Why all the hate?

Recently, on Facebook I’ve seen a lot of hate towards energy therapies lately, and why is that? I, myself don’t practice energywork, and I taught it when I was a massage instructor, and I choose not to use energywork when I give massages, and I respect people who do use it. There doesn’t have to be all this hate going on. Even some energy practitioners are against evidence-based massage, and speak their mind in a negative way towards it (it’s like high school all over again).

When I was in massage school, there was a study about using high doses of vitamin C, to help fight colds…then soon after that, another study came out, claiming it could actually harm you. Research changes ALL THE TIME (Sorry of theall caps“), and what we belief now, could change in the future.

I truly wish this profession would just accept others beliefs, and it doesn’t mean you have to agree with them (agree, to disagree). It’s really sad that our profession is so divided, and most of us got into this field to help others…but we are only harming ourselves.

Glass Ball

I went to Sister Rosalind Massage School, and we were not allowed to use energywork, and Sister even said that in the intro class,. I felt a little ripped off, because we couldn’t even talk about it, but then we had a 90 hour class on acupressure (Doesn’t make sense). I felt a little rebellious once I graduated, and I decided to take a Healing Touch class. That class really opened up my eyes, and I’m glad I took it! There is so much more to massage, and I was a believer after that. I asked the Sisters that taught the Healing Touch class, why doesn’t Sister Rosalind believe in energywork, and all they said, “if you saw the books she reads, then you would understand.”

My mentor was one of my instructors at Sister Rosalind’s, and she always saw me as creative person, and someone who would think outside the massage table. One of the best lessons she taught me in school, is to be yourself, and don’t let others affect who you are, or what you believe in. In massage school, I was constantly told to do a routine, and I could never focus enough to perform it. We all chose this field for a reason, and it’s just not right for others to bash fellow therapists. I totally understand we are a passionate bunch of people, but this hate has to stop.

Here are some questions for all of you:
1. What can YOU do, to become a better therapist?
2.
How can YOU make this profession more accepting?

P.S. Sorry for the rant, but I needed to get this off my chest :)

78 thoughts on “Why all the hate?

  1. I don’t do energy work. I think it’s silly. And fake. I think that we can make ourselves think anything works. That said, I don’t care if people are performing or receiving energy work. It’s none of my damn business.
    UNLESS:
    -a massage therapist is performing energy work and calling it massage
    -a practitioner is making untrue/unproven claims about the efficacy of energy work in treating any particular ailment
    -a massage therapist is violating scope of practice under the guise of performing energy work (or massage proper). aka- a craniosacral practitioner encouraging a client to talk about their feelings during a treatment and then giving advice or guidance in the counseling/mental health area

    In those cases, it IS my business and (some would argue) it is my duty to follow proper channels to notify authorities if laws are being broken. Of course, laws are different in each state and jurisdiction, so that’s a minefield.

    I have no desire to “just accept others beliefs” when those beliefs are contrary to what I (and the law) feel is the ethical practice of massage.

    More importantly, I want to address this statement, “One of the best lessons she taught me in school, is to be yourself, and don’t let others affect who you are, or what you believe in.”

    That’s a beautiful sentiment. But not really applicable when we are a practitioner, responsible for the well being and ethical treatment of our clients. A dentist may really believe that holding a sedated patient’s hand will relax the patient further during a dental treatment. That doesn’t mean the dentist should ignore ethical standards and touch a client affectionately without permission, while they are sedated.

    The dentist is free to believe whatever she wants, but she may not practice whatever she wants under the umbrella of dentistry. Ditto for energy work. Or any other modality.

    Ultimately, I agree with you here, Ryan. I’m seeing a lot of classless pissyness being thrown at energy workers. And that’s not cool. But I’m seeing some pretty vile bullshit coming from the energy camp, too.

    It would be cool if there could be a respectful tone of the debate. But inevitably every discussion turns into a shit show. (Which is why I wrote this awhile back http://ow.ly/roNf4 )

    I don’t have a solution, but I wanted to share my perspective.

    • YOUR perspective sucks , plainly said. If a practitioner is both a long time trained martial artist and a substance counselor , hypnotherapist ,they have a perfect right to combine as many skills as required to untangle issues in the tissues and what the mind that creates ! You are clearly not qualified to do healing, so don’t. Do the fluff / buff push the lactic acid around waste of time & money massage style. My style of work undoes the damages of western misleading medicine which is my responsibility. This also undoes the damage of non present massage therapist who actually do more harm than good .To wake up the public and you is my responsibility ~ sheeple are pathetic examples of subhuman existence and so that must shift right now if the planet is to survive all the unconscious stupidity and damage done to Mother Earth and ourselves. Ahoo~

      • “My style of work undoes the damages of western misleading medicine which is my responsibility.”

        Ok, but I trust you see why this rhetoric is not going to build bridges, right?

        “sheeple are pathetic examples of subhuman existence”

        Ok, now this is just scary.

        You and I are not in the same profession at all.

      • As a massage therapist who is currently nearly finished with my Substance Abuse Counseling degree (and I don’t plan on quitting massage) it is very much NOT APPROPRIATE to combine all skills … most especially when it comes to counseling of any form, as it would violate counseling ethics.

      • Wow, Heather.
        You’ve got some rage, huh?
        If someone has that kind of training, then OF COURSE it’s cool to do that kind of work. But for a massage therapist without that training, it is indeed a violation of scope of practice.
        I’m not even going to address the lactic acid crap you’re spewing because it’s just so ignorant.
        I’m not a healer. Never said I was. Not sure where you got that one.
        In closing, calm the hell down.
        xoxox,
        Allissa

  2. I became a Massage Therapist to help people. The first thing I learned is every massage is adaptable. I have learned as many modalities as possible over the last 17 years even though I am primarily a Neuromuscular therapist. I will apply whatever is necessary to help improve the health and well being of the client on my table. If my client needs me to place my hands on them and hold in one area with or without pressure, I will do it. Bottom line, do whatever it takes to being the client to a place of health and well being.

  3. Many MTs, like myself, have no tolerance for energy work because we believe it is an occult practice. Additionally, it destroys our credibility with other healthcare practitioners. I believe the only resolution will be a complete split between energy workers and evidence based MTs. There is NO middle ground.

  4. Thank you for addressing this Ryan. Absolutely no excuse for spreading hate and fear via ignorance. Isn’t that what we as MTs have had to fight for in our profession for years? To have it come from within our ranks is inexcusable!

  5. I think Allissa hit the nail on the head. “Energy work” is a belief that is contradicted by the evidence about our material physical natural universe.

