The Massage Pundit

The Politics of Massage

Archive for the 'Education' Category...

Filed under Education, Massage, Massage Associations

The Wizard of Oz, that is. AMTA announced a few days ago that Dr. Mehmet Oz, the undisputed king of daytime television, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s national convention, coming up in Denver in September.

Personally, I am not a fan of Dr. Oz. He touts all kinds of pseudoscience, to the point where he has admitted that his own father has asked him when he was going to quit messing around and get back to real medicine. He has been widely criticized by colleagues, who will say to the end that he is a brilliant surgeon and inventor, and wonder why he has seemingly gone off the deep end of effusively embracing, and recommending to his audience, all kinds of unproven and disputed treatments.

In just perusing his website a moment ago, I found the following juicy tidbits….first, if you’re constipated, then you need to get your root chakra unblocked. If you will just get a face reading, you’ll be much better informed about all your health problems. Communicating with the angels can help you heal. We also have Dr. Oz’s Homeopathic Starter Kit and amazing Crystal Sonic Therapy. When I typed in “psychics on show” in the search box on his website, 25 pages worth of links come up.

In all fairness to the Great and Mysterious Oz, he’s not a total flake; he has dispensed a lot of good information over the years as well; he credits the colonoscopy he got on his show with saving his life and caused a mad rush on colonoscopies. There’s no doubt he is well-educated and accomplished. He is a professor in the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He is the Director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He has authored over 400 research papers and numerous books and won numerous awards, including 5 Daytime Emmys. He has also won the Truly Terrible Television Award, given by the Independent Investigations Group, for “for extraordinary contributions to America’s scientific illiteracy and pervasive fear mongering,” and is the only person to win the Pigasus Award two times from the James Randi Educational Foundation for promoting “nonsense” and “quack medical practices.” READ MORE…

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Filed under Education, General, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

I spent most of my spare time during the past week reading the Final Report and the Entry-Level Education Blueprint of the ELAP. Again, I will offer my appreciation for the collaboration of the Coalition and the team that actually performed the work on this. It was a big project and obviously, people took time away from their own pursuits to participate in it.

Now that I have read the whole thing in its entirety, I have a few observations on it. I quote from the Coalition statement:

We aspire to have this report influence several profession audiences:

• the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, which can use The Core as it builds guidelines for a model practice act;

My comment on that: The press release announcing that the FSMTB was going to create a Model Practice Act first appeared on April 1, 2011. In a letter I received dated Jan.31, 2014, FSMTB Executive Director Debra Persinger stated that the Task Force is currently completing the final revisions before releasing it for public comment, so the ELAP will be a last-minute inclusion, if it does in fact get included. And, since the MBLEx is a 500-hour entry level exam, this would necessitate some major changes on that, as well.

• state licensing boards, which can use The Core in setting education requirements for licensees;

My comment on that: What is the Model Practice Act doing, if not that? It seems very possible that this is a duplication of efforts. While there are of course other things included in a practice act, one of them is spelling out the hours of required education. I don’t know any state board that goes much beyond setting the total number of required hours, and how that should be broken down in a general list of required subject matter. Not to mention changing a practice act requires legislative action.

the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, which can refer to The Core in creating teacher training standards and curricula;

My comment on that: Aha! And therein lies the clincher and the biggest issue I have with it. Since I couldn’t say it any better myself, I am going to share the comment that Rick Rosen left on my FB page: READ MORE…

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Filed under Education, General, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

The Entry-Level Analysis Project Final Report and the Entry-Level Education Blueprint were released today, and it’s a whopper…266 pages in the Report, and 527 pages in the blueprint. Obviously, I haven’t read that all this morning. I do want to take the time to express my appreciation for the collaboration among the Coalition (ABMP, AFMTE, AMTA, COMTA, FSMTB, MTF, and NCBTMB) and to Anne Williams of ABMP in particular, for spearheading the project. Both documents were co-authored by the ELAP workgroup, which included Pat Archer, Clint Chandler, Rick Garbowski, Tom Lochhaas, Jim O’Hara, Cynthia Ribeiro, and Anne Williams.

