How Well Do You Know Your Massage Therapist?

A common reason for having a tattoo removed: It's become embarrassing.
A common reason for having a tattoo removed: It's become embarrassing. (By Andrea Melendez -- Des Moines Register Via Associated Press)
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By Adapted from
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Massage Therapist?

Whereas physicians practicing traditional Western medicine must be trained and licensed and are subject to oversight by state medical boards, practitioners in many fields of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can pretty much just hang out a shingle and start working with patients. In addition, there is no overarching regulatory body with which to check a CAM practitioner's record and credentials.

Michael Cohen, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of an article about CAM credentials, told me, "The world is basically divided into two groups: MDs and everyone else." The latter category, he explained, includes allied health professionals -- such as occupational therapists and physical therapists -- and CAM practitioners. The realm of CAM is further divided between licensed and unlicensed practitioners.

Checking a licensed CAM practitioner's credentials and performance is similar to checking an MD's, Cohen says. Your state regulatory board, like a state medical board, likely has a Web site on which you can look up a practitioner's name to see whether he has an active license and whether disciplinary action has been taken against him. Some will include a database listing malpractice claims, too.

-- Jennifer Huget

K wrote:

You can find certified acupuncturists, herbalists and Asian bodywork therapists at The Virginia Board of Medicine requires that all acupuncturists complete the certification process from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). When you see a "Dipl. O.M.," that means that they are certified in acupuncture and herbology.

Oops! Be Gone, Tattoo.

While most people who get a tattoo are happy they did, surveys have found about 20 percent end up being dissatisfied and about 6 percent eventually decide to have it removed.

To get a sense of why someone decides to undergo that painful procedure, Myrna Armstrong of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and her colleagues surveyed 196 people who went to four dermatology clinics to get tattoos removed in 2006. Forty-four percent said they had gotten the tattoo because it made them feel unique, while 33 percent said it had made them feel independent.

But more than half of both men and women seeking removal said they decided to get the tattoo removed because they had become embarrassed by it, and 38 percent said the tattoo had lowered their body image. Nearly 40 percent said their decision was motivated by a new job or career; 37 percent said the tattoo had caused problems with clothing; and 25 percent said they felt they had been stigmatized by their body marking.

The most striking finding was the sex difference. Sixty-nine percent of those seeking tattoo removal were women, compared with only 31 percent who were men, the researchers reported in the Archives of Dermatology.

-- Rob Stein

DocChuck wrote:

I am married, but if I were single I would never date a woman who had either a tattoo or any form of body piercing other than one ear stud.

To me, at least, tattoos and body piercings are a very accurate gauge of the class, intelligence level and mental maturity of the person sporting such.

In addition, my wife is a medical professional and a corporate executive responsible for the hiring and training of thousands of medical associates. She will not hire a nurse or doctor with any visible tattoo(s) or body piercing.

Me wrote:

The tattoos, piercings, etc. are not on your body. They are not forced on your body. They are expressions of an individual, and in this country that is an individual's right. As is wearing seersucker, bow ties or Crocs. For the record, I'm a 27-year-old female with no tattoos, piercings, etc. and no intention of getting any.

fiendwithoutaface wrote:

Get a clue, people, it's not just sailors and bikers anymore.

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