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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brandon Raynor's Bullshit Massage

Brandon Raynor is everything that is wrong with massage therapy. At a base level of quackery, he hits the mark by providing a closed loop of bullshit - a diagnoses of "bad chi" and/or "deep stuff" that needs to be fixed (watch the videos in the above link to see that I'm not making that up), he then provides the fix, then declares the "problem" cured but with the requirement of "maintenance" treatments.

Raynor is one of those Newage (rhymes with "sewage", if you were wondering) people who want massage therapy to be deregulated so any whackjob who spouts unproven and ridiculous crap about "energy lines" can foist his or her dangerous non-treatment on the public. I love his quote from that last article where he says:
Thai massage, as taught at the Wat Po temple in Bangkok, where Thai massage has its origins, is taught in the traditional Thai manner focusing on learning the Sen or energy lines and also on practical application, rather than on Western anatomy.
Can I clear up a bit of a possible misconception here? There's no such thing as "Western anatomy". It's just fucking anatomy. We're all the same and guess what? There's not "Sen" lines or energy lines, or meridians or anything. Get the hell over it. Prove it to me that what you say are "energy lines" exist in the first place, then maybe we can talk.

Also prevalent in Raynor's (and the letters on his blog) writing and attitude is the "it's in you or it's not" feeling that oozes anti-intellectualism. "You don't need to know those big words or scary Latin, you just have to feeeeeel where the 'tension' is and how to move the chi around to heal people". Complete bullshit. The reason we know anatomy, physiology, and pathology is so we can (a)treat a problem by properly identifying what's wrong and (b)refer to the proper professional when the problem lies outside of our scope of practice. My guess is that Raynor has never felt the need to not treat someone. He'll even throw in a neck-crack for good measure! (watch the first video of the first link)

I have to get into some of the more crazy and what I consider controversial quotes from the first link article. About his course:
We spare no expense to make it so that the massage techniques as well as our overall massage style is the most cutting edge, effective and sought after massage therapy treatment that is available anywhere in the world today.
Anywhere in the world, eh? Cutting edge? And all this can be yours in just ten days!
We don't believe that reciting Latin names for muscles or knowing the names of the every bump in every bone is what it takes to be an outstanding massage therapist.
No, to be fair to Raynor, that doesn't make an outstanding massage therapist. It does, however, make for a knowledgeable health professional who can answer his/her client's questions in a manner befitting someone treating the general public, often after an injury. It has been my experience that when someone asks, "Listen, my shoulder was injured when I fell off a horse and now my pinkie and ring finger are tingly. Can you tell me what's wrong with me and are you able to help me get better?", the answer they don't want to hear is: "Oh yes, of course I can help you. See, what happened is that you disrupted your chi and now I have to massage your arm-y thing to make the baddies go away." Just saying. You might want to mention their ulnar nerve and have some information about nerve tension tests.

A wonderfully shitty analogy:
...we keep the focus of our training on teaching you to be an excellent massage practitioner without getting you sidetracked into unnecessary details that can actually make you lose your focus...Just like a good cook knows more about the look, feel, smell and taste of food than he/she does about the chemical composition of the food...(my emphasis)
Good chefs know about the composition of food. When you cook, you know that it's the sugars in it that brown. Ever watched Good Eats? That Alton Brown mofo knows his shit. What's that you say? You want condescension and more anti-intellectualism? You got it!
Would you like to learn massage in a way that respects massage as an ancient art form and doesn't bore you by making a massage course into just a scientific jargon filled class that teaches you so many things that you really don't need to know
Yes, all that boring scientific jargon that you don't need to know like, I don't know, thoracic outlet syndrome, compartment syndrome, or perhaps lateral epicondylitis. If someone came into the clinic with one of these very common ailments, would any of your five or ten day "graduates" know what the fuck was happening or would they just babble on about "chi" and "bumps" and "tension"? I thought so.