 

According to the Report, at the initial meeting of the Coalition in 2011, two pressing issues were identified: the inconsistent quality, depth, and focus of entry-level massage programs, and the lack of licensure portability from state to state.

The big recommendation is that 625 hours of education are needed just to give students the core basics that they need for entry-level competency. According to the report, currently 28 states only require 500 hours; 7 require between 570 and 600, and 10 states require more than 625 hours. In my opinion only, no matter how wonderful the Blueprint, those states that already have higher standards won’t be inclined to dumb it down for the rest. New York and Nebraska, for example, both have 1000-hour requirements….READ MORE

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Filed under Education, General, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

This is hardly the first time I’ve had gripes about the state of continuing education for massage therapists in the US. I’m not happy, and I haven’t been happy for a long time. I’m a CE provider myself, approved by the NCBTMB. That approval is accepted in many places, but there are some states that run their own CE approval processes. Sometimes, the cost and the amount of paperwork just can’t be justified to teach one class that may or may not fill. The CE environment, at least in my state of NC, is also very competitive. It seems there’s a provider on every corner here.

I’ve been distressed with the NCBTMB as an approval body for a long time, due to the total claptrap that they have approved. I also didn’t care much for the MOCC plan proposal from the FSMTB, which would have made all CE voluntary, except those classes that are about public protection, put forth by them on their website. I feel that has the potential to put a lot of good CE providers out of business.

I think it’s time to do away with two prevalent myths that have been used as the rationale for CE regulation: one, that the public is being seriously harmed by massage therapy, and two, that the current CE approval processes are able to provide quality assurance. It’s impossible to guarantee the competence of CE providers or the quality of their courses when it may not be there to begin with. Our field will never advance, and we will not be taken seriously by other health care professions if we continue to operate under these false pretenses….READ MORE

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Filed under Education, Ethics, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

From Laura Allen: I have skewered the NCBTMB in my blog several times over the years, including very recently. It has been a tradition with me for several years to interview the executives and chairs of the massage organizations as they come on board, so I am interviewing Dr. Leena Guptha. In fairness to her, I would like to state that she had only been the Chair for ten days when I went on my last and most serious rant about the organization, so I certainly do not hold her personally accountable for the things I have complained about. Here is the interview I conducted with her.

1. Dr. Guptha, please tell us about your background, work experience, and education.

Background: Daughter of a Scientist and a Philosopher, Wife of a Physician/Scientist, Mother of two Physicians, Grandmother of a two year old.

Work Experience: (Relating to Holistic Therapies and Lifelong Learning)

  1. Practicing: 23 years of manual therapy across three countries, with my primary interests in basic science, musculoskeletal alignment, ethics, research and business.
  2. Teaching: Science and Hands-On instructor at various Colleges including but not limited to Connecticut Center of Massage Therapy; University of Bridgeport; Chicago School of Massage Therapy; National University of Health Sciences; Pennsylvania Institute of Massage Therapy; Lehigh Valley College; and International College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  3. Administration: Held positions of Director of Education, Dean of Academic Affairs, Campus President in corporate schools.
  4. Research: The Ergonomics of Driving and Back Pain, teaching Research Literacy to graduate students, osteopathic dissertation supervisor.
  5. Volunteerism: NCBTMB, AMTA Chapter, AMTA National Board and the Massage Therapy Foundation.

Education; Massage Therapy (LMT), Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Naturopathic Medicine (ND), Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine (LAc), Complementary Medicine, Hypnotherapy (BCH) and Business (MBA Hons).

2. How did you first become interested in massage therapy?

When I was a child, my father had a hobby of tinkering with cars, (not that I recall any of them actually road worthy, sorry Dad), suddenly one day while under the bonnet (hood) as he lifted the battery and twisted—he suffered an acute low back pain. My three wise uncles advised painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, and six weeks rest on a wooden door.

This acute phase passed and he was back to work six weeks later. The next time it happened there was no possibility of time off.  I saw him suffer in agonizing pain. I started feeling his back to see what actually hurt and what did not. As a child this lead me to develop a rudimentary sense of palpation and soft tissue.  Then I took my first massage therapy course at age 18 and have studied many modalities since. Interestingly, my father still has not needed the spinal surgery earlier recommended by my uncles and proposed more recently by his physician.

