Category Archives: Research

Thought for the Day: Defining Bullshit

The Chronicle of Higher Education has just made my day, or rather two professors at The University of Washington. It’s a crying shame they aren’t located in D.C. and/or that they haven’t YET exported their wit to every State in the Union.

Here is the opening line from The Chronicle’s current Post Truth issue:

“Facts and figures are like cow pastures. Unless you squint, you can’t always tell how full of bullshit they are.”

That’s correct readers. It seems AT LEAST TWO tenured (?) academics have struck marketing gold! At my Alma Matter, the class was titled Borderlands of Science and Religion and you can view the wit who created it, under this blog’s About tab.

The current Chronicle article has a Q & A with the academics in question and I recommend giving it a read.

Apothecanna: Cannibis infused Spa products

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Where there’s smoke there is fire and the cannabis cloud over Colorado appears to be lingering like smog on a otherwise clear day. Cannabis proponent Apothecanna has positioned itself beyond the pale, as an adjunct measure in pain management and only time will tell if they can remain straight enough to keep their wellness branding intact.

I wrote this piece originally in June of 2015 and removed it from this blog over a reservation about logical reasoning summed up simply by “begging the question.” But let’s talk products for now.

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Apothecanna does offer a variety of scents that leave the 1960’s behind.

The statement on their website detailing the benefits of their “natural” products Topical Cannabis, Hemp Lotion, & THC Spray (located under the tab “learn” and “apothecanna massage”) is simple and basic:

Revitalizing botanicals like arnica and capsaicin combine with topical marijuana to provide natural herbal pain relief .

The Marketing is both Spartan and clever.

“Here at Apothecanna, we’re committed to providing innovative topical pain relievers that combine topical cannabis with other healing and soothing botanicals for a more natural option for topical pain relief. Unlike conventional topical pain relief cream products, our cannabis calming cream offer pain relief without unpleasant “medicine” scents, instead incorporating sense-soothing botanicals like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense. These botanicals make using our topical marijuana products more enjoyable, contributing to a sense of well being that can aid the healing process. In addition to our full line of cannabis cream and THC spray products for pain relief, which are available at over 200 Colorado medical marijuana centers, we also offer several invigorating, calming, and pain relieving cream products made with hemp and arnica cream, as well as other botanicals to soothe your skin as well as your senses.”

Rejuvenate your skin and senses with topical cannabis cream and botanical skin therapies from Apothecanna.

Under the “About” tab are three discreet paragraphs that provide a brief nod to both legality and their position on the role of natural philosophy in society at large.

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By reordering the brands statements, it may be a bit more obvious to educated consumers and those who question the politics involved, how the advent of Apothecanna will impact the Spa and Wellness Industry. And in particular, the Professional Massage Community which may utilize such products IN TANDEM with mainstream pain management professionals.

Let’s break it down like any syllogism, but let’s do it backwards and examine the logic of the marketing.

“Our mission at Apothecanna is to spread the wisdom of traditional plant medicine. We believe in the fundamental right of access to the healing powers of nature and promote sustainable interaction with the world around us.”

Preceeding this ‘tidbit’ is the following ‘tidbit.”

“We do not use artificial ingredients, fillers, parabens and only test on humans. We believe that natural treatments are the best treatments, and strive to create products with uncompromised purity, quality, and functionality.”

And the page begins with this introduction:

“Apothecanna is a natural apothecary featuring cannabis extract as the primary active ingredient due to its potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Our formulations combine cannabis with other organic and wild crafted essential oils to create highly functional topical treatments for pain and stress relief, while delivering a host of skin nurturing benefits.”

Viewed and analyzed from last statement to first, Apothecanna’s marketing strategy seems to be suffering from marijuana induced paranoia if not ordinary anxiety. Remember this assessment proceeds in reverse order from their official website circa 2015!

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The first (last) CLAIM Apothecanna puts forward, is that their products have scientifically proven value. (This is TRUE of Cannabis- as science has admitted.)

The second or (middle) premise Apothecanna offers is that their products are 100% “Natural” and that they TEST only on humans.

