The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Woo Within Massage Therapy - My Opinion

A commenter whose career is in nursing recently asked my opinion on woo within massage therapy. I thought I covered this in the past but he said he couldn't find any posts in my archives, then I looked and all I could dredge up was this post on the retardedness that is acupuncture, as related to a co-worker.

So how pervasive is woo in massage therapy? Very. Oh, wait, let me rephrase that. VERY! It's fucking everywhere. From the schools that teach to the continuing education classes that are offered and endorsed by our governing body and college. It's a goddamn embarrassment.

You want specifics? When I was in school we were often told to uncross our ankles while lying on our backs getting a neck massage so the "energy" could flow properly. One instructor was very big on "fascial unwinding" which I never once felt or experienced - although I did wholeheartedly try, no bullshit. Still seems fucked up to me.

We were told that acupuncture to the hand and elsewhere could be helpful during pregnancy. I had an instructor in my clinic rotation say, and I'm not kidding, that, "people can bend spoons with their mind!". I called her out on that immediately, but still. Get a fuckin' grip.

The namesake of the college came to put on a course in "suikodo" massage, described as follows:
Derived from ancient Japanese healing traditions, Suikodo integrates meridian theory and modern neuroimmunoendocrinology in a completely novel way. The techniques themselves are simple to learn and use, but are effective at rapidly and gently alleviating pain, and stimulating the body's ability to heal.
Just in case you were wondering, yes, you did read "neuroimmunoendocrinology". Also in case you were wondering, some of my friends took the Intro to Suikodo course offered as an elective class during our second year and said that the instructor, Mr. Kikkawa himself, referred to the "Little Man" who told him what to do. To answer the obvious next question, no, Matt Roloff was nowhere to be seen.

After I graduated from college and started working, I realized that many of my fellow back-rubbers (although not all) to say?...ummm...fucking loony. I worked with a woman who didn't know what fucking compartment syndrome was, but she did sit still while looking at a picture of her cat, making strange hand gestures towards the image. She informed me that she was, "sending it reiki energy." I couldn't make that up - it's too damn weird.

Now I work with a woman who thinks psychic surgery is real and buys wholeheartedly into acupuncture (as does the physiotherapist), the previous workers at the day spa did ear candling until I freaked out and got them to stop, and I get course flyers in the mail from the various lecture circuit dumbasses (endorsed by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario {CMTO}), most of which are outlandish AND are a-ok to get me those wonderful continuing education units (CEUs).

I recently wrote about one of these flyers that dealt with some crazy motherfucker who talks to trees. I would strongly urge you to read that link there because the content is some top-shelf wingnuttery. As a matter of fact, it's beyond woo; it's well into genuine psychosis territory - all of it endorsed happily by my College.

I regularly get questions from my clients about a variety of pseudo-scientific shit. The most popular are chiropractic and acupuncture, but I get reflexology a lot, magnets on occasion, and the odd time I'll get to see someone with a fucking seed in their ear. I always try to use a gentle touch to steer the client towards the more scientific side of things and I really go out of my way to explain the method of finding out information from the world around us and how the quacks don't even come close to it. Generally, I'm fairly successful.

That being said, there's WAY too many weirdos doing damage in the world of massage, so caveat emptor.

(thanks to Katetbetrue (a self-described "murse") for the post request)

1 Barbaric Yawps:

At 3/7/08 1:08 pm, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Like I said before in the earlier post, I think you need to go Conan the Barbarian on your profession - carve a swath of destruction through all the institutions and set up your own governing body. You'll probably fail, but you'll almost certainly get some TV time.


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