    It’s fine if you want to believe in it; freedom of conscience is an absolute human right. But the fact that individuals are free to believe in it does not mean that the massage industry as a whole should commit to supporting it, and to selling it to our clients.

    The insistence on mixing supernatural energy work with thoroughly natural massage means that we are driving away potential clients who want evidence-friendly massage as an integral component of their healthcare team. And we are burning bridges to professional collaboration with healthcare providers who want colleagues and teammates whom they can trust not to undermine the healthcare information provided by the rest of the team to the client/patient.

    If we truly want to become a healthcare profession, as we say we do, then we need to commit to:

    * providing valid and reliable information about how the material physical universe acts on our bodies and minds to our clients as a basis for their fully-informed consent and decision-making;

    * provide superb service to our clients without expecting them to subscribe to any particular belief system;

    * police ourselves, as professions do, to ensure that the information we provide is accurate, and in the best interests of the client, and

    * not coerce our non-believing students into a belief system as a condition of professional licensing by requiring study of “energy work” in order to pass licensing tests.

    Change is very difficult, which is where a lot of the anger, vitriol, and drama online originates.

    But we’re at a crossroads, and we can only take one path: the two directly contradict one another, so trying the impossible task of doing both will cause us to miss an opportunity to become a real healthcare profession.

  6. I think energy work can be a valuable tool, used in conjunction with massage, just as meditation and yoga can be, when used in a positive manner with good intentions in an ethical setting by a properly trained practitioner. I don’t have to believe in something for my clients to believe, nor do I force my ideas on them (or vice versa).

    Alissa Haines has a point above, that we as massage professionals do have a duty to the industry and our clients to report unethical behaviors, however, I don’t see where ALL energy work by ALL practitioners is bad. Just like not all massage therapists give happy endings, I guess is my point. If you as a therapist do not believe in it, that’s fine – there are people who think massage is still a bunch of bunk. To each their own – however, the hate is pretty strong and fairly uncalled for. We’re supposed to be bringing positive touch, positive healing, and positive thoughts to our clients. How can we do this, when in our hearts, we harbor such negative vitriol towards ethical people who are trying to pay the bills, just like us.

    (Obviously, those who are unethical are not included in my statements. I would have no problems calling attention to someone harming people for gain.)

    • I agree with you here. As long as it’s called energy work, marketed as such, and no absurd claims are being made about it’s efficacy, rock on. And those exact sentiments apply to massage, PT, podiatry, etc.
      I really do think that the ethical practitioners greatly outnumber the sketchy one. So I certainly don’t lose any sleep over this.

  7. “Additionally, it destroys our credibility with other healthcare practitioners.”

    I missed this, because it wasn’t up there when I started writing, but Denise is exactly right here.

    The way we build trust with potential healthcare team members is by demonstrating that we’ve done the necessary work to acquire an appropriate part of the shared biomedical knowledge base.

    Insisting on replacing that knowledge with beliefs that contradict the physical evidence, and selling that to clients as an explanation of natural mechanisms, only burns bridges, instead of building them.

  8. Good rant, Ryan. I’m all for intelligent debate but almost every single Facebook thread discussing the efficacy of any technique or the results of any new research study seems to devolve into a series of ad hominem attacks. The general lack of open mindedness and civility in the profession is deeply depressing and will, in the long run, prove to outsiders that we are not ready to be taken seriously by other health care professionals.

    It’s gotten so bad that one only need to post on a thread to have its meaning re-interpreted into an attack. I’m not one to hold too dearly to theories and suppositions, which I’ve written about in the past, so I guess I don’t understand why we can’t look at new evidence and discuss how or if it should impact our work without it turning into yet another pissing match.

    As Ravensara said “Change is very difficult, which is where a lot of the anger, vitriol, and drama online originates.” The profession, like almost everything in our society, is at a crossroads. Our economy is changing. Our social fabric is changing. Our knowledge about the body and the universe is changing. Our profession is changing and that change is scary to almost everyone. We can either work together to survive the changes or not. Discussions are healthy when they are discussions and not personal attacks.

  9. I am a massage therapist. And the reason I became a massage therapist is because it allows me to decrease the amount of pain in the world with one person, one hour, one drop at a time. Pain only exists in the mind- that is, in the nervous system of the person who experiences it. If i have two clients and one wants me to get under their scapula and release a frozen shoulder to help them move, that is what I do. If the other wants me to perform energy work to help them, that is what I do. If they feel better afterwards, they are better, and I have done my job so long as the client reaches the outcome we agreed upon.

    There actually is some interesting research out there about touch with intention, and many hospitals are allowing energy work IN the hospital. particularly cancer wards. My local hospitals are always asking for volunteers for both massage and energy work- they won’t pay us, but they do want us there.

    In my opinion, it is up to the client what they want to receive. I offer both, but I never push. Like I would never push a DT on a client who just wants to relax- I will offer, and if the client is curious I will explain it. If i have to turn someone away from massage due to a medical issue and energy work is still safe, I will offer it. Many times it is the comfort of massage they are after and they still receive that comfort.

    Massage, energy work, craniosacral, reflexology, etc are all means to an end. Decrease pain, increase function, support the persons innate healing processes. We all want our clients to feel better, to actually be better, and to place value on what we do.

  10. It iis the intention and health of the practitioner which really affect the changes in massage. Therefore, all massage is energy work.

    • Well, no. It isn’t. And I would whole heartedly disagree with your entire comment. I manipulate the soft tissues of the body to affect change. I can do that if I’m in a bad mood. I can do that if my toe is broken.
      Unless I am physically not able to manipulate the soft tissues of the body, I can affect change. It has nothing to do with ‘energy’.

