Absolute Values: Professionalism and Manifestations of Individualism

haiku-nyt

This is the first post of a four part series on professional development. The series will utilize the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

Massage Therapy is a growing field of professional endeavor. As the last fifteen years have demonstrated, the creation of civic, secular infrastructure to consolidate and incorporate the profession, as a professional body has been implemented.

As the process of civic, social and economic integration and incorporation has progressed for the massage profession, questions about manifestations of individualism and professionalism arise and are discussed more openly than ever before.

One of the most commonly occurring examples of individual expression among both clients and less often among LMT’s is linguistic. It is often floated in the form of a question: Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? Underlying this question is the concept of Wholeness. If wholeness is a product that professional massage facilitates it is worthwhile to note that culture, where the right to our own and our client’s privacy finds it’s reason for being,  and civilization, which is presumed to facilitate and protect this freedom, and our professional means of making a living are distinct from one another; i.e., culture is a human endeavor and civilization is a non-living by product of the former. Part of professionalism for LMT’s necessitates that as a profession we acknowledge this from time to time. Not only for ourselves as a body of professionals, or privately with our friends and family but also for the benefit of the public good.

The term “Massage Therapist” is the linguistic term with AAA credit ranking in professional LMT circles for a reason. This is a term that denotes a respect and acknowledgement of both diversity and the right to privacy that the ‘young’ amongst us, regardless of age are afforded by their elders as a protection while they undergo professional embryonic development. This deployment of terminology by general consensus is not intended to be a weapon of fascism to stunt growth or stifle creativity or silence self expression.

Within academia, the “organic” model of cultural axiology has been challenged by political scientists, sociologists, historians and economists as essentialist since at least the 1970’s. In a bait and switch that even Freud and Sophocles might recognize, some decades prior to the emergence of the term essentialism, the term “post modern” was coined and since then has been used to describe and isolate everything from art, “anti-intellectualism,” religious movements new and old, violence and terrorism for many of the same reasons. This led to a decline in philosophical focus on aesthetics and since the advent of axiology’s emergence in the late 1800’s, it has been routinely relegated to the three ring circus of identity politics at one end and derided as having contributed to eugenics movements at the other. Less frequently published  in the professional massage community and far more popular are commentaries that frame manifestations of individualism in professional or civic contexts as a dialectic of “free will” vs. “determinism” of various sorts. Unfortunately, the absence of sustained dialogue in the massage profession about philosophy and role of dialectic in general in education and professional development has only served to reinforce the critical views cited above. Criticism of the individual begins with the collective. But as individualism sees only a part of the being, collectivism understands or sees the being as a part. This is syncretism on one hand and solipsism on the other. The latter is a logic based criticism and the former is both an aesthetic insight and a religious objection.  What then of wholeness and holism? What is the ground of being beneath our profession? That many of these views have been noted by scholars post September 11th 2001 as not only reactionary and derivative of conspiracy thinking but also as regressive is a matter of public record.

Richard Hofstadter in his classic work, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Hofstadter 1952) cites an example of anti-intellectualism when describing the “post-Sputnik furor over American education.” He draws an example from California that had been ‘experimenting’ with curriculum. The new curriculum was criticized for “academic pettiness and snobbery.” The rebuttal of the reformers went on to state: “other goals of education such as preparation for citizenship, occupational competence, successful family life, self-realization in ethical, moral aesthetic and spiritual dimensions and the enjoyment of physical health.” Those who criticized this novel approach paused to note that one of the most complimented features of American education of the past was: “the attempt to avoid a highly rigid system of education. To do so does not mean that academic competence is not regarded as highly important to any society but it does recognize that historically, education systems which stress absorption of accumulated knowledge for it’s own sake have tended to produce decadence. Those who would “fix” the curriculum and freeze educational purpose misunderstand the unique function of education – in American democracy.”

While it is often disquieting for many LMT’s when encountering the terms “Masseur or Masseuse”, it is worthwhile to note that these terms denote one of three things about the LMT when choosing a professional designation.

  • biological sex
  • gender identity

Or in the case of clients

  • gender preference

The English language does not play dice with gender beyond the limit of semiotics. English does not string along gender and definite articles denoting gender as do other languages. For this reason, English in some circles of thought (both domestic and foreign) is presumed rightly or wrongly, to force gender assignment onto the senses by facilitating direct observation and experience. So to speak, facts are facts are they not?

Without delving into how language and semiotics are celebrated and criticized often for the same reasons as those cited above, manifestations of individualism in a professional context still retain and are often coupled with culture based ethical value assignments made by individuals. When the LMT choir sings or repeatedly chants the mantra “Massage Therapist” note the historical age in which we find ourselves. Note the models of culture criticized above and pause to note that a vocation is not a profession regardless of what Wikipedia says or whom they quote.

  • A vocation is a calling.
  • A profession is a structured venue intended to facilitate the process of making a living within the parameters of ethics and axiology.

Professional massage therapy is truly in its infancy. It is less than 150 years old. We have yet to come “a long way baby.”

