resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09
The Eighth Element: Cultural Expression
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 ninth article in a 12-part series and focuses on the eighth of the 10 elements: Cultural expression.
Cultural expression, the eighth element of the spa experience, embodies much of what often goes unspoken or unacknowledged in our daily lives. Yet like a mirror, it reflects back to us who we are and who we can become on our own life journey. Most simply, cultural expression refers to the science, politics, belief systems and arts of the time and how we perceive them using our minds, emotions, senses and souls. We are not separate from the world we live in, and we constantly re-define ourselves according to norms and constructs within our culture. Cultural expression embraces this process of self-discovery through the following four categories: values and beliefs, science and technology, political climate and the arts.
Values and Beliefs
What are the prevailing religious and belief systems, and how do they relate to the spa experience? Our belief systems help us to form concepts of what is right and wrong and what is attractive and unattractive. Cultural expression is important to the spa experience if only to understand simple things such as how modesty and nudity are addressed in the spa setting. The human body and our sexual/sensual concept of what makes us who we are is one example. Europeans are characteristically much less modest than Americans, and Americans less modest than the Chinese, and so on. Nudity, draping issues, touch and gender issues differ according to age, upbringing, culture, and religious beliefs. Belief systems can make or break a spa experience, whether the client is a novice or a discerning spa consumer.
Treatments with religious or spiritual overtones are also a new issue surfacing in the spa industry. Although there is a general interest in exploring spirituality, and a growing tolerance and acceptance for the beliefs of others, there are still problems. For example, providing spa treatments that lean toward Eastern or esoteric philosophy may not be appealing to a dedicated Christian, and vise-versa.
How do science and technology change our idea of an optimal spa experience? How will the spa experience be affected by the shifting scientific paradigm from mechanical reductionism to the emerging paradigm of wholeness and dynamic interrelationships? What kind of treatments appeal to us: do we want pure, natural and organic treatments, or the latest in scientific discovery to remove wrinkles and retard the aging process?
For example, consider current scientific research, the long and high cost of the FDA approval process for bringing a product to market. What is funded, why is it funded, and who provides the funding? I remember how hard it was for our industry to raise funding for the first scientific research on "massage and touch therapies" at the Touch Research Institute in Miami years ago. It would be interesting to compare research dollars spent on touch and hydrotherapy to those spent on laser resurfacing and botox treatments, for example.
Often we don't stop and think how the political environment and ruling party of the time affect a spa experience or even our daily living. Are we at war? What is the climate for trade, social programs, health benefits and insurance? For example, how will social security and health benefits affect the baby-boomers as they age - will they be able to afford spa treatments? Government organizations and political lobbyists help determine what will be available to us: everything from organic food, to beauty aids, to genetic engineering. We must begin to think ahead and become more conscious of the political climate. Do we want spa to become more medical? Should spa treatments be covered by insurance? Who will qualify for new anti-aging therapies and how will they be paid for?
Also, the political climate of the time affects our global trading opportunities from a business perspective. Costs of goods and unique sourcing directly affect the therapies that we can offer and the profit they deliver.
In the words of Dr. Lawrence Van Der Post: "Nations decay when the arts decay." What the arts really do is connect people to the culture and the stories we are telling. I went to Karlsbad in the Czech Republic with Dr. Jonathan DeVierville a few years ago, a trip I highly recommend. Karlsbad is an architecturally beautiful city built around an array of spas and mineral springs for drinking. It is obvious the city planners knew the importance of art and beauty to health and well-being. I remember hearing music in my room only to find out that it was the orchestra actually practicing in the spa we were staying in. Here people stay for at least two weeks or longer. The concept is basic; integrated medical/wellness care combined with spa treatments in a beautiful culture where people have the time to change from the inside out.
Are we surrounded by beauty in today's contemporary spa experience? Do we support our government and local community to capture the story of our times through the arts? How do we incorporate art and music into the spa experience? Yes, new age music is often a staple to the experience, but are we consciously bringing this to the spa guest with the goal of transformation?
All of these considerations weave together the importance of cultural expression in the spa experience. It is true, we have experienced much criticism in regards to the eighth element: "it is too obtuse, too vague, not related to the rigors of daily spa business..." This element may have seemed out of step with the spa experience before September 11. But after this catastrophe, the complacency of our political, social, and spiritual lives blew up -- literally. For the first time, this cultural dimension of the spa experience became the core of how people organized or reorganized their businesses.
Traveling less and spending time with family at home became more appealing and cash became tighter, so selling strategies needed to change. People were more likely to visit a day spa than a destination resort, showing us the diversity of needs within our profession. We saw the ugliness of war on the homefront, and we experienced the impact it had on our artistic communities. We became intimately aware of how political choices, actions and bureaucracy affect the stock market, home security, international trade and travel. Our first reaction was to cocoon and process, the next to connect. No longer was pampering and pleasure the essence of the spa experience, but rather stress reduction, self-discovery, and reassessing of values.
That is why it is imperative that we look to spa as a cultural movement, not just as an industry. This search for the soul of spa is something we can all share together. Imagine this movement becoming the vessel for cultural renewal, one in which people come together to share at a deeper and more meaningful level. We must recognize that it is our responsibility to listen to these inaudible murmurings of our collective unconscious. They are what call us to simplest purpose of the human experience, the search for who we are and that which connects us to something greater than ourselves.
Click here for previous articles by Robin Zill, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.