Tag Archives: Massage

The Aesthetics of Gracious Plenty 

The custom of tipping service providers is arguably ancient, regardless of geographic location. Yesterday I was reminded of a cherished regional idiom: Gracious Plenty. Depending on whom you consult, the term in the United States is Southern, culinary, anachronistic (18th Century,) and of course Religious which is somewhat synonymous with Christian -(excuse the Yankees for their decadence we presume?) 

My first client of the day left my tip in an envelope when her session was finished. She wrote my name on the envelope and a personal thank you for what she appreciated about the session. I was humbled. I’ve had some adversity & I’ve struggled with it for quite some time. Arguably it has affected the quality and substance of my work, so to receive praise in addition to a 20% tip was the equivalent of a ray of light in the aftermath of a devestating storm. 

Shortly after resetting my room and a timely break, my co-worker Malia popped in the breakroom and asked if she had left me a tip. I saw no reason to question her question and immediately said “Yes, she left me cash.” Malia asked how much she left and again I saw no reason to think twice and answered honestly “Twenty. Why?” Malia looked puzzled and replied “She didn’t leave me anything.” I showed her my gratuity envelope. It had been sealed, addressed to me with a personal note written on the outside. Without hesitation I asked her “Do you want ten?” And had she said yes, I certainly WOULD have given it to her with no second thought. But Malia said “No. It’s alright. I wonder if I overlooked one in my own room?” And she left to check. 

I immediately said to another co-worker “Ooohh! This is my next blog post!” 

That was three days ago. If Malia found a tip she didn’t say anything. And since I’ve just found out I’m moving I haven’t thought beyond making time to write this post to ask her. 

What is Gracious Plenty? 

The client in question was a very thoughtful and down to earth lady. I work for a smaller spa franchise now and it’s not a hotel. The tip in the envelope addressed to me is within reasonable limits of what the majority of massage therapists and estheticians receive per one hour service on average. A twenty dollar tip has been the industry standard for the entire twenty years I’ve been a massage therapist. I have gotten tips larger than this. I’ve been with my current employer less than two months and already received a larger tip. But what about Gracious Plenty? Whom decides what the ethical response is? 

Gracious Plenty is a concept derived from Axiology. Axiology has a REFLEXIVE COMPONENT. Therefore the question of wether or not to “tip share,”and share the tip, does necessitate an UNSPOKEN UNDERLYING ETHICAL UNITY. However the premise or idea of observer bias can always be derided as a Postmodern”Loop Hole” and not JUST a metaphysical ILLUSION- value judgments CAN BE made with the wrong presumption in mind. 

It can be argued that the chain of casuality began with the client. Her choices presented Malia and I with an ethical quandry. It also allowed Malia and I to exercise our own understanding of what A “Gracious Plenty” means. 

Regardless of our individual choices, Malia and I reached a decision that seems not to have damaged our daily interactions. We still work as a team. We still assist each other and our colleagues in daily tasks and chores. I still put esthetics laundry in the wash and dryer. Malia still makes certain that her clients receive their robe, wrap and slippers before I pick them up for their next service. 

I am certain Malia does a wonderful job for her clients. And I am humbled that the guest in question overlooked her. Presumably her mind was on the last thing she experienced when checking out: the massage she received from me. But Malia ALSO attended to her requests before the client got on my massage table. Neither Malia nor I will ever know the actual impact of the facial Malia provided for this particular guest. What we do know is that the practice and experience of Graciousness is truly an internal one. The presence of Graciousness calls on each to take note: Someone has turned on the stage lighting.  

The Aesthetics of Gracious Plenty: Part Two http://wp.me/pVYGl-1su 

Beauty is power: A smile is it’s sword. – John Ray 

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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.

Warren

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.

Clearing the Air? Spa and scent

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The human sense of smell is profound. Not that long ago, the olfactory system was subject to a very different cornacoupia than we have available to us today. We are bombarded with scent, be it thru perfumes in our toiletries, in our home cleaning products, while we window shop in stores or boutiques and even when we step into a crowded room. Unless we are outdoors with the wind, we rarely encounter “clean” air.

In massage therapy and alternative health and wellness, the old notion of climatology as a backhanded form of racism has been transformed into a ban on perfume. It’s not necessarily unjustified in many cases and perhaps most cases. But it’s there nonetheless.

