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“We don’t need to control him, we need to unleash him.” – Advisors to Agamemmnon in TROY


I recently had the misfortune to have a public argument over what academics call nit picking with a sacred cow of the Massage community.

This is a snippet from the middle of a discussion that began in a professional group for massage educators on Facebook, followed recommendations to contacting industry authorities for more information and clarity, ricocheted back onto Facebook as if public slander and legal action were about to follow and all of this is documented both in email and on Facebook :

“Heidi – It is Judith, not Janet, and my last name is DeLany. You wrote your first email to our business email address on Sunday. We were closed Sunday and Monday so it was not handled until today. My two responses to your rather abstract emails have taken most of my day today. Before I got linked to this Facebook discussion, I spent several hours collecting and sending to you a number of supporting documents, peer reviewed articles, and a substantial chapter from one of my strongly referenced texts. Even though I do not know you, have never seen any historical document or any articles that you have written on this subject or any other, nor have you ever been in my class nor read my books or articles, I freely gave of my valuable time to support your efforts to obtain all of your information so that you did not have to purchase textbooks or subscribe to the peer-reviewed journals you so want to cite. You are collecting history on NMT, the very history that I have lived for 30 years. You do not have NMT textbooks or articles, not even the Travell books on trigger points, yet you have posted what I interpret as off-color remarks about my life work. Your comments above are disturbing, as you accuse flawed logic, yet do not disclose what you think is flawed and make broad sweeping statements that discredit me and cast my three decades of hard work, solid references, peer reviews, professional editing, and exemplary co-authors, as a comment on socialism. Your comments will not change the history of NMT, as it evolved on two continents under the hands of many, many people. You should not cite a simple website posting as an academic reference. There are many referenced sources, several of which I gave freely to you this morning. Read the books, read the articles, reframe your position. There are many historical and technique-based differences in NMT European vs NMT American version (my personal method) yet their foundations have some similarities. The textbooks and articles discuss these similarities and differences fully. Websites (which ARE opinions and marketing tools) do not contain the same content as a referenced source. There are also many other methods of NMT that are worth looking into. If you are writing about or teaching anything on this subject, I hope you spend the time to educate yourself on more than just internet websites and wiki. – Judith Delaney”
“Dear JUDITH –
  1. You are obviously not trained in Historiography and I am. Based on HISTORICAL methodology, your web sites definitions are REFLEXIVE. Based on that bit of LITERARY use of post modern discourse, it makes using your website problematic from a historiographical point of view
  2. You obviously did not note the date and time the conversation in this forum took place and failed to notice that I state I had emailed you for clarification. If you look at the sentence as I worded it, it’s obvious that I fully expect your published work to have detail that a website might very well lack. Therefore, your courtesy to me in providing me with more information is merely a professional courtesy and you have come to this forum late, misinterpreted the time line of events -again a history issues- and have accused me effectively of being ungrateful. Your moralizing will not shame me for any reason and is inappropriate.
  3. I don’t think issues about historiography revolve around you or your school alone. Consider Universal History and it’s implications and then have a second look at the upshot and rationale of the FSMTB’s MPA for starters. Again, they are codifying what in my opinion is a DISCOURSE in order to provide structure to the profession. As a trained historian, your on my home turf now and as a historian, I wont put my academic credentials onto a publication that utilizes websites with these kinds of errors and when authors such as yourself are graciously available to answer questions and willing to do so. You came to the conversation late and assumed I was attacking you. I state that I lacked information in that post and needed to contact you for clarification and yet, you call a public rant like the post above some kind of defense against me slandering you.
  • I stated up front that I did not have access to the information I needed and based on my training, I am NOT WRONG to say that your wording is reflexive. In the email I sent you, I also point this out and offer to explain why I would not be comfortable merely citing your website and if you had any questions to respond and ask me and I would be happy to explain.
  • I don’t recognize ‘sacred cows’. And no, this is not an apology. It’s my opinion about the difference between objectivity and subjectivity and if the massage profession were truly invested in creating infrastructure to support growth, there would be more discussion about the role of history to begin with. And I think we all have enough common sense to know why this NEVER gets discussed in public amongst massage professionals
  • TEACHING NMT is your home turf. What I am doing, is writing an introductory overview of the subject which is intended to provide BASIC information which therapists can use to determine if they want to pursue a more IN DEPTH study. If you note what I said, I said I did not want to read into any personal or subjective implication in your word choice and need to contact you for clarification.
  • I am not writing a full scope NMT history as you imply. Again, I am providing an overview of key terms and concepts. While I am fully capable of explaining in my brief that your website utilizes reflexivity and that for this reason, the terminology used to distinguish your views as expressed on your website are not at all common or accepted across the entire profession, I shouldn’t HAVE to make that comment in a publication to make massage industry professionals who are considered “Revered” or even more questionable, “lineage teachers” or commonly, “sacred cows”.
  • You should have enough education under your belt to know what reflexivity is in the first place, why from a research writing standpoint it’s problematic and while I am fully capable of going AROUND the issue, again, I shouldn’t have too. Let me guess? Is the following sentence the typical excuse of sacred cows or arrogant ‘youngsters’ when confronted with such facts? “It’s not my job to teach research methods or historical writing/historiography in the project I am currently working on and it is not my job to teach English grammar and Literary Criticism.”
While this is NOT an apology I most certainly had no intention of slandering you. I am sorry if you had that impression. However, honestly, I really should NOT have to point out what I have to someone of your stature in the professional massage community, who is a published author with research credits under your belt. Period.
Sincerely,

