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News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
The Future of Functional Neurology
Functional is the hot buzzword in health care these days; witness the rising popularity of functional medicine, functional testing and yes, functional neurology.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Change is the Only Constant
The Federation of State massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), still refuses to provide necessary information and support materials on its MBLEx licensing exam to applicants and schools while sitting on a cash reserve of more than $5 million and awarding its executive director an average pay raise of 18%. (For more details on this, see my previous column in the September 2015 issue.) If that weren't bad enough, FSMTB is now considering taking over the continuing education market and requiring licensees to take their CE Hours through its own "Regulatory Education and Competence Hub – or REACH." They will be announcing the details on this program later this Fall. Stand by – Massage Today will keep you informed on the latest.
Major shake-ups have gone on in the education sector of massage of late which could have profound implications for the profession at large. With the change of Department of Education rules regarding student aid and crackdowns on unscrupulous marketing tactics by State Attorney Generals, lots of massage schools have closed suddenly. While some questionable players have been eliminated (good riddance), it comes at a time when the demand for therapists is up and the number of students in school nationally is down.
Suppose there is some Karma operating here? Too many schools marketed dishonestly, misrepresenting the realities of the profession for too long. Further, they chose to market to the lower academic and economic strata of high schools, offering "free school" via loans, unrealistic compensation for a quick and easy training, and not screening for applicants' abilities to do the work, mentally or physically. The word is out and the honest reality of our profession, which is rapidly becoming a trade, is not all that attractive: $15,000 in debt to make $12 per hour isn't very lucrative. Who should we be recruiting and what should we be promising? I don't think we can continue to lure young people with the promises of easy, big bucks and then place them as slave labor employees much longer. Our profession could face a traumatic downsizing. We are already way short of filling the demand for therapists. On the plus side, such a supply and demand difference could bring up pay scales, especially for those more accomplished therapists who invest in advanced skills through continuing education.
We will never be honest in advertising quality education until we establish standards for massage instructors. The days of Master Therapists becoming instructors are over. There just are not enough of them to staff all our schools. Further, a great mechanic does not necessarily make a good shop foreman and likewise, a great therapist does not necessarily make a good instructor. Excellent teacher standards have been developed and published by the AFMTE. This is the time to adopt and implement them.
In Steps the IRS
New rulings from the IRS have changed the guidelines to determine the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. This is going to shake up a lot of therapists' work arrangements. The new rulings make it very difficult to be an independent contractor. If that is your declared status, you'd better check with your accountant or attorney. You might not be in much trouble, but the "employer/contractor" can be in deep do-do if all, or even part, of their staff - who they thought to be working as independent contractors - are suddenly declared "employees" and the business now declared "employer." The business owner will suddenly owe however many years of back employment withholdings, workman's comp, social security, etc., plus fines and interest. Don't mess with the IRS; be sure you have your "ducks in a row." Get professional advice.
Along comes the NLRB
In a very recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the parent company of a franchise can now be considered the employer of the people working at an individual, independent franchise. This totally shakes up the franchise model. If this ruling stands (it will likely be appealed and wind up in the courts, tying it up for years, but it might not be appealed), it means that the "Mother Company" of a franchise - the "Corporate Office" - is now the employer of the staff working at each independently owned and operated franchise location. This is a huge game changer in the franchise world and it will be interesting to see the outcome. It was lobbied for by Labor Unions who hope it aids them in unionizing franchises. While it could be good for unions, it also could be the death knell to franchise operations. Franchising allows independent business people to open a brand-recognized business and operate it independently within a set of guidelines defined by the parent company. The local owner determines employment decisions, staffing, wages, etc. This ruling will take away much of the local owners ability to make staffing decisions and shift a lot of potential liability to the parent company. This will mess with the profitability of franchise operations. Of course, the smaller franchises will be harmed most. It could make franchising no longer a feasible or profitable business model.
Point being, we have lots of therapists working in franchises and lots of the public being provided massage through this business model. It will be interesting to see how this ruling will affect our profession. It appears that everyone working at a franchise will become an employee. Independent contracting for a franchise will likely be disallowed. Your employer or franchise may not stay in business. Some analysts are predicting the end of the franchise business model if this ruling is enforced and upheld in courts. Only change is constant.
Don't forget the pork. Actually the hamstrings - a little food humor there. Got your attention though, didn't it? In my work with Neural Reset Therapy (NRT), I have gained a new appreciation as to just how important the hamstring muscles are to a variety of pain syndromes. Now that I can normalize hamstring tonus and hip flexion in two or three minutes with NRT, I do so on almost every patient and find it speeds and improves the results I get for most posterior complaints. Even if you do not yet know NRT, spend some time on the hamstrings, even though they might not be the patient's area of complaint, and see if you then get improved results with the main complaint.
Happy Holidaze to everyone! Remember there is a reason for this season besides gift certificates. Try to catch some of the Spirit and share It. Thanks for reading Massage Today and my bi-monthly columns. I am so grateful for your support. See you back here in January to kick off the New Year!