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The Bridge Builders Program for the 2008 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

Aug 1-3 2008

Massage Symposium 20 CEU Workshops TRADESHOW

World Massage Festival Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

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Welcome to “The Festival!” We are growing! Three years ago, this was an idea. The true leaders in the industry, “stepped up’ to buy ads, make donations for door prizes and teach classes. To this leadership, I thank you and look forward to a continuing of bonding and, by working together, more growth. “Build it and they will come” directly and accurately describes our success. We really hope you enjoy our comedian this year. It is our attempt to give you something different than the same old convention. Next years’ “Western Retreat” will be at the T-Bar-M Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. At the 2010 “Back to School” Festival at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, we have made it so you can have lodging and “all you can eat” buffet meals for less than $50 a day! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks that attained and donated the door prizes. This also makes us different than any other convention. We give them away, no raffles. There are many more surprises and changes ahead for the industry. Make sure you stay informed about them by joining the World Massage Festival Forum on our website and if you have anything you’d like to see improved, let us know at Thank you for your support by attending this year’s Festival. HAVE FUN!!!

THE BRIDGE BUILDER Mike Hinkle, Founder

An old man, going a lone highway, Came at the evening, cold and gray, To chasm, vast and deep and wide, Through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim; The sullen stream had no fears for him; But he turned when safe on the other side And built a bridge to span the tide. “Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near, “You are wasting strength with building here; Your journey will end with the ending day; You never again must pass this way; You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide -Why build you the bridge at the eventide?” The builder lifted his old gray head: “Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followeth after me today A youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been naught to me To that fair-haired youth may a pit-fall be, He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.” Will Allen Dromgoole

2008 Instructors Ralph R. Stephens, BS Ed, LMT, CNMT, NCTMB 2008 Keynote Speaker & Hall of Fame Inductee

Highly acclaimed and internationally recognized as one of the best presenters in the profession, Ralph is known for his friendly, understandable, and inspiring style that makes learning specific concepts and techniques easy and fun. He is a sought after presenter at state, regional and national meetings where he gets excellent reviews every time. Ralph has put together a system of medical massage that gets dramatic results and teaches it in a way that you can take it home and use it immediately to get better, faster results with your patients. “It is not my intent to impress you with what I can do. Instead, I seek to openly share the techniques, knowledge, and experience I have gained over the last 22 years with you so that together we can help more people.” Ralph R. Stephens

James Waslaski

2008 Hall of Fame Inductee & 2009 Keynote Speaker James Waslaski worked 20 years as a paramedic, and in a trauma center, while teaching emergency medical courses, and studied pre-med in college prior to his massage training in Florida. James served as Professional Relations Chair for Florida and received the 1998 FSMTA outstanding state service award. He also served as AMTA Sports Massage Education Council Chair from 1993-1997 receiving the AMTA National Officer Award. He is a self published author and international lecturer who has pioneered deep pain free orthopedic massage, pain management, sports injury, and sports enhancement treatments. His unique structural and multidisciplinary bodywork approach has been taught throughout the United States, Ireland, London, Scotland, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Greece, Australia, and the Caribbean. His seminars are being requested now in New Zealand, South Africa, Amsterdam, Holland, Italy, Egypt, Russia, and Dubai. James was the 1999 recipient of the FSMTA International Achievement Award.

Vivian Madison-Mahoney 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee

Vivian Madison-Mahoney knows first-hand the challenges & problems you face beginning your massage practice and incorporating medical referrals and accepting insurance for payment. She began just like you. After about a year of working out-calls at the rate of 6 to 8 (full hour or more) treatments a day, she opened a massage therapy practice that specialized in injury, disability, physician referrals, & insurance related cases. Vivian says, “I guarantee there’s no one instructing massage therapists in insurance billing with this level of hands-on experience & knowledge working with medically prescribed, insurance cases. I do not teach how to get rich. I teach how to increase your income, help others who would otherwise not be able to have your services and to protect our profession!”

Karen Reifinger

2010 Hall of Fame Inductee Karen Reifinger, founder and director of Huna Mua Wellness Center and Hawaiian Healing Arts Foundation of Philadelphia, is a certified instructor of Lomi-Lomi; an accredited & certified practitioner of Lomi-Lomi, Huna and Kahuna Lapa’au, as well as Integrated Bodywork and Swedish Massage. A recognized authority on Hawaiian Healing and Spiritual Development, she has provided consult for people from every walk of life- business owners, internationally known life coaches, CEOs, psychologists, holistic & medical practitioners, entertainers, teachers, parents and children. Karen travels nationally to facilitate Lomi-Lomi Training, Huna Bodywork & Life Style Training, Spa Trainings, Retreats and Private Sessions. Through Hawaiian Healing Arts Foundation, she offers community programs and a safe space for healing, education and change.

2008 Instructors Sandy Fritz MS NCTMB 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee

Sandy Fritz has been in professional massage practice for nearly 30 years and a massage school owner (Health Enrichment Center in Lapeer MI) and educator for 20 years. She is the author of a major textbook line for Elsevier/Mosby publishers including Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage 3rd edition, Mosby’s Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage 2nd ed. Mosby’s Massage Therapy Review, and Sports &Exercise Massage: Comprehensive Care in Athletics , Fitness & Rehabilitation, Clinical Massage in the Health Care Setting as well as instructor manuals and educational resources to accompany these texts. Sandy presents continuing education seminars and consults for massage therapy school on curriculum development and instructional strategies.