  11. The United States has thousands of rules, regulations and laws. How many do you know? Will the massage profession eventually split? When you have laws it will give you a title and legalize your scope but that is no guarantee the person with the license is good at their craft or ethical. I have seen many licensed in many fields who I steer clear of. Why do so many people want to be a part of the ‘medical’ field? Evidence based research? The scientific world is in question and many papers published are slanted by where their grants and support come from. I have seen very derogatory comments made about massage therapists who primarily do Swedish massage being called ‘oil pushers’. As far as evidence based, AMTA approved a Position Statement in 2013, It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. There is a real need for people to have specific areas worked on and there is also a great need for people just to breathe and relax. I remember reading an article about the medical practice of ‘bloodletting’ by the then established medical community and if you were not a supporter of bloodletting you were basically blacklisted as a Doctor. Makes me think of what is happening today (If you are an energy worker or just do Swedish massage you are not really a massage therapist because I am a Medical Massage therapist and want to be able to take insurance and work with the current Medical Community). I do not do energy work in my practice but I do support energy workers in massage. Everything gives off something and nothing is a solid mass although to the eyes it might appear to be solid. Everything has an energy signature and vibrates at a certain resonance. To me it is another modality that is available. I was certified in Compassionate Touch by Ann Catlin, what would that be considered? Sometimes people’s skin is so thin and frail you can only touch and very lightly hold. I have worked with residents in a nursing homes and volunteered providing Compassionate Touch on Alzheimer and Dementia residents. It is possible and maybe for the better that those who do medical massage and those who do a relaxation massage and/or energy work s[lit into two groups. I also believe that in order to do ‘medical massage’ and be effective you need to have the equivalent of a Physical Therapy degree. Gross Anatomy should definitely be a part of the training. A two year internship would be an excellent addition. I know of a number of massage therapist who have gone on to take gross anatomy classes after graduating from massage school. There might be massage schools that have a gross anatomy class but I personally don’t know any.

    • I could not agree more. We are a crapshow of varying standards. Yikes. I personally don’t care about being considered part of the medical community. I just care about ethical naming, marketing and selling of services.
      I don’t think a reiki practitioner or even a craniosacral practitioner with no other training should be licensed as a massage therapist or bodyworker. And I don’t think anyone should be allowed to make unproven claims.
      But we agree more than we disagree. And I really like how you laid this out. Thanks.

  12. I think there is room in this field for any type of modality that has the potential to help people. When a client goes searching for a therapist they seek out one that suits them. If they go to one that didn’t use enough pressure or talked too much they will seek out a new one until they find the right fit for them. The same goes for those therapists who utilize the healing arts. If the client doesn’t believe energy work has any benefit then they will pass on that therapist and find a new one. There is a match for everyone! Energy work should never be done without permission anyway!! So if a client wants an hour therapeutic massage… that’s what they get! But science has come a long way in the field of quantum physics in the last decade and that cannot be discarded as bunk! Research it and come to a conclusion based on the evidence. I have seen and researched way too much to disregard energy work as a beneficial aspect to healing! It is NOT contradictory to our natural world. Energy is everything in our natural world as everything is energy! It’s how our very own heart beats so how can that be contrary to our physical selves or earth for that matter. But I do see massage and energy work as separate entities. One works on the physical and the other works on the mind and spirit. When done during the same therapy session albeit separately.. you get a total mind, body and spirit therapy. I have found this to be a HUGE benefit to my clients and I know this because the feedback is amazing and my business has grown due to the fact that people want this type of thing. Many of the issues that people want massage for is due to harboring stress in certain areas of their bodies. Massage can assist in clearing up the muscular issues in these areas but then they leave and go right back to the same stressful activities or situations and the area hurts again in just a few hours. So we ask why?? It’s a mind, body and spiritual issue so the best way to help that person is to assist them in changing their stress patterns in all these areas. If we were to separate massage and energy work completely we would be missing out on helping those individuals that do see the benefit.

  13. Ryan and others.
    Having grappled with this issue for many years I have come to a bit of peace about it. There is massage as a system. It is whole in and of itself. It does not need anything added to be complete. While a definition eludes us, we can recognize massage regardless of what someone is calling it. There is a logical benefit of seeking to understand the value of a system through research and other forms of evidence. Massage as a system is getting there but high quality research remains scant and many of the “claims “ people make about massage are opinion at best and some are outright wrong. We –the massage therapy community needs to stop perpetuating the myths and continue to seek understanding. But-I say again- I believe we have enough evidence to claim valid benefit for those seeking our services.
    Massage as a unique system has limitations and these also need to be recognized. It as a health approach only targets part of the wellness continuum. That’s ok. There is just too much to know and I am just fine being competent in my area. I know that wellness is a multifaceted process. I don’t have to be a counselor, nutritionist, exercise expert, chiropractor, physical therapist, or spiritual support. There are other professionals that are skilled in these areas. We can all work together even when there may be some overlap in some skills. A physical therapist for example can so some massage but it is a minor element of the practice. Massage is my thing-it is what I do. I can suggest some simple exercises but I just don’t have the training to develop a rehab program. And I don’t want to. Massage is essential and I am excellent at it. I can be a team player.
    There are other systems that a also stand alone in the sense that a client’s issue can be addressed with the methods of the system. I think of hydrotherapy as an example. As a massage therapist I don’t have to incorporate hydrotherapy for the application of massage to be complete. However there are elements of hydrotherapy that compliment massage (and vise versa). I can even use elements of hydrotherapy as a massage tool. Think of an ice cup as an implement for massage.
    Essential oils/aromatherapy is another example. In the research you will find studies that combined the two independent methods such as massage used to apply the oil. However, essential oils have an independent body of knowledge and can function without massage. Massage has an independent body of knowledge and can function without essential oils.
    Specific forms of movement and exercise are stand-alone methods. Many are named for the individual that organized the concepts into a system such as Pilates. Some are cultural such as yoga but these systems share fundamental observable elements regardless of the name.
    Energy based systems while varied, multicultural and attributed to individuals that formalized the systems fit into this type of explanation. If you observe a variety of styles you will recognize a fundamental sameness.
    Regardless of the system-it is the responsibility of the practitioners of the methods to be seeking evidence for value and practice in an ethical manner. However, I do not have to prove or disprove any other system. I just don’t was the confusion of what is massage and what is not even when they become blended in a individuals personal practice. You can be multiple trained. You can be a massage therapist and a yoga teacher. Just present as such. If I come in for a massage- I do not want a yoga lesson.
    I am going to cap this so it does not get lost ok–ALL THERAPEUTIC INTERACTION, REGARDLESS OF SYSTEM, IS MORE EFFECTIVE WHEN THE CLIENT AND PRACTITIONER SHARE AN EMPATHETIC, COMPASSIONATE, ETHICAL THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH INTENTION, ATTENTION AND WITH PRACTITIONER EXPERIENCE TO DRAW ON-INTUITION. ——so don’t get your fascia in a twist around some nerve with dermal branches ok.
    Now I do get frustrated when a method is presented as different than massage when actually massage application has been adapted to target a tissue, function or outcome. The whole concept of “fascia, myofascial ” methods is an example. Another set of currently popular approaches right now involves specific skin massage under the term dermal ——–. Another example is when a method that is essentially massage gets separated out of the massage system because of some sort of claim that it interfaces uniquely with a particular anatomical or physiological function. You can recognize these approaches because neuro —– or some body fluid shows up in the name. I also think of methods such as nerve stretching or flossing and lymphatic drain as examples. All of these types of methods fundamentally use physical contact to create a mechanical force into the body tissues. –massage. To me they are massage adaptation and not unique systems.
    This next paragraph is bolded because I think it explains a lot of the problem.
    So now here is where I think it all got confused. The massage community in the past , in an attempt to legitimize itself, somehow decided that massage in and of itself was not enough. Massage was incomplete. Therefor many systems of health got all jumbled in. And we ended up with the whole massage and bodywork debacle.
    Even more confusion occurred as multiple names for massage evolved–manual therapy, myotherapy, massotherapy, medical massage, western massage, eastern massage, and all you have to do is look at a list of forms and styles.
    Education for massage then began to include bits and pieces of all the individual systems diluting massage and doing a disservice to other systems that require unique knowledge and skills. What a mess.
    My recommendation is————————-TA DA
    The massage community needs to reclaim massage therapy as a whole approach.
    If an individual practitioner wants to blend systems in their professional practice then they should commit to comprehensive study of that system and then openly present to clients and the larger community that they combine multiple approaches. The client has the right to be informed.
    WE DO NOT NEED TO FIGHT. WE DO NEED TO CLARIFY.
    PS- I have posted this as a blog as well.