3. What led you to volunteer for service at the NCBTMB?

Through the development of a hospital based program and my own research, I felt strongly that therapists at the hospital should be nationally certified by NCBTMB. I took the exam too, later a newsletter with Cliff Korn on the front page came to our home in Madison, CT and this led me to become a volunteer. READ MORE…

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Filed under Education, Ethics, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage, Social Media

I’ve seen some ups and downs since joining the massage profession about 15 years ago, but never, in all that time, have I been as disgusted and dismayed with one of our organizations as I am today. I feel as if I have a vested interest in all of them, so I have the right to complain—and to call on them for help.

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork was the only path to licensing in many regulated states for a lot of years. Their exams are written into the statutes of about 40 states, as is the MBLEx, which has soared in popularity as the exam of choice in the past 7 years. The exam revenue at the NCBTMB has been steadily declining ever since the MBLEx debuted. The “National Certification Exams” as they formerly existed are the same exams being used for the NESL.

It used to be that taking one exam gave you the status of being Nationally Certified and being able to use that to get your license, but that’s no longer the case. There’s no attraction there anymore. The Federation has been in a position for several years to help solve this problem by buying out the NCBTMB’s entry-level exams; they certainly have the money and the infrastructure in place, but they have apparently preferred to stand by and watch the NCBTMB die a slow painful death rather than be in collaboration. Although I have favored the idea of such a deal in the past, at this point in time I am not going to blame the FSMTB for their refusal to play ball.

The majority of regulated states also have it written into their statutes that the continuing education required for maintaining licensure must be from a provider of CE that is approved by the NCBTMB. READ MORE…

Comments (1) Posted by Laura Allen on Monday, October 28th, 2013

Filed under Education, General, Massage, Massage Associations

I arrived in Ft. Worth on Wednesday in time to attend the House of Delegates preliminary meeting, which was quite exciting. I was only an alternate this year so I did not get to participate in several spirited debates, one concerning the ACA, and another concerning delegates who arrive late for the meeting (they don’t get seated–something I am in total agreement with.) I spent the evening at the Lippincott author’s dinner, something I always look forward to. Authors and educators Ralph Stephens, Ruth Werner and her husband Curt, Pat Archer, Celia Bucci, Joe Muscolino, Diana Thompson, LWW Publisher Angus McDonald, Acquisitions Editor Jonathon Joyce, my wonderful editor Linda Francis were all present, and I’m probably forgetting someone! We dined at Reata, which served great Tex-Mex food, and the service was top notch.

Thursday morning, the opening ceremony was great. Doc Hendley was the keynote speaker. He is the founder of Wine to Water, and a fellow North Carolinian. He received a standing ovation and had some people in tears, including me. His life’s work is providing clean water to people all over the world who do without it, and it really makes you realize how much we all take for granted. President Winona Bontrager recognized long-standing members and handed out awards, including giving the President’s Award to Rick Rosen, co-owner of the Body Therapy Institute in Siler City, NC, and recognizing him for 30 years of service. Rick has contributed so much to this profession, I’ve actually written a previous blog about him. Congratulations to him for….READ MORE

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Monday, September 30th, 2013

Filed under Education, General, Massage

Champ and I attended the World Massage Festival this past week, held on the Queen Mary. This grand old boat is permanently docked in Long Beach, CA. On our last day there, we got a glimpse of the captain giving a tour to the grandchildren of the original captain of the ship. The ship itself is a beautiful historical remnant from times gone by, and we really enjoyed our stay.

Once again, the Festival itself was a blast. I look forward to attending every year! We arrived on Saturday and spent the evening at a welcome party…met up with Elaine Stillerman, who is a force of nature, and a grand lady herself. I am going to share the story that Elaine has a 14-year old son who is a special needs child. After being told that he could not be in a young children’s room at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Elaine seized the bull by the horns, and is responsible for getting the museum to establish a Sensory Room for special needs children. You can read about it here. We also visited with Pamela Mucklow, my longtime FB friend from Arkansas by way of Yorkshire, England, and her childhood friend that she went 40 years without seeing…what a great reunion….and Judi Calvert, the historian of massage and owner of the Hands On Trade Association, who has given me several lovely gifts over the years, brought me a picture of a musician from the 1930s.