Margie Meshew

2009 Hall of Fame Inductee Margie has been a licensed massage therapist since 1989. She’s been teaching massage for over 13 years and received the National Achievement Award in 1999 for Teacher of the Year from the Career College Association. She is a Traditional Thai Massage instructor who received her teacher certification from ITM in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2001 Margie developed Swe-Thai Massage which became the subject of her first top rated instructional video. Margie’s second video Table Top Thai A Comprehensive Massage Routine was released in 2004 and her latest video Comprehensive Thai Bodywork & Herbal Ball Application was released in February 2007.

Michael Buck

2007 Hall of Fame Member

Mukti [Michael Buck] is celebrated as an accomplished instructor’s instructor in the art of Nuad Borarn, Vedic Massage, Thai-Yoga Bodywork. Mukti’s October 2007 induction into The World Massage Hall of Fame heralded the completion of over 14 years of continuous traveling and teaching. During this 14 year period, Mukti contracted commissions with the best yoga centers, massage schools and health resorts nationally and abroad. Teaching over 1000 hours each year in a different city each weekend, Mukti has issued initiating certificates

Nathalie Cecilia

2009 Hall of Fame Inductee Born in Nimes, a Roman city located in Provence (South France), Nathalie Cecilia is your Bamboo Massage Therapy instructor. With a master’s degree in Philosophy and Languages from the Universitee Des Lettres De Montpellier, she began her career as a teacher and a translator. She developed an innovative way to give bamboo massage on the table (Bamboo-Fusion) and in the chair (Bamboo-2-Go), meanwhile creating her own bamboo set to give the massage. Her goal today is to help therapists provide deep massage without hurting themselves. This technique aids in avoiding repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel, and reduces the stress on thumbs, wrists and hands.

Julia Young Hayes

2010 Hall of Fame Inductee

Julia Young Hayes, Med, LMT, CPOI is a pioneer in the field of Aquatic Therapy. She brings to The World Massage Festival a wealth of Healing experiences, and over 40 years of aquatic expertise. Her training includes all aspects of aquatics. Her Classes include Healing massage, “Watsu”, Bad Ragaz, Ai Chi, Multiple Hands and Wassentanzen. Some of her credentials include Water Inspector licensure, serving on the NCBTMB, AMTA, and working at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

2006 Hall of Fame

Frederick Alexander

George Kousaleos

2007 Hall of Fame

Laurie Azzarella

Tom Myers

Robert Noah Calvert

Aunty Margaret Machado

Bruce Baltz

Sister Rosalind Gefre

Jack Meagher

John Barnes

Ruthie Hardee

Bonnie Prudden

Michael Buck

Therese Pfrimmer


Ida Rolf

Judith DeLany

Linda Tellington-Jones

Eunice Ingham

Milton Trager

Aaron Mattes

Janet Travell

Brita Ostrom & The Esalen速 Institute

David Palmer

2008 Hall of Fame

Ralph Stephens

James Waslaski

Judi Calvert

Tiffany Field

Erik Dalton

Raul Sr. & Estrellita Izquierdo (see related story in center of program)

John Upledger

Vivian Madison-Mahoney

Paul St. John

Sandy Fritz

Elizabeth Dicke

“The Critical Role of Orthopedic Massage in Sports Medicine” by James Waslaski International Author and Lecturer

In 1998 I had the opportunity to teach at the Olympic Training Center in Australia about the vital role of orthopedic massage for Olympic caliber athletes. I was delighted to find that the entire staff at the Olympic Training Center attended my workshop with open minds. We were surrounded by physiotherapists, orthopedic physicians, osteopaths, chiropractors, sports psychologists, nutritionists, and sports massage therapists. Much to my delight they all left their credentials out the door and came together with the best interest of the athlete in mind. The entire staff had frequently met to teach each other how to best integrate all the varying disciplines, in order to optimize athletic performance, and how to best prevent and rehabilitate sports injuries. This was quite unlike what I had experienced throughout the United States where it was not uncommon to experience “turf wars” between various medical experts as a result of egos, differences in training, and competition to work with world class athletes. This began my passionate journey to go back to other countries and try to blend as many disciplines as possible to build a large tool box and enhance everyone’s ability to treat complicated sports injury conditions. In this desperate journey to build a large tool box, I was fortunate to have many mentors including chiropractors from Florida, osteopaths from Scotland, leading physiotherapists from Australia, top sports massage therapists from the United States, sports psychologists, orthopedic surgeons, and many other experts in the field of chronic pain and sports injuries. However, many of these experts had a major difference of opinion on how to best treat complicated sports injuries, which often allowed the athlete to slip through the cracks and stay injured in our traditional sports medicine system. Through my own frustration I have found a way to blend as many disciplines as possible and build a great referral team of open minded medical experts that have the client’s best interest in mind. In this particular article I intend to talk about two of the pieces I was able to add to the tool box of all medical experts in or-