A little more? Sure:
We will teach you only what it takes to make you into an outstanding world class massage professional.
No, you don't want to weigh them down with all those scaaarrrry muscle names. "What in the hell is a quadricep??? Howzabout laying off the technobabble there, Poindexter." You know, it's this do-nothing-yet-still-get-credit attitude that annoys the living shit out of me more than anything. There are some things in this world that you can't learn in a fucking week-long seminar and health care is one of them. I'm a massage therapist - am I as knowledgeable as an M.D? Of course not, but I'm a hell of a lot more educated in anatomy and physiology than a layperson and that includes anyone who has completed a 5-day "advanced diploma" course.
...incorporates the best of massage techniques from all over the world, plus incorporates many powerful techniques developed by Brandon Raynor, a Naturopath who has trained extensively in Eastern forms of natural therapies such as Ayurveda and Chinese and Japanese Medicine.
Gee, how'd I know he was going to be flaky? On a bit of a technical side note, if you watch the three videos from the first link, you'll notice that Raynor uses his thumbs to work on both the client's back and leg. This is a no-no as using a small body part on a large one, over time, is asking for a repetitive strain injury or RSI to the thumb. I guess that's one of those boring, scientific jargony things that you don't really need to know.

I really can't get over this...a five day or ten day course?! As a comparison, to get certification as a registered massage therapist in Ontario, Canada, where I work, you need to take a 2200 hour course - so two years - then pass provincial board exams including both practical and written elements. Is it a lot? Certainly. Too much? Not at all. To effectively treat a client, you have to know what's wrong - specifically. Otherwise you're just a backrubber and no one needs a five-day course to be one of those.

Oh I'm sorry, you wanted more condescension...
We show you not just how to massage the common areas of the body that most massage therapists do such as the back, legs and arms but we also show you the importance of feet and hand massage, face and scalp massage and most important of all - abdominal massage.
Yes, I know that my training completely ignored the feet and hands as well as the scalp and abdomen. Oh, wait, no it didn't. But there was precious little newage blathering about reflexology or chi and when it was brought up it was questioned and critically evaluated (i.e. made to look silly) by people like me. A foot massage feels nice, but your feet have nothing to do with your goddamn chest.
After completing our massage course in any location within Canada, you will be qualified as a massage professional and you will be able to get professional indemnity and malpractice insurance.
To be clear again, in Ontario and other Canadian provinces with massage legislation, the title of massage therapist is a restricted title, which is likely why Raynor uses the term "massage professional". It's a loophole that he probably exploits to lure students into his woo-woo course.

I have to include this quote from the last video of the first link. It's from the first minute when Raynor is massaging the neck of the volunteer:
...the chi has come up to the head and they get a bit jumpy
I know I get jumpy when my chi bunches up in my head. What the fuck does that even mean? Chi is not real, sir. You are full's that word...? Dammit... Oh, right. "Shit". You're full of shit.

Ok, last one. I can't resist. This is too stupid not to include. Here it is:'ll (the massage) start to break it (the chi) up so then a person can get, we can get this flow happening between the belly and the head where the chi will start to move really well between the two areas....some people get tingling in their bodies usually the start of the chi starting to can feel a lot of little bumps and things on his head which is all signs of, um, too much chi in the head.
Yep. Too much chi in the head. I think I saw that on a chart once in Cedars Sinai Hospital.

15 Barbaric Yawps:

At 21/4/09 12:58 pm, Blogger J. Dack said...

Jesus. Yeah, why bother with "that thar fancy book learnin'" when you can just make shit up and bilk suckers out of their money.

If only I'd have been born without a conscience, I'd be rich.

At 22/4/09 12:34 am, Blogger King Aardvark said...

I keep saying, you need to stage a bloody massage industry coup to reintroduce rational thinking to the profession.

At 22/4/09 8:22 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

True that, my friend, true that.

At 8/5/09 11:01 pm, Blogger kirkygirl said...

This idiot just makes me give my head a shake. What? Massage is *useless*? Well then I guess it doesn't matter that massage has been around since prehistory and that knowing all about muscles and nerves is absolutely pointless!
Ahem. I'm sorry.
This smartass just pisses me off though. I mean, to me, when I'm finished (I'm in term 2/7), I'm going to be able to most importantly, take care of people who need it, and not as important, I'm going to be able to make a decent living for myself!

