massage and bodywork professionals

a community of practitioners

Alliance Offers New Vision for National Certification

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education announces the publication of a position paper entitled, The Optimal Role of National Certification in the Massage Therapy Field. Authored by Alliance Executive Director Rick Rosen, MA. LMBT, this paper is based on perspectives gathered from the education community, conversations with leaders of other stakeholder organizations, as well as a careful analysis of the structure and function of mature professions.

The Alliance is proposing a dramatically different operational model for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). This is needed because the core components of licensure and certification in the massage therapy field have been reversed.

According to Rosen, "Now that we have licensure in most states, entry-level certification has been rendered unnecessary and redundant as a first credentialing step for those coming into the field. NCBTMB now has an excellent opportunity to upgrade and reposition its existing national certification program to a graduate-level credential. This would take the place of its forthcoming National Certification in Advanced Practice, and would provide a solid foundation for future development of a series of specialty certification programs. Certification in specialized areas of practice is a major missing component that the field of massage therapy must have to become a full-fledged profession."

The paper provides a historical perspective on how national certification for massage therapists came into existence as a voluntary credential in the early 1990's, how its use shifted when the National Certification Examination was adopted by many states as a mandatory test for licensure, and how that landscape has radically changed now that more than 80% of massage school graduates are taking the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

As the Alliance is interested in solutions that both benefit its members and advance the field as a whole, a three-step reorganization plan for NCBTMB is outlined at the end of this document. In addition to the changes recommended for the structure of certification itself, NCBTMB is being encouraged to sunset its approval program for continuing education providers – and adopt the new CE approval program being developed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards in collaboration with the Alliance. Once in place, this new single-source program will provide a unified system for the approval of both CE courses and providers.

The position paper may be downloaded from the Alliance website at: http://www.afmte.org/news

*  *  *

About the Alliance:

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is the voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators. It serves the entire education sector – from entry-level training programs through post-graduate studies. The National Headquarters of the Alliance is located at 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, Virginia 22102. The phone number is 703-506-2888, the general office email address is admin@afmte.org, and the website is http://www.afmte.org.

Tags: Alliance, Certification, Continuing, Education

Views: 49

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I have a real problem with all these proposals of even further certifications....Thats whats ruining the industry.  The average career span for a massage therapist is only six or seven years....Many therapists, if not most, end up quitting because of repetitive stress injuries.  As a matter of fact, I just massaged an X therapist today...She told me she had to quit because of carpal tunnel....When you consider the fact that the best therapy for repetitive stress injuries is massage therapy. Makes me wonder what they are teaching in these massage schools???? I asked her if she was Nationally Certified..She said she was.  The tests are getting so complicated that these schools are basically just teaching students how to pass exams...Its all getting so intellectual. Ive visited several massage school...I was even asked to teach in one school...The instructor wanted me too look over the curriculum.  I looked at it...And told her " I cant teach here" She asked why...I told her that " I dont know any of this stuff"  She said" but you are a professional massage therapist." I said " Well I guess you  dont need to know any of this stuff to be a professional massage therapist."   I mean there has to be some sort criteria or qualifications one has to go through before calling themselves a massage therapist...But if I was teaching someone how to be a professional massage therapist...The curriculum would be vastly different..Almost opposite of what I see now. And career spans would be 15, 20 years or more.  Now learning never stops.. I know that.  But its kind of like my first experience in a yoga class...The instructor had semi guru status...And you can do it right or wrong..I remember being in an uncomfortable position, and wondering if I was doing it right...As I looked around the room to see if I was.  I noticed others doing the same..Then the assistant instructor came by and corrected my posture to an even more uncomfortable position.. I was also trying to remember the correct way of breathing as we moved into different postures...It was not easy at all...I had the impression that learning to stretch was going to take years of practice...About an hour later I was sitting on a park bench  contemplating all this when I noticed a cat stretching in front of me.  It just stretched.  It wasnt worried if it was breathing wrong or if its paw  was in the wrong place, and it looked very comfortable.  The teaching of massage has to be more reality based, and less intellectual.  To be a competent successful massage therapist you dont need more testing..Less is better..Anyway,.Its already set up for those that want more intellectual study. Its called going to college and becomming a physical therapist...Indeed Ive known physical therapists that only do body work. Ive been a massage therapist for 26 years now....The education focus should be on how to correct the shortest of all professional career spans instead of ever more exams..  Plus you are going to set up situations that imply one therapist is better then another solely based on exams( the public will believe that)....If you want more...Be a physical therapist...Not a massage therapist... My opinion only.  Yours in health, Gordon

