Category Archives: Spa

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!

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/

 

 

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: Professionalism and Manifestations of Individualism

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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.”

Ambivalence on Valentine’s Day: Is it par for the course or a solipistic excuse?

“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”

(Woody Allen, Love and Death)

If there is more nuanced argument in favor of BDSM and staying in an unhealthy relationship than the one illustrated above, I have not heard of it or heard tell of one. Woody Allen as most of the first world knows is a child molester and failing that, took advantage of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood who just so happened to be his step daughter.

The quote above reminds me of why I chose not to purchase or physically buy a copy of Different Loving back in 2004-5.  I made a comment to my younger sister back in 2000 while she was visiting me in St. Pete Beach that her decision to remain in the relationship she was then involved in was the equivalent of such behavior. I asked her at the time, if she would be willing to let the young man she was then dating take her favorite childhood toy and drag it thru the mud or otherwise abuse and destroy it.

I recently took my own advice yet again when trying to wrench my heart out of the grasp of an old flame who is no longer the man he was when we dated 22 or so years ago. Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing someone you care about expressing the kinds of sentiments such as those expressed in the quote from Woody Allen above.

When BDSM is attacked by the moral majority or by psychologists as a perversion, it is presumed to be akin to fringe psychological theories associated with the specter of Theocratic religion which equate child sexual molestation with homosexuality, projection and the acting out of abuse. Any real difficulties associated with the actual WORK of being a part of a healthy relationship are presumed to be more heinous and significant than they may actually be and open the door to attacks on natural philosophy as an excuse for justifications of a religious foundation for everything from government to the family. All invasions of one kind or another into the private sector from numerous angles for the most suspicious of reasons.

Poor models for psychological health and attacks on the discipline of psychology itself created such issues as those above and also gave rise to the Satanic Panics of the late 70’s and early 1980’s. I still am of the opinion that when such paradigms are advanced that nothing natural is the issue and that what is truly being advanced via a Trojan Horse is the presumption of utilitarianism as a panacea. While I don’t doubt that philosophers such a Jeremy Bentham might once have been able to promote his concept in a strictly economic vein, questions of polygamy, naturalism and prostitution all center around the solipsistic clouding of issues when economics and privacy meet.

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While I did purchase a copy of Different Loving in the past three years, I still have not read it. It seems that yet again, I lack the stomach for it. After all, what does a single unmarried woman need with such a book, when there are so many unhappy married people clearly making good use of it without my assistance or help?

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! Remember, Massage Therapists are not only NOT prostitutes, we are not endless wells of natural philosophy to be raped for utilitarian reasons by the unscrupulous and the ill-informed seeker of pleasure, spirituality or religion.