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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brandon Raynor - My Letter to the Toronto Star

Let’s say you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and order an entrée. It arrives and it is not bad. You see the chef walking around the room and as he gets close, he stops at your table and asks you how your chicken tastes. You tell him that it was pretty good but a little overcooked. He replies that he “feels” when the chicken is perfect and that it has nothing to do with internal temperatures.

Slightly concerned, you ask about the cutting boards in the kitchen and how they are used with respect to raw chicken. The chef tells you that everyone in the kitchen uses the same cutting boards for everything and they wash them at the end of the night. “No sense in washing everything a hundred times, right?”

Would you continue to eat at this establishment? Would you assume that the Health Inspector would soon make a visit? I would hope so.

From May 11th to 22nd, Brandon Raynor’s School of Natural Therapies is offering a five and ten-day course at Rhythm in Motion dance studio in Toronto taught by Jason Leue. Raynor’s theory is that they “don’t believe that reciting Latin names for muscles or knowing the names of every bump on every bone is what it takes to be and outstanding massage therapist.” (all Raynor's quotes are from his website).

In this statement there is an incredible level of anti-intellectualism and self-righteousness. Raynor (and, presumably, Leue) is a practitioner of unproven and unscientific techniques that rely heavily on supposedly manipulating “energy”, “chi”, or whatever non-existent phenomenon he espouses. Raynor is quoted from a video on his site saying, “…some people get tingling in their bodies, usually the start of the chi starting to move…you can feel a lot of little bumps and things on his head which is all signs of, um, too much chi in the head.” (third video)

I guess that’s a technical diagnosis. I think I saw that on a chart at Sick Kids once….

The problem is that Raynor and Leue are deceiving their potential students and the general public. In Ontario, to be a registered massage therapist, you have to do a 2200 hour course – two years – during which time you learn about the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body; the nervous system; the bones & joints and limitations of said; plus internal anatomy, pathophysiology, proper massage techniques, and much more. We are complementary health professionals – “complementary” in the sense that our modalities are most effective when used with others such as physiotherapy.

On Raynor’s website, he says that taking his course, “…gives you a legal way to practice in Canada without having to do a 3000 hour course, and also allows you to get full malpractice insurance.” They will need it. For reasons similar to why a chef does not know only about what foods look and taste good together, but also about safe internal food temperatures and the dangers of cross-contamination, massage therapists know about anatomy, physiology, and pathology so we can effectively treat our clients or refer to an appropriate health care professional if the problem is outside our scope of practice.

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario is there to protect the public from practitioners who do not meet the provincial standard. I know in my practice, contrary to Raynor’s assertion that certified massage programs, “…fill your head with a lot of jargon and anatomical terms that you will never use…”, I explain to clients on a daily basis how specific muscles work, how injuries happen, proper stretching and strengthening techniques, and why if their lower back is injured oftentimes they will get pain in their calf or foot. Here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with “chi flow”.

In July of 2007, the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) issued a warning that Raynor’s course was not accredited and that potential students and the public should beware. The CMTO should follow suit if it has not already done so. Raynor asks why one would, “…waste 3 years of your life and $20,000 just to use a special reserved word when you can become a better practitioner from our shorter intensive course that is only 10% of the price and uses only 1 or 2 percent of your time but makes you a 200% better practitioner?” I will take a shot at answering that question: perhaps because when a client shows up to see an actual registered massage therapist and says, “Listen, my shoulder was injured when I fell off a horse and now my pinkie and ring fingers are tingly. Can you tell me what’s wrong and can you help me to get better?”, the answer they do not want to hear is, “Oh, of course I can help you! See, what happened is that you disrupted your chi flow and your aura has turned a dark blue color so I have to massage your arm-y type thing to make the baddies go away.”