At 27/5/09 11:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys seem pretty certain of yourselves and Western medicine. Could arrognat be the right word.
Western medicine can't even tell the difference between a living body and a dead body other than just "well the breathing has stopped" or "the heart has stopped".
But there is reason we bury dead bodies and not live ones and thats because the living person has gone.
How does Western medicine explain that - they cant.
By the way Western medicine has no history of massage and Eastern medicine has thousands of years of history. If I wanted to learn something about an art form should I approach the people with no history and experience or the people with more. I would have some respect for the cultures that have practiced massage for thousands of years rather than be an RMT ( Redneck massage therapist)

At 28/5/09 12:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks to me that everyone bagging our Brandon Raynor has had very bad training in bodywork and really needs to educate themselves properly.

If you dont believe in Chi you are writing off most Eastern forms of healing. Scientists have found energy in the body now.. Finally.. but they call Bio Electric Energy. They are finally catching on.. only a few thousand years behind..

Then just on a muscular level i read someone saying that your feet have nothing to do with your chest and a foot massage just feels nice.. You are an embarrassment to massage therapists and so are most of the people blabbing on this blog. Read up on Thomas Myer, world renowned Rolfer who goes very deep into Anatomy trains of the body and how myofascia connects them.

People you are making massage therapists look like fools and its embarrassing to see that people who hold them so highly are so unbelievably uneducated and ignorant. The kinds of people writing on this forum make me not want to call myself a massage therapist.

I cant imagine any of you have ever met Brandon Raynor and done his course. So you are speaking about something you have no idea about.

Its like trying to understand how do do Kung Fu and chi from a Video. Its very hard to REALLY know whats going on...

So maybe shut up and stop embarrassing yourselves and making the massage industry sound like a bunch of idiots.

At 28/5/09 10:49 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Anonymous - "Western medicine can't even tell the difference between a living body and a dead body other than just 'well the breathing has stopped' or 'the heart has stopped.'"What? That's just retarded. Then you come with this:"Eastern medicine has thousands of years of history." Right, so by that "logic" we should believe that the Earth is both flat and the centre of the Universe. Ever hear of the "argument from antiquity"? No? I didn't think so.

Other Anonymous - "If you dont believe in Chi you are writing off most Eastern forms of healing." Yep. That about sums it up. There's a reason that the average lifespan of the Chinese was about 40 until Western (read: "real") medicine came to town. "Chi" isn't real and if you rely on Chinese "medicine" to help you when a serious condition/disease comes along, you're going to die.

"The kinds of people writing on this forum make me not want to call myself a massage therapist." If you actually believe in what you're spouting here, you shouldn't call yourself a massage therapist.

At 14/1/10 8:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definately agree with you Mike, as I have been a Massage therapist fully trained at 2200 hrs, and have had all level athletes, politicians, the general public, etc. as my clients. I have been in the profession for 10 yrs, and I too have created a blogspot contesting the dangerous possiblity of Raynor trained "therapists" treating my neighbours here in Canada. You can feel free to visit, as well as comment, at:

However, I have to disagree with you on the meridian bit. And, again, don't forget, I AM on your side, and I have researched extensively what I am about to say:

I invite you read the book "Subtle Energies", by Dr. Tiller. You may recognise his name if you watched the movie "What the Bleep do we know", as he lectured on his findings in that documentary.

Dr. Tiller was a student at Stanford University over 35 yrs ago, wanting to become a skin graft specialist. His thesis for graduating was based on skin testing hundreds of human cases. His tests were to measure every square inch of the bodys' skin for attributes such as chemical, resistivity, etc. What he discovered time and time again was that certain landmarks had a completely different reading than the rest of the body. What he actually realised after comparison was that he mapped out the entire acupuncture system. He changed his passion to research bio energetic / bio electrical science. He is currently a research professor of quantum physics / mechanics. What you can do, as I did, if you are as passionate about helping an innocent victim of a possible dangerous treatment from a Raynor trained therapist, you can contact every provincial body to inform them of his presence. Legal action has taken place to prevent him from hosting a course here, but he keeps coming back and duping more students. His courses are being held in hotels where it is somewhat hard to keep on top of for those associations. I checked out his group on facebook. A potential student asked one of the teachers if they would be accepted into a NB association after receiving the course and the teacher answered YES!!! OMG!!! They lied!! I directed this person to:

Where it clearly states the requirements of becoming a member. I'm just very happy to know someone else in the profession has noticed this quackery.

