I have been involved in a variety of massage related discussions. One of the most interesting is the linkedin discussion about core competencies for massage and a base line definition of massage.
I also taught a class in New Mexico where students were asking a lot of excellent questions that really got me thinking. I was at the Fascia Congress in Vancuver which stimulated thinking. I am always working on textbooks which make me think. All this thinking may have been productive.
Massage can be defined as the manual application of mechanical forces to the body. The body is anatomy and physiology. Manual means- involving the hands. Mechanical forces are a push or a pull. So massage uses hands to push or pull on the body. Why would we do this? For the results of course! Click this link to read about mechanical force application and cancer treatment http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v17/n3/full/nm0311-271.html.
So what are the results? Here is where I think we do get confused. For example, is myofascial release a method or a result? I think it is a result. Is lymphatic drainage a method or a result? I think it is a result. Is stretching a method or a result? I think it is a method that pulls to create a result. Is pain management a method or a result- a result of course. What about sports massage? Is it a method? Result? Or is it an adaptation based on unique needs of a client? What about oncology massage, prenatal massage, geriatric massage and so forth? What about NMT-neuromuscular therapy? Method or result. Think about trigger points- method or result- or maybe a condition addressed by a method to achieve a result. Why is there a tendency to present a result from massage as a method that appears to differentiate itself from massage? What do you think?