  14. I believe we are working with energy ALL THE TIME. I personally really don’t like it when someone claims to have some special magical gift that they can share with me that I don’t have. I’m not saying that all “energy workers” do that, but MANY DO. As I have been thinking deeply about this upheaval, I have come to realize with some guidance that the word energy is too vague and used in soooo many capacities that use of the word or term is in itself creating conflict. Look, I am a firm believer that CST, Shiatsu, and Thai are awesome forms of bodywork that truly benefit clients. I also don’t see any scientific evidence that proves the theories of these and other energy based modalities. Am I throwing these traditional modalities out of my school? Oh hell no. I would do a diservice to my students if I did that. Will I make sure they know the difference between evidence based work and therory based work? Indeed.

    Reiki is NOT BODYWORK. Reiki is NOT MASSAGE! I don’t hate people who do reiki, I just prefer not to be associated with people who are only doing reiki and have not received the substantial education to be a bodyworker. I don’t want the associations and governing associations to toss us all together in one basket.

    I grew up in Boulder. I was a practicing astrologer by my 16th year. My mom owned a new age book store. She was an iconic New Age Leader in that community. This was in the 80’s. There were more mystical magical special beings in Boulder charging $$ to share these special magical gifts than dog owners.

    Meanwhile, I’m paying a fortune to attend one of the best massage schools in the world, attending for 2 years so that I can professionally, responsibly, ethically, touch people with tons of knowledge. No one simply attuned me over the course of 3 weekends to be a master. We are not on equal ground here…just like I’m not on equal ground with a Physical Therapist.

    If there is a massage therapist doing reiki, with the consent of the client and the client wants it…great! People are getting really offended and taking what is happening personally, and I feel that legitimate “energy workers” should be aligned with everyone who wants separation to get the illegitimate magic people who are in the soup with us OUT! no hate..just time for change and clarity. peace!

    • Thai is not energy work…it may have energy components but it is every bit massage as any massage. I had a chronic problem with my leg…hip, it band, knee…I could not walk without a gimp, I could not extend my knee. I tried everything for 6 months…regular massage, deep tissue, Physical therapy, even rolfing and nothing worked. I went to a Thai massage therapist in CT…he did Thai on me…stretched me, pressed me, moved me in all sort of ways, sat on my leg and I got off that floor 70 percent better. I continued to go to him and after 3 sessions I was totally healed. I thought that would never happen but it did. Thai is every bit massage as any massage…Swedish, deep tissue etc. That is why as an MT I learned Thai…it changed my life and I hope I can help others too.. I use it on a young man with dev delays. He has become more graceful, more flexible and does not lumber around anymore when walking. If he could speak…he might be able to say

  15. if the customer wants to feel human hands with massage oil penetrating deep into the muscle then that’s what they want and that’s what they’re paying for. if a massage therapist who has been in practice over 20 years and received literally thousands of massages doesn’t need to feel that level of pressure on the tissue especially after we age, maybe she should try psychophysical structural integration like Traeger approach or Rolfing or Feldenkrais. energy work is not considered body work so keep it where it should be. all of our work as a few and all the practitioners should hold a deep respect and reverence for every type of energy work in bodywork. some people cannot feel energy work because that really isn’t what they want they want to be touched and massaged. others especially elderly don’t want a massage because it hurts them so that’s when the energy work and a general deep tissue like trager would be great! each type of work specified uniquely for each type of body. what a wonderful world we are living in!

    • Have you ever been Rolfed. I have had 7 sessions. It is not light work…it is deep and can be very painful…more painful than any deep tissue than you can imagine. It is not psychophysical…it is structural integration…it changes your structure…physically. I have no idea personally what Traeger is or Feldenkrais but I know about Rolfing…I have been on the table. Too painful for me…I went to Thai instead and that worked for me

  16. I am saddened by, but not surprised by “all the hate” in the massage profession. I see a polarized world and it has filtered down to our industry. From my most humble perspective, I see the life of humans as consciousness manifesting in an energetic body. I cannot separate in my mind, a co-mingling of energy from the practitioner to the client, regardless of what therapeutic modality the practitioner has in their tool box. So, without saying, “I do energy work”, you are doing it! By your very essence of being, your energy will affect your client when you are in the sacred space of your ‘massage session’. How many massage therapists have come out of their rooms complaining about the ‘bad energy’ or ‘good energy’ that the client had. It works both ways. Although it is not a tangible ‘thing’, we feel energy. We feel each others moods, good and bad, we palpate for tension and presto, a release of the stuck energy happens and the client feels better! Although I have specialized in facial massage for the past 19 years, I spent 350 hours studying Polarity Therapy with one of the humblest, dearest and sincerest men I have ever met, John Bodary, now in his 80’s, at the Polarity Therapy Center in Dearborn, Michigan. If I wasn’t already convinced of the human energy system, after spending many hours learning from this man teaching Randolph Stone’s ‘system’ of connecting with the client and balancing and freeing them from ‘stuck’ energy, I was a believer. The Chinese work with the energy system; they call it ‘chi’; the Japanese, ‘ki’; the Thais, ‘sen’; the Indians, ‘prana’, or life force. How can we, as intelligent beings that we are, negate the centuries of healing modalities via energy that our Asian ancestors have shown us or our Native American ancestors as well. Modern, evidence based massage has its place and I honor the dedicated teachers who have evolved it. I have watched this profession since I joined it in 1991 when the inventive bodywork teachers around were lumped into the massage profession. People like Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, Milton Trager, John Barnes and my mentor, Belle Tuckerman. But like our medical profession who cried, “kill the bug” with antibiotics in the past century and negated all the natural healing options, please, please, please, let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bath water on this issue. Unity, and acceptance of each others differences is the only way up, folks. Let’s join hands!

