About 20 years ago there was a movement to create”legitimacy” in the massage industry due to the public misconception that anyone who practiced the ancient health technique of massage was undoubtedly, engaged in prostitution. There are some men in our society even today, that associate loving, healing touch with sexual activity. So, it is my belief that large organizations popped up in the landscape to dispel that myth and create legitimacy to a vast scope of valuable health techniques, to a touch starved society. Massage continuing education was born with the hope, I believe, of being included in our gigantic bumbling health care industry, that is imploding under the enormous weight of its ponderous bureaucracy.Alas, in almost all of the entire 50 states, massage therapy is still not a therapy where the insured can apply their benefits to deal with their chronic issues! Regardless of how much education some of us have acquired over many years, still we are not considered legitimate in the eyes of the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies which are the engines for our medical system. So, why is it necessary to be state licensed, nationally certified, and city licensed if we gain no legitimacy, and economic viability in the eyes of the “authorities” that create the legal requirements to practice. Why does a doctor who can only write a prescription for pain medication score high on the legitimacy scale, and the practitioner who has the education and the manual skills to potentially create a long term pain free condition, not considered legitimate? These are questions that would elicit lengthy and lively debate, but at this time fall on deaf ears.When was the last time that a professional in the massage continuing education business actually experienced the technique that they purportedly teach? How many businesses have sprung up on the internet hawking goods that are considered valuable and legitimate and confer massage continuing education credits, but never observe or feel the work of those that they award with the credits? They just include a test in the materials that supposedly confirms the therapist’s knowledge of the course they “finished”. How many of those “students” who are motivated to “earn” those credits, are actually studying those disciplines because they have a long term interest in actually learning that discipline and putting the time into that is necessary. Remember the term journeymen (sorry ladies) where you apprenticed with a master for 7 years in your trade before you were allowed the wages that were awarded to you by the union for the amount of time you put into it with sweat equity? Now a typical student of massage continuing education spend 4 days, is awarded a certification diploma, places in on his office wall and pretends to have accomplished anything of value and is substantiated by the vast organizations that have lobbied for state support in setting certain standards. Hogwash!Now we have home study/distance learning continuing education credits and we have people bickering about standards of value. Again, how can anyone know what anyone has learned from a home study course unless they actually get on a table and feel the work of those who have studied their work? They can’t. They can only assume that there is some template that students value when they learn at home. Like books and dvds and some esoteric approach that has been “proven” for adult education. Again, there is only one way to know and that is to observe and feel the work that you as a teacher has presented or by the results that the student has gained from their massage continuing education course. Results! But, like our ponderous bumbling governmental agencies that slosh around attempting to create models of efficiency, most of what transpires is more complicated, expensive and essentially useless.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, many companies are turning to employee wellness programs to help keep their costs down. Wellness programs complement traditional health insurance by focusing on disease prevention, disease management and health education.In fact, a paper produced for the American Journal of Health Promotion (2003), illustrates that on average employee wellness programs provide:a 28% reduction in sick leave absenteeism,
a 26% reduction in health care costs, and
a 30% reduction in worker’s compensation claims and disability management. Considering the average cost-to-savings benefit ranges from $3-$6 for every dollar invested, it’s easy to see why these programs are becoming more and more attractive.In addition to reducing health care costs, wellness programs offer a number of other benefits for employers and employees alike:Healthy employees perform their jobs easier and provide increased productivity.
Employees who are given opportunities to participate in these programs report a stronger sense that their employer cares about their well-being, which in turn increases their morale and productivity.
Exercise has been shown to improve quality of life, mental performance and time management skills. Employees who exercise reap these benefits, as do their employers.
Employees who are educated about self-care and proper use of health insurance benefits tend to become more cost-conscious. Wellness programs can also help provide a sense of community within a workplace. Employees can be encouraged to take part in group exercise (walks at lunch or breaks), share brown-bagged meals together and even participate in group health challenges where rewards are provided by the employer for achieving certain goals.Weight loss challenges in particular are popular among employees where rewards can be provided for achieving 10%, 50% and even 100% of weight loss goals. Popular rewards include permission to come in late when an employee has achieved 10% of their weight loss goal (10% = 10am), gift certificates to purchase new clothes at 50% and full days off at 100%. Some companies may prefer to offer monetary compensation also.Even employees who choose not to participate in a wellness program can benefit from company-wide initiatives such as replacing the candy dish with fruit, dispersing water bottles and pedometers and the overall change in atmosphere that comes when groups of people make the choice to become more conscientious about their health.In a day and age where health care costs can rise by as much as 40% or more from year-to-year, wellness programs just make sense.