der to treat conditions that often fall through the cracks in our current sports medicine system. After years of being challenged on my sometimes controversial opinions, my trademarks seem to be a unique technique to immediately release complicated frozen shoulders and hip capsules, and the highly controversial use of hot and cold therapies. Through feedback from around the world, and an intense self study of anatomy and pathology, I was able to discover the missing link for immediate release of complicated frozen shoulders and this work was adapted to releasing frozen hip joints. After being challenged with many clients with difficult frozen shoulders, also termed adhesive capsulitis, I was viewing the human dissection tapes by Lippincot, Williams and Wilkens and observed that at the articulating cartilage of ball and socket joints was a thick layer of fascia. Due to repetitive movements in the shoulder and hip joints certain muscle groups become strong and short while opposing muscle groups become overstretched and weak. This tension and imbalance around the joints sets up a neuromuscular response attempting to restore balance, but also creates tension in the joint. This eventually leads not only to joint degeneration and resulting arthritis as the cartilage wears down, but also the resultant discomfort limits range of motion causing a formation of adhesions in the joint capsule itself. The articulating fascia acts as superglue and literally glues the humerus to the scapula or the head of the femur to the ilium. Repeated forceful movements to free up the glued joint lays down fibroblasts and progressively deeper adhesions until there is a bone on bone end feel to the ball and socket joint. The deep fascial adhesions however can be melted much like you would melt jello. In almost a miraculous discovery I was able to use the head of the humerus in the shoulder to melt the fascia (or superglue) using very gentle movements. Theory has it that heat, pressure, and gentle stretch facilitates myofascial warming and myofascial release. But the muscles would rebel by tightening around the joint if even mild discomfort was created during the technique. Therefore we need to do a dance between muscle

imbalances, joint capsule melting and pain free release of sprains and strains around the shoulder and hip joints. Over the past five years we have been able to release hundreds of complicated frozen shoulders in literally one session. Most of our clients have undergone intense physical therapy for at least one year with little benefit to the adhesion inside the capsule. Some clients were actually on a program to strengthen the already tight muscles further restricting movement in the joint. Other clients were actually scheduled for what I classify as a “barbaric” surgical release where they put you under anesthesia and actually rip the capsule free tearing all the surrounding supportive structures in the process. I have seen many of these patients post-surgically and their condition is actually worse following this procedure as a result of all the scar tissue from this overly aggressive technique. I have also found that one of the leading causes of SI joint pain is because of adhesions in the ball and socket joint of the hip capsule. At about 10 degrees of hip extension the ilium is forced into flexion on the involved side because the femur is superglued into the socket. This puts stress on the SI joint and results in sprains and strains in that area. In this case adjustments will not have any type of lasting effect. Yet the simple addition by chiropractors and osteopaths in releasing the joint capsule will eliminate the underlying cause of the SI joint dysfunction immediately, and when the muscle groups around the hip are balanced back out the patient will remain pain free. In my practice, I have found joint capsule adhesions in over 50% of my patients with low back pain including young children. Finally we need to address the difference between hot and cold therapies. Through my intense collaboration with Performance Health, we have discovered a way to treat both the cause of musculoskeletal pain, and the resultant symptom. This goes back to the fascial adhesions throughout the body. The entire body is surrounded by progressively deeper layers of connective tissue called fascia. We compare this to jello. As we heat up jello or fascia it

becomes more liquid in state and more accessible. When I approached Performance Health about an all natural heating ointment to be used in conjunction with a cooling application like Biofreeze, they needed an in depth explanation. Let me use the forearm and wrist as an example to differentiate the use of hot and cold therapy. Most of my clients with carpal tunnel or tendinitis of the elbow are people who use the wrist flexors over and over each day. Without proper daily stretching the flexors of the forearm get stronger and tighter over time putting increased stress on the attachments of the wrist and elbow. The symptoms mostly show up at the joints because there is

more joint tension as the muscle groups feeding that joint get tighter over time. As tension builds the fascia shortens and thickens and trigger points form in opposing muscle groups. The tension in the wrist results in “symptoms” like inflammation and joint arthritis as the articulating bones begin to wear out cartilage. We told Perry Isenberg from Performance Health that we feel Biofreeze is indeed the best product in our industry for treating the “symptoms” of joint inflammation and resultant joint arthritis. However, we also suggested a tremendous growing need to have an all natural heating product to melt the connective tissue surrounding the tight muscle groups feeding each joint. This will result in deeper and faster pain free release of taut bands

and trigger points feeding the tight tendons that cause joint degeneration. I am grateful that Performance Health did not see this as a conflict to Biofreeze. Instead they put the patient’s best interest first and decided to revolutionize our industry by finally having synergistic products to treat both the cause and the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. The new product is called Prossage Heat. After about two years of changing the all natural ingredients, based on feedback from practitioners in my seminars worldwide, we have the perfect heating ointment with the perfect glide for fast, deep, pain free soft tissue release.

Massage Publications is the proud sponsor of

James Waslaski’s 2008 Festival Class

Orthopedic Massage for Thoracic Outlet and Frozen Shoulder Release

NEW ADDITION TO FESTIVAL Our first Symposium Moderator is Dr. Lisa Upledger. This year’s theme is “Massage - The Next 10 Years”. Questions will be addressed by a panel of industry leaders. You can ask questions of the panel as well. Be prepared to come up with a solution as well. Please have your questions in writing, so if time runs out during the Symposium, we will still be able to address your questions & comments. All questions and answers will be posted online after the Festival.


