resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
May, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 05
The Fourth Element of the Great Spa Conversation: Touch
By Robin Zill, LMT
The 10 Elements of the Spa Experience are designed to teach the consumer and professional about the integrated nature of the spa experience. This is the fifth article in a 12-part series and focuses on the fourth of the 10 elements: Touch.
"We were just givin' love, mon..."
During the annual spa getaway and education month at the Swept Away Resort and Spa in Jamaica, I learned a great lesson.During a hands-on wrap session, we American massage therapists took a quick break in the adjoining room while the clients were resting. As we were talking and laughing, one of the therapists noticed that all the Jamaican therapists were still with their clients, sitting on the edge of the table, each with one hand gently touching the client. As we re-entered the classroom, one of the American therapists asked, "What were you doing?" The response: "We were just givin' love, mon."
Touch, the soul of universal language, speaks to each of us no matter our age, race, economic class or culture. That sense of soul is perhaps why touch and massage therapy remain among the most popular treatments in the burgeoning spa industry.
In the context of the 10 Elements of the Spa Experience, we define this fourth element as "connectivity and communication embraced through touch, massage and bodywork." With the incredible expansion in scope and skill of talented therapists and visionaries, touch services have penetrated the spa industry in many ways. Treatments now range from traditional touch specialties to hot rocks, watzu and water dance, to adjunctive medical, beauty and sports training sessions. Spa, like massage, has gone mainstream.
Dovetailing with the growth of the spa industry in corporate America, the touch professions have an opportunity to lead by example when it comes to integrating vocation and lifestyle. Massage therapists have set a standard for 21st century, next-level professionalism. What is that next level? It is when professional goals and job requirements balance and support, and enhance a lifestyle choice. As Steven Capellini, author of Massage Therapy Career Guide and contributing columnist for Massage Today, writes:
I believe the spa industry is the perfect home for pursuing such endeavors. But we are not without problems, and we can't do it alone.
It is no secret that any successful spa operation, no matter the type, is dependent on the skills and competencies of the technical staff. The lack of strong educational programs focusing on spa services has made recruiting and educating qualified personnel one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today. Many spas, especially larger destination, resort and day spas choose to actually train therapists themselves. But what does this mean for national or international standards? How do we provide access to improving the quantity and quality of therapists to meet the increasing demand of this sixteen billion dollar industry?
To address this need, the International Spa Assocation (ISPA) set an immediate goal in 2001 to begin the process of establishing core competencies for the spa industry, based on actual feedback of spa owners, spa directors, spa therapists and consumers. Through roundtable feedback from membership, in-depth discussion from our interdisciplinary committee, interviews with selected spas and therapists recommended for their excellence, and an ISPA membership survey, we were able to begin the process of defining what kind of skills are required to become a successful massage therapist in a spa environment. Although spa environments vary greatly from a large, busy resort spa, to a day spa, salon, club spa or medical spa, certain qualities define excellence. Consider the following foundations of this profile.
Here is a summary of the characteristics considered critical or important to being a successful therapist in the spa environment:
Interaction with Spa and Other Staff
One of the great qualities about the spa industry is its ability to embrace the concept of integration. Aside from the desire for most of us to achieve a greater sense of well being, there is a sincere effort at this point in the spa industry's development to embrace this concept from a business perspective as well. For massage therapists, this means that spa managers and owners usually make genuine efforts to provide an optimal environment for caring touch. After all, if the environment is not beautiful, easy or comfortable to work in, it is not conducive to creating that magic space and feeling that keeps clients coming back. Somehow these intangibles set the tone for the reputation of the spa. Scheduling, compensation, career incentives and many other issues have all become an active part of an enthusiastic spa dialogue between massage therapists and their co-workers. We all must rise to the challenge of creating a soulful workplace.
For me, the spa industry has opened the door to the magic of water, the pleasure of scent and sound, a deeper comfort from touch, and the fineries of taste and the concept of ousia (oo-see-ahh). Ousia is a philosophical system that has helped me understand and integrate the living patterns of nature into my environment and work. The concept of ousia, along with the 10 Elements, helps me explore the multi-dimensional nature of the wellness journey through the senses. There is a word I am exploring that I think you would like, called synethesia. It refers to when all your senses blend together to create one feeling and sense of awe for something greater than yourself. This is what inspires me to connect the foundation I have gathered from massage and bodywork to the multi-faceted nature of the spa experience. I hope you will join me.
Remember, spa is a people's movement. Your voice is important.
Click here for previous articles by Robin Zill, LMT.
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