My great five days at WMF. Part 2

Before continuing to share my experiences at WMF, I would like to thank Cindy and Mike Hinkle, Mike Hinkle Junior, Darcy Neibaur and many volunteers for the great organization of this event. The volunteers worked like a real team, contributing to amiable atmosphere: friendly, kind, embracing, helping etc. Thank you all. One can rightfully say that World Massage Festival is an educational convention that also unite.

On July 20th keynote evening, I sat along with hundreds of my colleagues, each of whom practiced different types of massage; endless variety. The overall energy at the convention was very positive, allowing exchange opinions, share knowledge and, if disagree, then respectfully. This is how I felt sitting among my colleagues.

The keynote speaker was Laura Allen. Those of us, who are following her blogs, and listening to her talks, know Laura as intelligent, very articulate, and witty person.

She talked about us having disagreements in terminology, then she continued to say: for example "medical massage, what is it?” I felt like standing up and saying: "Laura, I can answer this question."

Laura, you are 100% right stating that our community is very divided. According to the trade associations, we are teaching and using 1000s alternative names to massage. People possessing massage licenses, using massage therapy professional liability insurances, and, as a matter of fact, performing soft tissue mobilization by means of massage, are opting not to label their occupation as "massage therapy."

This practice is very confusing for both: general public and health care professionals. For a long time I argued that as massage therapy field professionals we have to stop using 1000s alternative names for massage.

Of course, I couldn't interrupt Laura at the time of her presentation. Luckily I had an opportunity to converse with her in private, after her keynote presentation was over and it seemed that we could get understanding. I would say very good understanding. In any case, in an educational spirit of WMF, I am taking the opportunity to explain what Medical Massage is, and why I use this terminology to describe the methodology that I practice.

BTW, I already explained why I'm calling the massage methodology I practice Medical Massage many times. However, it seems that it is important to explain it again. Good professional discussion on this subject can help us communicate better, to share knowledge, to advance each other.

I am using the term Medical Massage, because this was the umbrella term used to designate methodology and practice of massage protocols for different disorders that I was trained to perform. Practically didn't know other term/name. From very first moment in school was introduced to medical massage.

It is called Medical Massage because the founders and researchers who developed this method called it Medical Massage. In 1955 Dr. Glaser and Dr. Delixo, based on Prof. Sherback data, published first edition of medical/segment-reflex massage. Third edition title was shortened to medical massage. Also, I think it is important to understand that Massage Therapy as an a professional field, encompassing different disciplines, specializations and expertise. For example, Full Body Medical Stress Management Massage includes important methods in managing side effects of stress, including high blood pressure, anxiety, tension headaches, sleep disorders, clinical depression as well as prevention of aforementioned pathologies. Orthopedic Massage is also a Medical/Therapeutic Massage deals with procedures designed to treat back and limb disorders that could be results of sports related injuries, industrial injuries, car accidents, degenerative diseases, etc…

Another area of expertise is the sports massage including pre and post event sports massage procedures. Pre-event sports massage helps us prepare athletes to perform better as well as prevent sports related injuries. Post-event sports massage is series of methods that focuses on rehabilitating professional athletes and gym enthusiasts from the side effects of vigorous exercise and over-training.

Having said this, I believe that there are many different types of massage therapy that actually help people. Therefore in my today's view Medical Massage, massage therapy, Therapeutic Massage means the same thing, i.e. providing therapies/health benefits by means of massage. And no matter, if we are talking on Western conventional massage, oriental massage, or other old and great methodologies of treatments such as lomi Lomi etc.

Surely, I believe that scientifically designed step-by-step protocols are much easier to study, provide faster and sustained results as well as prevent practitioners from aggravating their client's conditions. Yet, it is not important whether to call our methods medical massage, therapeutic massage or just massage therapy. What is important is to realize that massage therapy is a simple, powerful and effective methodology, leading to positive outcomes.

During her keynote speech Laura talked about spread of unethical use of so-called "energy work" and other charlatan’s phenomena.

Although I agree with Laura on the existence of unethical use of “energy work,“ in general, I wouldn't go as far as denying energy work altogether. More so, unethical types and charlatans represent a very small percentage of the entire massage community. Certainly, any unethical conduct should be addressed. However, we should be careful in denying the entire concept. One can tell me, that energy work triggers placebo mechanism, and this is the only explanation why people feeling better. My answer in this cases, let's focus on “feeling better.”

Please take a look at the following video.

Approximately 5 years ago I was subjected to a gang like attack because, I have expressed an opinion, that this video absolutely evidently supports energy work. We shouldn't suspect placebo in this case. It is very difficult to make a big difference in this kind of neurological disorder. Obviously, no massage was performed. Not all theoretical explanation given in this video sounds acceptable to me (like pulling back energy?) But healing happened in front of our eyes. Shall I deny energy work? And because “pulling back energy” do not sounds to me?

Thanks to Laura's keynote speech, mentioning medical massage and energy work, I got a lot of attentions from participants and following days at WMF got involved into very interesting professional discussions.

I was pleasantly surprised that many massage therapists, are familiar with my work and follow my social media discussions. They asked me many questions such as: whether I am against science, against evidence-based massage practice, against reading research literature, and more. I certainly am not. In the next post will extend on this subject and will offer you my perspective on these issues.


After keynote presentation, many of our colleagues received industry awards. I was happy for each of them, but especially for Ryan Hoyme - Massagenerd. I know his work and know he deserved it. Congratulation Ryan. Evening of Hall of Fame induction started from opening prayer by Indian woman traditional healer (sorry forgot her name )it was just extremely powerful, united spirit of good will and light. Impossible to describe it in words. In the end of this prayer I just find myself in deep trance, and only could hear myself saying AMEN.

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