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Massage Today
May, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 05

We Get Letters and E-Mail

By Editorial Staff

Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be edited for space and clarity, and published in a future issue or online.

Please send all correspondence by e-mail to or regular mail to

Massage Today
P.O. Box 4139
Huntington Beach, CA 92605

Out of Touch?

Dear Editor:

I was amused to see a full-page advertisement for a massage ointment, which featured photographs of eight well-known massage educators, all of whom are men. Evidently, the company doesn't have a clue that the vast majority of massage therapists are female! Get in touch with the profession, please!

Marybetts Sinclair
Corvallis, Oregon

Continuing the Dialogue Over Texas & Educational Hours

Editor's note: The following letters are in response to "Stop Pushing for More Hours," We Get Letters & E-Mail, March 2005,

Dear Editor:

I have been a massage therapist for about 10 years now, specializing in "loving people's feet." I just read Betty Jacobs's letter. I'd like to say: RIGHT ON! With gratitude to Betty for speaking her peace and to Massage Today for printing her letter,

Lailja Ware
via e-mail

Dear Editor:

I was appalled at the two letters written in reference to Janine Ray and her work with the TAMT and Texas coalition to raise the standards of massage therapy in Texas. Panhandle Association of Massage Professionals, Inc., hosted Janine at its February meeting to discuss the proposed changes. I was impressed with her professionalism and preparedness to speak to our group about these changes and keep us informed. Janine is a professional extraordinaire; we will have her back soon for another meeting and continuing education classes. I started this association in 1996 to promote massage therapy and to raise the standards locally. At this time, Panhandle Association of Massage Professionals, Inc., is proud to support Janine Ray and the TAMT in this endeavor to raise the standards in Texas.

Larry Brooks, RMT
via e-mail

Dear Editor:

My educational background is as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, although I prefer to practice as a massage therapist. After working in a rehab setting for several years, I am very aware of the importance of anatomy in the field of massage. My clients have experienced a more thorough and rapid recovery because I am familiar with the bone and muscle structure. Allowing for increased learning in massage schools, which is what the increase to 500 hours would do, can only lead to quality work by quality professionals. This effort of passing key bills to support this is to be commended.

Irene M. Castaneda, RMT
via e-mail

Dear Editor:

Where do I begin? In response to Rich Haslam's letter: Are you kidding? I mean no disrespect but, of course you use anatomy - you use it every single day! Did you or did you not take the state board test? We are nothing without our knowledge of anatomy. I, too, am practicing in Florida, and in my neck of the woods it is a respected profession because of our knowledge! My patients will often ask my opinion and ask me to explain what the doctor just told them.

Not only has [Haslam] just cut his clients down, he is making the profession look bad. Anyone can give a "fluff job" - my 8-year-old can. A professional helps people. Open your books and expand your horizons, buddy, and let Texas take care of Texas. Anatomy is 100 percent of our business. Thank you Massage Today. This is why I love reading you - real therapists with real thoughts and issues!

Sherry Martin
Hudson, Florida

Dear Editor:

I don't think anyone needs to be a lawyer to be a judge of what's true about Texas schooling hours. In the Nov. 2004 issue, Janine Ray said: "The existing education requirement is limited because the current law specifies that the schools can only require a maximum of 300 hours of training in their entry-level programs" ("Updating Texas Massage Legislation,"

In response, [Haslam's] letter said: "To say that 'The existing education requirement is limited because the current law specifies that the schools can only require a maximum of 300 hours of training in their entry-level programs' is a lie, pure and simple." Texas state law says: "Sec. 455.205. PROHIBITED PRACTICES. (b) A massage school or a massage therapy instructor may not require the successful completion of more course hours than the number of hours required for registration as a massage therapist under this chapter" (

Forgive me for presenting a double shot of Janine's words - sometimes that happens.

John Fred Spack
Columbus, Ohio

Dear Editor:

On behalf of Texas and serious massage educators and therapists everywhere, I want to say that Rich Haslam's letter revealing, to quote, "the fundamental truth...that you do not need any anatomy to be a...massager" was the most flabbergasting letter I've ever read in our field. So much so, were it not tragic, I also had to laugh. I could go on and on but here are few important points: 1) If Rich finds anatomy unnecessary, this is probably an indictment of his anatomy teachers as well as of his standards; 2) Rich is right. You can do a massage without knowing anatomy. You can also speak without knowing how to read. But no one would then make the positive case for illiteracy! 3) Stating boldly "I started TAMT to oppose the AMTA" reveals the negativity of his agenda. We need more cooperation, not more opposition in our profession.