Vibrant Skin From The Past by Judi Calvert

In order that any woman may derive a full measure of pleasure and success from life, it was necessary that she be possessed of health in mind and body. It is certain that the greatest thing in all this world is health. Women that lived the 1920’s wanted to be full figured, and pink cheeked with bright eyes and a clear skin. They had to be graceful, full of nerve and life. That would mean that she could attain beauty, success, happiness, and everything that was worth while. In a cities across the U.S. companies were creating electric vibrators. Yes vibrators that women could use in the home to become more beautiful. By 1900 more than a dozen manufacturers began producing both battery-powered vibrators and models that operated from line electricity. One of those electric vibrators was called the Arnold Massage Vibrator. It was made from a careful scientific study of massage as applied to different needs of the body. The first basic patent was in 1902. This machine only weighed twenty two ounces. It even came with a booklet to teach women how to use this vibrator on her face and scalp. Vibration was one sure natural method of accomplishing the result of increasing circulation. That was the benefit. These vibrators created waves with controllable pulsation at frequencies ranging from 1-20 Hz. These infrasonic waves increased the blood flow and circulation to help the facial muscles and alleviate muscular pain in the face, jaw, and was also used on the body. Vibration massage combined the benefits of these two forces-vibration and massage. Because while it gave extremely powerful and penetrating vibration it also gave a perfect massage more rapidly and thoroughly.

Mail order was the standard method of marketing vibrators between 1900 and 1920. Every woman just had to have one to keep her youth.

Many different kinds of creams were created in the early 1900’s that were used by women along with the vibration treatment used in their homes.

Women could use these vibrators in the privacy of their dressing rooms or boudoir. They could sit in front of their mirrors on a stool and use the vibrator to give themselves a face, head, scalp, and neck treatment. These vibrators also claimed to give you a sound, restful sleep. Worry and fatigue would disappear. Women wanted to keep that essence of perpetual youth.

Different kinds of cold creams were created to be used on the skin. Women would put these wonderful creams on and then use their vibrators to gently work the creams into the face, forehead, and neck. Rolling creams were used on the face before lanolin was invented.

These vibrators came with several attachments that were used over the entire neck and throat. Ball applicators could be attached to the vibrator so women could press lightly into the muscles and tissues of their neck and underneath the jaw. Women even used the vibrator to stimulate their head and back and forth on their foreheads to increase the circulation. They wanted those wrinkles to disappear.

The next day their skin would look lovelier than the day before. Through the past to the future women wanted to keep that youthful appearance so all the hard work that they had to do all day long would not show up on the face. Thanks to the invention of the vibrator women had a tool that they could use to keep their beauty as they grew older.

During the turn of the century, vibrators began to be marketed as home appliances and were widely advertised in household publications. Salesmen would also visit the home and sell these vibrators to households. At one time in this city of Racine there were six factories that were producing these different kinds of vibrators. Every woman wanted one so she could make her skin become more beautiful. Women wanted complexions that were clear, free from wrinkles, crowsfeet, pimples, blackheads, and angular lines. These wonderful vibrators could cleanse the skin and pores, and externally remove all that should not be there. Women could gently knead and exercise their skin to promote a perfect pulsation of blood to the surface nerves and blood vessels, giving them that robust, healthy color that they wanted. Even in the 1920’s women did not want to look old. Many a woman owed her life and health to the wonderful influence of the vibrator.

About the author: Judi and Robert Noah Calvert started Massage Magazine and founded The World of Massage Museum in Spokane, Washington. Always trying to save therapists money, Judi has started, “Hands On Trade” to help insure therapists and you can reach her at Judi has brought items from the museum to be on display at this year’s Festival and has graciously donated 45 items from the World of Massage Museum as door prizes.


I have been asked to provide “my opinion” on where I see the massage therapy profession 10 years from now. I think it would be interesting to hear others perspectives on this as well. How would you answer this? We all know, anything foreseen or predicted can often be changed with our thoughts and the actions we take How do I see Massage Therapy in 10 years? It is truly up to us!! Throughout the years I have often asked myself, “where will massage be in the future?” Because I am not a visionary or psychic, nor do I pretend to be, what you will get here is strictly from my own perspective and personal observations. Having been a licensed massage therapist for nearly 24 years, I’ve watched tremendous changes and the phenomenal growth that has opened so many new and exciting opportunities for massage therapists and bodyworkers. I’ve personally viewed and experienced escalation in the professionalism of massage therapists, in our training and in our ability to work with other professionals. Over the years we’ve opened countless new doors, gained respect and admiration from top professionals such as physicians including chiropractors, attorneys, hospitals and insurers, insurance company‘s auditing and fraud investigative departments, and last and most importantly, the public from all walks of life. It has been the average people who for the first time have experienced the benefits of massage that has created much of the extensive growth in our profession. We have all worked long and hard turning around what once was considered massage only for the wealthy or considered other than what we would deem professional, to now making massage therapy the health

