Flying Into the Year of the Pig: Making Way for the Impossible
The first of the new year has passed, and some of our New Year's resolutions may have already come and gone. Fortunately, we will celebrate the Chinese New Year this month, and will welcome in the Year of the Pig.
The Medicine of Peace in a Land of Conflict
We often read about violence, despair, and political stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic. And yet there are Israelis and Palestinians working together to transform conflict into cooperation.
Quick Sacroiliac Assessment: Treating Different Types of Pain
The lower back is a generator for a number of types of pain. The lower back involves several different articulations – the lumbar spine with vertebral bodies, discs, and facets – the sacroiliac joints – and the lumbosacral junction.
Outcomes for Any Occasion
Outcome assessment tools (OATs) are a necessary part of documentation and patient care. They are used to show patient progress and help practitioners show changes as a result of their treatment interventions.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and the Science of EMFs
Movement of planet Earth's molten iron core generates a weak static geomagnetic field that varies in strength over millennia but currently ranges from 0.25 to 0.65 gauss. This is the native field in which all life has evolved.
3 Tips to Get New Patients After a Talk
One of the most effective ways to bring in new patients predictably, especially when an acupuncturist enjoys teaching, is by doing talks. It can also bring in another stream of income, beyond just seeing more patients one-on-one.
How to Reduce Metabolic Endotoxemia
Approximately 50 percent of the Western population suffers from a condition known as metabolic endotoxemia (ME). The condition is characterized by increased serum endotoxin concentration during the first five hours of the post-prandial period.
Who's the "Father of Corrective Traction" in Chiropractic?
History teaches that a Presbyterian minister, Samuel Weed, coined the name for the profession of chiropractic from the Greek cheir for "hand" and praktos for "done."
Weight Watchers Goes Wellness
Goodbye Weight Watchers, hello "WW." The company has changed its name to reflect its new WW brand not only on its website, but also on every aspect of its public expression, including every studio.
Quickie Seminar Adjustments Have No Place in Chiropractic
Recently, I observed chiropractors treating each other in the vendor area at the annual meeting of a chiropractic association. "Quickie" chiropractic adjustments and other hands-on procedures were administered without appropriate history taking, physical examination, diagnosis or informed consent.
Top Social Media Do's & Don'ts for Chiropractors
For years, health care practitioners have avoided embarking on the social media highway, primarily due to patient HIPAA privacy issues and the time needed to give the process due diligence.
Differentiating Qi Under the Needle (Part 2)
While classic sages have said a lot on this topic, I will share my own experience with the sensations under the needle with you. You, in turn, will also need to gain your own understanding of them through daily clinical observation, thinking, and practice.
Dehydration ... A Commonly Overlooked Etiology
Water covers 71 percent of the earth's surface. It's found in every living organism and is considered the "universal solvent," yet we take it for granted as the foundation for optimal health.
Power of the Talk: A Simple Way to Attract New Patients
One of the most effective ways to bring patients in predictably, especially if you enjoy teaching, is by doing talks. Talks can also bring in another stream of income beyond just seeing more patients one on one.
Case Study: Forefoot Pain
Patient presents with a history of forefoot pain. Discomfort has become worse in the past six months. He has difficulty completing his four-hour shifts as a part-time hairdresser.
ACA, ICA at Odds Over H.R. 7157
While the American Chiropractic Association recently penned an open letter – signed by not only the ACA, but also the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Clinical Compass and a number of state associations.
Pain in the Butt (Pt. 1)
Many of my patients (and probably many of yours) come in with pain and/or tenderness in the buttock region. First, I assess where the painful and/or tender spots are located and what these points represent.
Simple Screening Tests for Stroke and Other Brain Lesions
The drift test, arm rolling and finger rolling are three useful assessments in the identification of upper motor neuron dysfunction.
The Opioid Crisis Hits Home: An Acupuncturist's Inside Perspective of Addiction Treatment
My husband and I have four grown children, but we still sleep with a phone next to our night stand just in case they need us. But nothing could have prepared us for a 1 a.m.
Historic Farm Bill Provisions Legalize Hemp ... and CBD?
Until recently, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 drug per the federal Controlled Substances Act, putting it in the same class as marijuana (and heroin, by the way).
Winter Joint Health: Looking at Seasonal Influences
One of the most common clinical issues I see during the winter season is joint / muscle pain. These issues often appear due to the activities of winter sports or may appear due to seasonal influences on old chronic injuries.
The Role of TCM When Treating Mental Illnesses
Mental illness is common in the U.S., nearly 20 percent of adults live with a mental illness which vary in degree of severity—ranging from mild to moderate, to severe. It is not exaggerated to say that mental illness is an epidemic.
Know Your Clinical Flags: 5 Different Colors to Consider
In health care, the term red flag is used to describe signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of serious health conditions. These conditions generally carry an increased likelihood for serious complications, disability or even death.
An East & West Perspective on Sleep
You, your patients, and people all over the world are sleeping less. In 1979 a team led by American psychiatrist Daniel Kripke did a large-scale study of over a million people, which indicated that most people slept between 7-8 hours.
Neuroscience 101: Understanding Opioid Addiction and How Chiropractic Can Help
Opioids now account for nearly two-thirds of all overdose-related deaths in the U.S. This insidious bane is no respecter of gender, age, race or ethnicity, with nearly all categories experiencing increases.