Without commenting on the actual content of Rick's proposal, my thought on this is that since the NCBTMB would be the primary organization expected to make all the changes he is proposing, is that it's much easier to bring people around to your point of view, and perhaps persuade them of the wisdom of changing their ways, when you sit down and have an actual conversation. Example: a past due notice from a bill collector may have some effect on someone who's delinquent in paying their bills, but when the bank representative shows up at the door with a foreclosure sign and slaps it on your front door, that has a much more profound effect.

 

So my suggestion is for Rick (AFMTE) and the other major stakeholders (FSMTB and whatever other organizations are supportive of this plan) is for all to come together and convene a meeting with the NCBTMB (and don't forget to put some chocolate on the table.) Go talk face to face. Has that already been done? I don't know. I have heard that the FSMTB approached the NCBTMB very early on with a plan that wasn't as well-defined or articulated as what Rick is proposing, but that was just industry gossip that got passed along to me. For the past few years it has seemed like so many adversarial relationships. Maybe we should call on Jimmy Carter for a little training in detente. Rick is an excellent writer, but putting out a paper saying "you ought to do this" doesn't have the same effect as civil conversation conducted in a congenial environment.

 

I don't think anyone, including the NCB, disputes that the present system isn't perfect. And if Rick's plan got implemented today before sundown, it wouldn't be perfect either. And Rick, if you were the ED of the NCBTMB instead of in your present position, I have to think that you would also be resistant to a big scary change if it was presented to you like an ultimatum of "do it this way or go out of business." I think you'd be defending your territory and your system--unless and until you were convinced that someone actually had a better way.

 

As you well know, the NCBTMB has a board that makes decisions. It's not like you can just call Lindamood up on the phone and say "this is what needs to happen," and expect it to be so. I assume that any major change in focus of any organization would have to be subjected to plenty of discussion and a board vote. Have you and/or the FSMTB met with the whole NCB board with this proposal? An ED serves at the pleasure of the board, don't they? I'm sure you will correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem to me that the whole board would need to be the one this or any alternative proposal ought to be presented to. There are only three possible outcomes there. 1) They would vote to accept it. 2) They would vote to turn it down. 3) They might take what they like and agree to it, and leave the rest behind.

 

We're all human, we all have egos, we all have that instinct to defend our turf, and we all have the idea from time to time that we know better than the next person/entity what they ought to be doing. There are some intelligent people at the NCBTMB, and as I witnessed earlier this week at the MAPP meeting, they are more than willing to listen to different points of view. I say get a meeting on it. It will be more effective than a piece of paper, no matter how well-written it is.

 

 

.I have some real concern about the position statement. Please bear with me this is a long post but hopefully beneficial and important Following are some direct lifts (numbered) from the statement with my comments.  Please read the entire document so that the lifted comments remain in context.  It was just too long to copy in it’s entirety.

 

1. Chief among these is confusion around the function and purpose of national certification as it is currently offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), and the lack of specialty certification programs. 

 

Sandy’s comments- While this is statement is reflective of the current condition, it is important to realize that the profession is not ready for  specialty certification- we can’t even agree on entry level.  As it stands now there is a difference in the type and weighting of the questions on the MBLEx and the current National Certification Exam. The MBLEx targets more of the health safety and public protection content as opposed to effectiveness of application which is found on the NCB exams.  However years ago this exam was set up as a measurement of entry level and even though it is a cut above entry level knowledge  I do not believe the current “cut above” level of the NCB exam is enough differentiation from the MBLEx  entry level common denominator of public safety. The Advanced Practice Exam NCAP I believe is and should be when implemented the foundational exam for Certification.  I challenge the positional papers statement about moving away from support for the NCAP. I think instead the Alliance should work with the National Certification Board on this project.  The flow would work best as licensure-(entry level) certification to indicate education, skills and experience – beyond entry level ( NCAP) and then finally specialization.  

