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Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
February, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 02
What's in a Name?
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Is the name we use to describe our "professional selves" important? Do you perform "massage," "bodywork" or both? Do you see a difference between the two? If you lean toward "massage" (forgetting regulated titles for a moment), do you consider yourself a massage therapist, massagist, masseur/masseuse, massage practitioner, massage technician, or something else entirely?
In the inaugural issue of Massage Today, because of our diversity, I said, "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." (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/01/07.html). Three years later, our profession is no less diverse, and perhaps what we call ourselves is even more important! (I know I get cranky when someone calls me a "masseuse"!)
I recently followed an online discussion about a new massage certification organization attempting to implement a very high bar to obtain its certification. In opposition to the idea of a new certification, one individual argued, "Massage therapy is manual labor. At most we are technicians." This statement gave me pause. I immediately started calling this individual names (to myself) that had nothing to do with massage and that couldn't be printed in this article! However, after reading several of his rejoinders that explained his definition of "technician," I realized he didn't think himself any less professional than I think myself; rather, he was merely using language to argue his political point of view. Another person in the discussion went so far as to suggest that the title "massage therapist" was a plot by an organization to ply its political agenda on unsuspecting practitioners by making a massage specialty (massage therapy) the new umbrella term.
My point in mentioning all this is that these arguments did not, in my opinion, clarify meaning and bring people together, but instead fueled personal political dilemmas by saying, "I'm right and you're wrong, stupid!" Perhaps political discussions lend themselves to these types of arguments, and I certainly fall into the trap more frequently than I am comfortable admitting. Luckily, there are alternatives.
I was recently involved with an organizational task force charged with developing management evaluation tools. During a task force work session, I was introduced to a concept called "Appreciative Inquiry." Quite simply, this term proposes not trying to find solutions to existing problems, but instead asking more questions about what is already wonderful, because whatever one wants more of already exists in the entity being considered. (A Web search of "Appreciative Inquiry" will bring much amplifying information.) So, without trying to push the political "buttons" of anyone in the massage field, here is a quote from within another industry. See if you think this concept would work in the organized massage world. Thomas White, former President of GTE Telephone Operations, said:
David Cooperrider, one of the developers of Appreciative Inquiry, offers this thought: "In problem-solving, it is assumed that something is broken, fragmented, not whole, and that it needs to be fixed. Thus, the function of problem-solving is to integrate, stabilize, and help raise to its full potential the workings of the status quo."
I'm not sure how you feel, but I think the massage world deserves better than the infighting evident in the status quo. What we call ourselves is just one example. Let's build on what we have in common, not what sets us apart. With that thought in mind, and without trying to force my own perspective of "how it ought to be," I can't help but think that we all share one of my greatest sources of satisfaction - someone leaving my office that stops to give me a genuine smile and say, "Thank you!"
Thanks for listening!
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:
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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