Vivian Madison-Mahoney care and wellness procedure of choice by thousands of people. Things swiftly improved for massage therapists’ as open-minded physicians began referring their patients out to us. Massage therapists were successfully supplementing their income by direct billing some insurance for their services. I saw the level of training escalate beyond basic Swedish massage to where we could learn multiple and varied techniques and procedures that benefit all sorts of medical conditions for our clients/patients. I’ve witnessed and participated in the outstanding growth of insurance acceptance by massage therapists. This opening created new and varied positions to increase earning abilities while helping more people improve their health and medical conditions, all while learning about massage therapy for the first time because their physicians ordered massage for them through a prescription for these services. I even experienced insurance companies willingness to referring their subscribers or worker’s compensation claimants to massage therapists. We were on a roll, growing and expanding upwards and outwards!! In the past couple of years or so I began to see quite a different turnaround. While what I mention below is not the norm it is

I hear from massage therapists from across the country stressed out and complaining about the following issues: “Physician’s hiring with minimal fees while the physician bills excessive amounts for massage therapy services, that spas are overworking them, that physicians are dictating to independent contractors what type of treatment session they are to provide such as body areas, time and location”. They state that, “physicians, including chiropractors, are not paying them, or not paying what is due or when it is due, or that physicians are no longer referring patients to them because they are keeping massage within their own offices, or that they (the massage therapist), refer patients to physicians who in turn refer the same patient to another massage therapist or else they retain the patient in their own office for massage services. They say, “insurance companies are denying, delaying or reducing their claims, that cash flow is sluggish or they don’t know how they’ll continue in this business, that there’s an over abundance of therapists because too many schools are graduating new students in their area.” And the list goes on. I hear employers complaining that massage therapists are not as reliable or as efficient as they used to be in years past, or that they want more money and want to do less work for it, or that they want to tell their employer how they should run their business. I thoroughly recognize and we all appreciate those noble massage therapists who have always done it right, who are successful, and who have worked hard to help raise the image of massage. It is not those therapists who are being referred to herein.

I hear clients complain that the massages received are nowhere near like they used to be. They complain of disproportionate fees, stating that they can no longer afford massage therapy and will have to just suffer the pain instead of enjoying the benefits they used to enjoy. Patients say they, “request a therapist outside of their physician’s office but are made to receive treatment from the physician’s therapist.” How do I see Massage Therapy in 10 years? It is truly up to us!! As time goes on I “see” us sitting on a fence. If we do not keep this service within the reach of everyone, if we limit to only those with big bucks, if we don’t make investments in continued learning in both hands on techniques and how to work with legal and medical cases, if we become complacent in our treatment to our clients, (I’ve received a few massages myself that were far from worthy of payment, let alone repeat business or referral) and if we allow the above, we are heading down a road of want, need and despair. We all know it only takes a few bad ones to spoil it for the profession. Who is to blame? How do we change it? Where do we start? Can it be changed? Regarding Insurance Billing and Working With Physicians: In almost every case where therapists consult with me and provide documentation I can show them where their own mistakes or lack of knowledge in the insurance realm caused the problems they experienced. As for where I see the insurance aspects? If therapists continue to bill insurance without having and following proper education, insurers, employers and physicians will see us as knowledgeable about what we are doing. Ultimately they will lose respect for us. Insurers will find ways to eliminate us from direct reimbursement where we are now enjoying those benefits. And where we are still trying very hard to be included in reimbursement (in most health care policies) we will be dead in the water before we get off the ground. Regarding working with physicians: Sometimes we need to realize when we

depend on others for our income we must understand that they have astronomical overhead expenses to meet including payroll. If we don’t like the arrangements, then we must consider owning and running our own businesses. When we own our business we see it from a different perspective. Sometimes it takes sitting down with the employer/physician and explaining your situation and working things out. When it comes to independent contractors, do you have a solid, attorney reviewed contract that’s a win-win situation for all involved? Another thing, as long as there are therapists who are willing to work for minimal pay there will be employer’s willing to hire. I foresee that because of the economic situation currently facing our country, the average person will not be able to obtain our services unless and until things change for the better. It’s the average men and women who, when they could afford massage or those covered by insurance, actually came out in numbers to make massage therapy more well known across the country. Accepting insurance, if and when possible will help more of the average people to obtain massage services. Lowering fees will help and providing top notch service will help because they will see that massage benefits are worth the money even if they have to do without some other impending needs or desires. No, not everyone will be hurting in the future: There are those who have been in business for years and who have solidly built their businesses. They have taken the time and invested the money to obtain the training to build a reputation. I always say, “Build a reputation and your business builds itself.” It’s the majority of therapists I worry about if things keep going in the directions I have been seeing lately. Massage Therapy will return to where it was many years ago, only available for the wealthy. What about insurance coverage in the future? I thought by now with the reputation we began to build that more health insurers would open the doors for massage therapists. Here is what I see when

it comes to insurance coverage. I see the need for our National Massage Associations to stand up for us, to work towards requiring insurance to cover massage therapy for those therapists who wish to participate and to help those clients who need massage but who do not or cannot receive it either because of financial reasons or because of lack of knowledge about our services. I see the need for our National Massage Associations to help open doors so that we can help the thousands of Vets who will be returning from war who will desperately need “touch” therapy, to help those who are in pain, and recovering from surgery. They need to once again open doors for us to provide lymphatic drainage treatments to those who desperately need it, to cover the services of the infirmed, disabled, ill and those in Hospice dying in pain or in rehab centers or nursing homes needing to be “touched” to health. These are the reasons for the need to increase insurance coverage directly to licensed, trained or certified massage therapists or bodyworkers. If not our national massage therapy associations maybe we need to form another association that will focus on these specific needs. An association whereby we can unify and train employers on the true benefits of massage for them and their employees, to help them to reduce medical costs within the workplace. We need to educate employers how they can help employees prevent repetitive injuries, to keep them on the job to reduce workers’ compensation claims all by including massage therapists as directly covered providers (always with a physician’s prescription). Where do I see massage therapy 10 years from now? It is up to you and me. What are our united goals? Where do we want to take massage therapy in 10 years? What will each of us do and how can we work together towards reaching those goals? How do YOU see massage therapy in 10 years?