 

2. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) emerged in 2005 with the support of an initial grant from ABMP. This brought the regulatory community together for the first time, under a unified organizational model that is well-established in other regulated professions where mandatory licensure is the first step for all practitioners – not certification.

 

Sandy’s comments- Ok I was there and supportive of this initiative. I still am.  The PAST situation of the NCB was in shambles. I emphasis- PAST.  I detect an undertone in the position statement that recollection from the PAST may be influencing our FUTURE.  The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork TODAY is not the organization of 2000-2005.  This is 2011. The current NCB is rising out of that mess and should be supported by the Alliance.  We all need to LET IT GO- and work together from here.  

 

 

 

3. With state massage regulation now the rule rather than the exception, national certification at the entry level has been rendered unnecessary and redundant as a first credentialing step.

 

Sandy comment- Not so fast- there is concern about the economic disaster that the individual states in the United States of American are in. Cuts in funding are everywhere and one area being look seriously at is the expense of occupational licensing.  We need to be very careful. All the work accomplished for state licensing for massage can be undermined if states find this a good place to cut programs to save money.  No state licensing- no state massage boards- for Federation of  State Massage Boards.  The governor here in Michigan is currently reviewing all forms of occupational licensing to see what can be eliminated.  While I have no knowledge of any specific massage legislation related issues, we are likely not immune and need to be aware.  The old saying- “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” stands accurate.

 

 

3. To advance the field of massage therapy towards full professional status, NCBTMB must relinquish the task of entry-level credentialing to state licensing boards via the MBLEx.

 

Sandy’s comment—See above.  I am in agreement with this statement and this has been my position for awhile, however, I am concerned about the sustainability of licensing in this economic climate.

 

 

4. In place of its existing program, NCBTMB has an excellent opportunity to upgrade and repurpose what has been called "national certification" to a graduate-level credential. Decoupling certification from licensure would bring NCBTMB back to its original mission as the provider of a truly voluntary program that allows experienced practitioners to distinguish themselves through testing and demonstration of continued competence. That's what certification was designed for. Our field would benefit significantly from having a "generalist" credential that is available to massage therapists who have achieved a designated level of professional experience and continuing education beyond their foundational training. Since the starting point for practitioners in our field is relatively low, it is misleading to use the term "advanced" to describe this status.

 

Sandy’s comment- This is exactly what the , NCBTMB is doing with the NCAP.  This exam is set up just as described- ("generalist" credential that is available to massage therapists who have achieved a designated level of professional experience and continuing education beyond their foundational training)  There has to be a name differentiation for goodness sake.  It will be way too confusing to call this just certification.  There is too much history.  I wonder if those who wrote and reviewed the position statement really understand the nature of the NCAP.  I am involved with it’s development-have been a long time because to me it is finally what certification should be.  The Alliance should be supporting this effort not knocking it down. I am frustrated.  The real screw up happened years ago when certification was supported before licensing. In retrospect, even though the cart was before the horse- and yes we find ourselves walking in the crap now,  I think that decision was the best at the time – and on a personal note being there at the time- those who are kind of slamming the whole certification thing now were the ones  supporting it then.  Certification became a licensing vehicle because there was nothing else for states to grab. Yes the times are different and we should be helping each other make those transitions.

