resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
FSMTB: Falling Down on the Job
In 2008, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) launched the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), which has become the most-used exam for state licensure purposes. From humble beginnings, FSMTB has overcome significant obstacles to supplant NCBTMB as the primary provider of entry-level testing for the massage therapy profession.
By 2014, more than 22,000 tests were administered annually by FSMTB, while NCBTMB's use of their National Certification Examinations for state licensure purposes declined to negligible levels. Late last year, NCBTMB finally "threw in the towel" and signed an agreement with FSMTB declaring that they would no longer remain in the entry-level testing business (in exchange for an unspecified amount of cash). This move helped to separate the functions of licensure and certification, which have been confused and misunderstood for two decades.
While FSMTB has moved from underdog to top-dog status in the massage testing world, it has fallen down in its responsibility to massage therapy schools and their graduates who must pass the MBLEx to qualify for state licensure. On July 1, 2014, FSMTB rolled out major changes to the structure of the MBLEx, and failed to properly inform the profession about it.
Here's what happened. The exam delivery system was changed to what is called Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). This is a common model in the field of psychometrics – no problem there. In adaptive testing, the difficulty of test questions changes according to whether the candidate answers correctly or incorrectly. A candidate must answer enough questions correctly at an average level of difficulty in order to achieve a passing score.
In addition, FSMTB changed the testing rules to prevent candidates from being able to go back and review their answers, or to skip questions and answer them later. Combined, these two changes threw test-takers for a loop, as they were unprepared for the radically different exam experience. Schools could not have helped out their students and graduates, because FSMTB had kept them in the dark as well.
No big deal, claimed FSMTB. The change was listed in the new version of the MBLEx Candidate Handbook (in a single paragraph on page 30), and they thought it was all that was needed. Actually, when you're controlling the gateway for professional licensure for an entire field, you have to do a much better job of informing and educating your stakeholders about changes to the exam program. Especially when going to an exam format this profession is totally unfamiliar with.
As it turned out, it was a big deal and the proof is in the numbers. Comparing the national pass rates on the MBLEx from the second half of 2014 (July 1 - December 31) after the changes were made to pass rates in the first half of 2014 (January 1 - June 30) shows significant declines. In particular, the first-time pass rate fell 9.1% from 77.4% to 68.3%. Pass rates for re-testing fell by an even-greater 16.3% from 44.4%, to just 28.1%.
The damage here is potentially huge. As a result of the changes made by FSMTB, more people will have to pay that agency to re-take the exam, and more people are unable to get licensed and pursue new careers in massage therapy. People who received Title IV federal student loans are far more likely to default if they are blocked from entry into their chosen career.
It gets worse. An increase in default rates in Title IV loans (as well as school-based private loans) could put massage schools on costly probation status with the Department of Education or could cause them to lose Title IV eligibility altogether – a death sentence in the current education landscape. A school's accreditation status could also be placed in jeopardy if licensure and placement numbers fall below those set by accreditation agencies. We are already losing lots of schools due to tighter student loan regs by the U.S. Department of Education. (Good riddance to the bad actors who were gaming the system for years.) However, FSMTB's sudden modification to the MBLEx without adequate notice or critical information about the changes is putting some of our best schools and their graduates at high risk.
An entire year has now passed since CAT was implemented, and FSMTB has still not put forth the needed educational materials to allow schools to properly prepare their students for the MBLEx. As well, we're all still waiting for FSMTB to provide an authoritative study guide for the MBLEx along with online practice examinations. Those support resources are standard-issue in every other profession with a board federation that conducts its licensing exam program. What's the problem here? We know it's not lack of money, since FSMTB is sitting on more than $5 million in cash reserves bankrolled from exam fees.
By the way, the business-savvy folks at Associated Massage & Bodywork Professionals have recently jumped into fill this void with a new subscription service called ABMP Exam Coach. While this looks to be a well-constructed test preparation website, it is no replacement for official resources developed by the exam administrator itself.
FSMTB seems to be operating from the old play book made infamous by NCBTMB. Poor customer service, lack of respect, no transparency in its decision making, and an inability to give stakeholders what they need. So, now we're stuck with even more unresponsive arrogance than before. It has become an out of the frying pan into the fire situation.
FSMTB has gotten what they wanted – to be the single-source test provider for entry-level state licensure. Now they must fulfill their obligations to the profession (students and schools alike) to guarantee that all aspects of the testing process are well understood, and that official test prep resources are provided. They need to hear from the profession – that's you if you care – at each state massage board and at the FSMTB national office: www.fsmtb.org or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.