Sunday I helped at the registration desk all day with some other volunteers. I got to know Linda Wilson from ItWorks, who turned out to be a heck of a singer and a major performer at our karaoke night later in the week. Sunday night we had the keynote speech from Vivian Madison Mahoney, and some great entertainment from Quentin Flagg. Quentin is a hoot. I’d fall over on stage if I tried to bounce around like he does! His show is high energy and everyone enjoyed it. Champ was up dancing with all the ladies. We also had the Industry Awards ceremony, and I was honored with the Media Award…I wasn’t expecting that and hadn’t prepared anything to say, so I basically just said “Thank you.” I do appreciate it! READ MORE….

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Filed under Education, General, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Steve Kirin, the new CEO of the NCBTMB. This is the interview I did with him. 

1. You were just appointed CEO in May, but you’ve been on board for a year and a half. What do you see as the major challenges facing the NCBTMB at this time?

·        I believe there are several key challenges.

o   I feel the primary challenge that we continue to face at NCBTMB is defining and communicating the importance of certification.  I have had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of dedicated therapists during the past year and a half, and believe the profession deserves and needs a credential that symbolizes a commitment to the highest standard of education and practice within the profession of massage therapy.

o   We have rolled out an entirely new suite of products and services over the past 18 months; ensuring that our constituents understand those products and find them valuable in advancing their own professional credentials is essential as well.

o   NCBTMB means different things—good and bad—to different people.  I am committed to defining NCBTMB in a singular way—as the organization committed to providing a pathway for those who value excellence.  Our new programs—which were rolled out and not just promised—are designed to do just that.

·        We are fortunate to not have significant directional challenges as are sometimes evident in CEO transitions.  Fortunately, Mike and I worked closely together in crafting our direction and our programs.  Our customers and those with whom we do business should expect a consistent direction from NCBTMB.

2. What kind of progress have you seen since coming into the organization?

·        “Listening to the Profession” is without question the one progressive change in philosophy that I am most proud of since joining NCBTMB.  Through the development of our social media platform, Quarterly CEO Webinar (coming soon) just to mention a few of the new initiatives, we will continue to demonstrate our desire to listen to the profession.

·        There was a great deal of market confusion between licensing and certification.  By separating our certification product, we have put real value behind the certification credential.  Further, we have had the opportunity to totally recraft every point of interaction between the profession and NCBTMB.  Now our programs not only raise the standard across the profession but give our certificants a means to differentiate themselves to their customers.  I am thrilled with this change in programs and look forward to rolling out further enhancements over the next year. READ MORE…

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Filed under Education, General, Massage, Massage Associations, Massage Legislation, Politics of Massage

I just returned from attending the fourth annual meeting of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, held this year in St. Charles, MO. I’m a founding member of this organization, and once again, it was a fabulous event. I would have to say that this was the best one in the history of the organization. Kudos to Cherie Sohnen-Moe, who has spent the last year organizing the event, along with the other board members–all volunteers, I might add. This is the kind of thing that can’t be pulled off by just one person. Many people worked behind the scenes to make it happen.

 

I arrived on Wednesday night in time to visit with Ryan Hoyme (aka the MassageNerd), Greg Hurd, Allissa Haines, and Ralph Stephens. The Embassy Suites puts on a heck of a nice free happy hour, as well as a nice breakfast, and their staff was very efficient and attentive to our group. The meeting kicked off Thursday morning, and the next two days were filled with informative keynote speakers, great classes for educators, and plenty of visiting with friends, old and new.

 

During the annual reports, President Pete Whitridge reported that the organization now has over 300 members. About half were in attendance, and the rest missed out on a great time! Treasurer Sue Bibik reported that the organization is debt-free, which is quite an accomplishment since the Alliance is less than five years old.

Whitney Lowe’s keynote, Developing the 21st Century Teacher, really hit the nail on the head with the need to utilize technology and advance our own skills as educators. He is always a dynamic speaker. I had a visit with Jan Schwartz, who along with Whitney is one of the educators behind Education Training Solutions. READ MORE…

Comments (0) Posted by Laura Allen on Sunday, July 21st, 2013