 

5. Certification in Advanced Practice: Not What the Doctor Ordered

                From our perspective, NCBTMB is seriously off-course with the new program it has under development, called the National Certification for Advanced Practice (NCAP). In the massage therapy field, it is not possible to build a meaningful post-graduate credential and exam on top of entry-level standards that remain so inconsistent and ill-defined. As well, many of the claims being made by NCBTMB about this new credential lack credibility

 

Sandy’s comments- OK – here it is. Does this sound supportive to you reading this? I really find this position damaging.  In addition it is contradictory- Did not the position statement say “. Our field would benefit significantly from having a "generalist" credential that is available to massage therapists who have achieved a designated level of professional experience and continuing education beyond their foundational training”  This is what the NCAP is.  Licensing, which is pervasive according to the paper and based on the MBLEx,  should reflect entry level. Are you now saying it doesn’t?

 

6 To its credit, NCBTMB is conducting the development of this new advanced exam in accordance with recognized psychometric standards. The organization has an advisory panel of industry representatives and has just completed a job task analysis. However, these procedural steps do not ensure that the NCAP can or will actually bring these stated benefits to individuals and institutions within our field. Nor is there any evidence that such a credential would be taken seriously by the medical community. It is frustrating to see so much effort being directed to the wrong solution.

 

Sandy’s comments- So what does this mean? NCBTMB is doing right but doing it wrong. The NCAP is a differentiating platform from entry level to experiences. I just don’t get it.

 

7. Simply put, NCBTMB would better serve the needs of our field by taking the resources of its current certification program, combining them with the groundwork that has been laid for the NCAP, and producing a next-generation National Certification program in a reasonable amount of time. Such a strategy will help NCBTMB rebuild its financial base as well as its reputation, and it will give this credential a strong reason for continued existence. The NCAP should be quietly put out to pasture.

 

Sandy’s comments- I am beginning to get emotional here. So you are suggesting that  the current National Certification exams be beefed up somewhat and that be the generalized certification exam suggested.  Why would this serve the profession?  When thoroughly investigated it is clear that the NCAP is being developed to measure ongoing education and experience and using critical thinking and reasoning as a demonstration of that increase in skills.  Is the problem with the word advanced? Here are some definitions- Being at a higher level than others, to go or move something forward,  to develop or improve something, .ahead in development or progress.

 

8. Specialty Certification: The Next Frontier

Once established, this "next-generation" National Certification program will provide a solid platform for the development of specialty certification programs

 

Sandy’s comments- This is what the NCAP is doing.  Instead of confusing the issue- and this profession is confused enough- Lets support it.

 

 

9. In order to build a sustainable structure, the leadership of NCBTMB must be willing to let go of a difficult and unproductive status quo and chart a new course. The Alliance offers the following proposal for the good of NCB's certificants, the field as a whole, and all people who are served by massage therapy:

 

Sandy’s Comments- The NCBTMB is all ready trying to do this.  How about moving to a supportive  stance  Alliance members? The position statement presents a- A Three-Step Plan for the Reorganization of NCBTMB and the Advancement of the Field- using the words declares, immediately ceases, phase out.  This does not sound cooperative and supportive to me. And need I remind the Alliance that we are a NEW group with how many members? Maybe we should be a little more humble here.

The plan assumes states are going to find the time and money to make the necessary changes to use only the MBLEX- Four years is the recommendation. This may or may not be realistic. Remember – Government is in an economic crisis.  Then the plan states that the NCBTMB develop a plan to upgrade current members?  Did anyone talk to the NCBTMB to find out if maybe they already have this in the plan?  Finally, what does the whole approval of continuing education providers do with this topic?  The Federation does not even have an approval process for continuing ed in place.  That topic just came out of the blue.  Yes I know the Federation is talking about an approval process and will the Federation doing this make the situation better?  They are also working on model legislation which I think is more important.  

 

Finally in the last statement of the position paper the NCBTMB is said to be uncooperative. Hmm-is that really true? As an Alliance supporter and member I find this position statement short sighted, with an undercurrent of distain for the NCBTMB process.  I am especially concerned since one of the roles of the Alliance is to bring together not push apart

Laura,

Thanks for your question about whether I or AFMTE or FSMTB went to the leadership of NCBTMB to discuss this reorganization proposal before making the current position paper a public document. Here's the back story:

 

     The short version is that I wrote the original version of this proposal a year ago and sent it to the leadership of NCBTMB as a "private citizen", not representing the Alliance or any other stakeholder organization. They had it, in hand, and chose not to act upon it.