Of Logical Fallacies, Paradigm Shifts and Process Philosophy

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  • Step One “We admitted we were powerless over the New Age—that our Higher Selves had turned us into flakes.”
  • Step Two “Came to believe that a powerful bull*** detector could restore us to sanity.”
  • Step Three “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our lower selves and a good psychiatrist.”
  • Step Four “Made a searching and fearless disposal of our crystals, tarot decks, incense, angel cards, rising signs, wands, spells, medicine wheels, pendulums and lottery tickets.”
  • Step Five “Admitted to God, our Guru and our seminar leader the exact nature of our delusion.”
  • Step Six “Were entirely ready to take back our mind, body and spirit.”
  • Step Seven “Humbly asked our Higher Power to @#!$ off.”
  • Step Eight “Made a list of all the New Age assholes we’d been nice to and vowed to treat them all like shit.”
  • Step Nine “Insulted the New Age wherever possible, especially when to do so made us look bad.”
  • Step Ten “Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly relished in it.”
  • Step Eleven “Sought through television and newspapers to improve our conscious contact with humanity, concentrating only on our ability to understand what the hell was really happening in the world.”
  • Step Twelve “Having avoided a paradigm shift as the result of these steps, we vowed to carry the NAA message to New Agers everywhere and to practice being ordinary in all our affairs.”

What is a Paradigm Shift?

What is a Logical Fallacy?

What is Process Philosophy?

And for those of you with a less exalted view of religion and spirituality…..

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Open letter to DoTerra and Young Living: FDA reprimands are an opportunity and a challenge

Wisdom

 

Last year, the FDA issued a warning letter to both Do Terra and Young Living Essential Oils CEO’s about the activities of their distributor networks.

The letter to Young Living states in part: “You market your Young Living Essential Oil products through paid consultants; your compensation plan for your consultants is explained on your website http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/opportunity/compensation-plan. Your consultants promote many of your Young Living Essential Oil Products for conditions such as, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), Parkinson’s disease, autism, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dementia, and multiple sclerosis, that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners. Consumers interested in your Young Living Essential Oil products are then redirected by your consultants to your website, http://www.youngliving.com, to purchase your products and/or register as members (i.e., consultants)”.[1]

The letter to DoTerra states in part: “Your products are marketed through the website http://www.anytimeessentials.com/ and through paid “consultants,” http://www.anytimeessentials.com/work-home/, otherwise referred to as “wellness advocates,” http://www.mydoterra.com/. Your consultants promote your above mentioned dōTERRA Essential Oil products for conditions including, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, endometriosis, Grave’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction, ADD/ADHD,  and other conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners. Moreover, your consultants redirect consumers to your website, http://www.doterra.com, to register as a customer or member (i.e., consultant), and to purchase your dōTERRA Essential Oil products.”

Here’s a PART of the rub if it’s not already obvious: “Your products are prescription drugs as defined in section 503(b)(1)(A) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 353(b)(1)(A)]) for some of the claims made for them because, in light of their toxicity or other potentiality for harmful effect, the method of their use, or the collateral measures necessary to their use, they are not safe for use except under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to administer them.”

When I come across responses or rebuttals to the information above I often find the same tropes repeated and an absence of detail and appropriate framing of the issues involved. Here are my suggestions for both DoTerra and Young Living corporate organizations on how to go about revamping their training and policy procedures to avoid such issues.

  • Show some respect for philosophy and history by acknowledging the value of diversity rather than avoiding the burden of education. i.e., Invest in your organizational longevity and your distributors long term patronage thru enhanced education offerings.
  • Create partnerships with Aromatherapy, Business and CAM educators that would offer perks for distributors who advance their education level with college degrees or appropriate certifications.
  • Redefine your branding strategy to clearly distinguish who your customers are and why.
  •  Be mindful of nepotism.

untangling the truth and lie about addiction

This post is spot on. Highly Recommended!

christabrennan

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For those who struggle with addiction, untangling reality from fantasy and truth from lies can be difficult. It’s an important part of recovery to confront ones euphoric recall. Euphoric recall is when a person remembers only the pleasure associated with drug use/abuse and ignores the negative consequences. This recall is a lie the addicted mind tries to convince itself is truth. That there are no consequences, and even if there are, they are worth it. When in reality, people who are in the throws of addiction can end up loosing everything they care about, and all too often their own lives.

This drama helps people to have an encounter with their own tangled mess of truth and lie, and have an opportunity to begin to separate the two.

For this drama we will be using 2 empty chairs. It is helpful to have an assortment of different colored scarves so the participant can choose one to represent…

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Paramedical Tattooing: Medical esthetics and permanent make up

Paramedical Tatoos demonstrate the value of medical esthetics in a unique way. Medical esthetics is distinct from cosmetology and requires extensive training beyond an associates degree or simple certification accepted by many spa employers.

While permanent make up is nothing new and somewhat common, not all educators in this area are created equal.

Key organizations for this level of esthetics education are listed in aprevious post on a career in medical esthetics from a few years ago.