At 14/1/10 9:01 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Anon #3: While I agree about Raynor, I disagree about Tiller. That would be this Prof. Williams Tiller, recipient of the Pigasus Award from way back in 1979.

If you look at this page where Tiller endorses the admittedly useless device, the Q-Link - the quackery formerly known as the Q-Ray - and says: Scientists have long puzzled over force field phenomena that do not fit the four known forces: electromagnetic, gravity, weak and strong forces. These force field that do not fall into the classical four are sometimes labeled "subtle energies." They are called "subtle" because they cannot be observed or measured by any known instrumentation.

Now I ask you, if these so-called "subtle energies" can't be observed or measured, how the fuck do you know they even exist?

With respect to you, Tiller's a quack. Oh, and What the Bleep Do We Know is maybe the shittiest movie I've ever seen. Terrible.

At 14/1/10 9:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Energies can be measured to satiate the western worlds' non-belief of their existence. As you put it, "If they can be measured, how do they exist?"....Because they've been measured. (your statement contradicts itself) This is measured by scientific equipment, capacitors, etc. As I said, read the book, and you'll understand. It's a heavy read, since it involves SOME knowledge of science, mathematics etc. As I said earlier I am on your side, and have chosen the PROFESSIONAL way to follow Mr. Raynor's malpractice. It's hard for me to continue a debate with someone however based on their beliefs, and not on actual prior research. You need to study quantum physics and mechanics, which I have, (well being reading that book) and which by the way are courses offered in very reputable institutions in North America and across the world. You need to read up more on what other scientists have discovered before making a claim, otherwise it's just your opinion, and we all know how much water that weighs....about as much as the importance of your opinion of a was simply used as a reference for familiarity, not as fact..... which good for you, you are in fact human, you have an opinion....great! I actually enjoyed the movie. Big deal, but that's not what I was talking about....let's maturely get back to the important issue here, Mr. Raynor illegally giving courses in Canada.

At 14/1/10 11:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a bit more useful info for you, on some of the evidence and research widely accepted by the world, including, North America, and yes, HEALTH CANADA, which is a very strict regulatory body:

1. MRI - Hopefully, if your clients have been very've encouraged an MRI... How do you think they are able to look inside your body, hmmm??? ...MAYBE it's MAGIC!!

to quote "...Unlike CT, it uses no ionizing radiation, but uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of (usually) hydrogen atoms in water in the body. Radio frequency (RF) fields are used to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization, causing the hydrogen nuclei to produce a rotating magnetic field detectable by the scanner."


Then look up Dr. Voll. OH! And Biomeridian has a base in Toronto so maybe you can check it out....since it has been deemed by both HEALTH CANADA and FDA as a "Class II Medical Device".

3. Also the principles in which polygraphs are based on, even though not accepted as a final conclusion to determine a lie, is based on galvanic theory, which does involve electrical energy / current.

4. Finally let me dumb it down for you even further, and you have to be totally ignorant to not understand this: To pass an electrical current you need a conductor....yes?? Wood is not a good conductor, because it is basically energy...unless there is some water....which HAS energy....still with me??? Water has resonance and is used as a medium for current.... So do we both agree that in order to pass a current the medium that it is being passed to has to also have current...yes?? Okay, so if a human body does not displace electrical current how is it that we can be affected by ....ultrasound, chemotherapy, old school electric shock therapy, etc., etc., .... we have to be a conductor, which means, we have electrical energy in our body....which means...uh we can be measured!