200 plus years ago, people lived on farms. Animals provided locomotion alongside new industrialized marvels like trains. Tobacco smoke was common and adopted by many. Tobacco smoke also served to temper the more unpleasant smells picked up during the day. Think about what those ‘other’ unpleasant aromas more than likely were for a moment…and then look at the number of tobacco scents available on the market. I’ve typically seen it paired with leather. Cologne and perfume, incense and candles, oils for home fragrance are the common products that cater to this aesthetic.

Which brings us to flowers and nosegays and what passed for perfume.

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In the spa where I currently work, we are not allowed to wear perfume. Period. Regardless of job description or role. Period. This rule is designed for client comfort. We do offer scented products but we do not burn candles or use even so much as a scented air freshener anywhere other than the bathrooms. On that note, have a look at these product gems:

Poo Pourri

Renova

Which brings us round about to the subject of progress, climatology, pseudoscience, consumerism, design and environmental issues. Also known as conspiracy theory central: the home of Marxism in action as the witty occasionally deign to call it.

With so many unsavory scents bombarding us daily, many spas incorporate the absence of olfactory stimulation to soothe their guests. In our modern era, we all have personalized scent and internalized it. In our favorite shampoo and body products down to our chosen laundry detergent. Offering guests the absence of smell can be quite an unexpected change of pace from those spas that do utilize it.

Not all spas have the luxury of utilizing scent as a strategic endeavor. It’s my experience that aromatherapy treatments in theory require the absence of competing scents to be most effective and that this is the key selling point of scent in the modern era.

Spa layout and design should be a factor when making a decision to utilize scents and fragrance. How close are your treatment rooms to the lobby? How long are the hallways your guests use? Where are the bathrooms located? Do you have set rooms for aromatherapy purposes or not and are diffusers incorporated into each aromatherapy service? Does your spa offer hydrotherapy and so on? If your running a diffuser in the lobby and it permeates the treatment rooms, your losing money by diluting the quality of services and so on.

Suffice it to say, scent and it’s absence have value. How we interpret those facts and package them for clients remains an art.

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.

History of Massage Therapy

Theraputic

The History of Massage as a modern phenomena or definable school of Western thought and practice can only be traced back to the 1800′s. Despite this, there are many references to rubbing with oils and unguents for health and medicinal purposes going back to around 1500 B.C. in China.

Many sources take this number back even further but at such a point, the historiography begins to get shaky and the evidence becomes isolated into fragmentary images depicted in stone or the odd text that managed to survive the ravages of time.

For instance, The Nei Ching or The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine which describes massage, can only be reliably dated to 1500 B.C. but many scholars attempt to push that date back further to 2500 B.C.

Chinese yellow emperor internal medicine classic

The historical debate about Chinese origins centers on the Chinese custom of attributing new works to popular figures such as a favorite Emperor as a gesture of respect. I am willing to leave such historical speculation to others and choose instead to concentrate on the most reliable facts and figures.

Ancient Egyptian carvings also depict massage and Julius Caesar was known to have massage administered for neuralgia.

history_of_reflexology

The ancient science of Ayurveda also advocates the use of massage and massage was common for participants in sporting events in ancient Greece. In ancient Rome, as in ancient Egypt, massage was offered to the public in bath houses and temple complexes as part and parcel of the process of relaxation and bathing.

ATL-029850

You may be surprised to learn that there is no written definition of massage from ancient times. Early physicians advocated friction and rubbing of the body and while they did describe how to do this rubbing and why, none wrote a definition of the discipline. Greek physician Galen gave us a description when he wrote Hygiene, stating that ‘the rubbing should be of many sorts with strokes and circuits of the hands, carrying them not only from above, down but from below up, but also subvertically, obliquely, transversely and subtransversely.” Despite there being no professional definition, what we do know, is that people have been rubbing one another for a variety of purposes almost as long as we have existed and that the practice shows no signs of dying out.

