Monday, July 14, 2014


Definition of Legacy

Anything handed down from the past as from an ancestor or predecessor. Something inherited from a predecessor a heritage from a previous time that has influence now.  Left behind old or no longer in active use.

"Legacy." STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 14 Jul 2014. <>.


I am working on textbook revisions.  I am always working on textbook revisions.  At the same time there are students to teach, clients to see, calls and emails to answer and the forever ongoing list. On the person side there is laundry to do, weeds to pull, beans to pick and kitty litter to clean among a ton of other tasks.  On the family side there are people to see, gatherings to attend, birthdays to celebrate, kids to hug, people to call and well, you get the idea.  However, I am taking the time to write this Blog post.

I saw the term Legacy used to describe a type of massage schools.  My assumption when reading was that Legacy schools were those created back in the day by committed massage therapists and sometimes called Mom and Pop schools.  I liked the term legacy.  The school I have owned and do a majority of the teaching is 29 years old this fall and falls into my assumed definition of legacy schools.  Made me proud.  Then I looked up the definitions of the word.

Anything handed down from the past as from an ancestor or predecessor.

Can I claim that my school was handed down to me? No, I opened the school many years ago. My daughter now manages the school ( and me) and my youngest son who is a practicing massage therapist has been being groomed for years to take over  more of the teaching and eventually writing for me as I get older( much older).  For these two the school is a legacy.  The various textbooks I have written could also be considered legacy. Most of all, the teachers and clients I have had over the many years  have been a legacy for me. 

 Something inherited from a predecessor a heritage from a previous time that has influence now.

What have I inherited that I can describe as a legacy?  Certainly all the information I have accumulated comes from those that precede me.   I have been blessed with teachers and mentors that molded me in my younger days and continue to influence me. Those experiences were not always pleasant but I will never be able to be thankful enough for their time and expertise.

The crazy professional development pathway of the massage profession has left a legacy that influences now.  There has been real progress in the massage community in the past 5 years.  It has been bumpy, frustrating, messy, silly, expensive, BUT the end results to this point indicate maybe the fragmented past is moving to a more cohesive future.  I sure hope so. 
 Our past as a professional community with all the in fighting and unnecessary competition is nothing to be extraordinary proud of.  There have been bright spots for sure.  The Massage Therapy Foundation is certainly a star.  The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is an important bright spot that should be supported by all massage therapy organizations.  The  American Massage Therapy Association AMTA in particular should suspend the competing meetings and activites and put full support behind the  Alliance.  
There are individuals who I am proud to know. They have stuck it out just like I have and often been much more tactful in there guidance than I have. While we all have to admit that what we do is always somewhat self-serving, the individuals I am thinking of  soften this by being dedicated to serving the massage profession as a whole.     

 Left behind, old or no longer in active use

This was the part of the definition of legacy that was the wakeup call.  All the warm fuzziness of my original perception of legacy now had some prickles.  There are things that I think the massage community has left behind and has made or is making a huge mistake.
We need to move forward and overcome the unproductive massage organization behavior legacy from the past.
I think we have minimized and are leaving behind the importance of the goals massage can achieve related to relaxation and stress management.  The relaxation massage is degraded by being called “fluff and buff” massage. Make me frustrated, among other emotions best not expressed in a public forum.  Where is the legacy of a really good massage with nothing else added such as all the acronyms and abbreviations: ARTS, MATS, NMT, TRp. MFR , SRT, CST, MLD, SER, PI, SI – you know what I am talking about.  It seems that as a legacy we are embarrassed about the word massage.  So instead we call massage: manual therapy, bodywork, soft tissue work and so forth.  It can’t just be massage, it has to be sports massage, pregnancy massage, deep tissue massage,  so and so’s name massage.  So end of that rant.

There are other things we should leave behind.  Out dated information about how massage works, outdated opinions about ergonomics and body mechanics, and old resistance to change in the profession. 
One thing we need to leave behind is outdated information, opinions and emotions about the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.  I never fully supported the old certification process.  I have never supported certification be used as licensing.  Licensing is a measure of minimal baseline practice at entry level to protect the public.  Certification was degraded when it became intertwined with licensing.  This is all now in the past and not a legacy we want to embrace and take into the future.

BUT ----

Board Certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork represents the first steps in true validation of expertise beyond licensing.  It is not perfect.  What is? 

AND -----

Board Certification is important, needed and needs to be supported by the massage community. Board Certification is a major step forward in professional development and the past is just that—the past.   Attitudes no long valid should follow this definition of legacy.  

 Left behind, old or no longer in active use. Enough said.