In the third (first) STATEMENT that in traditional logic would be called a premise, Apothecanna DOES INDEED draw a CONCLUSION predicated on the two preceding premises! Want some pseudoscience wellness professionals or just a side of religion to go with your own and your clients health investments?

Consumers are informed of Apothecannas “rights” and significantly there is an appeal to nature for sovereign status as if this is an innate right, protected by the United States constitution and by the State of Colorado. Don’t choke on Abraham Lincoln’s comment that The Bill of rights “Is a REBUKE” or the fact that it’s not A LAW in or of itself. 4th amendment is mere Axiology? Taste? Genre? 

Oh my! Isn’t this Gnosticism Mitt Romney’s and John McCain’s territory? Colorado did have a FEMALE TEA PARTY INCUMBENT BATTLE DIDN’T THEY…

Since when does any government, at the national or state level have an ability to regulate “unalienable” rights? Gnosticism, gender and Lawd at all the LEGAL PROSTITUTION NEXT DOOR IN NEVADA…Neither LEGAL governing body DOES have that right pro Mblex crusaders. American laws deal with ‘inalienable rights.’ LOOK AT THAT “science based” MARKETING NOW.

The “premise” that any class system is subject to the economic system, which is presumably subject to the political system, which in turn is subject to the legal system, which then, and only then, is subject to a religious system…with an ethical framework, such as one that acknowledges and ensures ‘rights‘ which entail free will, are now on display.

Given that in 99% if not most instances, the defacto and default premise that an esthetics license is required, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree to work for a Professional Spa Product Line and that LMT’s with a Bachelor’s degree are overlooked if they have no outside B2B sales experience ought to give the Spa and Esthetics industry something to mull over when considering the SUBSTANCE of education.

Consider for instance this “new” education offering that is scarcely 20 years old: Disability Studies. It would seem “science” v. “management” rather than “pain” is the canker sore in the post-modern lotus?

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I will leave it to the “moral educators” with political axes to grind about bell jars, States right’s, healthcare and massage monopolies on entry level right to practice (that the FSMTB fails to call collusion but most certainly calls patriotism,) to pander to their fellow citizens about universal relativism and plan for the future conspiracy theories this trend will no doubt spawn.

Until Next Time Campers!

Announcing Fruits, Nuts and Flakes: Massage and Bodywork Edition

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Announcing Fruits, Nuts and Flakes: Massage and Bodywork Edition!!

I am fundraising to print, produce and ship a card set for Massage educators, massage aficionados and their nemesis!!

I would like to be able to print at least 2,000 decks or more. Please share any and all feedback and thank you. I will be adding an option to purchase 1 set immediately.

The Vampire Facial: An assault on science or simple Race Baiting?

Back in 2013, Kim Kardashian tried the newest trend in esthetics, or so it may have seemed. The Vampire Facial.

The Spa world responded discreetly and quickly renamed the procedure “microneedling.”

Count on MTV to showcase this attempt at cultural stereotyping and shoddy science. 19 year old teen bathes in pigs blood to retain her ‘youth’ reads a recent headline. Hollywood is a simmering pot of “Postmodernism” after all, and no doubt, this impressionable youths decision will be laid at the door of either Kim Kardashian and Bar Rafeli, or (shudder) the spa industry.

For an angle on racism by design or by ‘coincidence’ take note: Ms. Kardashian and Ms. Rafeli both have semitic ancestry to varying degrees. Of course, with so much anti-intellectualism and ‘tea partying’ nationwide, “The Vampires” found their miracle cure trademarked via a Doctor from:

May I get a drumroll……….Alabama.

Oh My.

If there isn’t one excuse to use science as a substitute for religious identity by design or happenstance, as showcased by Kardashian and Rafeli as ‘consumers’, then it’s science as a substitute for various forms of ontological identity and from there its a substitute for sexual orientation.

My advice for Spa and Wellness Professionals is to avoid this service, period. The science may very well be sketchy. While pricking the skin does produce collagen, so does tribal scarring. What would the long term effects of this kind of treatment be when these two results are compared side by side?

