When Technobobble Hurts More Than the Pain . . .

Naturally, a healing art as old and as cross-cultural as massage has bred many techniques and approaches. So many modalities that many massage therapists--experienced and well trained in most techniques--may not know them all. Often the same technique is practiced quite differently by different massage therapists. And sometimes the the same technique has different names! Or the name, as for instance in Swedish Massage, is a misnomer-- Swedish Massage was simply developed by Per Ling, a Swede who travelled in the East!

It wouldn't surprise a savvy consumer like you to hear that more than 80% of the so-called "bodywork" modalities have been developed in the 20th century--the era of marketing, marketing, marketing. Registration of a technique and its marketing have become a lucrative business proposition. Hey, we live in an entrepreneurial age . . . and that sort of thing is understandable. The MT USER GUIDE, in its ethical marketing style, will let you in on a secret: Truth is, massage therapy is a low-tech healing art with a strong artistic/intuitive component. With very few exceptions, therefore, an experienced, client-centered massage therapist trained in one of the traditional techniques--let's say Swedish Massage or Tuina--can deliver excellent services without the technobobble dropping on a busy person like you. Fact is, most professional-quality massage therapists are trained in a variety of techniques and become eclectic so as to better serve their clients' needs. To be sure, continuing education is generally desirable. Many newbie MTs (and some not-so-newbie ones), however, keep taking workshops to try to keep up with the "new technology," never giving themselves a chance to get grounded in one method as a professional routine. Sadly, before they learn how to "listen with their hands" and hone the art of massage, they are busy listening to the sales pitch of a new technique . . . Therefore, massage technique per se--the most frequent of FAQs-- is a relatively unimportant one. Here, take a look at our list of Bodymind Healthwork Techniques--some of which are not really MT--for yourself.

Just as we thought that we were letting you in on a well guarded secret, much to our delight, in the Summer Issue of Massage Therapy Journal, in a new column entitled "The Art of Massage" by David Lauterstein, LicMT, author of Putting the Soul Back in the Body and co-director of the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School, Lauterstein has this to say: "We don't need modalities, we need each other." Looks like Lauterstein may have been following the ASSOCIATED MTs™: "We don't need hype, we need one another" ad campaign?

Lauterstein goes on to confess: "If I have the choice of an advanced practitioner who is full of himself or a basic practitioner who genuinely cares, I will go for the caring . . . It is harder to educate the character, the person of the therapist, the WHO in the therapeutic relationship than to just tell the student WHAT to do. Nonetheless, caring deeply remains not only our first concern but our first resource, Technique remains a distant second." Bravo, Lauterstein! Indeed, when an MT is committed to deep caring--which we call client-centeredness-- and not to to the latest modality (or the latest MT table on the market), the consumer gets precisely the right kind of MT. No tough choice is needed. And that right kind of MT only gets better with time!

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