If you thought the focus of the International Massage Therapy Research Conference would be just about research, you would be missing the whole picture. What the conference (and the Massage Therapy Foundation) is about is more than just the research.
It is about the few people who are standing up for the massage profession to move us forward into being accepted as health care providers.
Did you know that more and more hospitals are integrating massage into their treatment plans for all sorts of situations? Pediatric care, cancer care, pain and headache clinics and more. The Mayo Clinic even has a training program for their massage therapists to go through before they go to work in the hospital in the massage department. where they give massage post heart surgery even. It dawned on me later that the Mayo Clinic is in MN which is one of the last of the unlicensed states which I find very interesting. Why were they able to implement this in a state where massage is not even recognized as anything? It is because people like Dr. Brent Bauer (see bio on the Massage Therapy Foundation website) and Liz Dion, BCTMN, COMT are standing up for us and making this happen despite all the things holding us back as a profession like licensing.
Did you know that there is a massage therapist who has been working in the Veterans Association for over 15 years providing massage therapy for our wounded soldiers? Allison R. Mitchenson, MPH, NCBTMB is doing just that. (Allison is the author of Integrating massage therapy within the palliative care of veterans with advanced illnesses: An outcome study) How was the big question – how did she ‘sneak’ in with all the red tape required to work for the VA? They don’t even have a job description for massage therapists which is the first big hurdle and she said they were working on it.
Did you know that there are school programs designed specifically to teach you how to work in a hospital setting? Brent Jackson with Central Carolina Technical Institute has done just that.
Did you know that there are a group of massage therapists who are working on creating our Best Practices, Body of Knowledge and helping to create definitions for the massage profession on what we do? (If we can’t define ourselves – how will we tell the medical profession what it is that we do?)
Best Practices refers to the best way of doing something. We need to figure out what is the best way of doing things with the patient/client in mind.
Part of our work toward getting accepted by the medical profession is working to ‘get the camels nose under the tent and the rest will follow’ as Dr Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, exclaimed in the panel presentation on Saturday. Once the camel gets their nose under, it will open the door further for bigger things to happen. Once we get more massage therapists hands on people, there will be no stopping us. ‘Trip’ also recommends that we “Stop saying Alternative. We give permission to the establishment to ignore us.” We want to be mainstream.
“Medicine is not a science, it is empiricism founded on a network of blunders.” ~Emmet Densmore ( 1837-1911). It’s a blunder not to have massage as a routine part of American medicine.
“To get there we also have to stop trying to destroy something that you want to be a part of” according to Brent Jackson Brent Jackson, BS, LMT, LMT and academic program manager for massage therapy at Central Carolina Technical College. The CCTC program includes hospital based massage therapy. “Why don’t doctors want to refer to massage therapists? Because it is a crap shoot as to who they will get.” Our education needs to start including more information on how to work with doctors and hospitals and Brent is leading the way for more school programs. We need more training in healthcare laws and learn to keep quite and stop attacking the establishment in to start the revolution.
Oh and yes, there are many people working on the research part and No I still don’t understand research. I don’t know what all the charts and data mean most of the time. I don’t know how to analyze research even though I have taken a few classes on how to do that. I am just not interested in it and don’t get it since it seems that everyone has their own analysis.
Was the big meta-analysis study that was sponsored by AMTA/Massage Therapy Foundation and the Samulei Institute ‘good research’? The Facebook discussions on this are questioning this and I just try to stay out of it and don’t understand it and frankly don’t care anymore. Here is information on the study that I haven’t read yet…but plan to.
The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population
Full research database here.
What is important is that The Samueli institute has opened doors for the profession to Department of Defense and National Institute of Health and our relationship with them is a beginning.
That was just from the one day – Saturday- that I attended. My other duties kept be from being there on Friday and Sunday which I now wish I had attended. My overall impression is that this is the association that you want to be supporting. This is the one conference that you will want to attend if you have hope for the massage profession and want to keep moving it forward into healthcare which is one of my passions. They are doing so much more than just research. These researchers/leaders are moving us forward not only with their research but with what they are doing. They are taking a stand for the massage profession to help make it great again! The Revolution has already begun.
Yes the medical system and healthcare system are broken and dysfunctional, but massage therapy does have a place there despite that. I see massage therapy becoming the main treatment method for what ails us – pain, stress, depression, anxiety and more. This is the Association that will help make that so.
Thank you to ALL!