Massage therapy is a field that, sadly, is riddled with pseudo-science and quackery, but the way to fix it is to keep standards high, encourage critical thinking and basic science skills, and make the bar as high as possible for entry. By lowering or eliminating standards, as Raynor advocates, we will only see unqualified individuals ultimately causing harm to the public either directly or, more likely, indirectly by changing their minds so clients believe that working with nonsense like “chi”, “meridians”, or “energy” will heal what ails them. It is then that laypersons will avoid actual proven therapies in times of need, causing pain, suffering and in worst case scenarios, death.

Raynor advocates letting clients decide who gives the best “treatment”. At first pass, this sounds like the right thing to do, but there is a flaw in the reasoning. It is the same flaw that we see when a news organization does the “man on the street” interviews and asks people questions about foreign policy and such. This is a bogus tactic because most people have no idea about the situation and as such, cannot give an informed opinion.

There are people who come to the physiotherapy clinics I work at and the treatment they receive may not be the most relaxing or most enjoyable, but that is not why they came. I treat primarily car accident victims, post surgery clients, sports injuries, and age-related musculo-skeletal conditions. As such, the clients describe their symptoms, I do diagnostic tests, come up with my clinical impression, and treat them as I see fit. Most people have no idea how their bodies work, and why would they? It is not important to them. They depend on experts to help them when something goes wrong the same way that when a foreign policy situation occurs, most people depend on specialists to deal with it in the appropriate manner.

The Brandon Raynor School must not be allowed to continue advertising in Toronto as it has been. They deal in quackery, nonsense, and wackaloonery, and then try to act like it is their right to pass it off as health care. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and the general public who deserve better must step up and say “no”.

22 Barbaric Yawps:

At 22/4/09 11:40 pm, Blogger Call me Paul said...

No.

 
At 23/4/09 12:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you MIke for saying everything I wanted to say.

 
At 23/4/09 5:12 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Thanks to both of you.

 
At 3/5/09 10:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds very Nazi like to me.
I suppose you want to make Hawaian massage, Thai massage, Shiatsu, and every other non Western form of healing illegal too in your attempt to stop people practicing heathen beliefs.
Sounds like the type of "Freedom" that the Catholic Church ( another great proponent of latin) wanted to promote in the Middle Ages when it stamped out competing religious beliefs
So much for a multicultural Canada.
Zeig Heil Mike!

 
At 3/5/09 10:20 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

And we've got our first Nazi reference! Where did I say I wanted to make anything "illegal", you illiterate asshole? Don't put words in my mouth to create a strawman you can then set fire to.

I assume you're a student of Raynor or some other de-regulation idiot who wants professionals to be held to no standards whatsoever. Nice. Do what you like, but when the fancy booklearnin' comes along, you might want to hide your eyes, kid-o. I don't know what you morons have against knowledge that takes more than a week to absorb, but it's amusing to say the least.

Oh, and fuck you.

 
At 4/5/09 7:25 am, Blogger Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

took the words out of my mouth Mik

 
At 28/5/09 12:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quote you here ......

"Where did I say I wanted to make anything "illegal", you illiterate asshole?"

Very representative of the profesionalism of an RMT Mike!!!
Your choice of words lends so much respect to the profession. I am glad to see you learned to speak like a profesional in your courses.
When you say "The Brandon Raynor School must not be allowed to continue advertising in Toronto as it has been. They deal in quackery, nonsense, and wackaloonery, and then try to act like it is their right to pass it off as health care. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and the general public who deserve better must step up and say “no”."

When you say they should not be allowed to advertise and that people should say no to allowing Brandon Raynor's massage to be practiced in Ontario to a sensible person you are certainly implying that only forms of massage that you approve of should be legal.

So much for freedom and respect for multiculturalism or other peoples beliefs.Thats why I call you a fascist.

Why don't you live and let live Mike?Why don't you let the people who want to get a Raynor massage get one and those that prefer to come to you come to you and have your version of a profesional massage in your profesional sounding language see you for a treatment

Let the market and the people decide not an elitist group of so called "profesionals" who have a lot to lose by free market competition.

