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.
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