     The proposal was the result of a face-to-face conversation I had with (then) NCB Chair Neal Delaporta after the wrapup of the 2010 ABMP School Issues Forum in Alexandria, VA. In that spirited conversation (witnessed by Whitney Lowe and Sandy Fritz), I offered Neal my suggestions for how NCB could reorganize and thrive. I asked him if he was willing to pass these ideas along to his Board; he said "yes" and asked me to put them in writing.

     A week later, I confirmed that by email with Neal, and began work on the formal proposal. For the record, FSMTB had no role whatsoever in the development of this plan, and did not endorse it.

     I submitted the document to NCB in mid-May, and received no response whatsoever. At the Alliance Conference in Park City, Utah in June 2010, I spoke again with Neal about the proposal, and he said it was on the agenda for the NCB Board's annual strategic planning meeting, where it would be discussed. After that meeting date passed, I sent two subsequent emails to Neal to find out what had happened with the proposal, but I again received no response.

     Note that at the time I sent NCB the proposal, I let them know that it was being offered as a private document that they could take for consideration without having to deal with the influence of public opinion. So... NCB has had every opportunity to work with these recommendations and make changes to their strategic plan. They have chosen to stay the existing course.

     In light of that, the Alliance Board of Directors felt it was important that the massage therapy community at large be offered this "alternative" vision of the role of national certification. That was the impetus for the revision of my original proposal. We hope this paper and its ideas spurs broad-scale discussion, and that others will contact NCB's leaders and encourage them to open the doors to changes that will bring greater long-term benefits to our field.

 

I was at that discussion and recall a long lengthy chat about a lot of topics.  It was a chat. I again plea for working together here.

I second that plea, Sandy.


Sandy Fritz said:

I was at that discussion and recall a long lengthy chat about a lot of topics.  It was a chat. I again plea for working together here.
Do you think we will ever get it Laura. I been around a long time- 30 years - Do you have any insight on why the massage profession just can't quite get it together?

Do you have all day...just joking! Although I'm sure we could talk about it for a whole day or maybe longer.

 

I don't know if and when we'll ever get it together. As long as the world--and the massage organizations--are run by human beings with all our egos, our character flaws and our faults, we may be like the tribes at the tower of Babel after they were confounded. As massage therapists we may make peace with our hands, but we still make dissension and ill will with our intent and our actions.

 

The way I see it, competition is a healthy thing. Collaborative competition is even healthier. I look at it the same way I look at other massage therapists, other teachers, other authors...I don't view others as competition, I view them as members of what I call the "family of hands."  I don't think your book has to be a failure in order for mine to succeed. I don't think your massage practice has to fail in order for mine to succeed. If one organization has to fail in order for another one to succeed, that's a shame to me, too, but everybody wants their their own turf and their market share.

 

When people can't sit down at the table together and agree to disagree, that's not a good thing to me.I feel sure that Rick put a lot of careful thought into his proposal. But the way I see it, if the NCBTMB wants to be left to their own devices and allowed to go on with their own future plans, then the burden is on them and them only to succeed. It won't be Rick's fault or anyone else's fault if they don't. 38 states are still taking their exams for licensing purposes in spite of the FSMTB's official stance that it is an inappropriate exam for licensing purposes, so either 38 states are wrong, or they're exercising their right to conduct their business as they please, just like the NCBTMB is doing.

 

Rick may have the noblest of intentions and view his plan as the plan to save the NCBTMB. They may feel like they're getting on with improving their programs and don't need saving. I don't know that one organization has any right to tell another how to conduct their affairs, unless they see blatant ethics violations going on.

 

I don't like the fractured atmosphere. I don't know what it will take to fix it, but I do think good communication is the key. I was at the MAPP meeting this week held by the NCBTMB and it was very good to see the other organizations representing themselves in the spirit of harmony and collaboration. Anyone who wants to may laugh about us singing around the campfire, which we actually didn't have time to do, but I appreciated the camaraderie there and lack of any tension.