Would you like to say "no" to everyone who disagrees with you Mike? What exactly do you mean by say "no" and "must not be allowed to advertise" Why should people who disagree with you not be allowed to advertise? Certainly noone has been harmed after 10 years of Brandons school operating all over the planet and should people not be allowed to drive cars because they are way more dangerous statistically than getting a Raynor massage or any other form of massage.

As I say Mike "Live and let live" and if people like your massage they will come to you and people like Raynor massage they will go there.

Why are you scared of competition?

 
At 28/5/09 9:59 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

"Anonymous" - Firstly, leave a real name if you're going to get in my face. It's easy to hide behind a blanket and yell.

Secondly, this is my personal blog and if someone is acting like an illiterate asshole, that's what I'm going to call them. I'm not out to represent all massage therapists, so tuck it in and deal.

I find it hilarious that you're whinging about me being a fascist. If people want to go to you for whatever type of "energy" bullshit massage you offer, I have no problem with it (from a competition perspective). What I do have a large problem with is you and the other Raynor idiots saying that after a five day course, you are just as qualified as RMTs here in Ontario and elsewhere.

Saying that not knowing the relevant anatomy and physiology is fine makes real massage therapists crazy. Also, you say, "Certainly noone has been harmed after 10 years of Brandons school operating all over the planet".

Now, I'll ignore the "noone" for the moment and just say that you have no way to show me that. Plus, you seem to misunderstand that causing harm is not just "pressing too hard". It's changing people's minds so that they believe in your ridiculous ideas of "health" to the extent that they may avoid a therapy that could actually help or save them.

If Raynor massage schools and students - like yourself, I assume - were slightly more honest and realistic about your abilitites and goals, I'd have less of an issue.

 
At 7/5/10 11:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Interesting blog and I do believe discussions like this are a necessity in order to allow the public to choose for themselves.

With that, I am guessing your vulgarity is likely not going to win "the public" over on how an RMT is as professional as you say.

*Yes its your blog...do as you see fit just pointing out the obvious*

Some of US Raynor students come from 15 years of health and fitness education and was the primary reason of not trying to fall asleep learning the same stuff that I already have in several other certifications etc. and taking it again for massage.

Also, please understand that in North America we have maybe 300-400 years of "educated experience" compared to countries in Asia (just to name one continent)that have over 3000-4000 years of experience in massage practice.

The fact is that most of those years were spent learning "practical" forms of massage rather than relying on strictly on theoretical knowledge that could not even be written down in the first place.

The tradition of massage is also placed in the bible in the laying of hands etc. so again there are several cultural and religious variations in which massage has been used successfully without requiring "north american" standards.

I find it hard to believe that our continent is indeed setting malicious and discriminatory standards on something they are merely just starting to comprehend.

Did you know that that Traditional Chinese Medicine uses meridian lines and chi flow in order to help many "North Americans" with major health issues because relief was not found using NA systems of health care?

Again, we all know these Monopolies that CMTBC and NCBTMB are attempting to hold on to have more to do with money.

Now if something is accepted for treatment in one country is not in another due to regulation I can understand a reason to ACKNOWLEDGE the differences.

However, what you are stating is something equivalent to that of a student going to Harvard and one who goes to any general University that is not a "blue blood" caliber is any less qualified.

In fact...if you really wanted to settle this how about this Mike.

Why don't you get the best of the best (which would likely not include yourself) in North America up against Brandon's selected therapists?

Have Brandon and 2 others from Raynor and then whomever is your "esteemed" best and his two see who is actually offering the best massage.

Just ensure to have 20 people over all walks of life, cultures and ailments and have them discuss treatment, why they are doing it and then allow the application of it.

If you can PROVE that everyone in the CMTO is better and offered unmatched therapy to Brandon and his best students I will stop offering massage as one of his students!

Challenge is up...now go out there and prove your CMTO is better than Brandon Raynor School Of Massage Therapy.

Good luck!

JAMES

 
At 26/5/10 7:48 am, Blogger Amanda said...

