resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
News in Brief
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) board members recently met with the Korean Customs Service, which is similar to the FDA, to discuss herbal safety and importation issues.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
Correcting Rib Dysfunction: Improve Patients' Pain, Posture and Breathing
As chiropractors, we tend to focus on the spine, and rightly so. Many problems our patients face can be corrected by manipulating the correct spinal level.
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
Advancing the "Whole Organ" Spine Model
Historically, the human spine has been organized by body region utilizing specific anatomical landmarks and transition zones.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
The Large Intestine Official
The large intestine (AKA colon) is the great eliminator, or as J.R. Worsley called it, "The Drainer of the Dregs." Dregs are defined as the remnants of liquid with its sediment left in a container, or the basest, least valuable portion of anything.
TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
Expanding Regulation in a Shrinking Profession
Trends are important to pay attention to, as they inform us about the status quo and give us a way to view what's coming down the road ahead. In the massage therapy profession, regulation by state agencies have been increasing, while industry growth has seen a plummet; a troubling scenario.
We now have 46 states and the District of Columbia with laws for massage licensure or certification. There is little consistency in regulations from one jurisdiction to the next, and regulation overall has failed to advance the profession. It requires a stretch of the imagination to see how the public has been protected by these laws, when the incidence of harm from the practice of massage therapy is so rare.
According to surveys taken by ABMP, the number of massage therapy schools and programs in the U.S. has decreased from its peak of approximately 1,600 in 2008 to under 1,000 today. We bid good riddance to some bad actors for sure, but sadly, there has also been a loss of a number of very good schools. The average number of graduates coming out of each school per year has dropped by 50 percent over the same period, and fewer people are able to pass the MBLEx to obtain licensure.
All this means is that there are fewer schools, and they producing substantially fewer graduates. At the same time, there are thousands of open positions for qualified massage therapists that cannot be filled, especially in the massage franchise sector. Yet, the franchises keep expanding their numbers of locations, even though the supply of therapists has fallen critically short. That sector may hit a hard limit, once they realize this problem can't be easily or quickly solved.
The remaining schools that have relied on Federal Student Aid to fill seats are struggling with the new Gainful Employment requirements issued by the U.S. Department of Education for direct student loans and Pell Grants. If a school's graduates have too much student loan debt and too little earnings, the institution could face sanctions or loss of Title IV eligibility.
If Federal Student Aid becomes inaccessible for massage programs, we may see a shift back to smaller schools which can operate without accreditation. Problem there is; schools without Title IV funding just can't charge as much for their programs and are limited to students who can afford to pay for all or most of massage school themselves. This will further decrease enrollment and thus the supply of therapists entering the labor pool.
Now, as we face declining enrollment in fewer schools, we are faced with the reality that the public loves and wants massage, but fewer people want to do it. In my opinion this is Karma, as many of the greedy corporations that got into the massage education game actively misrepresented a career in massage as "big, easy money ... that anyone can do ... easier than cosmetology school ... just sign here." There never were big bucks to be made as a practitioner, just the potential to make a good living doing what you loved. Massage was never "easy". Maybe it's enjoyable and very rewarding, but not easy.
Not everyone can perform professional massage and to do so requires a certain level of physical and mental fitness. While there is still a good living to be made, (especially in the private practice, medical-oriented model), most "jobs" in the profession pay $12-$17/hour and require performing more treatments than most therapists can sustainably do each week. The word is out on this and the big lie is coming back to haunt us. A contracting profession is not a healthy profession.
It's Titanic time, yet our stakeholder organizations continue to serve high tea on the pool deck. State Boards (with the support or tacit inaction of our membership associations) are passing ever more restrictive regulations, making renewal and portability for therapists and educators more burdensome and expensive every year. It's all done under the banner of "public protection," but in reality, they are restricting the public from receiving quality massage. This is no way to attract new people to a profession (or even a trade).
AMTA, which self-righteously promotes itself as a member-driven association, no longer allows direct member input to select its board of directors. Instead, a hand-picked committee selects a slate of candidates and asks the members to approve or reject the slate without providing any meaningful information about the candidates, such as their qualifications or vision for the profession. This is an election process that would put a smile on Vladimir Putin's face. It is an embarrassment to long-time members— but we'll die off or retire relatively soon. You may, too, if the trends continue.
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards has also lost its member decision-making authority. Its by-laws and procedures have been manipulated to take away the input of member boards, and FSMTB's executive director has been calling the shots for some time ,at this now-powerful organization.
Talk about conflict of interest! FSMTB has refused to negotiate in good faith with the other stakeholders. It is trying to take over control of massage continuing education and to become the primary provider of such. Its Model Practice Act would restrict our scope of practice to non-specific relaxation massage and further stifle portability. The organization has advised its member boards to disregard input from associations and licensees because those groups have too much self-interest. How arrogant can they get? FSMTB has gone rogue and must be brought to accountability.
Never has the public gone to a state legislature demanding a profession be licensed. It is always the profession that goes to the legislature begging to be granted a monopoly. It is the profession that created the massage licensing boards and ultimately the FSMTB. I can assure you the legislatures in most states (not to mention the allopathic disciplines,) would welcome a movement to end licensing for massage.
The regulatory schemes we have put into place have backfired and are contributing to the decline of our profession. If it is not changed soon and significantly, massage therapy faces another "Dark Age." The next several columns will go into more depth as to how this occurred. They will also provide you with some valuable wellness information and therapy tips.