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
Where Did All the Graduates Go?
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB
A very strange thing is happening in our profession. It has been going on for some time. The numbers are frightening and hardly anyone talks about them. Do you know that massage therapists are disappearing at an alarming, almost inexplicable rate? What, pray tell, is happening to all of them?
It is absolutely amazing how many massage schools there are "out there" and how many people graduate from them. Yet, the total size of our profession has not grown anywhere near the rate it "should" have. It seems we have an incredible percentage of our graduates dropping out of the field and fairly soon after graduation.
The following statistics are courtesy of ABMP. They have been conducting very thorough surveys since 1988 to track the profession and provide it with improved services and products. Here is what they found in their bi-annual surveys to determine the total number of practicing therapists/practitioners in our profession.
1998 = 139,390
In 14 years, there has been a net gain of 181,610 massage therapists. That is an impressive number. The massage profession is growing, on average, 12,972 per year. Hip hip hurray!
But wait, for the same 14-year period, according to ABMP's bi-annual school universe survey, massage schools handed diplomas to 748,752 individuals. That is a yearly average of 53,482 diplomas. What happened to the other 40,510 each year? Where did they go? How could there be such a huge drop out rate, almost 75%? I am shocked.
This is a significant indictment of a large portion of our education sector that seems to be fleecing people who, after their school experience, either run away or are unable to find career opportunity. I know that not all people who go through a massage school program intend to practice professionally. I went to school with some people who were in the program for personal growth, their own health, or to just practice massage on their family. However, that was less than 10%. Not a statistically valid number, I am sure, but let's just say 10% never intend to practice.
Some become so excited about healthcare that they immediately or eventually go on to other fields like physical therapy, nursing, chiropractic, etc. I just had a pre-PT graduate in a seminar who is taking a break from college and attending massage school, but who intends to get her PT degree and incorporate lots of soft tissue care into her PT practice. I know of MD's who have gone through massage programs to learn about this alternative therapy to better utilize it or prescribe it. This sector might be another 10%. Together this explains about 8,100 out of 40,510 each year on average for 14 years. That's still 32,410 MIA's. Does anybody wonder or care what happened to them?
I have asked colleagues what they attribute the high drop out rate to and many opinions are given, most based around inadequate training in what it takes to develop and maintain a practice. Opinions are abundant, excuses plentiful, but it is difficult to explain a 75% dropout rate without casting suspicion on unscrupulous recruitment.
In my opinion, we have a moral crisis. It mostly goes back to the "Seven Deadly Sins of Massage Education" I listed in the August 2012 issue, coupled with two additional factors. We have recruited people into the profession promising easy work and high pay. Both lies. Not everyone and not just anyone can do this work, yet everyone is told, "sure you can." One student was told by her high school counselor, "go to massage school, its easier than cosmetology." The example set for most students, in way too many schools, is dishonesty. Dishonesty occurs from copyright violations in teaching materials, to instructors who are unskilled in the teaching process and sometimes in the work, or worse sexual predators, to false promises of "at your convenience employment for big bucks," to exploiting students in school clinics. Most programs' graduates are inadequately trained in technique, self-care, and business/marketing skills, while given unrealistic expectations. When reality hits, they fail, get injured or run away.
Those 32,000 people a year are a cash cow for schools. I am not against profit or success. Massage is great knowledge for people to have and will probably positively impact their lives and the lives of their family and friends, whether they practice professionally or not. So, the question becomes, is this a problem for concern, or just a statically interesting phenomena? Are these 32,000 people each year happy with their outcome? If so, fine. But if not, we have a real problem that needs to be addressed, and soon.
At one time, massage was rated as the profession with the highest job satisfaction score. Yet, we lose 32,000 people a year. Are we still satisfied? Are we content with this failure rate? Should all schools be required to survey their graduates after two or three years and find out if they are doing massage, and if not, why? Are prospective students being advised of this dropout rate? Should they be?
Best Laid Plans
A year ago I announced my intended retirement and a "Farewell Tour." The best laid plans. Then I met with the Social Security Administration and the IRS. Always do that before planning retirement – they are very much involved. Seems I dare not retire until I am 66, my new "full retirement" age, or the IRS will take about 50% of what I make over social security and there is no way I am going to submit to that. The "Farewell Tour" is temporarily cancelled and I am gearing up for another two years on the road. I will be presenting my medical massage certification series one more year and adding a new series of seminars – Neural-Reset Therapy (NRT). I look forward to sharing as much as I can with as many as possible in the next two years so that when I do retire, I can go anywhere and get a great massage!
Send the Bums Home
The elections are upon us. As usual, I am against the Ruling Class (incumbents) and urge you to send them home. The Ruling Class is the problem, not the 1%. In three election cycles, we could have this mess cleaned up if everyone voted against every incumbent. If you really think about it, you'll do it!
It's That Time Again
Most faiths have a holiday during this time. There is a reason for this season besides shopping and gift certificates. Make it a joyous time for those around you.
I want to thank Massage Today for another year of ink and all of you who read this column. Think more next year, and join in to help bring the massage profession up to its potential, for the sake of suffering humanity. If the world doesn't end in December, I look forward to seeing you next year, here and out there at seminars or wherever we are destined to meet.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.
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