Tale of Two Practitioners

by | Jun 19, 2010 | Articles

Looking at a hypothetical case of massage9-300x265two massage practitioners, who are being interviewed for the potential work in the family practice medical office, who do you think will have the advantage during the interview: the practitioner who described his work as a way to enhance healing thorough the balance of body energy, remove the energy blocks and normalizing the flow of ‘Qi’, or the practitioner who described her work as stimulation of the healing process by normalizing fixed electric charge, generating piezoelectricity and enhancing the maturation of collagen fibers?

Ironically, both practitioners described the same process, but they used strikingly different language. While talking to the interviewing physician, the first practitioner used the 5000 year old language of Oriental health practitioners, while the second practitioner used the 21st century scientific explanation of the same phenomenon.

This is a great example of how massage practitioners routinely undermine their work in the eyes of medical community and clients. To be successful in this profession, a therapist must be familiar with modern terminology, current scientific theories and be able to explain their work in making-sense way.

This should in no way undermine the achievement of the Oriental thinkers and health practitioners. Using great observation skills and intuitive minds, they were able to discover long ago the same processes in the body we just now are able to understand. They were greatly ahead of us.

Five thousand years ago no one knew about massage2-200x300electricity in general and bioelectricity in particular. This is why people called it ‘Qi’ or healing energy, but it is unacceptable in 21st century to describe the therapy to the Western educated physician, client or patient using ancient figurative language filled with metaphors. This is not a way to build up practice in Western society.

It doesn’t matter what type of bodywork you are practicing or teaching, Swedish massage, acupressure, neuromuscular therapy, or reflexology; you are not in any case affecting the flow of some mystical healing energy. This is a complete fairy tale and scientific nonsense. Instead, your treatment triggers a chain of electrophysiological changes in the soft tissue and the entire patient’s body.

Unfortunately, for the entire profession these changes were incorrectly labeled as healing body energy. This 5000 year old term deprived the scientific basis for the massage therapy, and we need to change it as soon as possible in the schools curriculums, in the certification exams and even in the publications where it is a very common subject. Please, educate clients, colleagues, students or other health practitioners on this fundamental matter.

I am perfectly aware that many practitioners will continue to use this concept because it is very difficult to change already established system of beliefs. However, this article is for the practitioners who are ready to open their minds, embrace the science in massage therapy and learn and practice its application.

The successful massage therapy practice relies on two major pillars: spiritual-psychological aspect of massage therapy and its scientific foundation. While the first aspect is very well developed and greatly enforced in massage education and literature, the modern scientific understanding is lagging behind, and must be changed for the benefit of the profession and health of the clients. Masterminding this knowledge is an effective way to build up the flourishing practice and, at the same time, it will help the further development of the entire massage therapy profession.

Article from Science of Massage website here: http://www.scienceofmassage.com/

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