Think Twice Ladies and Gentlemen. And for English students, teachers and Da Vinci Code fans: Race baiting is Race baiting. No matter what anyone calls it, regardless of how it’s passed off from science into literature, geography or in a substitution between Aesthetics and Esthetics. If it’s not one bait and switch about Natural Philosophy, it’s another.

Consumer Beware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absolute Values Part Two: Epistemology, the Individual and Professional Development

This is the second article in a four part series on Professional Development for Massage Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

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The  quote above is by philosopher Imre Lakatos, taken from a paper titled Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. The distinction beetween Popper and Kuhn is beyond the scope of this artice but the difference between the two is ONE point of departure to examine questions of Epistemology, Education and Professional Development for Health Professions.

What is Epistemology? (link)

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. If or when this definition is expanded to include “How we know what we know” then the resulting definition begins to reveal an insight into the rationale behind modern disagreement regarding a revised understanding of the scientific method, religion, philosophy and the individual.

What is the role of logic within Epistemology?

To ask what the role of logic is within Epistemology without resorting to reflexivity illustrates why early efforts to answer this question were superceded in many professional disciplines during the last century.  When a linguist says a word or a concept is “reflexive” they are saying that there is an absence of logic agreement between subject and object or a circular relationship between cause and effect. Thomas Kuhn approaches Wittgenstein with his emphasis on “the linguistic turn” as part of his rationale for paradigm shifts, which ultimately derive from Wittgenstein’s early and later stages of work. And then, he steps back.

Why?

In the history of science, the logical positivists or logical empiricists as the case may be, were of the opinion that philosophy needed to be legitimized and the resulting legitimacy shared with science – (author emphasis). Logical positivists also proceeded with the idea that ONLY statements verifiable EITHER logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. This definition presents issues that we recognize today in debates between science researchers such as Kuhn and Popper.

Logical positivism is justifiably credited with scientific reductionism. Another way to describe this is to define it as A.J. Ayers has done; an “Attack on Metaphysics.” Many academics, intellectuals and political scientists recoiled from Logical Positivism at this time, including many faith based religious groups and denominations. A former note on the result can be seen in the shift of political and voting demographics in the American South after the Second World War from predominately Democrat to Republican.

Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims that supposedly are 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.

Professional Development and Massage Terminology

Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? There are many reasons it is legitimate for a LMT to explore their professionalism and professional growth and development thru language. What is important to note is that the search by empiricists discussed above has several presumptions embedded in it about the limits of knowledge and by default, these presumptions encapuslate the limits of how LMT’s and CAM practitioners can go with a mind-body-spirit paradigm of holistic wellness.

Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy,
predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy. )

By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

Ludwig Wittgenstien made a comment many years ago on the role of the subjective deployment of language in order to make a larger point. One way to condense Wittgenstien’s position into something tangible is to do what any Deconstructionist would: take the words apart!

I tried this myself in a college English writing class in 2006, unaware that there was a meme coined by Saturday Night Live by that title and created a pitifully poor poem in my own and my professors opinion! The title of the poem was of course, “The Rapist.”

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Knowledge, Language and The Individual

Ludwig Wittgenstien more eloquently stated in his work Philosophical Investigations: “The words of this (private) language are to refer to what can be known only to the speaker; to his immediate, private, sensations. So another cannot understand the language.” But there is more. It is worthwhile to quote another paragraph from Stanford’s online encyclopedia entry on the subject according to Wittgenstein.

“Immediately after introducing the idea, Wittgenstein goes on to argue that there cannot be such a language. The importance of drawing philosophers’ attention to a largely unheard-of notion and then arguing that it is unrealizable lies in the fact that an unformulated reliance on the possibility of a private language is arguably essential to mainstream epistemology, philosophy of mind and metaphysics from Descartes to versions of the representational theory of mind which became prominent in late twentieth century cognitive science….Wittgenstein suggests that the existence of the rules governing the use of language and making communication possible depends on agreement in human behaviour—such as the uniformity in normal human reaction which makes it possible to train most children to look at something by pointing at it. (Unlike cats, which react in a seemingly random variety of ways to pointing.) One function of the private language argument is to show that not only actual languages but the very possibility of language and concept formation depends on the possibility of such agreement.”

