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Massage Today
August, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 08

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 by regular mail to:

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

Medical Massage in Focus

Editor's note: The following letters are in response to Cliff Korn's July 2005 editorial, "'Using' Medical Massage," available online at

Dear Mr. Korn:

I found your article to be both interesting and insulting, and so I am writing this on behalf of the professional members of the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA). The AMMA has been an established medical massage membership organization since 1999 and has published many articles, press releases and statements concerning medical massage. This is not a controlling issue; it's a fact. The article that has been "kindly" referred to as "rhetoric" is true information founded on the beliefs of what the massage therapy profession should be. What is so difficult to understand about unity in a profession? The general massage therapy profession has been so disoriented and fragmented that it will take years, if ever, to develop an understanding that most massage therapists want the same recognition and equality that is awarded other professions. But what seems to be under attack here is the definition of medical massage. The AMMA has defined medical massage since its onset as a scientifically based practice of manual medicine and manual therapy. No use of crystals or other forms of therapy that are not scientifically proven methods. What is exaggerating about that? Medical massage therapists have been trained with specific protocols, and work in hospitals, doctor's offices, with chiropractors and with other allied health care professionals. If the massage therapist has chosen to attain a higher level of training, why shouldn't they be recognized? If, for instance, you look at the nursing profession you find that there are different levels of nursing, so why not massage?

Mr. Korn, the AMMA was, in fact, the first medical massage association formed in the U.S., so we do not appreciate being associated with any other medical massage organization that has its own agenda. We are who we say we are. I would also like to point out that, yes: our association does assist any massage therapist or organization, regardless of association affiliation, when we are called upon to do so. Since you have never contacted our association for information, Mr. Korn, you are making unsubstantiated statements.

I do applaud you for stating that you hope the AMTA will include the medical massage organizations in their discussions and "search for definition." If not, this will be just one more step in dividing the profession.

Marie A. Ruberto, managing director
American Medical Massage Association

Dear Mr. Korn:

Thank you for your insightful and well-articulated editorial regarding medical massage and David Luther's organization(s). As a licensed massage therapist for 15 years, it appears to me that the last thing we as health care professionals need in this thriving market is more divisiveness and confusion among practitioners and the public. Mr. Luther attempts to claim that only therapists who have passed his course(s) and taken his exam are performing medical massage. I would like to submit a counter definition of medical massage: "The use of manual therapies performed by a person specifically trained and licensed in massage therapy applications for the purpose of benefiting of another." Why discriminate? I have a specific practice and skills, but I still recognize the benefits of "relaxation" massage for my patients. Would we prohibit doctors from [prescribing] medications for stress and anxiety? Doesn't massage benefit these areas? We need more cohesion and unity. Not the alphabet soup of "micromassage" specialty and discrimination.

John Chianese, LMT, NAET
via e-mail


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