    • Thank you Nina , Sandy , and Ryan for your thoughts which I agree with… 21 years ago when I got into this beloved industry I saw the same thing between medical.Massage vs Massage vs energy work .. then things came to a agreement…now is worse….i was actually told by someone( recently) to Change the name of my school because Reflexology is not valid… My hope is that this industry can come to an agreement

    • I am open to accepting energy work as a modality that helps many people. I’ve even referred out to energy workers. I just don’t want to see it labeled and regulated as massage.
      I can separate my mind & energy from that of my client. I can perform a kickass massage regardless of my mood or the client’s mood. It’s just not a relevant factor to the massage I provide. I’m certainly not insensitive. In fact, I work with population that require extreme sensitivity, (kids with autism, people with anxiety & depression). I just consider emotion as it relates to physiology, and adapt my techniques accordingly.
      I think we have the same ideas here, we just use different terms & explanations.
      The baby can stay. We just gotta name, market, and (maybe) regulate it properly.

  17. So I guess all the nurses will have to stop using Reiki then right away! Where in the world is the info coming from that we need to separate out energy based systems to become part of healthcare??? In WA we are part of health care and have been since 1996! It has nothing to do with the quality of education or anything but politics! We have tons of energy based modalities happening in the massage profession here…

    • Who said nurses have to stop doing anything? You’re being rather alarmist here. Which is exactly the attitude Ryan is addressing in this post.
      No one even said massage therapists should stop doing anything. I think the general idea is that no one should be calling energy work ‘massage’ and that practitioners should be clear and honest about the work they do, and the claims they make. And that people should be kinder in the discussion about those things.

    • You’re right! It’s all about politics which is why the vitriol gets spit back and forth. Current sentiment is that massage would be more integrated into insurance policies if it was evidence based and rejected non-western approaches. This may or may not be true for states other than WA. We’ll see!

      • It’s not “all” about politics, although that plays a part.

        And it’s not all about the insurance, although that is an important consideration to bear in mind.

        And it’s not about rejecting non-western approaches.

        For me, at least, it’s about “how do we serve our clients in the most professional way?”.

        And I find that the way to do that is to stick only to the knowledge–whether it came from Western or non-Western sources–that can reliably and repeatedly be objectively demonstrated to act in consistent and well-understood ways, that are consistent with the body of scientific evidence built up over time.

        That way, our clients know that we can be counted on to deliver what we promise.

        Insurance and politics come into it only secondary to that main concern–for me, anyway.

        • Ravensara- You might want to be careful when referring to “our” clients in the massage industry. This is a broad generalization and its true that many people are specifically looking for energy work and claim to receive great benefits from it. “Our” clients may be different sets of people depending on who is speaking.

          And for what its worth, I was using politics in a larger sense meaning achieving an agenda and I believe that Julie was, too. I stand by my comment that it is all about politics. Your comment, even, sounds very political, for example.

  18. To answer the questions you pose Ryan:

    Here are some questions for all of you:
    1. What can YOU do, to become a better therapist? I can continue my education to learn as much as I can about everything. Opening my mind to listen to others so I can learn something new. Providing my services with ethical passion and behavior and with a compassionate heart. Humble myself to continue my learning process, no matter how much I think I have learned. Listen to my clients and what they need. If I can’t provide it, find someone who can. I never believed in the fake it til you make it concept. When I study a modality I continue to study and learn before I offer it in my practice. I don’t believe a 2 day training qualifies us to offer a new modality the next morning. Learn from people around the world and discover new concepts and ideas. To be a better therapist, for me, requires time, patience, education,an open heart and learning mastery – which may not happen for me in this lifetime.

    2. How can YOU make this profession more accepting? I believe the profession is accepted. I also believe it is up to US to represent it with professional due diligence.
    To hear people say the health care profession doesn’t accept us is not total truth. I have helped set up massage in 2 hospitals. One over 20 years ago in the cancer ward,another one about 12+ years ago in a physical therapy hospital based department. The MD I worked for was the one who went with me to a healing touch training and had me go into help a patient with a migraine (in his neurological practice) doing energy work over 30 years ago. Last year a hospital invited over 15 MT’s to provide chair massage to their entire staff for the week. Yes, they paid us well. Now some may ask what region this all happened and claim they live in a region not accepting. One was North East, One was SouthEast and one was SouthPacific. It was all in the approach. I have even worked along with healthcare/medical professionals in the midwest.

    My students were accepted in a nursing home project every year during our geriatric portion of our massage training. We were always welcomed back and the experiences were amazing.
    I invited medical professionals into my school to speak to the massage students. We developed a relationship and respect right from the basic educational level in school. Many of these healthcare professionals hired these students or offered space in their practice to start a massage practice.

    Acceptance comes from within. If I know that I am living in integrity and I am doing my best to learn what I can and present myself like a healthcare professional expects then I am contributing. My practice was 80% medical referrals when I first started, including orthopedic surgeons. I do not understand some of these comments about not being accepted in the health care profession. I would personally look at myself and ask why am I not being accepted there.
    As much as people have trashed franchises, they are making the public more aware and more are experiencing massage than 20 years ago.
    Today a massage therapist called me and was in the E.R. last night. She said the nurse said can I do reiki on you and do you know your chakras are out of balance? She said the ER medical doctor talked to her about yoga and meditation and they chatted about massage. She was surprised to hear them so open. I understand some here have encountered those that ‘act less than professional’ or those that appear to be ‘out there somewhere doing woo woo”. I get it! I have not personally encountered that many in all these years and the ones I have don’t call themselves massage therapists.

    Let’s change our perception ~ My question is “how are we representing ourselves to the healthcare profession”? Do you know how to approach health care professionals? What have you found that is acceptable and working? I would love to hear from the individuals that do work in these situations. Let’s figure out the solution and learn from those accomplishing these goals. I can personally attest I was successful because I represented myself as a healthcare professional from the way I dressed to the language I spoke to the information I provided.

    I, do believe we all want a solution ~ let’s find it together.

  19. Well, you’ve got the choice to delete what you feel to be hateful comments, Ryan.
    I would note that there is a big difference between ‘hate’ and spirited discussion. I’m confident I’m sticking with the latter.

