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Review of HBMN Publications
Massage Magazine Jan/Feb 2003

Hospital-Based Massage Programs in Review; 1001 Sources to Build Your Hospital Massage Program and Exploring Hospital-Based Massage
by Hospital-Based Massage Network

Reference works aimed at a specific audience don't get any better than this. Laura Koch, founder of Hospital-Based Massage Network (HBMN) and editor of all three pieces, has performed a yeoman's job of compiling in one place everything you would ever need to know about setting up a massage-therapy program in a hospital setting.

Hospital-based massage is very new to our profession and as with all new endeavors, there is never enough material to help neophytes. Setting up a massage program within the allopathic world is a daunting and terrifying proposition with more obstacles than open doors and more egos to assuage than open minds. It has to be done intelligently, carefully, politically, and you need to go in armed with more information than you'll ever need. Before the HBMN's reference guides, the massage therapist embarking on this journey was alone and drawing at straws.

Here's specifically what Koch has done: She's created three easy-to-read, spiral-bound manuals that cover research, books, articles, networking, contacts, selected articles and data on every imaginable angle of hospital-based massage. Re-read that last sentence and you'll understand the mammoth, mind-boggling work that has been created for your use if you are so inclined to attack the Goliath of hospital massage.

It would not be possible to list every resource offered by these three gold mines, but here's a partial list of what you'll find: national consultants who can help you set up a program; existing hospital-based programs and colleagues to contact within each hospital; insurance issues; how many massage therapists are employed at some hospitals and the salaries and benefits they receive; a list, by state, of hospitals that employ massage therapists; a comprehensive list of manuals, books and brochures that range in subject from The CAM Credentialing Reference Book to the esoteric The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk; three pages of Web sites; and where to find grants to set up a hospital-based program. The selected articles were published from 1995 to 2000 and cover hands-on work with cancer, pre- and post-surgery, HIV/AIDS, elderly, infant and heart patients. These manuals also include articles on universal precautions, nursing and massage therapy, charting, confidentiality and hospital procedures.

Having worked in and set up a hospital-based massage therapy program myself, I tried hard to think of what these manuals did not cover. Every issue I needed information on was found in the approximately 600 pages of material.

Of course, these manuals are not for everyone in the massage industry. But if you are even thinking of setting up a massage program in a hospital or if you are fortunate enough to have such a program going, these books can make the difference between failure and a successful, thorough, thought-out approach.

One final, important note here: Laura Koch is literally the pioneer of gathering information on hospital-based massage. She has been the lone voice in this arena for years, and more than a year ago she was ready to throw in the towel and stop this monstrous solo effort of compiling and editing all the resources. To her credit, she decided to continue gathering information and with her renewed effort and energy has created an invaluable reference for the future of hospital-based massage.

Charlotte Michael Versagi, L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., is a journalist, a 
lymphedema therapist who also sees cancer patients, and a science 
instructor in a massage-therapy program at The Carnegie Institute in 
Troy, Michigan.

Reprinted by permission of Massage Magazine, 200 Seventh Ave., #240, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, www.massagemag.com