Quote of the day

There are three things all wise men fear, the sea in a storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man. – Patrick Rothfuss

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 doubtless the moral culpability for this young womans questionable judgment will be laid at the door of 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 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.

Family Values? Judge lets child rapist walk free

Family Values? Judge lets child rapist walk free after sodomizing boy. Claims the rapist didn’t mean to hurt anyone. At least he didn’t quibble about the ethics of which kind of sexual assault is more acceptable, lest religion and syncretism conflict with modernism. As if healthcare and law are BOTH as “ignorant” as the “public.”


Romantic Medicine: Remembering Gratitude

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.

When did you stop dancing?

When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.

Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing optipns.

Message to my ex’s

Ask questions, and don’t assume that you know the answers.

Remember a lie has speed but truth has endurance.

Requiem for a life in CAM, Spa and Wellness



“At the end of the catastrophic century we look backwards, not from the plateau of the end of history, but from the flatland of the absolutely historical present. We could enter this absolute present with the empty consciousness of forgetting. Or we could instead practice a kind of remembering, which Hegel first called “Andenken” (reflective remembrance). Remembrance is respect, the respect of thinking. If there is to be mourning, then the respect of thinking is a requiem. I am speaking of a requiem for a century.”

Agnes Heller (1995)

quoted from In the Shadow of Catastrophe: German Intellectuals between Apocalypse and Enlightenment by Anson Rabinbach

Variations on a theme: individualism and cultural context

An informative post from Alex Myles on Elephant Journal inadvertently raises the old quest of ontology back into the light of day. Unsurprisingly or not, gender is the vehicle. You can read the appropriate article in full here.

The gist of her article is simply news reporting and she skims samples of past pop culture references to illustrate various contexts in which the theme of the body is welcome and celebrated.

There were a few items however that to my eyes were conspicuous about her bio and when it comes to criticism, the point is ideas and not people!

That said, it may be best for me to switch approaches from an aesthetic angle to a psychological one.

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.

In education, particularly in vocations as opposed to professions, there are numerous reasons philosophy is utilized and deployed to promote learning. Ms. Myles makes note in her bio that she has “no intention of teaching” and totally degrades CAM education by stating that it’s her intent to continue to add certifications to her credentials in total disregard for the subject matter she uses her Yoga and Reiki credentials as a platform as a writer for elephant journal.

I am currently working on a piece for massage therapists about professionalism. Given that there is one FEMALE minister in my extended family, I am aware of what kinds of challenges women in spiritual fields face.

Any accusations about a lack of ethics, spiritual, secular or civic, are on full display in Ms. Myles article. I don’t cut prostitutes any slack when they or their language cross the line. I also wont give Ms. Myles a pass for abusing CAM and CAM education in the name self expression or making a living as writer when her articles clearly are marketing her credentials.

Feminism and the body aren’t the issue. Ethics and education are.

Absolute Values? Professionalism and manifestations of the individual

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 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. The question is, is the baby sleeping or awake?

Of Paradigm Shifts, Logical Fallacies and Process Philosophy


  • 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 bullshit 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 fuck 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?

20 Steps I will take after you leave: From Thought Catalog

1. If I could put all of the hurt you have caused me into you, you would cry. If you knew how it felt when you don’t answer, you would answer, every time. Even just friends need each other sometimes, you know. This is the first step.

And she wrote, today I miss you. Today, I am not as strong as I was yesterday. Today I remember too much. Tomorrow, I will move on again. Tomorrow won’t have you and that will be just fine. Tomorrow will not be wrong for lacking you. But for today, now, for this moment, I miss you, and if I thought you missed me too, I would tell you. I would tell you until I didn’t have to miss you anymore. I would tell you until you finally heard me. That is how I feel today. Tomorrow, tomorrow I will be strong again. I’m sorry it can’t be everyday.

3. I can’t decide if you leaving was brave or cowardly. Maybe, maybe it was both. Neither of us will ever know if the other is really sorry.

4. Sometimes I wonder if love lies asleep inside of us. Does love for someone really ever leave us? It wakes up sometimes and we go, oh. There it is. Is it ever going to leave? Maybe not. Serendipity means a happy accident.

5. As we were loading the car you called me babe. It was a moment that you acknowledged and I chose to move right through, a spark of beauty through the everything else that I slid right past. It was not my spark to dwell on. It was not my beauty to hold. It used to be. It would never be. Sparks are only dangerous if you fuel them.

6. “We’ve got to get together sometime,” they say. Nobody really means it though. We’ve got to stop doing that, saying things we don’t mean.

7. I know you remember when you grab my hand, absent mindedly, in public. Someone had said let’s go, and you grabbed my hand, like a question, your fingers remembering and then really remembering, pulling away. Hearts are meant to break sometimes, and so hearts are going to break. You broke my heart but you are not broken. You still know how to love and you still know how to care. So you will be my friend, my dear, even though you broke our hearts.

8. I’m scared to let you go. I want you, but not like this.

9. His friend said, girl, he is poison. And my heart sobbed, because someone finally understood.

10. Forever hit a speed bump. Forever had a busy schedule and wandering eyes. Forever became too close to another girl. All of my favorite songs are telling you not to go.

11. Someone loves the bad guy, you know.

12. Her hand is in your hair, and my hand is in my heart, pulling off the pieces that you’ve touched. I’ve touched your hair like that. Like she does. Like you did, to my heart. She and I have nothing, you say, but if we ever do….I’ll tell you. And I wonder, if maybe you just did.

13. I ask, do you love me, and love says, oh god. I can’t remember. If it doesn’t break your heart, then was it even worth it?

14. I am ready to love you now, he said to her in her dreams.

15. Why is distance so hard for everyone else, but I can always remember what I love about someone?

16. When I’m trying to say something and the words are everywhere, I realize that’s where my heart is too. I don’t know a lot of words for this – I thought it was called love. Sometimes you have to feel something else to realize what you felt before was what you actually wanted.

17. If one hurts we all hurt. If one loves we all love. I haven’t cried enough to be done yet.

18. Someday we’ll all have beautiful children, heartbroken children, children who don’t know what they’re doing. We were once those children, too. When it comes to matters of the heart, I think we still are.

19. It was the loudest silence she had ever heard, and it lacked the peace a good silence should hold. After that moment, silence would never feel peaceful again.

20. I wish I could write my feelings into you. Someday I won’t write about you anymore. [tc-mark]

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