  20. On a very basic level we, as human beings, require and need to be contacted in a caring and nurturing way. The mind and the senses are very receptive to caring touch as opposed to aggressive and violent contact. Something extraordinary happens when we contact the body in a heart centered way. We “open up” and allow ourselves to feel that sense of well being and we seek more of this contact from those who have the ability to provide it for us. We long for that type of contact from another human being and even from our 4 legged friends and companions.
    Is it no wonder that Massage therapy and its evolution,over the years, has turned into one of the main alternative modalities for helping to reduce stress and provide an all around feeling of personal well being. As I see it there are two main branches of massage therapy that has its own distinct application to the body. There is the Massage therapy that seeks to realign and help release physical tension and stress, and there is the massage therapy that seeks to enhance a persons spiritual and mental well being,both being equally as effective at reducing stress and tension,I should note.
    These two branches can be at odds with one another for they come from different scopes of thought. On the one hand we have the clinical therapy setting which relies totally on a scientific model and anatomical perspective to address physical stresses. Research and study on the benefits of massage therapy comes from a scientific model of trial and test and figuring out “what works” in terms of stress relief and pain management. The other side of the coin of massage therapy goes into a more metaphysical and energetic aspect, focusing on a mindset or psychology of the body and addressing the emotional and imaginative aspect of the human condition. The energetics and spiritual focuses of therapeutic touch seeks to realign and heal the body on a “Heart”level or “Emotional level” and a “Spiritual Level”. These three aspects I have laid out all combine to create the energetic modalities we see out there. Polarity Therapy, Reiki, and other energetic therapies. The two branches of Massage Therapy can conflict for one relies on a system of “Fact” whereas the other relies on a system of “Faith”.

    Science will contend to disprove that which it cannot understand or fathom from its model of scientific method and the Faith based rhetoric will seek to discount the science for it can dispell the “imaginative” mind and set to conflict with what is perceived to be non-existent,from the scientific method. William Blake once wrote that “What has been proven was once imagined”, interesting food for thought and to relate it to this subject matter is paramount to being able to blend these two ideologies together and to make them “Work” with one another, rather than being opposed to each other. Alas it is up to the individual to decide what is true and real for them and make those decisions and go forth into whatever realm they wish to pursue in massage therapy. Blending both aspects would seem to create difficulties yet when you really look at it, they can flow and combine to create a total effective and “Whole-istic” form of alternative therapy.

    We do not seek to replace that which is already in practice and what works for people, rather we seek to help open up the mind to the realm of the proven and the possible, and then work from that to create the unique therapist that you will become,discounting nothing and yet being able to discern and look at things with a more open and heart centered mind, rather than a judgmental mind. I should note that being “critical” should not necessarily constitute a discounting or disregarding of any subject,rather critical thinking in this context would be more akin to say,Don Miguel Ruiz’s 5th agreement(from his writings on the 4 and now 5 Agreements),which states:

    “Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen” To be skeptical of our own lies and be in truth at all times. Then we can begin to listen with the heart — the heart and common sense.
    The fifth agreement is the complete acceptance of yourself just the wayyou are, and the complete acceptance of everybody else just the way they are. The reward is your eternal happiness. The fifth agreement is made with words, of course, but its meaning and intent is beyond the words. The fifth agreement is ultimately about seeing your whole reality with the eyes of truth, without words.”
    For massage and alternative healing bodywork this concept resonates a“truth” that practitioners and enthusiasts either knowingly or subconsciously operate from.
    For myself there is no conflict between my belief and understanding of the practical and the scientific universe and my faith/intent/energy/imagination and creativity,especially in the realm of massage and healing bodywork. To be able to make the two aspects I have written about coexist and work in harmony together, I feel,creates a balance between the left and the right hemispheres ofthe brain and its consciousness and perception awareness.

    “It would be possible to describe everything scientifically,but it would make no sense,it would be without meaning,as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” Albert Einstein.

    With Much Love,
    Jason Bratcher LMT/LMTI

    • “1. What can YOU do, to become a better therapist?”

      I am working to build a community that values professionalism in massage therapy, and that provides easier access to massage therapy for members of vulnerable and underserved populations.

      “2. How can YOU make this profession more accepting?”

      I don’t think the problem is that the profession is not accepting enough–as far as I can tell, almost any claim that anyone cares to make, no matter how warranted or unwarranted, is accepted–except for claims that are based in established physics, chemistry, or biology. Those get dismissed as “narrow-minded”.

      We need to make up our minds about whether we really want to do what it takes to become a healthcare profession. It doesn’t matter what some states call us; healthcare professionalism is about assuming the duties and responsibilities of a professional to a client, in return for the trust that society invests in us.

      Until we decide which of the two mutually-contradictory ways we want to proceed, this infighting will leave us paralyzed.

      Yes, I know this individual here and this individual there have managed to persuade this or that individual to bring massage into institutions here and there.

      But until massage as a whole demonstrates that it is ready to act in its entirety as a healthcare profession–the responsibilities of which have already been trailblazed by others before us–we will never get anywhere on a systemic basis–recognized as a profession ourselves by other professions. It will only ever be individual crumbs of recognition, here and there.

      If that’s what people want, that’s fine. But we should have this discussion out in the open, both so that people who want something else can go their own way if that’s what they want, and–more important–so that clients can understand and consent in an informed way to the treatment they’re being charged for.

      “Thanks”

      My pleasure, Ryan. I thank you for having the courage to engage in a deeply painful, but absolutely necessary, discussion of our professional future. I’m sorry that it’s so distressing, but this is where decisions during our history have brought us to.

    • 1. I can become a better therapist by choosing to engage in a reflective practice that explores what triggers me and take responsibility for that. See my blog post: http://massagetherapypractice.blogspot.com/2013/12/untended-wounds-harbour-infection.html

      2. I cannot MAKE the profession more accepting. The best I can do is to contribute to social pressure on mean spirited expressions on Facebook for example. I can also try to model the curiosity, interest and openness to others that I wish to be met with as well. And be curious about and self responsible for my own projections when I fail in one of the curiosity, interest and openness departments.

  21. We are all electromagnetic beings, so I don’t understand people’s continued concern about energy work. Just touching another being (human or otherwise) enters the energy field. Textbooks will suggest that while a massage therapist is simply palpating (assessing) the client, there is treatment being done. Therefore, sometimes the assessment is also the treatment. Research has shown that the mere presence of a healthy person near a sick person is enough to cause the hemoglobin of the sick person to increase as much as 1 gm/dl in lab tests. I have taken many CE courses after completion of basic 500 hr massage school, Of the 900 plus hours of CE some of those were “energy-based” and while I don’t always consciously “use” these techniques, I know there is a lot of energy flowing during my treatment sessions. Most of my clients have commented that even if my hands are cool at the beginning, they are quite hot before we are done. My work is not considered deep pressure, but the therapy is felt at deep levels. Energy is all around us, and vibrational healing occurs from many sources. Vibrational injury can also occur. Be cautious of having too many of the damaging type in or near your treatment room.

