January 10, 2016.
Catching the Baby: The Argument for Respecting Non-Western Healing Methods
Have you noticed lately that this country has an either/or mentality? People are either against us or with us. Compromise is quickly becoming extinct. From Congress to political issues to food to social justice, we are firmly stuck in a black or white mentality. Which is a shame, because, despite what a certain book franchise has done to the color, grey is a beautiful thing.
As anyone who knows me well understands, I have a very healthy respect for Western medicine. As a toddler, I had open heart surgery that allowed me to live a healthy, full life. I was born without tooth enamel and with teeth that literally stuck straight out or grew horizontally, so the dentist and orthodontist have been crucial to my comfort. I firmly believe western medical advances are an integral reason to why people are living longer and healthier than they ever have.
On the other hand, anyone who has been exposed to America’s health system knows without a doubt that it is broken. As a person who has worked in medical facilities, I can tell you first hand that the heart and soul of medicine is being choked out of existence. Most doctors are good people who honestly want to help their patients, but with the deeply litigious society in which they operate, many are scared away from even the slightest human connection. Also, and this is a debate for another time, medical treatment nowadays is fundamentally an issue of money. Everything, and I mean everything, can essentially be boiled down to dollars and cents, and the emphasis becomes on seeing the most amount of people as quickly as possible. How can such a system encourage heart and soul?
Essentially, we have moved the idea of “healing” completely into the realm of science. In some ways, I’m all for this. If we can eliminate variables and prove that one treatment cures 85% of patients and another cures 25%, of course I want to know, so that I can choose the first option. On the other hand, science and statistics pretty much eliminate what we were talking about, the shades of grey. What if I’m the 25% who would benefit from the second treatment? What if I’m the 15% who won’t respond to the first? What if, and this is pretty radical nowadays, I’m not supposed to benefit, but I simply need comfort and quality of life? Which probably shouldn’t include pills, surgery, or artificial means?
Many people have illnesses or ailments that have a huge basis in psychological and emotional challenges. Challenges that are individual and unique and simply cannot be accounted for or treated by scientific methods. We frequently see these people in alternative treatments. We also see people whose bodies are responding to western medicines but who find the process exhausting, and feel their spirits being drained by the very mechanisms and systems that are supposed to be helping them.
It amazes me that a society who can figure out how to kill just 1 of the microscopic bacteria in a cell and not the 99 others can’t figure out that if we don’t treat the spirit, we can’t possibly create total wellness. And yet, our medical facilities have completely thrown the baby of alternative treatments out with the bathwater of non-scientific medicine. If it can’t be proven in a laboratory, we have decided it doesn’t belong in our medical field. Even as someone who believes in the scientific process, I can tell you it is, by necessity, so slow and so specific, that by its own nature a lot gets left on the lab table. Much of what is left on the table is what would address the intangible pieces of our humanity: our emotions, our thoughts, our spiritual needs. Because this rather essential part of being a human cannot be quantified, it gets pushed out of a evidence and money thirsty system.
The good news is, people are starting to wake up to the grey in healing. Ancient arts such as massage, acupuncture, and reiki are making their way back to acceptability. Sometimes they are even appearing in standard western medical facilities as part of integrative health centers. We are learning that humans can’t become whole through drugs or surgery to be whole, and if we learn how to listen to it, we have a basic survival instinct that draws us to what our bodies or spirits need. Back when I was a massage student, I had a client ask me if I was running reiki during her session. The answer was no; I had no idea of how to do so, much less the intention or qualification to perform it in the clinic. Now that I have become more experienced, I firmly believe that because the client needed reiki, her body was able to receive it from mine even though I wasn’t consciously offering it. If you are a scientist, this might be an example of the placebo effect. If you are more open to what my massage teacher calls the “woo-woo,” it’s an example of the body’s internal knowledge. Either way, it seems like a win.
Now, let’s clarify. I am not a person who is going to look a person with a severe medical condition in the eye and say, “you know what, forget what the doctors say, go see this massage therapist and she’ll fix you!” In case you couldn’t tell by the first paragraph, I don’t accept the either/or mentality. In my humble opinion, healthcare needs to become focused on the grey, on helping healers of all methods work together to find a blend of systems to help the individual with respect and attention to both western and alternative philosophies.
A tall order, I know, but essential. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely open to the concept, so I ask you to spread the word; ask your doctors, talk to your therapists, talk to your friends and family, and don’t be afraid to admit it if you participate in the “woo-woo” world of alternative health. If it works for you, it works for you, and there is no shame. We should be brave enough and open enough to allow others to embrace methods other than what might work for us or fit into our mental landscapes, and we should be searching for all means to health, not focusing on blocking other peoples’ paths.
In other words, I’m fine with throwing out the bathwater, but let’s please make sure we catch the baby.
October 18, 2015
Welcome to my website! I am so excited to bring Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage to the world!
It's been a long and strange road. For the whole 13 months of massage school, I swore up and down that the last thing I wanted to do right away was start my own private practice--and I believed myself! But, as they always say, never say never, and well, here I am.
After graduation, I was doing what I planned and looking for a job in a spa, but I realized my heart was not in it. During my job hunt, I had the priviledge and opportunity to take a pediatric massage course with international expert and advocate Tina Allen. Her drive and passion were completely inspiring and I decided that, after all, life is too short to spend so much time and energy on something you don't actually want to do. Pediatric and medical massage are where my heart is, and I'm so thrilled to be committing to it.
My dream is to bring massage to the populations who need it the most but who don't have the voice to request it. I plan to work exclusively with both pediatric and adult populations with medical conditions that make day to day life in their bodies demanding. Massage is not a cure, nor do I embrace the word "healing" in this work; instead, my passion and mission is to make my clients lives a little easier and little brighter through the power of therapeutic touch.
Connective Touch will be a solely in-home practice, traveling to our clients to their home turf. It is a part-time business for me but a full-time calling, and I can't wait to get started.
Thank you again for visiting, and please feel free to refer people to this site and business. Best wishes to you and come back again soon!
Future posts available on our linked blog, www.cttmblog.blogspot.com.