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Massage Today
September, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 09

Falls to Remember

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB

It's September! Hope you had a wonderful summer. This year fall will be really interesting because of a very important election. America now has two classes, a ruling class and the rest of us.

If you really want affordable health care that includes alternative providers, and a prosperous economy, you have to become active in getting rid of the ruling class. This happens by voting out every incumbent, every election for about a decade. It does not matter what party an incumbent belongs to, if they are an incumbent they are part of the ruling class and they do not work for you or represent you, they work for the best interests of the ruling class. They are all bought and paid for by the huge money interests, the ones that they bailed out with your tax dollars. If we want to restore our country to the land of the free and the home of the brave, we must throw out the ruling class. For you, "loyal to a party idealogs," this will be painful initially, but in about two election cycles there will be candidates to vote for that have our best interests in mind instead of the ruling class. We have to go through the party shills first and then good, honest candidates can rise through the ranks. It is best to do this at the primary level, but it is too late for that this year, so in November, do your part to bring back true representative government - throw the bums out! Register and vote against all incumbents for the next decade. Your practice, your patients, and your health will benefit from it. Please help restore a government of the people instead of a ruling class of professional politicians. NO more incumbents!!

The Story on the History Story

I know this column was supposed to be about massage history. However, my primary source for 1920 - 1930's massage history has died and I am having trouble recovering the research he did on that era. I want the information I share with you to be accurate, so I must wait until I can find the facts and dates. Standby, as you will be quite surprised by the story and the lessons it has to teach us. (If anyone has a copy of Richard Van Why's handout from his presentation on massage history at an AMTA convention, I believe in Fort Worth, Texas in the late 1980s or early 90s please contact me.)

Falling Down the Educational Spiral

There is a phenomenon in education. It is that no instructor ever teaches all they know to their students and no student ever learns all they are taught. The student who did not learn all they were taught becomes an instructor and does not teach all they know to another generation of students who do not learn all they are taught and the downward spiral continues. Of course self-motivated instructors go out and constantly learn more and more, hopefully becoming more accomplished than their own instructors. However, this is the exception as sadly, very few people in any profession, or life for that matter, strive to become the best they can be. Most float along in mediocrity.

In the massage profession, our growth has been so rapid that the profession has not been able to produce an adequate number of qualified, field-experienced instructors. In many cases, graduates from this year's class are hired to teach next year's class. Some states have enacted standards for entry-level massage instructors but the standards are usually based on a number of years in the profession. This is better than nothing. However, just as a good mechanic does not necessarily make a good shop foreman, a practicing therapist does not necessarily make a good teacher. Further, there is more to teaching a class than just knowing how to do a massage. Just because you can do it does not mean you can teach it. There is a skill set required for teaching that is different from the skill set required for practicing. It is time that our profession adopts comprehensive standards for entry-level instructors and begin to implement them.

The ABMP has made a significant contribution to this end. They funded the creation and publishing of a textbook to train massage instructors, Teaching Massage, published by Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. It is a 344-page primer to help all those rookie instructors learn some of the core skills that are taught at university education schools, but shaped with a massage perspective. ABMP sent a free copy to every massage school in the country. If you are a massage instructor at an entry-level school and have not seen this book, ask for it, study it, and implement what you learn from it. It will probably make your teaching life better, it will help you train better therapists, and most importantly, it will help provide better massages to the public. Providing the best possible massage to the public should always be the goal guiding our profession.

New Kid on the Block

A new organization has emerged in our profession. It is the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, an independent association to give educators a voice in the profession and hopefully serve as a resource to improve massage education. There are membership categories for schools, school instructors, and CE providers. If you are involved in massage education, this organization deserves your support. Seriously consider joining. For more info: (Editor's note: Ralph Stephens is on the Alliance Board of Directors.)

The Fall of Nutrition

The Unholy Alliance of Monsanto, Dupont, and the Obama administration are working 24/7 to bring more toxic chemicals and genetically modified foods into your digestive system. They are now working on approving GMO salmon and wheat. GMO sugar beets have been approved recently, and a Bush administration ban on GMO alfalfa is about to be overturned. If you care about what you eat, and you should, you can keep up with the news through the Organic Consumers Association. This is a very left-leaning group that worked very hard to get Obama elected, hoping for change, and now is appalled that the change is allowing even more environmental and nutritional destruction by agribusiness and Food, Inc. than ever before. You can subscribe to their free newsletter and read their articles at

Remember you are what you eat and think. It is time to get involved people, before it is too late, and that threshold is rapidly approaching.

See you Thanksgiving month with my 70th column - gobble gobble.

Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.


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