  22. Why would I want to accept something that I believe hurts our profession, something that I don’t find even remotely acceptable? Ryan, I’m not sure you understand how strongly many of us feel about this. For me to accept energy work would be an abomination. I don’t hate anyone AND I’m open-minded. Being accused of not being open-minded really has become tiresome.

  23. Great topic, Ryan 😀

    Please allow me to recap (and see if I am picking up what everyone’s laid down):

    ** In any healthcare-related field, if the intent is to use a System to achieve professionally, evidence-based and mutually-agreed-upon outcome, practitioner-/personal-centric energy is involved.

    ** Systems are self-defined but not agreed upon as “self-contained” by all practitioners. Systems differ depending on the “adequate” training of the Practitioner and Systems are cross-pollinated and remain within Massage Therapy as a profession, some appearing as viable [New System] definitions. Energy, Bodywork, and Massage Therapy Systems are stand-alone and have their own theories and specific outcomes, but all are for the better health of the patient.

    ** There are factions in Massage Therapy [as defined by law/scope/”definition”] and of Bodywork and of Energywork that present through the most-outspoken Purists of the respective practice in Public forums, but none so notably as, historically, Massage Therapy as a profession. Statements by large organizations of Massage Therapists are backing their Claims with Facts (evidence) regarding the efficacy of what is know in most states as a unified, legal definition of scope of practice of a Massage Therapist.

    ** Research does not prove something WILL work – it proves it has worked and supports statistical probability that, if duplicated, the process will yield the same or very similar results.

    ** It will be a long, hard road to travel before the MT profession gets to its Goal: the road, contrary to popular belief, is built. #AreWeThereYet

    These are just some of the points I gather from everyone’s thoughtful Reply to the questions.

    My opinion:

    ** Fact, whoever decides what it “is”, is the possibility we either subscribe to or seek to clarify/change.

    ** Because I do “A” with one client/patient, doesn’t mean that “B” will always happen. Same goes for any PRACTICE in this world. We, specifically as a named professional, statistically have trust that outcomes will be, more often than not, what is predicted and/or has been historical.

    ** If we do not practice vulnerability – face the Fact that we may ultimately Be Wrong – we are doomed to fend for ourselves and have no one but the fish, island wildlife (who we might learn something from!) and a volleyball with whom to share our Facts – there are no “reinforcements” in this scenario, so you, as a creature may or may not understand Your Facts, become the Massage Therapy god of your private island.
    ** If evidence-based MT practitioners want to be perceived as medical, then they need to use the term “patient” when referring to their customers.

    ** Organizations like the AMTA, NCBTMB, AFMTE, and the stewards of the MTBOK need to focus on a universal definition of the scope of a Massage Therapist. One of the best ways to do that is to allow criticism/scrutiny from the very organizations with which we, as a profession, seek to ally and gain approval. Who are those again?
    If we don’t learn better relationship management skills as individual practitioners, there is no hope for a profession to evolve, move forward, or undergo metamorphosis. If this is the time for that (as I suspect it always has been), then managing effective relationships is the most important and the most basic skill for separating a definition of Massage Therapy from… (anyone?) I see many of these organizations attempting to do just this, and sometimes they are successful – support of their constituents is crucial…and that is who we are.

    ** Governing bodies are different than Legislative bodies: it starts with the People, who become the Professionals, who go to the Legislators, who are typically not MT professionals. If we treat Legislators like any other client –> patient, then we will have more of an affect and ultimately control of what we profess. Relationship management should be a basic business course for all professionals, not just MTs.

    ** Public forums are attractive to Professionals Who Want To Express, Using Their Professional Identity, Their Personal Opinion. The fallacy is those Professionals Who… believe that they are not affecting their profession when they do this, but their identity is more often than not (especially for those who use a Facebook Page or note on their Profile what their profession/employment/job/schooling is) inscrutably linked – unless you are two different people (one with your clients, who never see you outside the office, and one with your Friends) every professional with an outspoken public, [what is perceived as] professional opinion takes on that profession’s Joan of Arc behavior – winningly brash, never wrong because the ideas they proliferate are Fact. What defines our profession and how others (Public or otherwise), by state of course (or not in some cases), is continually evolving because of the conversations held OUTSIDE the capitals where Legislators hear the arguments, on and offline, and decide the fate of our profession every session, in every jurisdiction. We need to have the same conversations everywhere for things to change – positive change [for our field], especially where laws are concerned, comes from collaboration, affiliation, & order, not chaos.

    None of these things will happen overnight – diligence, persistence, patience, steadfastness, and vigilance are the underlying strategies and supportive framework for spirited, productive, actionable conversations for possibility.

    In response to Ryan’s query #1:

    I can learn more about the Systems which I profess. I can distinguish and discern my scope, adhere to it overtly (in verbal and non-verbal communication), and subscribe to an agreed upon set of Facts, Standard and Code that defines a Massage Therapist professional. I can be more open to dissenting, professional opinions – agree to disagree, learn and understand the nature of and ways to communicate, persuade, and position my profession to “win” an Aristotelian, Socratic, or Platonic argument of logic or any method that has ages-old veracity and promotes an empowered and enlightened Public.

    In response to Ryan’s query #2:

    Yeah, it’s great being The Expert…amongst your Friends, family, or professionals who follow you in the field. Realizing and Awakening to the big picture, putting in the work to make change happen, and preparing the future of our profession are noble goals, and, in my personal opinion, necessary for making Massage Therapy a stronger profession in the future.
    “Individual practitioners practicing vulnerability” is what will help our profession form strong, unified bonds, within and without. Every Massage-Professional Leader is an “individual practitioner”. Asking ourselves (not necessarily “taking it to the mat” or “agreeing to disagree” as a dichotomous view of human nature may reveal we attack/address these ideas), maybe…once a week?…: “what do I believe is true, and how will I challenge that Truth?” If we do not bear the wind, our trunks will not grow stronger.

    Prepare = Research/Reconnaissance
    Ask = Requisite/Relevant
    Engage = Reply/Respond
    Show Compassion = Respect/Revise/Repose
    Find New Truths = Requiem/Release/Renew

  24. What can I do to be a better therapist? Continue learning from people I respect, taking CEs that challenge my brain and soul, maintaining a client-centered practice and shutting up and rubbing.