ike many massage therapists, I have had other occupations first. I began in show business as a young boy. The theater always fascinated me. I remember making a show by stringing curtains across an archway and sitting the neighborhood children on chairs in the next room. I would open the curtains and play all the parts dressed in all sorts of improvised costumes. Soon I was studying dramatic arts, singing and dancing in zarzuelas (Spanish operettas). At one point I ran away from home to be a bullfighter, appearing in plazas in Venezuela and Peru as a novillero. I ended up in the hospital with two broken ribs! Returning to Caracas I became the comic tenor of the national zarzuela company. I was singing on the radio when I was chosen for the title role in a movie about Juvenile delinquency, written by the then-President of Venezuela, Romolo Gallegos, titled Juan de la Calle (Johnny of the Street). It was the story of an orphaned shoeshine boy. The theme song in the movie became very popular, and I went on to record it and many other songs for RCA Victor. I was sent to America to broadcast overseas from Schenectady, New York, on NBC. Taking my movie with me, I traveled all over South America as a singer. In Peru I joined a beautiful Spanish Company of 50 singers, dancers and musicians called Cabalgata on its way to the United States. The inimitable impresario Sol Hurok took

From the Stage .... To the company throughout the US, and then we opened at the Broadway Theater in New York City. At the end of the season the company was to return to Spain. Lou Walters, owner of the Latino Quarter nightclub on Broadway, asked us to organize a group of six girls and six boys to work in a production of a fantasy of the opera Carmen. A young lady by the name of Estrellita was dancing in the New York City Opera Ballet and was recruited to dance with us in our group, now called “Ballet Sevillano.” Somehow(!) I made sure she was always my partner. Soon she became my permanent partner down at City Hall! After working in the Latin Quarter for six months, Mr.. Walters sent the whole show to the Latin Casino in Montreal, Canada, and meanwhile arranged to have us re-enter the US as permanent residents (That famous “Green Card”). He became our manager for quite some time until the group disbanded. After several years of dancing as a couple we started adding more and more people to our nucleus, until we had grown into Ballet Granada, a company which sometimes consisted of 24 dancers, singers and musicians. We did many concert tours; we played dinner theaters and hotel clubs. We appeared in New York City in Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, the Palace Theater and many television shows: Steve Allen, Paul Whiteman’s Greatest Bands show, Xavier Cugat, even Glen Miller’s band consisting of a reunion of his original musicians. We appeared and toured with many wonderful artists: Bob Hope, Marlene

by Raul Izq

Jr., Jimmy Durante, The Mills Brothers, Van Johnson, Robert Goulet, Jose Ferrer, Eddie Albert, Eddie Fisher, Harry Belafonte, and Kathryn Grayson. We traveled to many countries in Europe, Canada, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, even Havana (only days before the Cuban revolution.) We sailed around the world on many cruises performing as part of the entertainment staff aboard ships of different nationalities. In 1980, our local personal physician, suggested I investigate the possibility of changing careers. Dancing is very hard work physically and emotionally and is not something one can keep doing forever. We had built a home overlooking a mountain-top lake in New Jersey the year I became an American citizen, but we still spent most of our time traveling. A local massage therapist had retired two years previously. Our doctor suggested I might like to do massage as I had often mentioned giving massage

o the Massage Table

quierdo Sr.

to Estrellita and a few of our dancers while on tour. Massage! We looked at each other. The prophetic words of our friend Eladio Fernandez came to both our minds at the same time. Eladio Fernandez was a licensed New York State massage therapist who, although he seasonally toured with dance companies in Europe, also spent some time in the United States working in New York Hospital. Everyone called him Doctor Fernandez. I met him in his Manhattan office where he attended many dancers from Broadway shows and dance schools and companies. He took care of us and our dancers and we became good friends, having a common bond: he was from Spain and the dances and folklore of Spain were our company’s specialty. The reason I dedicate these lines to Eladio Fernandez is to pay tribute to a man who contributed very much to massage. During many years he built the reputation and credibility of massage and was respected and loved by

all who knew him as a professional and friend. Once, when we returned from one of our concert tours, we visited Eladio and told him that while on tour it was very difficult to find a therapist in some college town at night to take care of occasional minor emergencies. I would help as much as I could with ice and a bandage. Eladio interrupted and said, “Raul, why don’t you really learn what to do. You can help until professional care is available.” He gave me material to study and showed me what to do in this case and that – always explaining up to what point I could care for an injury – not to go beyond my limited knowledge, not to do more harm than good. He was a man with a conscience. After returning from a long tour, during which several dancers had had minor injuries, I reported to him. I was so happy to hear that what I had done was correct. He took me by my arm and said, “Come with me to the other room.” A dancer was lying on a massage table with a sprained ankle. “Tell me, Raul, what is the first thing you would do in a case like this?” I explained how I would care for the ankle. He approved of my explanation and said he thought I had a good start. When we returned from another tour we visited him and recounted my adventures with some injuries. He didn’t comment but took me and Estrellita to his office. “I want to talk to both of you very seriously,” he said. “I have been observing you for some time and I think you have something sleeping in you that maybe you don’t realize.