Ashley M Heidi Carter BS, LMT”

Despite whining to the contrary I do not see evidence of a Massage Therapy Industry. I see a community that likes certain terminology and labels and that wants the laurels that go along with those things but does not want to do the work.
The ‘professional’ HEALTH CARE Industry and NOT the Massage Industry, CAM INDUSTRY, Spa Industry or any other single discipline made a joint and unified effort over the past 15 years to introduce more use of evidence based practices involving research. As I pointed out to others who witnessed this hilarious whining diatribe about hair splitting between two professionals with different views of what academic and research literacy entail I had to remind at least one published author of a massage text book that is considered a classic, one author of noted research papers and news writer and more than a few writers of continuing education for massage therapists of a few details.
Sacred Cows Take Note:
  • Regardless of when the original push for greater research uptake and applied EVP began, CULTURE happens in waves – not history. Therefore, the CULTURAL return on the investment in human capital made by these efforts will also return in waves in it’s own time. Not every wave is a damn paradigm shift but that WAS PART the upshot people oh Utopian idealist engineers of fascist infrastructure………..
  • When the younger generation like myself, who are under 40 and who happen to be degree holders need to point out the obvious, be zen like before showing your asses and illustrating the reasons why massage has the stereotype of being a field of primadonnas when you reply.
  • And while your at it note, it’s A DAMN DISAPPOINTMENT to those of us who actually had some Utopian ideals when we entered this profession to find that the sacred cows are not as educated and organized as the Library of Alexandria, there is disagreement and identity politics rife in the vaunted halls of academy and when we get a bit grumpy about the equivalent of peeling paint, of crumbling dry wall and infestations of intellectual termites in the public facade that passes for “Massage Industry Infrastructure” – don’t get cocky. Get off your high horses and remember pluralism is fragile.
  • None of you know me, my background or why I might have a reason to be cocky or humble. Anyone who has met me in person knows I am cocky online and cautious in person. I am also damn honest, and fair. Don’t expect a free ride people. Period.
  • This is not the commentary I originally planned on. But I have decided to allow myself the luxury of being arrogant for the time being. I need a break and since you all set the stage why should “I” not tip my hat to the crowd ladies and gentlemen? I leave those of you with the intelligence to recognize your unique positions with this thought and these two videos below. “We don’t need to control him. We need to unleash him.” – Troy
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