Irony

 

“Hang onto your Husbands Ladies!”

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Random Fact, Conspiracy Discourse and Feminist alert:

I just bought my massage malpractice/liability insurance for Massage Envy this morning. The name of the insurance carrier: Hiscox. As a ‘random’ aside: one of the articles someone shared about sexuality in a “Christian Market Anarchism” group on FB did mention that the Greek word for “Lust” in Hebrew is translated as “Covet.” Now I would have to research this ‘random fact’ before popping off with some pithy wisdom, but given that my employer is a franchise some have taken to calling Massage Enemy, a company franchise that requires me to provide proof of insurance, (responsibly some may say) while the State of Tennessee does not, calls a variety of paradigms on this topic into question. Think on such things my friends and ponder these examples of insurance, liability and irony.

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Absolute Values Part Three: Language and Professionalism in Context

*This is the third installment of a four-part series on Professional Development for Spa Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Masseur, Masseuse and Massage Therapist as a Touchstone.

What does the structure of language have to do with Professional Development for Spa Therapists/Technicians?

What is the difference between an adjective, a metaphor and a simile? Are they synonyms for one another and if they are not, what makes them distinct and discreetly different? Why does it matter what anyone calls themselves as long as they give a ‘good’ massage?

adjective noun

An adjective is a word that describes a noun and can include the words Masseur and Masseuse.

  • The red car.
  • I am tired of dating him.
  • He is too idealistic.
  • He is a self motivated professional.
  • The name of the book is Stone Soup.

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A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase compares two very different objects, concepts, ideas, or feelings to provide a clearer description.

  • He is the black sheep of our family.
  • You ain’t nothing but a hound dog. – Elvis Presley
  • A blanket of snow fell today.
  • I have a half-baked idea in mind.
  • “Why I am a little black rain cloud of course!” – Winnie the Pooh

Giraffe Similie

Metaphors are different from similes. A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of two different things and 9 times out of 10 will incorporate the words “like” or “as.” Because simile’s AND metaphors serve the purpose of enhancing a description they are both considered literary devices. More precisely, the true distinction between a metaphor and a simile is that a simile makes an explicit comparison, while a metaphor makes an implicit one.

BUT WAIT!!! What does this have to do with Professional development?

PLENTY! And here is WHY: As you may have already noticed, the definitions above OVERLAP. What one person will call an adjective may be further categorized as a metaphor or in some instances as a simile depending on the usage. These definitions underscore both the creativity and subjectivity involved in personal self-expression.

Massage Therapist: Tenor or Vehicle?

I’m not talking about music or cars! So what do Professionals mean when asking the question above?  Metaphors can be described by several means and methods. Tenor and Vehicle are terms that were coined by I.A. Richards in the early 20th century.

  • The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the terms this way: “tenor and vehicle, the components of a metaphor, with the tenor referring to the concept, object, or person meant, and the vehicle being the image that carries the weight of the comparison.” This is not the only way to define the terms.

Here is a broader definition.

An academic source from Carson Newman College’s English Department affords tenor and vehicle more liberal definitions: “In common usage, tenor refers to the course of thought, meaning or emotion in anything written or spoken.”  

“A modern theory would object, first, that in many of the most important uses of metaphor, the co-presence of the vehicle and the tenor results in a meaning (to be clearly distinguished from the tenor) which is not attainable without their interaction. That the vehicle is not normally a mere embellishment of a tenor which is otherwise unchanged by it but that vehicle and tenor in co-operation give a meaning of more varied powers that can be ascribed to either. And a modern theory would go on to point out that with different metaphors the relative importance of the contributions of vehicle and tenor to this resultant meaning varies immensely. At one extreme the vehicle may become almost a mere decoration or coloring of the tenor, at the other extreme, the tenor may become almost a mere excuse for the introduction of the vehicle, and so no longer be ‘the principal subject.’ And the degree to which the tenor is imagined ‘to be that very thing which it only resembles’ also varies immensely.” (I.A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Oxford Univ. Press, 1936)

Philosophically speaking, the witty amongst us will have already noted that Richards describes a “modern theory” and thereby indicates that he has a basis for making a distinction between tenor and vehicle that avoids the solipsism he is describing!

Richard’s may have had an agenda of sorts or not. Regardless of his own views of what constituted “modernism” or even his private politics, by categorizing “modern” rhetoric as having “relative” meaning Richards accomplished or obscured two important historical developments of his era. Richards wrote the passage above in 1936, prior to Hitler, Hiroshima and the Holocaust. As previously noted in this series, logical positivism was reaching it’s zenith in Europe in the 1940’s as the discovery of the atom bomb illustrated. The taxonomy Richards created and “embellished” beyond rhetoric and into literature as a whole stream of thought, rather than the nuts and bolts of language structure allows us to note that the solipsism he describes is a feature of both logical positivism AND relativism which facilitates the unspoken “POST MODERN” label predicated on Richard’s own definitions which imply reflexivity.  This occurred at least 40 years prior to the supposed advent of the term in the 1970’s according to art historians.

The relationship between logical positivism and language as we have noted in prior installments of this series was carried forward by Ludwig Wittgenstein and his contributions to logic and language. Popper and Kuhn built on this existing legacy and made contributions to the philosophy of science that form the basis of many massage education curriculums today.

Professional Foundations and the Individual: Why and Where does gender matter in professional communication?

Let’s revisit the second post in this series to provide a starting point and context from which to answer the question above.

“Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims which were presumed to undergird scientific endeavors cannot be VERIFIED to be UNIVERSALLY true and that this revelation placed limits on how much we can know. This “revelation” (a form of knowledge itself) filtered into common parlance (language) in phrases such as “the linguistic turn” cited above. It is also another way to describe phrases such as “asymmetrical information” which are frequently floated to describe a variety of imbalances in power implied by terms such as “Balkanization” and resulting abuses.”

