… A Bridge to Consciousness

2012 is well under way. It seems to me that the vibration of life is moving very fast. Our profession is also moving fast to keep up with escalating attention and demand. After years of being in the background, massage is in the forefront of mainstream attention. Are we growing in the right direction? Is the integrity and the core health of our profession being retained ?

I have personally been concerned at the push for practitioners to model after the medical model. This includes, technology over heart, technology over relationship, and separateness over the organic bonding of touching another human being. These are all the principals that cause burn out and fatigue of our health care professionals. This is not to model after.

My dear friend, colleague, mentor and massage industry icon, David Palmer, is concerned as well. In David’s November issue of his Touch Pro Newsletter he addressed this issue in an article that I think is brilliant and deserves to be circulated. Therefore, I am sharing the following article along with the discussion that followed. I feel it is vital to the health of the massage profession. I urge you to read it and join the discussion.

Irene Smith

3 Responses to “Touch: The Missing Link In Massage”

    I totally agree with your concern! The question every massage therapist should ask him/her self is: Which direction or field I want to be?
    Clearly there are two directions:
    Medical Massage or Clinic Massage, following the allopathic medical approach, they view the physical body as a piece of machine and use “Newtonian” point of view to break down a material to the smallest parts and fix it up.
    While the Holistic massage and other healthcare modalities, try to apply the “Quantum physics” to view the whole universe and human beings as a whole unit that interact and influence each other. Therefore, the external and internal energy, vibration, communicates are all important aspects of treating a person. The body/mind/spirit is inseparable.
    As to the present day, allopathic medicine is the dominant / governing force, any practitioner who is looking for the acceptance in the healthcare field has to adept and comply such approach and rules, especially if you want to get paid by insurance. The techniques, such as Orthopedic massage, Myoskeletal techniques , Osteopathic therapies… all base on advanced anatomy and physiology. They do deserve high respects.
    But we all know allopathic medicine doesn’t solve all the problems. They “treat the disease” but not the cause. Most of the time, they are merely chase after one symptom after another.
    On the other hand, all the “out of box” alternative” practice has not gained full understanding and respect from either the “authentic” medicine professionals not the majority of the society. These practitioners have limited resource to provide strong scientific study and further prove their effectiveness. Most of them live in “shoe-string”.
    While more and more public awareness has turned to the “alternative” health practices, one has to overcome lots of obstacle to stay in business. Only the ones who have the strong belief and passion in what they are practicing can survive and thrive. But they are the representatives of the future medicine! The whole world will shift sooner or later!
    Where do you want to be?
    In my personal opinion, everything consists of more than one side. We need both sides to have a coin. You may choose to stay in one side, but don’t reject or suppress the knowledge from other side. Working together we will have a better world!

    Amma Liu
    LMBT in Charlotte, NC

    Amma, I totally agree that all perspectives are needed to create wholeness. This is, as you say, about integration. Yes lets integrate the human being into mainstream therapies. This is the point! Relationship matters. It cannot be separated in good health.

    My favorite bodywork is Tom Hendrickson,s Orthopedic technique. The practitioner I see is very intimate , connected , and alert to me as a human being as well as being brilliant technically. Hendrickson is a good model for integration. Thank you for the depth of your reply.

    I also agree with what the concerns mentioned here. What I have found especially disturbing is the fact that evidenced based massage practioners are the worst opponents of touch. If we practice energy work or some other kind of touch therapy that is not proven ,then the evidenced based practitioners insist we are doing something unethical unless we can produce a study that the person approves of which is basically impossible. Even the Dr’s and the Nurses at the hospital where I see patients support any efforts that we as LMT’s make to help provide comfort to their patients without demanding data to back up our choices. Interestingly, I have actually come to the conclusion that I think there is some part of healing that is distinctly not scientfic at all. Otherwise, then why would my clients with similiar diagnoses, prognosis and treatment not have a more similar outcome? I happens that I have observed a wide variety of outcomes for my clients who are ill and never quite figured out exactly why.
    Massage is highly regulated in New York State. We have to have 1000+ hours to sit for the exam. While we devoted quite a large amount of time to Anatomy & Physiology, Neurology, Pathology, business, etc they also made sure to introduce us to a wide variety of techniques from Western Massage to Eastern based modalities. Knowledge of both are required to pass the state exam They also prepared us well to take on massage in a clinical setting but at the same time, they made sure to always remind us what what we are actually doing is touching our clients. Occassionally I get a client that is so medically complicated or even so close to death that sometimes there is nothing left to do other than just to put my hand on them. This is the one leson that 11 years into my career I still remember every single time treat a client or patient no matter what environment it is in.

Something to say?