Speak Up

Those of you who follow happenings in the field are aware that the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) project has been progressing for the better part of the past year. How many of you know what this may mean for the massage and bodywork profession?

If you do, you are a soothsayer; while there are many hopes of how a completed body of knowledge will affect the profession, only the future will tell us how it is utilized.

The MTBOK task force has been diligently working on assembling and crafting the MTBOK since it convened last July; a first draft was released in the fall, and received just more than 600 comments. The second draft of the MTBOK was released January 29, and comments are being solicited until March 8, 2010. To date, more than 400 comments have been received. This from a profession of 280,000+ professionals.

There are few guarantees in life—death, taxes, and differences of opinion are three. Any time some definitive statement is made, like an establishment of a body of knowledge, invariably there will be dissenters. There should be; massage and bodywork is a wonderfully diverse profession, full of wonderfully diverse people.

A profession, whether overtly or not, owns its body of knowledge; in the case of the MTBOK, several organizations joined together to help support the effort to catalog that body of knowledge. Any time individuals are tasked to produce content of this nature, opinions and judgments are included. There is no vacuum through which a body of knowledge can be derived; people are involved, and therefore subjectivity exists. I’ve had the privilege of serving on behalf of ABMP as a steward for the MTBOK project; I am fully supportive of the effort made, and in particular deeply grateful for the dedication and work provided by the volunteers who comprise the MTBOK Task Force.

I believe card-carrying members of this profession owe it to themselves and to all their brethren and sistren in the field to, at a minimum, read the draft of the MTBOK. Guess what? It’s not a quick, easy read; it’s 56 pages long. But as the draft states:

“We hope to achieve a living, learning ”document” – that is, one that grows with, and in some cases ahead of, our community. It will become living if you, the community, embrace it, become involved with it over time, and continue to keep it relevant, responsive, growing, and strong.”

The group of stewards, representing many of the larger organizations in the field, felt strongly that this effort deserved appropriate attention and resources. But the profession owns it.

You’re a part of the profession—speak up. Even if it is only to validate what has already been developed. Your voice is important.

Your Happy Place

I took a week off from my musings. You might think I am running out of things to say; those who know me know that will happen only when I stop breathing. My post last time wasn’t angry, but was a little more pointed than usual. I questioned what I perceive as unfair treatment of my organization by an outside columnist regarding some important issues in the field.

This time around, I want to serve a warm bowl of enthusiasm to my friends in the massage and bodywork field (and the other insomniacs who read this blog).

I am a huge sports fan. Have been my whole life, since I was 6 years old and memorized the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting lineup and batting averages. I still read the sports page first, but have since graduated to the rest of the paper. I run road races and play golf and pretend to play ice hockey. Life outside ABMP revolves around my wife and three sons, which usually means attending an athletic event together or cheering them on as they compete—lacrosse, cross country, ice hockey, soccer currently; previously baseball and basketball as well.

Last weekend we celebrated our national holiday known as the Super Bowl. As I look back two points stand out for me:

GoDaddy.com’s advertisements are pretty lame. This year, massage got included in their shtick, and many folks in the profession are upset with the portrayal of the massage therapist(?) in the commercial. Check out some threads about the ad on Facebook and massageprofessionals.com. Practitioners aren’t pleased. I take a slightly different view—I am more offended because it was a dumb commercial. It’s easy to be outrageous, and GoDaddy.com seems to have that down pat. Clever? Not so much. There’s an old quote by Brendan Behan that states, “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” Speaking for both the massage profession and myself, I’ll say “neither, thank you.”

Getting excited is the “secret sauce” of life. Most years it seems like the actual Super Bowl game isn’t that exciting. The past two games were pretty solid though; in particular, this year was great because I had a team I really was rooting for. My Philadelphia Eagles removed from the conversation, I was hoping the Saints would get there. Hard to dislike Peyton Manning (except for the overexposure factor), but it’s great seeing the good guys win. Watching that game while rooting for the Saints was pretty darn exciting. And in life, there’s nothing like getting excited. Think about it—when you were a kid, remember how thrilling it was to wake up on Christmas morning or your birthday? Or go to a movie you really wanted to see (Star Wars, 1977, Tri-State Mall, Claymont, Delaware—easily still one of the top 10 “most excited” moments in my life), or go on a date (a date—what’s that?), or when Mom and Dad would stop so you could get a Slurpee? Isn’t getting excited—getting happy—just about the best thing ever? Really—what tops that?

Do you think these people agree?

Do you think they’ll remember that? When was the last time you were that excited?

The economy is sputtering; unemployment and its ramifications weigh on all of us; rational political discourse practically is nonexistent. Massage can be quiet, reserved, sedate. You help people feel good for a living; your work is the highlight of your client’s day. Your enthusiasm is infectious. Get excited about what you do, who you get to do it with, who you are. Get happy.