Awareness of how the growth of modern views on language and linguistics fits into the history of science can shed more light on WHY the professional massage, spa, wellness and allied CAM community has agreed by general consensus to uphold the term “massage therapist” as the most appropriate term for professional use by bodyworkers.

“Masseur” and “masseuse” are descriptive stand alone words. With such gendered terminology as a starting point, who is the observer and who is the subject?

Massage Therapist is not a metaphor any more than Masseur or Masseuse: therefore it is illogical to ask what is the tenor and what or whom is the vehicle in this word phrase.

One of the facts of professional practice for LMT’s in the 21st century is that the massage profession will never be able to replace the scientifically mainstream profession of physical therapy. Due to this impasse, the massage profession is viewed by some within the industry as ‘struggling’ against everything from health care politics and monied vested interests, to conspiracy theories of every stripe and even with private matters for individuals such as religion, faith and sexuality.

Choosing the term “Massage Therapist” is in many respects a discretionary decision. Many LMT’s make this choice because it is what they were taught. Other’s make this distinction predicated on axiology and value judgments. Yet others if asked will say that they find the decision to utilize the professional designation “Massage Therapist” because they are supporting the growth of the profession and of the wellness industry as a whole.

Regardless of the reasons one has for choosing to ‘follow the crowd’ there are still more reasons than we have yet discussed for chosing to adhere to the term “Massage Therapist” as a professional designation.

We will touch on some of those reasons in the final installment in this series. Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Licensure and Portability: National Certification Board teams up with British Education company ITEC to offer internationally recognized massage curriculum

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The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork announced on March 14th, 2015 that they have partnered with ITEC, a British education company specializing in international credentialing. The goal is to facilitate ‘portability’ and ‘standardization’ for the massage profession. This partnership is similar to ISPA’s Spa Certifications that have been available to members and non members since around 2004.

ITEC describes themselves as a “an examination board” specializing in Beauty & Spa Therapy, Hairdressing, Complementary Therapies, Sports & Fitness Training and Customer Service. ITEC has hubs in London, South Africa, Asia and the Pacific in addition to representation in Ireland and the United States of America. What more could a Spa therapist ask for? Let’s take a cursory look.

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Student benefit highlights include:

  • The benefit to the student is that they hold a certification that is recognised by employers in over 40 countries worldwide. The ITEC/NCB partnership will open doors to employment around the globe.
  • The ITEC Certification also means that the students have been benchmarked against other student’s from all over the world and achieved International status. No matter where a student’s studies for an ITEC certification the assessment is exactly the same which maintains standardisation around the globe.

School benefit highlights include:

  • curriculum benchmarked against sister schools in 40 different countries.
  • marketing opportunity for your institution.

What a blessing it would have been for me, had this option been available when I first graduated from massage school in 1998. I have family who immigrated to the USA, including my maternal grandmother who became a naturalized citizen. Both my maternal uncles were eligible for dual citizenship at birth. I have known professionals who hailed from Japan and studied massage therapy in London, worked with supervisors from The Netherlands and many other countries. Some former coworkers grew up overseas and started families during their travels. Many of my former coworkers have traveled the globe at various levels of the wellness industry from line positions in the Spa to Spa Management. For those of us who have lived such lives and whose families are indeed multi cultural if somewhat scattered, this is a welcome addition to massage education.

However, speaking from an American perspective in a non professional or educational context, if like me, you were blindsided by the “patriotic” and unquestionably “morally validated” emergence of the FSMTB (while working for a globally recognized, multi-national hospitality conglomerate) this may amuse you or at least make you pause for a moment of reflection.

What possible drawbacks may be found in this new educational partnership for students, educators, the massage and allied esthetics and cosmetology professions and for the spa industry?

One angle to consider is the current lay of the professional landscape. The FSMTB despite it’s monopoly on entry level credentialing that some have elevated to the status of positive law or done so in ignorance and stupidity, is only a monopoly for lack of competition at present. The addition of an international credential by the NCB is no skin off their nose or professionals backs.

For educators, the issues are different. Standardization of curriculums across international lines will necessitate the creation of new programs in participating schools. Adding ITEC curriculum to an existing education program need not require massage educators too, in the words of the NCB: “Agree to merge/map your curriculum(s) to ITEC’s International Diploma in Holistic Massage or any other specialty certifications you wish to offer.”

Why would an ITEC/NCB certification require a school to alter existing or prior proven curriculums that would or could remain independent from the ‘international’ certification program? Why not just add the NCB/ITEC international certification as a new program offering and be done with it? That is what Educational Program Directors do – design curriculums.

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However, there are strategic reasons some schools may choose to partner with the NCB and ITEC specifically for the above referenced purpose.

Rhetoric exists for a reason. That said, if I were in charge of the NCB news, I would have chosen different language or crafted a completely different sentence to express this requirement. I often blog with curt language. Apparently, I am not the only one as the NCB quote above illustrates.

From the standpoint of esthetics education and cosmetology education, there should not be a great deal of difference for private institutions. There is no mention of two year community colleges and I know of no reason to presume that they would be ineligible candidates to provide this new certification. I would think they would be some of the biggest supporters and possibly better suited to have the ability to add to international standardization thru educational program development.

I will be musing on this topic for a bit. I’m sitting with the idea for the moment like it’s tea in a kettle or an old time coffee percolator. I will catch the scent in a bit and I will see where it leads me. As will we all.

Good Luck NCB and ITEC. Better late than never!

http://www.ncbtmb.org/itec

http://www.itecworld.co.uk/ncbtmb/

http://www.itecworld.co.uk/home/Registration/