That something is massage.” I asked him what he meant. Did he think I did well helping my dancers? “What I meant was that I would like you to come watch what I do. At the same time you should go to the Swedish Institute to study massage and get your New York State license. Then you can work with me for a few years. Maybe soon I will be retiring. If you do as well as I think you will, you can continue here for me. I want to go back to Spain. I want to have a farm.” I felt wonderful to hear him express his confidence and trust in me. I looked at Estrellita, my partner in dancing and in life. For a moment there was silence. Then I told him with sadness that I appreciated his offer very much but at that particular moment we were very involved with our dance company, having several important contracts pending in London, Las Vegas, Boston and Canada, and the whole company depended on that work. He said he was sorry, that he understood our situation, “But I want to remind you that you cannot go on dancing forever, and then one day this profession is going to get you. And remember, you have a gift.” After several more years of dancing we found ourselves in the doctor’s office remembering the words of Eladio Fernandez. I heeded our doctor’s advice to get into massage, and as Eladio had suggested, I did go to the Swedish Institute in New York City. After graduating and getting my New York State license, I immediately

became an AMTA member. I also joined the New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists. (At that time its name was New York State Society of Medical Masseurs. As a matter of fact, we were then licensed in New York as masseurs/ masseuses; and after many years of hard work by our massage organizations, we had the satisfaction of having the government sign a bill in 1990 making our license now read “Massage Therapist”.) I opened an office in West Milford Township in New Jersey under the shield and guidance of AMTA. When I graduated, I had said to my wife, “this is just the beginning. I am going to put into practice what I have learned, and I am going to learn as much as I can.” I took many post-graduate courses at the Swedish Institute: Shiatsu, Advanced Medical Massage, Reflexology and Applied Kinesiology. I believe that constant study keeps the professional abreast of advancing scientific knowledge. I continue to take workshops and seminars with many prestigious and knowledgeable people including many from our AMTA and other outside the association, including subjects such as: Sports Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Cranial sacral Therapy, Muscular Therapy, Pain Management, Acupressure, Russian Sports Massage and Rehabilitating of Musculoskeletal Injuries. Meanwhile, I had become an AMTA Registered Massage Therapist and also a member of the National Sports Massage Team at its inception in 1985. I was selected to go with them to the Pan Am Games in Indianapolis and the Goodwill Games in Seattle. Both were wonderful experiences! Enjoying this kind of activity, I have worked

the New York Road Runners Club at the New York City Marathon every year since 1981, five years at the Boston Marathon and many other athletic events. In the first part of our lives together, Estrellita and I were partners in dancing; now we continued as partners in massage work. When I first started studying, she also studied anatomy and physiology, massage and first aid. At each athletic event (including all of the New York City marathons and other international events), she has worked as a medical recorder or other necessary job. Since we opened our office, we have shared the work. I give massage, Estrellita does the evaluations, attends the clients and is my office manager. Where once we shared the applause in the theater, now we share the appreciation and smiles when our clients leave the massage table. How wonderful it has been to have been in the theater, dancing and singing in a profession that I loved and then how lucky to find a complementary second profession that I love and enjoy so much.

I feel that one who becomes a health professional only to make a profit from the pain and suffering of others is a discredit to the profession. Learning your profession to work with dedication, to help others, with loving care, understanding, compassion and honesty is an honorable way to make your living. God be in our hands.

Today, Raul Sr. and Estrellita are active members of AMTAFL, continuing their work. They received their 25 year pins in Atlanta at the 2006 AMTA National Convention!

2018 – A Massage Odyssey By Ralph R. Stephens Looking ahead 10 years at this time is quite challenging. The upcoming election and the faltering economy are huge unpredictable variables that have the potential to dramatically affect and alter our profession. It would be my hope that within 10 years the medical-pharmaceutical sickness-care complex will collapse and alternative, wellness-based healthcare will become the first line of care in our society. In such a system, massage therapists would be one of the premier first-door providers. Of course this would mean higher standards in our education and better licensing laws. Sadly, I do not think this is a realistic expectation. I can safely predict that in some form or another, massage will continue to be increasingly popular with the public. Massage will become ever more mainstream especially wellness/relaxation oriented massage, both table and chair, in spas, resorts, business wellness programs, etc. What will happen to clinical/treatment oriented massage in the next 10 years is less clear. I believe there will be a split or tiering of the profession into a wellness/relaxation only level and a clinical/treatment level. My hope is that the clinical model be wellness, alternative oriented and maintain firstdoor providership status. Realistically, I expect it will become allopathically oriented, gatekeeper controlled, working in hospitals and clinics treating symptoms by prescription (referral). There will probably be lots of training in pathology, pharmacology, and med-

ical procedures (sickness as opposed to health and wellness) and the work will be to just reduce symptoms, much like PT’s do now. Massage therapists will do the soft tissue manipulation and will be positioned under PT Assistants. I especially see this happening if we get the government controlled (socialized) healthcare politicians are promising in this campaign. There is a second tiering, already occurring in our profession. This is the

