Magical Thinking, Deepities, and Massage Therapists
About a month ago, I shared some of my thoughts about energy work from the point of view of an evidence-based massage therapist. To my surprise, that blog article got quite a bit of attention and sparked some fascinating conversations. The issue of energy work is one of the most divisive and yet, in my opinion, one of the most important issues in the field of massage therapy today. Unfortunately, when the subject comes up, the conversation usually gets pretty contentious quickly. I was pleased to see some discussion that was thoughtful and respectful.
Coincidentally, around the same time I posted that article, Massage Magazine published an article by David Lauterstein that attempted to build a bridge between energy workers and science-based therapists. Ravensara Travillian, a massage therapist in Seattle, saw Lauterstein's thoughtful article as an important event and wrote her own carefully crafted response at POEM, the Project for Open Education in Massage. Clearly, the subject was in the air and it appeared that, possibly for the first time, it was being discussed in a thoughtful, respectful, civilized manner. Where this discussion will lead is uncertain, but the fact that it is taking place is good news to at least some therapists.
Of course, when you become aware of something in particular, you start noticing it everywhere and shortly afterwards I found other relevant, well-written articles. I had already read Todd Hargrove's wonderful article on "Deepities." Todd is a rolfer in Seattle who has a real gift with words. His recent article, "Why Massage is Like Chicken Sexing," is yet another eloquent addition to the dialogue taking place in the massage therapy community. Todd beautifully describes the mostly unconscious learning experience that can lead many massage therapists to magical thinking.
I do believe that sharing carefully considered thoughts and describing our experiences accurately helps us all to get a clearer understanding of what it is we do. Like the scientific process itself, as we put our thoughts out there for others to examine, question, critque, and comment upon, we all learn.
Thanks, Todd, for such a beautiful contribution to the conversation!