Hi Mike,
I think the whole point of this issue with Raynor is that someone with no background in anatomy and science may take this course and actually do damage. That is the safety issues here. You do need to know about the body, you can press on a nerve thinking its a trigger or if the person has osteoporosis you can crack a bone with all the pressure they use. Just going into muscles is not safe. Are they trained to deal with a client who has ankylosing spondylitis, Fibro, Cancer, Diabetes, DDD, fractures? Massage is not for every issue, are they taught when they need to refer out? I myself have issue with the 5 and 10 day course if you don't have a background in health and science first. I may never use the latin names again for muscles but I do explain how any why the muscles are in the state they are in, and how I and my clients can help them return to better health. Education is VERY important if not then clients can't make an informed discussion.

 
At 8/9/10 9:03 pm, Anonymous Dexter said...

I quite enjoyed reading your blog and I have to say I agree with you. I'm a massage student down here in Atlanta, Georgia. First ten weeks was heavy on the science which really made me feel like I was getting my money's worth because I was actually learning useful information; but now in the 11th week ... *sigh* New teacher for this five week part of the course and she's going on about chi and homeopathy, my head is going to explode from the quackery. But what makes me sad [other than the fact I feel my money is being wasted on this part of the course] is that not everyone in my class is as skeptical as I and some of them are actually believing this rubbish thinking it has scientific evidence when it doesn't. And then in turn will tell it to their clients and pass along the bad info.

 
At 27/1/11 8:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was considering Raynor massage and looking for some criticism. This kind of angry ranting has only high-lighted the fear, misinformation and self-protectionism present in many so-called qualified people. Massage is healing...you tune into a person's body and feel what it needs.

 
At 27/1/11 3:12 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

"Anon": "This kind of angry ranting has only high-lighted the fear, misinformation and self-protectionism present in many so-called qualified people."

Boy, you haven't been reading this blog for long, have you? This is one of the most polite rebuttals I've ever posted.

"......you tune into a person's body and feel what it needs."

No, you don't. You take a health history, figure out the mechanism of injury, consult, come up with a diagnosis, and treat accordingly or refer to an appropriate professional. You don't "tune in" to anything - that's pre-scientific, wishy washy, horse-shit mumbo jumbo and if that's what you're in the market for, then power to you, but don't start trying to call it "health care".

 
At 26/4/11 5:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
Could you give me your email, I want to discuss something with you about this unprofessional assholes.
They shouldn't be allowed to practice or they should menion on their website that the chances of getting injured are very high as we let students massage you with careless supervision.

 
At 26/4/11 5:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want people who are considering Raynor classes to know, whatever your motivation is, healing others, improving your skills or making some easy buck after getting their certificate, and all that might even happen; You have to be aware that the risk of you getting injured is very high as they let unprofessional students who have no knowledge of human body to give you a massage with no close supervision.

 
At 16/10/14 11:42 pm, Blogger Debra MacFadyen said...

I just want to say that my daughter and I 30 and 60 both had Raynor massages today. I have been through cancer treatment and have suffered the consequences of chemo, neuropathy in both feet and hands, cording in feet, I also have a torn scapula. I have for the last year been to osteopath, physio, neurologist and massage on a regular basis with no relief. I have to say after one treatment at Raynor I have felt the best I have in a year. My daughter also can not believe how her pain in her lower back and shoulder has also completely disappeared after one treatment. It is not therapeutic massage or is it even suggested. It is an an alternative, just like reflexology, Reiki, transcendal meditation some people don't believe in them but they do work in relieving pain both mentally and physically by inducing relaxation and increasing circulation and oxygen to the body. We are both very impressed with this method and would definitely want to go again.

 
At 18/11/14 9:01 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

I'm happy you feel better and your ordeal seems to be not a lot of fun - I hope you continue to get through it.

That said, just because a modality seems to work doesn't mean it actually does. You mentioned reflexology, reiki, and TM saying that, "some people don't believe in them but they do work in relieving pain both mentally and physically by inducing relaxation and increasing circulation and oxygen to the body".

