What is this simple approach to massage therapy and how is it different from other approaches?
Our lives are full of events that are connected by cause and effect. For instance, if we lift and release an object it’s going to fall down. Gravity existed long time before Galileo and Newton described its behavior quantitatively. Millenniums before their time, knowing nothing about gravity beyond its cause and effect relation, military engineers created machines that catapulted rocks over the wall of besieged cities. Today, you can rarely find a person who’s not familiar with the force of gravity and Newton’s laws.
Yet to a large degree, the nature of gravity is still a mystery. We understand much more about it now, but there is always one more “why” to which no one has an answer. After all said and done, gravity is just that. However, this doesn’t preclude us from counting on gravity to be there for us every time and to use its cause and effect relation to our advantage.
Electro-magnetic force is another example of such natural phenomenon. The magnetic field is produced by the motion of electric charges. Conversely, the movement of the magnetic field causes electrical current. The nature of these phenomena is very complex and like gravity, not very well understood. Yet this does not preclude us from generating electricity by rotating magnets on electrical stations.
Going back to the massage business… science can explain many things, but it cannot explain everything. It can measure and record a detailed cause and effect relation that guides practitioners in the field. It can tell us which manipulations need to be done, and in which sequence these manipulations need to be performed, in order to achieve the desired effect.
As paradoxical as it may sound, in order to achieve sustainable results, a “complete understanding” is not necessary. For example, if a client suffers from the negative effects of stress, a massage therapist should have a clear understanding of the abnormalities caused by stress. It’s not necessary to understand the problem on the molecular, atomic or subatomic levels. However, it is very important to understand that stress causes arteries to contract, resulting in other negative side effects such as an increase in heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, an increase in blood sugar levels, etc.
But it’s not important to understand the exact triggering mechanism of such contractions, or the neuron chemistry which allows the transfer of such signals from the brain to the arteries. In other words, each problem has to be dealt with on its own level of abstraction. It is much more important for a massage therapist to know which of the scientifically developed protocols for stress management to apply and to be able to perform them masterfully.
We must remember that scientists and massage therapists possessing expertise in different fields.
The bottom line is: massage therapy is about results and massage therapist is the one who delivers it.