Sunday, January 1, 2012



Here are some definitions:

A fad is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior's being perceived as novel in some way.[1] A fad is said to "catch on" when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.[1]


1. tendency: a general tendency, movement, or direction 2. prevailing style: a current fashion or mode


In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something "stand out" from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature

Using these meanings I find myself wondering on this first day of 2012.  Last week I spent time bringing myself up to date exploring what others in the massage and bodywork field are targeting.  The trend certainly seems to be that fascia is the explanation for just about every soft tissue issue and the target for bodywork methods.   I believe there is validity in this trend and am excited about the Fascia Conference in Vancouver.  However, in my explorations I also noticed that the idea of fascia and massage/ bodywork is leading to fads and even worse- gimmicks.  Oh no— Please no! Why oh why do we do this?  Just when some evidence based on research is beginning to explain some of the underlying mechanisms that massage may influence it gets mucked up with gimmicks and feels like a fad.  Because many of my massage clients are athletes I find myself watching ESPN a lot.  There is a segment on one of the shows called “COME ON MAN”.  To get the meaning you have to say the phrase just right but I hope  you get the idea. 

The concepts of massage affecting connective tissues is not new

Taylor described connective tissue methods in his book in 1887. Check it out.

Dr. Oakley Smith, founded the science of Naprapathy in 1907 after developing a systematic treatment method of evaluating and healing damaged connective tissues.

In 1920, James B. Mennell  described how manual methods stretched connective tissue, which affected tendons and scar tissue.

Elizabeth Dicke in Germany in 1929  described Connective Tissue Therapy (CTT) or Connective Tissue Massage (CTM), also known as Bindegewebs massage.

Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D. formalized structural Integration methods that  work  on the connective tissue (fascia) to release, realign and balance the whole body

Dr.. Chaitow has been discussing connective tissue and massage implications with me for over 20 years.  Tom Myers has been teaching about myofascial based work for years.

It is not going to do the massage profession to get any more faddy (wonder if that is a word) or gimmicky.   The human body has not changed very much is thousands of years and massage has been around since someone rubbed a hurt and it felt better.  Massage helps people feel better and we are just beginning to unravel some of the reasons that it works.  Massage creates mechanical forces that change the shape and pliability of soft tissue, squish fluids around and stimulate the nervous system and likely the endocrine system.  You need to really understand anatomy and physiology to be a good massage therapist and you have to do a lot of massage sessions learning from each one to be a great massage therapist.  An experienced teacher can help you learn efficiently and possibility bypass some of the trial and error learning by sharing what they know.  Massage is not  fancy, faddy, trendy or gimmicky .  It is like good nutritious food-  good selection of simple, minimally processes,  nutritious, clean food with just a little sweet and a little salt and a little butter to top it off. You spoil it if you mess with it too much. 


Oh-and hang in there- I believe 2012 is going to be a great new year!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I get really tired of this "next best thing". I work in the athletic world in part and I see these (bodywork) sponsors at the races, maybe an article (?) if we are lucky, and now it's the next best thing. Some of these athletes are attracted to shiny things, I feel bad for them in some ways that some of them are so easily persuaded. I understand the willingness for the athlete to support the sponsor of a race, however, when you look at the business platform of some of these certifying agencies, it looks like a buy in. I pulled my Yellow Pages ad because it did not pay off. (It was pretty and shiny) At this point I am resisting the urge to buy a new certification to keep up with the newbies in the soft tissue field. On the other hand I do have a line of study in the works, for the information, not the bling.