resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
August, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 08
Knowledge and Networks
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
As an unabashed academic and massage instructor, I've a tendency to look at how we organize and model our accumulated knowledge about the wider context of bodywork. The maps we create have significant effects on how we approach the acquisition and conveyance of knowledge, skills and abilities.
Massage, particularly when defined in an encompassing context of all touch practices, has many different subpractices (see my article, "Swimming Upstream Toward Effective Practice," in the March 2003 issue, www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/03/13.html.) and many different theories of underlying action.When I periodically hear about someone advocating creation of "massage tiers," I have difficulty understanding how such tiers translate into measurable improvements in our ability to practice across the scope of what we might do. My worry is that such tiers have little to do with improvements, and everything to do with rites of initiation.
The criteria for evaluating the need for training and education, I believe, is that it is objectively needed to produce effective practice, including the technical, business and interpersonal facets. I also believe there is a tendency in our profession to want to use training as a gauntlet to promote commitment, the basis of which is noted by James Atherton in a short review of cognitive dissonance:1 "Ordeal is therefore an effective - if spurious - way of conferring value on an educational (or any other) experience. 'No pain, no gain,'as they say. The more difficult it is to get on a course, the more participants are likely to value it and view it favorably regardless of its real quality." Robert Cialdini makes similar observations in his treatment of social influence.4 Advocating training on such a basis is, I believe, a disservice both to the student and the ultimate consumers. Atherton is correct in noting the often spurious nature of the result.
For a long while, I thought the underlying problem with tiers was simply a factor of inadequate definition and too narrow motivation. Recently, I've realized that the problem is inherent in the broad scope of bodywork - tiers assume that knowledge is structured like a tree, with specialty branches spreading out above a single root. In contrast, massage knowledge forms much more of a web of interconnecting clusters, a shape that looks like a tree only when viewed very close at a single area of entry. In the more interior regions of such a web, the connections branch off to other clusters, eventually reaching other entry points and destroying the illusion of a single tree on which to base the concept of tiers.
Such webs occur throughout knowledge connections, social structures and the structures of life itself. Physicist Mark Newman has organized a gallery of web pictures showing their pervasive occurrence 6 and written an extensive technical review article on research into the structure of networks.5 Barabasi and Bonabeau wrote a recent introductory review,3 and Barabasi has written an excellent lay-oriented book on this research.2
Moving ahead with this idea of networks, consider putting together an online encyclopedia, containing pages for all the pertinent sections of knowledge for everything in massage and bodywork. This shouldn't be too fine-grained: something on the order of the sections in the chapters of a book. Technique sections might have demonstration video clips attached. By looking at the hyperlinks between pages, we would better understand the interconnection between information in different clusters. Areas with a lot of mutual interconnection would be self-defining as a study area. If an area exists that's linked from everywhere, it would pretty much have to be a natural core area.
Things that come to mind are information on touch itself, as Ashley Montagu put it, "The human significance of the skin." Other areas that I see as likely core foundations would be business skills, particularly for those running their own practices, and interpersonal skills. Areas on Western anatomy and physiology would have great emphasis from orthopedic massage but much less direct access from sections on Asian bodywork or energy work.
In summary, our overall knowledge of massage is too diversely connected to be tree-shaped, having a single core and specialty branches. Everything is by some route interconnected, but the density of interconnections varies greatly and creates separate clusters of study. Such a structure captures the paradox of being too diverse to ever appear to have a single root, yet too interconnected to appear totally separate. Massage is thus a totality that thwarts our efforts to compactly define it while greatly rewarding our efforts to pursue its many links.
Editor's Note: Due to the transient nature of the Internet, some links may not be operational.
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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