Increasing circulation and oxygen saturation is a testable claim that I am reasonably sure hasn't been even remotely proven. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it and check it out. Maybe I need to examine further, but I don't think so as this type of evidence would be loudly paraded around in the faces of skeptics like myself by the purveyors of these modalities.

On an much more pedantic note, the scapula is a bone and cannot be "torn". It might be one of the smaller shoulder muscles you strained, or you may have broken your scapula.

In any event, I hope you feel better but I stand by my letter and my feelings about Raynor massage. I'm also glad that you mentioned it was not presented as 'therapeutic', which is my main beef with him and his methodology. Being an 'alternative' is fine, but remember that anything that has a modifier ('alternative', 'natural', 'traditional') before the word 'medicine' usually diminishes its efficacy.

Thanks for reading.

 
At 5/11/15 11:58 am, Blogger Pierre Beauchamp said...

You are full of ego my friends... it is sad to read the above articles... Brandon Raynor is an intellectual and not a fake as some might think. Some RMT's are simply frustrated that an individual practices teaching methods that are different in alternative, natural and traditional healings. Ego has prevented humanity from exploring and helping others gain healthy therapies. It is very unfortunate that your practice methodologies are limited and robotic...

 
At 5/11/15 11:59 am, Blogger Pierre Beauchamp said...

You are full of ego my friends... it is sad to read the above articles... Brandon Raynor is an intellectual and not a fake as some might think. Some RMT's are simply frustrated that an individual practices teaching methods that are different in alternative, natural and traditional healings. Ego has prevented humanity from exploring and helping others gain healthy therapies. It is very unfortunate that your practice methodologies are limited and robotic...

 
At 5/11/15 1:38 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Pierre,
I find it funny and ironic that you say I (we, skeptical of Raynor's claims) am, "full of ego". I'm not the one saying I can feel special fields and energies in people's bodies and heal them. When you add the terms "alternative", "natural", or "traditional" to either healing or medicine, you just show that they're not simply "medicine" - your ideas are weak and lack evidence.

Exploration is great and useful, and if Raynor and his acolytes provided ANY evidence I'd be interested in seeing it. My issue, as explained above, is that he and his ilk are trying to bypass the system of letting the public know exactly what it is they're getting when they go to a "Raynor therapist", which is an unscientific, touchy-feely, good-intentioned back rub. If that's what you want, knock yourself out.

But don't go around saying you're "as well-trained as an RMT". That's like a weekend seminar martial artist calling himself a fighter.

Thanks for commenting, though.

 
At 5/11/15 4:11 pm, Blogger Pierre Beauchamp said...

Mike, my intentions are purely out of respect for Mr. Raynor. We are not saying that RMT spent to much time and money for what they have learned. We are saying that all health therapies are important to be recognized internationaly. Around the world, massage therapy is accepted within different cultures. North America imposed standards for RMT's which I find a little to much... Now, I have been practicing in this domaine for a little while and have recognized from the onset that the Raynor Theraputhic Massage works im the healing process of the clients we have. We have the same passion... To help people get better... I have had a career as a paramedic and in Law Enforcement. This career change permits me and others to seek our own true goal... To help others. I respect the RMT community, as you have learned more technics, body parts, healing remedies and much more. I ask that you all respect Brandon Raynor for what he represents and what he has accomplished in the last 25 years. Thanks!

 
At 6/11/15 11:32 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Pierre,
You say that, "...all health therapies are important to be recognized internationaly.(sic)" No. Absolutely not. Respect for people is important, respect for ideas is nonsense. His ideas are not only unproven (and in many cases, disproven), but dangerous to the general public as they increase the trust in nonsensical ideologies which can lead to people using ineffective "therapies" for serious diseases/conditions when actual proven or even just plausible methods are available.

Sure, he wants people to get better. Great. Good intentions are not enough, however, and promoting nonsense like "energy" therapies, in the long run, only hurts.

 

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