Massage Therapy, Pain Science, and Existential Crises


This meme is hilarious.


I've also seen it bring more than one massage therapist to anger.


I know what you're thinking: "Jonny, you're a licensed massage therapist! Are you admitting that you aren't all that important to my recovery?"


Well, actually, yes. I'm not a "healer". I trumpet this often. I'm also not shy about blasting the gurus who act like they are the only ones that can "fix" you.


The science is clear when it comes to manual therapy: it often doesn't do what you think it does and isn't all that miraculous. From a pain science perspective, taking time to talk with clients and educate them about pain, and encouraging them to move more and get curious about their bodies are at the top of the heap when it comes to positive outcomes.


Does this make massage useless?


Of course not.


Even at the most base level, human touch is critical, and simply lowering someone's anxiety and allowing them to relax (which massage CAN do) is often the equalizer. And as Diane Jacobs said, at least it's the least invasive modality (apologies to my orthos and acupuncturists out there).


Perhaps part of the reason that I suffer no existential crises concerning these matters isbefore that I was anything else I was an educator and a trainer.


I still educate.


I still program exercise for all of my clients.


I still set the leadership example by continuing to learn and continuing to move.


This gives me many angles at which to arrive at a positive outcome...even if I can't always put my finger on what exactly got the job done.


My intent with the Brooklyn Body Mechanic brand is to create a movement of people and therapists that understand that, ultimately, you are responsible for your own well being. Part of this movement is understanding that helping you to educate yourself and incorporate movement on your own is going to provide a much better long-term outcome than anything we do for an hour or two on the table. I specifically don't want clients that aren't ready to take 100% ownership of their progress and sit in the driver's seat. I only ride shotgun. I don't hold hands.


Frankly, I'm annoyed by fellow therapists that are so caught up in themselves that they have to validate their existence by spoon-feeding clients bullshit, or sucking clients into a never ending treatment cycle.


I don't think that telling the clients the truth, exposing them to facts, and not making shit up hampers one's ability to heal themselves.


On the contrary, by being armed with the facts and having a competent, licensed coach and therapist on the journey, I enhance to probability that my clients can make sound decisions and take ownership of their well being and recovery.


Anything else is pure ego, and this isn't about me. It's about you.



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