 

My career hasn't been near as long as yours--massage was my midlife crisis :) I appreciate your comments and your contributions to massage!

 


Ive been in this field for 26 years now...I dont want to have to study, pay more money. Just to qualify to do what Ive already done...These tests are worthless as far as qualifying the ability or quality of a massage therapist...I worked on a women the other day...She was suffering from constant neck and shoulder pain for quite a while..She was seeing a chiropractor for six months before receiving a massage from me.  In one massage session, pain was gone, and full range of motion was restored.. Now Im not trying to brag...I know we all have similar experiences in our massage careers..The point Im making is...That chiropractor went through all kinds of testing and certifications.. Massage like all forms of bodywork is an art.  Like I said..If you start adding yet more testing, and more levels and catagories...It will be easier to go back to college and become a physical therapist...I would hate to loose potential new clients, or a possible job position because I dont have a certain certification or qualification.  I just did a review of a National Cert. exam... My goodness....Some of the correct answers were even wrong...?   There should be just ONE exam...and a required minimum of continuing education requirements too keep it active.  Like Ive said....People that want advanced degrees and testing, can go to college,and become physical therapists.  Im a massage therapist.. I feel like Im about  to be forced into some dysfunctional testing system that validates nothing.  Do I make sense to anybody? lol  or am I crazy??

Rick Rosen said:

Laura,

Thanks for your question about whether I or AFMTE or FSMTB went to the leadership of NCBTMB to discuss this reorganization proposal before making the current position paper a public document. Here's the back story:

 

     The short version is that I wrote the original version of this proposal a year ago and sent it to the leadership of NCBTMB as a "private citizen", not representing the Alliance or any other stakeholder organization. They had it, in hand, and chose not to act upon it.

     The proposal was the result of a face-to-face conversation I had with (then) NCB Chair Neal Delaporta after the wrapup of the 2010 ABMP School Issues Forum in Alexandria, VA. In that spirited conversation (witnessed by Whitney Lowe and Sandy Fritz), I offered Neal my suggestions for how NCB could reorganize and thrive. I asked him if he was willing to pass these ideas along to his Board; he said "yes" and asked me to put them in writing.

     A week later, I confirmed that by email with Neal, and began work on the formal proposal. For the record, FSMTB had no role whatsoever in the development of this plan, and did not endorse it.

     I submitted the document to NCB in mid-May, and received no response whatsoever. At the Alliance Conference in Park City, Utah in June 2010, I spoke again with Neal about the proposal, and he said it was on the agenda for the NCB Board's annual strategic planning meeting, where it would be discussed. After that meeting date passed, I sent two subsequent emails to Neal to find out what had happened with the proposal, but I again received no response.

     Note that at the time I sent NCB the proposal, I let them know that it was being offered as a private document that they could take for consideration without having to deal with the influence of public opinion. So... NCB has had every opportunity to work with these recommendations and make changes to their strategic plan. They have chosen to stay the existing course.

     In light of that, the Alliance Board of Directors felt it was important that the massage therapy community at large be offered this "alternative" vision of the role of national certification. That was the impetus for the revision of my original proposal. We hope this paper and its ideas spurs broad-scale discussion, and that others will contact NCB's leaders and encourage them to open the doors to changes that will bring greater long-term benefits to our field.

 

Congratulations on helping your client, Gordon, and as you say, we've all had those experiences.

 

If you're in a state that has licensure, I presume you've already taken your test and won't have to take another one. Any advanced credentialing tests that roll out will be strictly voluntary. You won't have to take one unless you choose to.

 

The Federation just recently held an item-writing meeting. That's been a common practice at the NCBTMB since it's inception; one of my friends is doing the same with their item-writing committee right now. It has long been the practice that when you test there are some questions not counted towards your grade because they are being floated out there and tested for validity, etc. I think most testing organizations have similar practices.

