time and energy educating ourselves to be successful practitioners that many of us never stop to consider what comes next. What happens if you have a great practice but you need to move, are getting burned out, or are simply ready to retire and try something else?
A Model for Integrative Health in the U.S.
This past March I met Dr. Benjamin Kligler, national director for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center of the Veterans Administration (VA), at an Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus briefing, where he presented on the VA health care system.
March, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 03
Desexualizing the Touch Experience: A Proactive Approach
By Cherie Sohnen-Moe
Sexuality is a natural part of the human experience. We are born as sexual beings with a need for touch and intimacy. We require a healthy environment that supports our natural development in these areas to thrive as organisms.By definition, sex, touch and intimacy are three distinct behaviors and experiences. The fact that they overlap at times is what creates confusion.
In the September issue of Massage Today, I wrote about what to do when a client crosses the line. The focus of that article was on the specific steps to take when your boundaries are ignored. This is the first part of a two-part series where we explore the importance of desexualizing the touch experience and steps you can take to help prevent clients from crossing your boundaries.
Sexuality and the Touch Experience
The general public, clients and practitioners all share in the confusion about how massage therapy and sexuality are inter-related. The intentional misuse of language (e.g., massage as a euphemism for prostitution) has had a profound impact on the public's understanding of massage therapy. The misuse of words is not just a semantic problem; it is a personal and cultural issue about how people relate to certain parts of the body and human experience.
Unfortunately, we have been forced to spend the past three decades defending our profession and proving to the world that massage therapists are not prostitutes. One of the repercussions of this has been a dissociation with the sensual aspect of our work. Too many people attempt to ignore the elephant in the corner. This denial can lead to problems. Pretending that something doesn't exist is generally ineffective. Every client and every practitioner brings their sexual nature and background with them into the therapeutic setting. The key is to create an environment that demonstrates professionalism, sets healthy boundaries, and allows sexuality while desexualizing the touch experience.
The term desexualize is best defined by examining its opposite: sexualize. In the book, Behind Closed Doors: Gender, Sexuality & Touch in the Doctor/Patient Relationship by Angelica Redleaf, DC, she defines sexualizing as: "Making an event, procedure, conversation, or experience into something that is sexual or could be interpreted as sexual." Desexualizing, then, means ensuring that the treatment is not in any way turned into a sexual experience for either the massage therapist or the client. Keep in mind that while correct intentions and acting professionally does not guarantee the absence of inappropriate expressions of sexuality in treatment sessions, they can mitigate those expressions.
Proactive Steps to Desexualize Massage
You set the tone for professionalism by your marketing materials, how you answer the telephone, your personal appearance, your office location and ambience, treatment interactions, communications, and documentation. The first part of this series covers how to desexualize your marketing materials and to screen telephone calls--steps to take before someone becomes your client.
Marketing materials (e.g., brochures, business cards, Web site, business name, e-mail address) need to be professional and project the desired image. Use appropriate language and terminology. Avoid phrases like "full-body massage". Even words such as "release" can be taken out of context. Be sure your photos and artwork are not provocative: view pictures from all angles because sometimes images look fine from one direction, but suggestive from others. Ideally, have your picture taken by a professional photographer, but refrain from using "glamour" shots.
Now let's discuss your business name. Many massage therapists use their personal name as their company name. This is a fine option; although, if you go this route, I suggest you use your full name and include a title. For instance a business name that says "Terry Smith, LMT" sounds much more professional than "Massage by Terry." Use caution if you decide to have a separate business identity: avoid anything gimmicky or that could have a double meaning. Also, verify that your business name doesn't mean something derogatory in another language.
Set up a separate business e-mail account from your personal account. Either use your name, company name, or the type of work you do as the first part of your e-mail address. I have seen way too many examples of therapists with business e-mails like or . I'm a rock-and-roll gal who has a healing touch, but I wouldn't use either of the above examples as my business e-mail address.
Recently, I discussed this topic in a marketing class that I teach and had people critique each other's e-mail addresses. One woman's e-mail was . As soon as she said it out loud there was a lot of snickering in the room. She didn't get it; the year 1969 was very important to her. She failed to realize how the number 69 has a sexual connotation and that using that e-mail address for business could send the wrong message. Ideally, you would have a business Web site and your e-mail address would reflect that (e.g., ).
