resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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."
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!
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
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.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do No Harm, Do Some Good
"Make a habit of two things — to help, or at least to do no harm."
It's a common misconception that physicians who take the Hippocratic Oath swear to "do no harm." Actually, they don't; this phrase appears in the context of a different work by Hippocrates where he first instructs doctors to "help." Nevertheless, the words "do no harm" have the force of truth behind them that appeals to health care practitioners, as well as to clients and patients. Of course, individuals seeking health care hope not just to avoid harm, but also to receive help with their healing. We like to think that the people to whom we entrust the health of our bodies and minds share these two basic commitments: to do no harm and to do some good. Let me share with you my own point of view about what these ideals mean in our profession.
Do No Harm
All therapeutic situations involve a power differential, with the practitioner in a position of authority. Our clients accept a certain level of vulnerability because they believe that our therapeutic work is in their best interest. While we need clients' trust in order to help them, we must take care to avoid abusing that trust in any way. Here are a few basic principles that are important for all therapists to follow.
First, know your limits. Whenever we work with clients, we have a responsibility not to disrupt their well-being or increase whatever pain and suffering they are already experiencing. One way to help guarantee this is to always stay within your scope of practice. Know the limits of your training. Be honest with your clients about what you know and what you don't know, and don't practice techniques that you are not trained to apply. This principle is incorporated in the modern Hippocratic Oath: "I will not be ashamed to say 'I know not,' nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery."
Next, establish clear boundaries. There are many different types of boundaries involved in performing hands-on therapeutic work. Among the most important are sexual boundaries. Injunctions against sexual activity with clients go all the way back to Hippocrates' time, and are still critical for us today. Sexual involvement is just one way in which the boundaries between therapist and client may get blurred. A therapist who asks their lawyer client for legal advice while they are on the table is also crossing a boundary. As the person with greater authority in the therapeutic encounter, it's our responsibility to keep our relationships with clients safe, clear and healthy.
Be usre to maintain client confidentiality. Our ethical standards affect more than how we treat our clients; they also affect how we treat information about our clients. In the course of our work, we learn a great deal of personal information about people's lives and bodies, and sharing those details inappropriately is a serious violation of trust. For many health care professionals, a breach of patient confidentiality not only violates the Hippocratic Oath, but also breaks the law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), passed in 1996, sets strict guidelines regulating the use, disclosure, and transfer of personal health information. Even if you're not required by law to be fully HIPAA-compliant (many of us who don't directly bill insurance companies are not), it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these regulations (www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/). Regardless of our legal obligations, we all have an ethical duty to respect our clients' privacy.
Don't mistake your own needs for your clients' needs. If you haven't taken care of yourself first, you may impose what you need onto others without regard to their reality. A therapist's lack of self-awareness can translate into irrelevant or even inappropriate treatment. "Do no harm" requires us to have the food, sleep, human contact and care that allow us to provide for the client's needs, not our own.
Do Some Good
For most of us, practicing massage isn't just a way to make a living. We entered this field because we want to do some good in the world and help improve people's lives. We gain satisfaction from providing our clients with relaxation, comfort, greater freedom of movement and relief from pain. Staying connected to our impulse to help people can strengthen our motivation and deepen our level of fulfillment with our work. Here are just a few suggestions of ways to reinforce that commitment.
There are many, many people in the world who would benefit from your services, but who cannot easily access or afford them. Working with senior citizens, terminally ill patients, drug-addicted infants or people living in battered-person shelters could bring you a kind of satisfaction with your work that cannot compete with money. One businessman I know started a free health club for pregnant teens with a massage clinic where many therapists volunteer.
Within your practice, look for ways to make your work more accessible. For example, you might modify your policies to maintain a sliding scale for those who cannot afford your fees, while still charging a normal rate to most of your clients.
Consider taking on a client or two for free. For many years, in addition to having a sliding scale, I would offer my services to one client each year at no charge. Doing so reminded me that I was in this work because I loved it, not just because it made me money. I was surprised to find that many people felt they could not accept my offer of free services. Whenever I found somebody who could, however, they helped me cultivate the habit of doing some good for its own sake.
While doing no harm is essential for every massage therapist, not all of us are in a position to take these further, altruistic steps. We need to take care of our own needs before we can extend help to others. When I began practicing, the last thing on my mind was giving away my services for free. But as soon as I had enough for me, I got a lot of pleasure from helping people without financial benefit to myself. I strongly believe that our identities as successful entrepreneurs and as compassionate, socially conscious human beings are not only compatible, but mutually reinforcing. Once we have what we need, we can share the excess, and the satisfaction of sharing our gifts and talents can help to sustain us in our profession for the long term.