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Massage Today
January, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 01

Moving Forward

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

Welcome to the premier issue of Massage Today! I couldn't be more excited at being selected as editor! I naturally love new things, but the opportunity to be part of a new publication destined to have a profound impact on our profession is heady stuff indeed! As you will see in the coming years, Massage Today is really your publication.

You'll find it addresses the diverse needs of the eclectic mix of issues that impact massage therapists.

You will find an impressive list of contributing columnists in Massage Today. We have tried to introduce as many as possible to you in this first issue. Any who do not make this issue will be featured in next month's edition. Several of the columnists will appear in each monthly issue of Massage Today, while others will appear bimonthly or quarterly. You will also have the benefit of many individuals who will be contributing single articles on diverse topics of interest.

From May 1998 to May 2000, I had the privilege and pleasure to serve the massage field as chairman of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. In that capacity I traveled fairly extensively to many venues involving the greater massage and bodywork community. I found out just how diverse a universe we who practice skilled touch really are! We are concerned simultaneously with issues that are both synergistic and contradictory! We are about:

  • Quality of touch vs. quality of care;
  • Full-time career opportunities vs. part-time income opportunities;
  • Care for others vs. self-improvement;
  • The independence to "do our own thing" vs. concern for others who perform less-than-savory activities under the guise of massage;
  • Orthopedic medical massage vs. Esalen-style relaxation massage;
  • High standards of entry-level practice vs. the ability to "earn while you learn";
  • Government regulated massage therapy vs. free-market regulated massage therapy;
  • High income generation vs. universal availability of our services;
  • Desire for third-party reimbursement vs. the desire for a cash-based business;
  • Accredited schooling vs. apprenticeship/mentoring;
  • National (big C) certification vs. modality/school (little C) certification;
  • The sensual massage outlined in the books of Gordon Inkeles vs. the osteopathic-based soft tissue techniques outlined in the books of Leon Chaitow;
  • The intent to treat vs. the intent to honor and serve;
  • Striving to fix vs. striving to facilitate; and
  • Undertaking depth in a particular technique vs. undertaking breadth collecting varied tools from many techniques.

The dichotomy goes on and on. We are not a single voice, but a Venn diagram of endlessly overlapping circles.

Our diversity is a wonderful thing for the populations we serve. They benefit greatly from our varied thought processes, techniques and backgrounds. The inverse of that "coin," though, is that diversity can also take the form of factions. Factions may imply an "us vs. them" philosophy where one faction attempts to impose its will on another. My life experiences have taught me that compromise and coalition usually accomplish more than the imposition of will.

Massage Today will evolve into a resource enabling us to metamorphose our factions into diverse elements through education and knowledge. To that end, we have brought together a collection of leaders (and aspiring leaders!) in our field to report to us their unique perspectives and points of view. These columnists (and provocateurs!) represent some of the best and brightest in the massage and bodywork community. It is my sincere hope that the facts we garner from our contributors will overcome public misinformation and the mistrust that stems from lack of knowledge. I'm hoping to enable Massage Today to become a bridge empowering all our perspectives and a tool we can all use to meet our personal, professional and business goals.

My own vision of the massage therapy field is that it will continue to expand in breadth and depth. Massage therapy will become not only more firmly entrenched in clinical and hospital-based health care, but also more skilled in the special techniques and concerns of the spa industry. I see a need for only a few small steps before the public at large sees massage therapists as worthy somatic problem-solvers. I see Massage Today as aiding this vision by making us more informed with timely news on important issues. It will allow us to become politically aware without necessarily becoming politically active. I will strive to enable it to transcend the animosities sometimes seen between various schools, associations, modalities and experience levels, and will invite and encourage the sharing of divergent perspectives.

Whether we are practicing with a doctorate degree, thousands of hours of education and more credentials than can easily fit on several lines of text, or practicing with a high-school diploma and several weekends of hands-on mentoring, we all need and have a professional obligation to improve our skills and capabilities. Massage Today is a publication designed to help us all do just that. Thank you for reading, and I anxiously await your feedback!

Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:

Massage Today
P.O. Box 6070
Huntington Beach, CA 92615-6070

Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.


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