At 14/1/10 11:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could go on and on, radionics, thermodynamics, what do you think EKG measures??( measures electrical impulse), intravital fluorescence microscopy, EMF, etc., etc., These are all devices that measure BIOENERGETIC IMPULSE. All cleared by both regulatory bodies in North America, and basically the world.... I personally think, you just need to read more. I have a Diploma in Engineering, and studied quantum physics, BEFORE becoming a Massage Therapist. You will always find articles deeming these things as "quackery" only IF.....SOMETHING about it cannot be patented (And you'll only find this in North America since most medical practices are regulated by the government)..... The government FINALLY recognizes the benefits of Natural Health products, however, they wanted to have nothing to with them when they were first being discovered and manfactured. If something is existing naturally in nature, you can't put a patent on it(therefore no money in it for government).... only something MAN can concoct out of already existing elements is patentable. The government has tried to shut down NHP's because they discovered chemotherapy, and it is very profitable for government, and MD's don't want you well, otherwise they don't make money, government doesn't make money. However, 2 years ago, our Health Miniter, Tony Clement, tried to get a piece of the pie, Bill C-51, where he wanted to classify and further regulate NHP's to be listed by Health Canada as "Therapeutic Products". If this passed, which it didn't, Vitamin C would fall under the same guidelines as "Drugs", which would mean you would need a prescription for Vit. C, and a mother giving some to her child not prescribed by a doctor would be a drug pusher, which could face harsh penalties and imprisonment. The reason he did this?? He had a 25% stake in Big Pharma, large manufacturer of Pharmaceutical products, Vit. C, widely sold by people who continue to use health products no matter how many years it was deemed as "quackery", would therefore place a lot of money in his pocket. But he still tried to pass it off as if he had your best health interest at heart. He was forced by parliament to resign if was going to keep his stake in Big Pharma... which he did, and now he is no longer the Health Minister. Too many intelligent people like myself protested this, the protest was brought forth by MP's opposed to special interests, and hence, he's gone.

At 14/1/10 11:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health practitioners, nutritionists, naturopaths etc. work on preventitive medicine not curative. They want you well. Who's team would prefer to play for?? The ones that want you sick also promote the vaccination programs...which puts money in shareholder's pockets...especially important after an economic crisis..... Anyways, bottom line, the team who you seem to be playing for recognizes energies and has measured them, and uses them. I don't claim to be able to use my own energy to treat a client, as Mr. Raynor does, then again I haven't reached a state of being where I don't allow other influences to affect my energy balance to be still with myself, and I don't think I ever will. I think that takes years of practice, which Mr. Raynor has not done.

Oh, and have you been to Europe?? I have, several times. Both traditional and alternative medicine works hand in hand...and yes there are ACUPUNCTURISTS in hospitals!! Next to MD's! Know why?? Because THERE government doesn't profit from regulating every aspect of medicine. Here regulation is necessary and beneficial to protect the patient, however, time and time again it can also be used manipulatively and adversely(as stated above, Tony Clement). Why do think North America has the highest cancer rate in the world?? WE MAKE MONEY FROM IT....

You cannot have a decent debate without having done prior extensive research. And no, knowing how to use "Google" (as you did in your last statement) doesn't suffice as adequate research. I have already read studied, researched whatever all these things, which is why I am able to refer to it, and not just go check it out on Google. I think you need to read more and travel more. Good luck in your reading. Hopefully you've learned something today and not joined the rest of ignorant spam and white bread North America. Oh PS: Don't know if you noticed, none of that was based on my "opinion". Maybe I should say I'm a writer too!! I think one of us knows the protocols of writing, i.e. an argument that is fact based, is ALWAYS better than one opinion based!

At 15/1/10 12:25 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Anon #3 - if that is your real name - man I wish you troll assholes would man-up and sign on for your blathering rants...

"I have a Diploma in Engineering, and studied quantum physics, BEFORE becoming a Massage Therapist." Boy did you take a step down on the employment ladder.

Your entire pointless rant boils down to: I should read more and am stupid, you're super smart, "" is good, acupuncture is real, and "western medicine" is bad/out for only profit. Oh, and I'm should travel more.

"Health practitioners, nutritionists, naturopaths etc. work on preventitive (sic) medicine not curative." Oh shut up. You say this as though altruism runs thick through so-called "" when it's a multi-billion-dollar a year industry - oh, and yes, I use google. I also read books and ride a bike. Did you have a point, Mr. Quantum Physicist?

"I have already read studied, researched whatever all these things, which is why I am able to refer to it, and not just go check it out on Google." Yeah, well, you don't have a clue as to how science-based medicine works and it seems like you understand quantum physics on a What the Bleep Do We Know level, so why not just go back to your happy place and leave me alone, huh?

At 19/4/10 3:01 am, Anonymous vanillaice said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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