“We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered,
the problems of life have still not been touched at all.” — Ludwing Wittgenstein
Just kidding. Of course it is. However, the second biggest secret about massage is – it is equally an art.
Yet the art unfortunately of late has gotten a lot less attention than the science.
You listen to so many folks writing about massage these days and they assume the unquestioning belief that we are or at least should be practicing a form of medicine. They talk of “evidence-based” findings and research as supreme, unquestioned virtues in our field. Necessary? For sure. Sufficient? No.
What if there was as much art to massage?
Is art evidence-based? How relevant is scientific research to the actual creation of art?
What if we tested in our licensing exams for the art as well as the science? Is that even possible?
What if we explicitly trained our students in the art as well as the science? How would that look?
Thomas Hanna spoke of sensori-motor amnesia affecting people in dramatic ways. I think many in our field are suffering from amnesia regarding the larger and smaller ways in which we are practicing an art.
I believe we need to undo the spell woven by the dream of being equals and subsumed within the so-called “healthcare” field. Does medicine even truly deserve title “healthcare”? Do we need to be reminded that it is largely “disease-care”? (Of course, it leads, hopefully, to some level of health; I am deeply grateful and frankly I wouldn’t be alive without great disease-care in my past.}
In any case, health and care are explicit goals of massage therapy.
The wholesale subsuming of massage by the industrial-medical complex would be a tragedy of historical proportions. It causes me a similar discomfort to the ATT commercials in which phone service was sold by saying, “Reach out and touch someone.” I thought, “Hey, that’s us!” J
In this next chapters of my blogs I would love to begin a field-wide discussion of the ways in which we are practicing an art (as well as science).
Precisely what are its elements?
What difference can and should this recognition make within our field?
How may this affect our results with our clients?
What are we really after when we do massage?
What really is massage anyhow?