resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Dealing with a Pain in the Butt
The patient came into my office with the classic antalgic stoop. She was bent over almost to ninety degrees, leaning on her husband for support and staggering to walk. She had been under supportive care for a long time, but this new pain scared her.
Six Things Every Chiropractor Should Know About Opioids
An increase in addictions and deaths due to opioids has raised significant concern and media attention. We offer this brief overview on this important public health problem for the practicing chiropractor.
The Most Important Vitamin You've Never Heard Of: K2
Imagine if one in every three patients who walked through your door was afflicted with a debilitating, yet completely preventable and treatable disease.
Letter to the Editor
On December 7, 1999, the U.S. FDA reclassified the status of acupuncture needles from class III (investigative devices subject to investigative device exemptions...) to class II (special controls).
Why We Need to Fix the Mechanoreceptors (Part 2)
The muscle spindle, a particular type of mechanoreceptor, is located deep within the muscle belly, encapsulated in fascia made up of intrafusal fibers, all within the extrafusal muscle fibers.
Acupuncture Earns BLS Unique Code
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that acupuncturists will have their own unique occupational code in the 2018 BLS Handbook. The new Standard Occupational Code (SOC) is 29-1291, will be included in the next edition of the BLS Occupational Handbook, which will be published in 2018.
The Lung Official
The Lung is known as the "Official Who Receives the Pure Chi From the Heavens." The act of breathing in, known as inspiration, brings oxygen into the body from the atmosphere. Each exhalation or expiration removes and releases carbon dioxide, a waste product of the body, into the atmosphere.
Putting POLITE Into Practice
First came the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), which eventually became PRICE (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Then in 2015, we started hearing POLICE (Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Infertility: Managing Irregular Menses
Infertility is an area where Chinese medicine is particularly helpful. In the main, in women below the age of 38 without organic disturbance, the success rate using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) should exceed 85%.
NBCE Fumbles Computerized Testing Process
Imagine being a student again, about to take one of the four tests required to become a doctor of chiropractic. You've studied almost nonstop for the past few weeks. You can feel your anxiety level rise as you sit down in front of the computer screen.
The Drug Epidemic: Are You Guilty, Too?
Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become epidemic among children in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of school-aged children diagnosed with ADHD has grown from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 11.0 percent in 2011.
HVLA Technique: Addressing Myths
In the annals of chiropractic history and literature, and in the imagination of the public, there is one manual adjusting technique that can produce a wide range of responses, both from patients and casual observers.
University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Students Make Rounds at Sisters of Notre Dame
Nuns are not stereotypical acupuncture patients, Dr. Jennifer Brett acknowledges with a laugh. But then again, acupuncture has gone mainstream, just like cappuccinos and recycling. "It's changed a lot from the '70s and '80s," said Brett.
Case Study: 2-Year-Old Suffering From Urinary Reflux
A19-month-old female child presented to my office for treatment. Her mother reported the child had been diagnosed with urinary reflux and associated urinary tract infections, recurrent bouts of otitis media and inability to sleep.
Patience vs. Patients
How long have you been in practice? I began my journey more than 20 years ago and opened my first acupuncture clinic in 2008. Just like you, I've learned a lot over the years. Recently, I sat in an interview and was asked what made me successful.
Physical Examination in an Evidence-Based World
I have always had a fascination with physical examination procedures, particularly orthopedic tests. The origin of my fascination began just after graduation when I began the chiropractic orthopedics program.
We Get Letters & Email
Our Medicare Challenges Aren't an Education Issue; Passion to Succeed: More Pivotal Than GPA?
Concerns Regarding CDC Guidelines for Pain Management
In response to the epidemic rates of opioid and heroin addiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set new guidelines for physicians regarding treatment for pain.
Acupuncture's Essential Role
Acupuncture should play a more prominent role in U.S. healthcare during and after this post-Affordable Care Act era when chronic care and population health management are key concerns for all healthcare providers.
Forward Head Carriage and the Feet: What's the Connection? (Pt. 2)
Clinical evaluation of standing posture using relatively low-tech tools has been confirmed as valid and reliable by several studies. The original device used to evaluate posture was the plumb line, which served as a reference line for the effects of gravity on body alignment.
CE Regulations Are Hurting Chiropractic
During my 35 years in the chiropractic profession, I have been forced to attend available continuing-education programs that were occasionally incredibly beneficial, but frequently not worth my time.
News in Brief
F4CP MEmbership Milestone Reached; ICA Challenging New California Vaccine Law; TCC Names New President; New Provost at UWS.
Comparing Costs of Care: DCs, MDs or PTs - Who Costs More?
In a health care era where evidence is increasingly the benchmark for insurance coverage, patient care and even cultural authority, we get plenty of it courtesy of a retrospective cost analysis spanning 10 years, more than 660,000 "covered lives" and nearly 7.5 million claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Sacroiliac Joint Fusion: Where's the Wisdom?
We should be very skeptical of the purportedly less invasive version of the already defrocked sacroiliac fusion surgery, "minimally invasive" sacroiliac joint fusion; and concerned this procedure simply represents the device manufacturer's attempt to find yet another new market.
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.