 

Test questions are written by human beings and thus not infallible. Sandy Fritz has been an author for many years, and I'm sure she can testify, as can I, that in spite of numerous editors and reviewers working on our books, mistakes still happen. My first book was reviewed by 7 subject matter experts before going to print, and the very first day it came off the press, I noticed a glaring mistake. It happens.Both the Federation and the NCB use Pearson Vue as their test administrators. As long as humans write the tests, and humans enter them into the testing software, the potential for a mistake is always going to be there. That's why both organizations have periodic reviews.

 

I agree that testing does not mean one is going to be a good massage therapist. I tutor students and teach classes to prepare them for both tests. Some talented therapists have failed the exams. There are also people who can stroll in and pass any exam that will never be a good therapist; they just happen to be good test takers. Regardless of whether it's the MBLEx or the NCB exams, requiring a test is currently the only tool we have to measure competency.

Laura,  I understand what you're saying.  And I know there has to be some sort of test as a measure of competency in order for one to call themselves a massage therapist...I really hope they avoid tier levels.. I feel that would be a mistake.  I believe that would complicate things...I mean we already see the ego problems in here...Can you imagine what tier levels would do. The argument would go..Well I'm better then you because I'm a tier level 5 and you are only a tier level 3...Now don't get me wrong..Its good to be educated.  However I feel that these exams are creating some sort of miss direction in the mind set of massage therapists as to what is really important for excelling and doing quality work.. Like the other day I met a young 20 year old up and coming therapist that was studying for her exams..She was studying , looked at me and said.."I'm having trouble remembering where the Levator Scapula inserts and where it originates?  How do you remember?"  I told her I don't remember?   And that I could care less.  I never think about that when I massage someone..All I know is that it attaches here and there.  Its like all this emphasis and confusion and energy going out as to  know which end of the muscle is the origin or the insertion.  The energy and learning needs to be going in a more practical direction...If you go to any spa or clinic and ask to read all the complaints from clients that didnt like their massage...You dont hear..Well the therapist didnt know which end of my Levator Scapula was the insertion...So I want my money back..What you hear is..." It hurt too much, " or " It was too soft.  She just rubbed oil on me."   The actual touch  is the number one massage complaint.. In other words, they don't know how to massage.  Because too much time is spent on memorizing unnecessary information.  And trust me, the current emphasis and direction in massage education is in my mind ruining the industry.  The career span for a massage therapist grow shorter and shorter every few years.. I think its down to only six years now...And like Ive said many times before. Many quit because of repetative stress injuries..I met a therapist the other day that had to quit because of carpal tunnel. The very thing we are suppose to be able to treat? Yes there should be testing. But done on a more practical basis.. When I got licensed in Hawaii many years ago. The written exam was much easier..But I had to massage five real people before they gave me that license..And they had to like the massage..They were all different ages and body types.  Of course now they don't do that anymore...I know everybody means well in trying to better our profession.  The emphasis is wrong.  I predict that within ten years time..It will be very difficult to tell the difference between a massage therapist and a physical therapist..But being a massage therapist is different then being a physical therapist. Massage is a high art.  I just think different I guess?  Im for a shorter written test based on contra indications and listening skills.  And more actual hands on work. But  Im not arguing...lol

Not arguing Gordon. In fact in basic agreement. Massage is set apart from other health care fields because it is hands on. It also is the only field where the communication of touch is so intensive. Entry level should be basic to the point of being able to perform satisfactorily a single modality and having a knowledge of the application and contra-indicators of that modality as well as knowing the local business laws and ethics that apply to massage. I believe that includes internships apart from the school you are studying at in order to have practical knowledge of the workplace. We have a system of certification/licensing with continuing education. Why does this need to change? Who does changing this actually benefit? What are the problems perceived or actual that require change?

 

We have a short work life expectancy, but what is the problem with that. By keeping the cost and duration of entry level down many more people are able to sample massage as a career. Why is this looked at as a bad thing? I have been part time until recently when I made the switch to full time. Is that bad? Does it hurt a client? What is this drive to redefine ourselves in a model taken from other professions? We are different, viva la difference. 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2014   Created by Lara Evans Bracciante.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service