Massage is a healthy and vibrant expression of care and compassion for ourselves and our fellow human beings. In the Western world, massage was part of movement therapy and gymnastics before it was adopted by medical physicians. Ambrose Pare and Clement Joseph Tissot both wrote about massage in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but it was not until Per Henrick Ling arrived on the scene that massage as we know it began to take shape around advances in medical knowledge. Lings work combined movement therapy and gymnastics with soft tissue manipulation and became known as Swedish massage. In fact, it isn’t until the turn of the 20th century that the word massage comes into its own as a medical term. It was John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Sanitarium who defined the traditional Swedish terms, effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement, as ‘massage.’ Despite this and many other early references to massage by Western medical doctors, massage is still regarded as a complimentary and alternative health practice or CAM by the AMA and not as a medical one. The standard-bearer for Professional Massage Therapy is the AMTA, which was formed in 1943 and is itself a partner with the American Medical Association. In 1992, the AMTA initialized the creation of the NCBTMB or National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, which is one of the primary organizations for certified massage therapists. A newcomer to the field is the FSMTB or Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. The FSMTB also offers a recognized certification for its adherents.

There are many types of massage and I could not name them all if I tried! The most common therapeutic forms are Swedish, Sports, Deep Tissue and Neuromuscular Therapy to name only a few. There are more ‘exotic’ derivatives, such as Shiastu, Lomilomi and Reflexology as well as the more intensive varieties such as Rolfing, Trager and the Alexander technique which require separate and additional training. All fall under the broad rubric of massage.

etymology_header

The etymology of the word massage itself is fraught with political history. As it stands, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit and Semitic origins for the word massage are all touted by various vested interests with axes to grind about why their position is the correct one and how History itself, is validated by their point of view. As an example of the seeming lack of consensus have a look at the following examples of the etymology of the word massage, all from online and verifiable sources.

  • Merriam-Webster @ M-W.com: French, from masser to massage, from Arabic massa to stroke. First Known Use in English: circa 1860
  • Webster’s New World @ YourDictionary.com: French < masser, to massage < Arabic massa, to touch
  • American Heritage @ YourDictionary.com: French, from masser, to massage, from Arabic masaḥa, to stroke, anoint; see mšḥ in Semitic roots or massa, to touch; see mšš in Semitic roots.
  • Collins English @ Dictionary.com: 19thCentury: from French, from masser to rub; see mass [NOTE: at ‘’mass’’, ‘’mass’’ is stated to be from Latin ‘’massa’’]
  • Chambers Dictionary @ ChambersHarrap.co.uk:: 19th Century: French, from masser to massage, from Greek massein to knead. [question: directly modern Greek? or ancient Greek along unspecified path?]
  • Concise OED @ OxfordDictionaries.com: late 19th century: from French, from masser ‘knead, treat with massage’, probably from Portuguese amassar ‘knead’, from massa ‘dough’
  • Random House @ Dictionary.com: 1875–80; < F, equiv. to mass ( er ) to massage (< Ar massa to handle) + -age

I am not a linguist, but it seems that there is a great deal of work to be done when it comes to the History of Massage etymology, as there is no definitive agreement. But I am willing to believe that at least one of these dictionaries is correct. What interests my inner nerd about such issues are the implications of each position historically and how those positions relate to broader worldviews. I don’t have the linguistic training to discern the answer for myself, so I have to come to a conclusion by going the long way around. It comes from my contextual nature and the style of learning I picked up as a child who loved to read and discern big words from the contexts in which they were used. I know I may have lost many of you with this tangent and I apologize if so!

Suffice it to say, the history of massage is varied and vast and encompasses the history of almost every culture on the planet. My hope for Massage in the 21st century is that it will not be afraid to redefine itself as required to meet the needs of its practitioners and those who seek them out. Any practice that has survived for so long throughout and across history should not be relegated to the backwaters of Empire but should be embraced by the best and the brightest among us as offering something of tremendous value and lasting significance.

References

http://www.thebodyworker.com/history.htm

http://www.wischik.com/lu/massage/ljwhistory.html

http://www.recreationtherapy.com/history/rthistory1.htm

http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/2346/

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=Massage&searchmode=none

Neuromuscular Therapy Continuing Education Course Outline

Neuromuscular Therapy Continuing Education Course Outline

I submitted my proposed outline for a Neuromuscular Therapy Course. I have lucked up and connected with a cont ed company that works on the small scale with short CEU requirements. It’s a good way to get introductory information for less than $20.00 without digging deep for a course that you may not be happy with. Right now, it would meet my needs and create new opportunities.

Be Well and Drink in the Sunshine – Life is Beautiful