Brochures and Business Cards
The main ethical concerns are that the language and images convey professionalism (as described in the section on Marketing Materials). Before choosing images for your brochures or business cards, have other people look at them and tell you what they think they are. I've seen many photos that I've had to turn sideways or read through several paragraphs of accompanying information before I could figure out what the photo was depicting.
In addition to the cautions covered in the above section regarding professional images, you need to be careful with the links you include on your site. Besides the links no longer being active, sometimes a link that originally went to one site, all of a sudden takes you to a totally different site. This can be a purposeful act of misdirection by an outside source or I suppose something just went haywire (to use a technical term). For instance, there was a legitimate massage school that we had been dealing with for years, and one day while looking up their site, my staff noticed it linked to a porn site. We contacted the school and they were horrified! They fixed the problem, but were left uneasy not knowing how long it was linking to that site. So, in addition to periodically checking the links you list on your site, make sure that you check your own internal links.
Every time you answer the telephone, you create an impression. The question remains what that impression will be. Within the first few seconds of a conversation you convey how you feel about yourself, your practice and the caller. Just because the caller can't see you doesn't mean that s/he can't sense the attitudes you convey through the tone of your voice and the words you use.
Develop a script for how you answer your phone so that you always portray professionalism. Avoid fumbling. During an initial conversation with a potential client, you have an opportunity to gather essential information that can save a lot of time and trouble down the road. Always ask about their massage history, and briefly describe your protocol, the type of benefits they can expect, and a bit about your education, experience and/or philosophy. Know how to concisely describe what you do and your policies in a professional tone.
Handling Inappropriate Calls
Receiving inappropriate calls can be a source of immense discomfort. Unfortunately, many massage therapists still get calls from people who are ill-informed about the nature and scope of this work. Sometimes people are indirect about wanting sexual services. You can often determine inappropriate callers by their tone of voice, awkward periods of silence, calls placed late at night and if they request late-night appointments (unless it's a situation such as you are providing after-performance massage for a dance troupe). A common tip-off for massage therapists is when a caller requests "full-body massage" or the direct request for a "happy ending." Beware of callers that are reluctant to give their full names or phone numbers.
You have three main options of how to respond when someone calls requesting sexual services: you can get upset and hang up the phone; you can calmly state that you do not provide sexual services and end the call; or you can use it as an opportunity to educate the caller. Trust your instinct as to which option to choose, as it might vary with each caller.
If you receive this type of call, it works well to stay centered in your professionalism. If people want sexual services, that's their prerogative, but they don't have the right to expect it from you or any other massage therapist. Tell them that isn't what you do, give a brief description of the services you do provide, and let them know that a legitimate massage therapist does not perform that kind of work. This type of statement usually results in the caller hanging up if they are truly interested in sexual services or simply get their kicks from making the equivalent of prank phone calls.
You might want to develop an additional script for how you handle these inquiries, thus avoiding any misunderstandings or unwanted clients appearing at your doorstep.
For instance, if you feel that they might not be a true sexual predator, you could suggest they visit your Web site for more information and then if they want a non-sexual massage they can call back. This gives the callers the opportunity to learn more about massage or gracefully remove themselves from the conversation. Who knows--just because they want something you don't offer doesn't mean they might not want a legitimate massage in the future or don't have friends who want a professional massage. Remember, these are the people we really need to educate. They are the ones perpetuating the myths about massage and the entire healing arts field.
You can transform a potentially negative experience into a positive one by responding professionally and keeping perspective. Still, you must put your safety first. It's best NOT to set up an appointment with this type of caller if you are the only person in your office or do outcalls.
The information I shared in this article sets the foundation for understanding the concept of desexualizing massage and steps you can take to project a non-sexual image in your marketing materials and telephone conversations. Part two explores the steps you can take to create a safe space and desexualize the massage experience with clients. This includes topics such as personal appearance, your office location and ambience, treatment interactions, communications, and documentation. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments please contact me at www.sohnen-moe.com.
Click here for previous articles by Cherie Sohnen-Moe.
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