    What can I do to make the profession more accepting? I can watch my own language and support the people in the industry who represent my views and stop reacting to the loudest, most strident voices.

  25. Albert Einstein said it beautifully. “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

    Haters love to stay in their own close-minded prison, perhaps? Their right is right and everyone else should be reported to the authorities? What IF we all stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people and those with different belief systems? Peace out!

  26. If people hold such hate within their self,how can you really help others? Proud honored and humbled Practical Nurse,psychic/medium and Reiki Master Teacher. I let my energy “speak” for itself,I never try to conform someone to what I know is real,but clients frequently say without even knowing my background say “Wow ,that was amazing!!!!I have never had a massage like that before!!!” Never work from a place of Ego,let go and just set a positive intent and be a vessel for healing.

  27. I really don’t understand why it’s ‘not accepting’ to want massage & energy work labeled & regulated as separate from each other.
    We don’t smoosh athletic training & massage together. We don’t smoosh acupuncture and massage together.
    Sure, many practitoners do both. Awesome. Just get licensed as such, market as such, and practice accordingly. And don’t make wacky unproven claims about the efficacy of any particular modality.

    • “don’t make wacky unproven claims”

      What’s funny is, the MTBoK and the NCBTMB’s NCAP guidelines for advanced practice that never saw the light of day both agree on the importance to the massage profession of critically evaluating the quality of information about massage.

      They explicitly list them as knowledge, skills, and abilities for MTs.

      What they *don’t* mention, though, is exactly what happens to you–what comes down on your head–when you try to do just that.

  28. The truth is there is a division within the massage community concerning this matter because we need to delineate what massage is and isn’t. From my end- there is no hate- only complete disagreement that energy work has a place in massage. There really needs to be a standardized education in the U.S. for massage therapy. The biggest losers are the general public. They don’t know what they’re getting from one state to the next- or, as in a unregulated state, from one city to the next.

    There is no room here for the “agree to disagree” nonsense. Energy work has no place in the field of massage. If a massage therapist wants to do energy work- then they need to wear that hat separately. And it definitely should not be a part of any massage school curriculum. Energy work is the same thing as reading palms, telling fortunes and ghost hunting, it’s pseudoscience and it doesn’t belong in our profession.

    I don’t “hate” energy workers, but they will probably “hate” me for this post and attribute “hate” where there is none. The first thing is to prevent energy workers from working under the guise of massage. A person who practices energy work should have the ethics to not advertise their work as massage if they are only practicing energy related modalities. If they have the training to advertise and practice massage- they need to provide massage only. I’ve had many massages where the massage therapist does mostly energy work and that is grossly misleading and unethical.

    There is no need to regulate energy work. Just charge a business tax as there is any other business related to fortune telling and the like. But definitely separate and keep it out of massage training, education and the massage room. This means if a client pays for massage- give them a massage, not energy work. If someone wants to do energy work- then don’t call it massage. Plain and simple.

    • “The biggest losers are the general public. They don’t know what they’re getting from one state to the next- or, as in a unregulated state, from one city to the next.”

      Thank you, Rajam.

      I couldn’t have said it any better. The key word is “client-centered”, and if the client can’t reliably count on dependable access to good massage treatment–no matter where they are–then we are not yet a client-centered healthcare profession.

      Maybe we don’t want to be, and that’s fine, although if the industry as a whole makes that decision, there will be those who split off as a result, because we want something different.

      But the important thing is that we have to talk about these issues, civilly and professionally, and come to decisions about how to proceed.

      If we just wait for history to decide those issues for us, almost no one is going to like the results.

  29. The issues for separation or combining practices really start in massage school and then legislation. All the perceptions are pushed out from there…Our clients pay the price and there is not enough advocacy on the parts of massage organizations or schools. I believe in many forms of bodywork and believe energy flows through all of our bodies. I don’t practice energy work but I have taken many classes. There are so many other issues within the massage community that need addressing and this one in my opinion is low on the list. Let’s come together for higher education and higher instructor credentialing. I rather fight for those issues because those issues will solve lots of concerns.

    • “””There are so many other issues within the massage community that need addressing and this one in my opinion is low on the list.”””

      Agree whole heartedly on this statement. In fact,based on what I posted earlier,energy workers are the least of our worries and concerns. It’s a non factor with me as I have never been in conflict with those two realms. The main issues,as I see them,are prostitution and folks practicing without a license,AND those with biased and negatively judgmental viewpoints getting into positions of authority in our profession to dictate and regulate based on their personal agendas. We need level heads,objective people and folks with open minds and hearts to make decisions in our profession that benefit us ALL.

      Much Love,
      Jason Bratcher LMT/MTI

  30. Pingback: Does Energy Work Have a Place in the Modern Massage Therapist’s Practice? | Body In Bloom

  31. Wow y’all! This whole thread has went sideways…

    Why all the attitude?

    If we go into a session with attitudes like this there’s no way we can be effective bodyworkers. So, you don’t want to do a certain modality. Don’t hate on those who do.

    We all have different needs. If someone comes in and needs a certain modality and you don’t offer it, kindly refer the person to someone who does.

    I can respect the idea of breaking laws and scope of practice. We need to be out of the box thinkers and create/build ways that will help clients all the while taking into consideration the ethics and morality of bodywork.

    I personally am a certified massage therapist and a certified life coach. Combining these two allows and affords me to help a client let go and release anxiety and tension. It’s a very unique type of work. Not everyone can offer something like this.

    We need to work as a team to get massage recognized as legit and effective in helping people. Otherwise, we’re acting like everyone else who treats bodywork as if it’s wrong and having a cut throat mentality as well as competing against each other. How can we be effective with this kind of mentality?

    Let’s all just take a deep breath in and relax.

    • Thanks Kimberly for your thoughtful comment, adeptly moving the debate towards middle ground, where its author started by acknowledging the level of animosity recently in online posts. Oddly, asking the questions: how do you become a better therapist and how can we be more accepting of other types of bodywork? again became a platform for criticizing techniques and forms of bodywork that some practitioners do, blatantly disregarding the authors questions, to proclaim their opinions and foment an open dislike of those whose work they don’t understand. Kinda funny and sad.

  32. I think we have this divide in our profession because what we really have here are two professions and the peculiarities of each profession drag the other side down as it’s trying to progress in its own way. But these days, when we get upset and frustrated about something, we pick up our social media megaphone and announce to as many people as possible how horrible the situation is. Really what we should doing is making real changes to better our profession(s). I’d bet the farm that Facebook isn’t the place to make those changes.

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