resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
Less Time Than Required
Q: When is it appropriate to use a modifier -52? Can I use it for a timed service when I do less than the time required by the code?
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. 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.
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
Paying It Forward
The Touch of Kindness Fund for Oncology Massage
Once you aim your life toward doing what you love, how do you both make a living and serve those in need who cannot afford your services? Megan Belanger, LMT, CLT, a specialist in oncology massage and manual lymph drainage who practices in Westborough Mass., created Touch of Kindness, a monetary fund available to anyone seeking oncology massage care. She hopes to inspire more therapists to find a way to pay it forward.
Tracy Walton: Tell us how you got into the massage therapy field in the first place.
Megan Belanger: I used to be in the corporate world of book publishing for 13 years. In my last position as an acquisitions editor, it was fun and glamorous negotiating contracts and signing authors. As mergers happened and I had less face time with people, I had what I called an "early midlife crisis" and found myself asking, at the end of the day, how am I making a difference in the world?
I had been getting semi-regular massage for a long time, from different therapists, in different spas. When I asked them about their jobs, they absolutely loved them, and most of them said they had come to massage after a career change. Ultimately, I joined them! I've now been in practice for five years and can say I found the answer to my midlife crisis; at the end of each day, I know I am making a difference.
MB: During my training, my naturally light touch was seen as a weakness by some of my instructors, but I knew I didn't want to do deep work. I had earlier read about oncology massage and loved the idea of giving nurturing touch. After graduation, I immediately trained in oncology massage; it provided me with the background I needed to feel secure in my work and addressed the more emotional issues around bringing my heart and soul into my practice.
I also became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist in 2012, which was another way to work with light but effective touch. From the beginning of my private practice, I have focused on serving this population, and now about 70% of my clients have cancer or a history of cancer.
MB: I began to get a lot of calls in my practice from people going through cancer treatment, or from their families, who wanted the support of oncology massage but who were in hard financial straits. These folks struggle with huge medical bills and loss of income at the very time they most need support. My work is not covered by insurance and so these people were often simply unable to pay for treatment. I knew I had to support my own family and could not give work away for free to all the clients who were in need. But I absolutely hated, hated having to turn people away for financial reasons.
One night at home, I was sitting with my husband and expressing my frustration and despair over the situation and he told me about something he'd seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show: a pizza parlor that offers a pay-it-forward option. People can come into Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia and, in addition to buying their own pizza, they can also buy a slice for a person in need. They're given a pen and a sticky note so they can write a message and stick it to the wall. Then anyone in the community can come in, take the sticky note from the wall, present it to the cashier, and get a pre-paid piece of pizza, no questions asked. "It's a great idea," my husband said, "helping people both give and receive; is there any way you can do the same for massage?" That was the light bulb moment. Modeling the pizza shop's idea, I created the Touch of Kindness Fund as a way for people to contribute money that can be used toward a session with me by clients who have lymphedema, cancer, or a history of cancer. I was surprised at how easy it was to set up.
TW: How did you get the word out to clients?
MB: To let people know about the fund, I created a video about it. I started a Facebook page for Touch of Kindness (https://www.facebook.com/search/676904875748080/local_search?surface=tyah) and posted the video there and on my website, www.meganbelanger.com/kindness/. I made flyers and placed them on the reception desk at my office and gave them out like candy. I don't take gratuities, so I suggest to clients who might want to give me a tip that they can contribute toward Touch of Kindness instead.
TW: Have there been any changes in how the fund is used since its beginning?
MB: One interesting problem has been that I was getting donations to the fund but not very many people were taking money out. Existing clients don't seem to want to use the fund, so it's mostly new clients who use it. I get a lot of new clients through Google, and when they visit my webpage, they see Touch of Kindness on every page, with the amount currently available in the fund on display. In fact, some new full-pay clients have told me they chose my practice because they saw Touch of Kindness on my website, so it has been an unexpected marketing tool in that way.
I'm currently doing outreach to social workers, nurse practitioners, and other professionals who help people with a cancer diagnosis navigate the system. They're the ones who can tell potential clients that both massage and the Touch of Kindness fund are available to them.
TW: How are you getting the message out to other MTs who might want to start a similar fund?
MB: The Board of the Society for Oncology Massage invited me to present a poster about Touch of Kindness at their 2016 summit in Minneapolis. So, I went to the summit with my splashy pink and purple poster describing how Touch of Kindness came to be and how others could create something similar in their practices. The response was great, and I've found out through emails and calls that other therapists are doing this, and more and more people are getting massage because of it.
TW: Can you share any of the financial implications of setting up Touch of Kindness?
MB: I got advice from my accountant on all aspects of it. I set up a separate bank account for Touch of Kindness and a PayPal account that people can use to make donations. I was advised that I did not need to create a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation because we are not dealing with a large amount of money, and again, I'm copying off of the pizza shop's model. For some months now, we've maintained around $650 to $750 in the fund.
My accountant told me to designate the donated money as gift certificate income. I'm monitoring the patterns, when people donate and when people use the fund, and subsequently thinking of ways to adjust my marketing to help keep the incoming and outgoing funds even.
TW: Any other suggestions to help others pay it forward in their own practices?
MB: I am no expert, as Touch of Kindness is a new and experimental venture, and what I hope to do is encourage conversation. Let's create a community and have a conversation about how others are doing this, about what works and what doesn't. It's all about getting more massage to more people in need.