Massage Therapy with Two Eyes

Energy work and structural work are two sides of the same coin. The most effective therapy arises from an approach that respects the unity of structural and energetic aspects of both therapist and the client.

The various arguments for and against energy work, for and against insistence on evidence-based therapy, are certainly passionate. The best answer to most passionate “either-or” debates is usually the more overriding vision of “both-and”. The assumption that the scientific/structural view of massage is the correct one is as one-sided as the assumption that the artistic/energetic approach to massage is correct.

It is like arguing which one of our two eyes we ought to see out of.

The separation or antagonism between energy work and structural work seems a waste of time and at worst a real tragedy. It is like separating health from care. We practice healthcare. We are responsible for both of these: bringing care into the therapeutic relationship and for being skilled in promoting physical health through soft tissue manipulation.

The union of art and science, of energy and structure, of health and care, is a triumph of historical proportions. Our field and the whole world need this triumph.