I co-founded The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in Austin over 16 years ago. Since beginning, we have offered up to 750 hours of rigorous, wonderful massage and bodywork training. We don't vastly care whether the law changes or not. We will maintain high standards no matter what. Here's a vote of thanks and confidence to all who continue to aim high in our profession.

David Lauterstein, RMT, Cert. ZB
Austin, Texas

Dear Editor:

I continue to be surprised and shocked by the individuals who want to limit the educational requirements needed to practice as a massage therapist. Clients come to us with problems affecting their health and well-being. They are looking to us to help them return to normal functioning.

I cannot believe that Rich Haslam can say he has never used his 75 hours of A&P or the additional 150 hours he took in Florida. Or how he can claim that more hours only benefits massage schools. In my opinion, an understanding of anatomy and physiology and how the body works is an essential component of our work. How can you assess the client without understanding A&P? How can you determine which direction to apply forces and strokes without understanding the orientation of structures and fibers in the body? To randomly apply massage without considering the structures and tissues you are working with provides a disservice to the clients. This is particularly true as many more massage therapists are working in more traditional health facilities, with more involved clients.

Yes, a generally applied massage may feel good anyway and it may help temporarily, but it doesn't help address the underlying issues that cause recurrent pain. In my opinion, education needs to become more in-depth. Therapists need to be trained to assess their clients and determine appropriate treatment plans based on those assessments, and 500 hours of training just does not cut it.

Robert Benson, PT, LMT, CSCS, MA.Ed.
Williston, North Dakota

No Distinction Between Therapeutic & Relaxation Massage Necessary

Dear Editor:

I read the interview with Nancy Schmitt (March 2005, 2005/03/04.html) and was dismayed by the interviewer's question, "What separates Mindful Touch Therapy from therapeutic or relaxation massage?" It is the "therapeutic or relaxation massage" with which I am concerned because the interviewer's question leads one to believe that therapeutic massage is not relaxing, nor is relaxation massage therapeutic.

I take issue with that thinking and have voiced my opinion in meetings on a few occasions when other therapists have said, "just" relaxation massage. I admit that I don't really know how those who say "just" relaxation massage define it; I can only assume that they envision pressure that is too light in their view, but I was taught that the client is to gauge the appropriate level of pressure.

In any case, I believe that it hurts all massage therapists for one to put down any modality and imply that relaxation massage is not therapeutic. I refer to another letter to the editor from Kenneth J. Klak, DO, published in January 2005 ("We Get Letters and E-Mail," Dr. Klak wrote, " profession is evolving into an understanding of osteopathy being most appropriate when we can take a patient to their most relaxed state," and further stated, "...the benefit of relaxation massage whose purpose is to take this patient to a state of peace may have ultimate value as far as being primary for the 'medicalization' of massage. I hope your profession never lets go of the thought of relaxation as a form of medical therapy." One more quote I found in Deepak Chopra's newsletter in a list of seven simple ways to ignite your immune system, "Get touched. Massage awakens immune function and feels good." No distinction necessary! Please review your editorial policy and represent all modalities responsibly.

Julie Adair
Hamilton, Montana

"Fair and Balanced"

Dear Cliff Korn:

Excellent editorial in Massage Today. How fair and balanced you write ("Trust and Expectations,",Feb. 2005). I am struggling as an approved CE provider trying to do the right thing renewing, adding courses, providing paperwork and not getting clear answers from the administrative side about what's required, say, to add courses between renewals. Given my (and others') ongoing nightmares and time we've spent checking and re-checking NCB info, it was a relief to read your matter-of-fact mention of poor service at the NCB. It was like an easy breath - I wasn't dreaming when I experienced repeated poor service! And you're right. NCB can fix it, get their house in order, and restore trust. I think in a few years we will look back on this and laugh in relief that it will happen. You wrote an editorial with heart, vision and a good measure of taking-to-task. Great job. Thank you!

Tracy Walton, LMT, MS
Cambridge, Massachusetts


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