Professional Development and Axiology

Axiology is typically defined by it’s first branch, ethics. In this way it can be said that Axiology is concerned with how value is understood and determined. Axiology however contains a second branch known as aesthetics. Do note, Aesthetics is NOT synonymous with Esthetics. Often, Axiology is accused of putting the cart before the horse and assigning value unethically or dualistically rather than universally; i.e, racism, nationalism, classism etc.

Basic questions derived or culled from Axiology are:

  1. How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?
  2. How do different kinds of value interrelate?
  3. Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?
  4. Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?
  5. What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

In professional massage, the question of language is actually a settled matter that was reached by consensus. Hence, current manifestations of individualism thru the application of gendered terminology or terms such as body worker, or even those terms that would purport to change the subject object relationship embedded in the professional designation really are a moot point. However, its not wrong to question if there are situations or contexts in which discussion of gender labels and professionalism are appropriate.

Is there ever a time when gender distinctions in professional massage are inappropriate?

All the questions cited above are value based. Because of the historic connections between eugenics, health and aesthetically grounded idealism, yes. There are instances where gendered terminology, art and discourse can conflict ideologically with norms and values embodied in a professional setting for a variety of reasons. That these reasons are 99% of the time subjective and personal matters of taste, style or belief for individuals or groups, illustrates why diversity is commonly considered alongside axiology.

Leon Chaitow on the uses and abuses of postural assessment

Leon Chaitow recently opined on the uses and abuses of postural assessments in massage and manual muscle therapies. His insights can be found here.

Crowd Source Promotes Prostitution over a 14.7 Billion Dollar Spa Industry

Writers and Professional LMT’s take note! I recently submitted a 200 word answer to a basic question in what I thought was a delicate and discreet way. CrowdSource’s stated question was worded in a way I found suspect as a Professional for both the taxonomy and language used to phrase the question. What I wrote follows but first note the rejection I received.

We are unable to use this HIT: Your article was flagged for the following issues: Your content fails to answer the question. Your work contains unapproved source links. Source links provided no information with respect to the question. Content did not answer the question. Resources are supposed to be to the exact page you found your information, not just the homepage.

Answer Type: Opinion
Question:
What information can be obtained from massage parlor reviews?
Category: Business & Finance > Business Resources
Provide your first resource link:
http://www.experienceispa.com/
Provide your second resource link: (optional)
http://www.amtamassage.org/index.html
Provide your third resource link: (optional)
https://www.fsmtb.org/
Provide your fourth resource link: (optional)
http://www.abmp.com/
Provide your fifth resource link: (optional)
http://www.spafinder.com/about/industry_news.jsp

Answer:
The Massage Industry does not recognize the term “Massage Parlor” as a legal enterprise or as an accurate depiction and representation of the massage profession. Due to the societal practice of double standards which conflate and abuse both the massage profession and the spa industry which brought in 14.7 million dollars in revenue last year according to The International Spa Association, information obtained from a ‘massage parlour review’ is suspect.
Directions: Check here ONLY if your first sentence gave the direct answer to the question. Do not check otherwise.
Additional Details:
Use of the word “parlor” is a historical nod to the Gilded Age. In the modern era, use of this term is suspect among spa industry professionals and among those professions broadly associated with the concepts of Spas in general. The International Spa Association or ISPA, represents a total of 20,183 spas around the world. Spa Finder and Conde Nast Traveller among others, provide reputable information and reviews of spas around the world from industry insiders and professionals. Spas provide a number of services in relation to wellness and broadly speaking, services related to cosmetology. These professionals are represented by a number of licensing, certifying, and educational organizations, public and private. If a consumer is seeking sexual services, they may wish to conduct quests for information in more discreet language that does not conflate and undermine industries that create global opportunity and jobs for many people around the world. Hospitality, Tourism, Cosmetology, Massage, Esthetics, Philosophy, Health, Wellness and associated fields are not the private preserves of sexual hedonists and are not open to linguistic colonization. Therefore information that utilizes this terminology will necessarily be conflicting and a source of conflict as long as it creates artificial divisions that can only be termed post modern from an industry and professional standpoint.