THE NEXT 10 YEARS growing gulf between “higher quality” and “lower quality” massage therapists, businesses, and schools. Sadly, the bad is the majority. This will be a real challenge for our profession. Worse case, the bad will blur the line between ethical massage and adult entertainment sparking a scandalous backlash against our profession. It has happened before in our history. I believe the massage industry of product and equipment producers, vendors and schools will continue to consolidate as big fish eat the little ones. Cheap, crappy products and equipment will be the norm. However, quality high-end and specialty manufacturers along with niche market companies will continue

to pop-up and thrive. The serious, long-term professional practitioners will patronize them. Massage education and the connection to our heritage will continue to deteriorate except in a few scattered private schools. These schools will keep the Light burning and train the wellness providers of the future, unless the government-medicalpharmaceutical cartel burns them at the stake The good will get better, the bad will get worse, and change will continue, but through it all, massage will survive as the need and demand for ethical, compassionate touch will never end as long as humans inhabit physical bodies. Ralph R. Stephens, BS Ed, LMT, NCTMB is an internationally recognized instructor, author, and therapist who has been practicing for over 22 years. He is a 2008 Inductee in the Massage Hall of Fame. He presents Medical Massage and Therapeutic Chair Massage Seminars throughout the country. For more information on Ralph go to E-mail:

The first stone therapy known to be offered publicly to non-Indian people came from Hawaiian tribes and is a form of Lomi Lomi. It involves heated stones and ceremonial application. Here on the mainland several tribes including the Cherokee, Ogallala, Assinaboin, and Santee` have used all kinds of stones for Shamanic healing in a variety of ceremonies. Everything from basalt to crystal, lava to turquoise has found a way to offer wellness. A prominent practice known as ‘Inyan Pejuta’, a Lakota term meaning ‘Stone Medicine’, involves both hot and cold stones with specific strokes and layouts using a variety of stones. Unlike Lomi Lomi, Stone Medicine was hidden from non-Native people until recently. In Central and South America some Mayan, Incan, Aztecan and Peruvian tribes have ceremonies that involve using stones. Some of the stones are specially carved (fetishes), some are heated, and some are cold. Many are gem quality and crystal in nature. A recent reintroduction of Munay Ki, an ancient Incan wellness method using a ‘Pi’ stone and crystal wand with specific initiation rites, has come to the forefront of energy wellness. Reflexology was practiced by many Southwestern tribes and is recorded in ancient Aztec pyramids showing the use of stones. The term reflexology is from the modern people who `discovered` it and later began writing and teaching about it, although they seldom included the use of stones, having mistaken them for phallic symbols. Aboriginal tribes of Australia have stone treatments that are thousands of years old. They have recorded their history with rock art similar to that found in the Americas and often show

stones as sacred wellness tools. On a recent visit to Sydney, I was gifted carved healing stones, showing tiny faces of the ancestors, from an aboriginal Shaman after our brief visit. An Ayurvedic method of wellness, from India, involves heated oils and specific stroke sequences in ceremonial application very similar to Stone Medicine from the American Indians.

A Brief History of Stone Massage By Jenny Ray

2009 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Inductee

Japanese, Chinese and other Asian practitioners have a variety of stone treatment processes that date back to ancient history. Many of them involve walking on certain stones or lying on special stone patterns. As comparisons are made in the modern massage industry, we are reminded of how wellness is preserved through preventative therapies. The ancient traditions still serve well in this arena. Our Ina Maka (Mother Earth) is threatened by modern civilization’s poor ecological practices. To save our planet, people must find reconnection to her, and what better way than through the stones, which Native people believe are the bones of Mother Earth. When wellness is offered through a lovely warm stone, the client finds a connection to Mother Earth that is real and instant. Mother Earth is offering us wellness through the stones so we can in turn

recognize our duty to heal her. Who knows what effect we could have on the ones making decisions about our world’s ecology if we offer stone wellness? Modern education systems are offering CEU courses to the massage industry with great care to bring scientific proof forward. Traditional geothermal therapy has a direct scientific relationship to hydrotherapy, where temperatures are offered to the body with water. The massage techniques similar to Ayurvedic strokes show amazing ability to remove toxins, support lymphatic drainage, reduce swelling and inflammation, lower blood pressure and offer stress relief. The strokes related to Swedish-style massage bring rejuvenation and healthy organs, as well as increased circulation along with deep tissue health and fitness. Geothermal therapy has developed many expressions while incorporating modern science as proof of the healing abilities of hot and cold temperatures on the body. It is important that the professional massage therapist realizes not every expression is safe or effective! The importance of temperature control and application knowledge, contraindications, proper hygiene and safety can NOT be stressed enough. Professional massage therapists should seek an educator who is fully certified as a provider of continuing education specific to geothermal therapy. The only International Certification Board of Geothermal Therapy available today is “Stone Walkers Association”. (For more information, please visit If the educator or therapist does not meet the standards of this professional certification board, they may not be offering a safe massage modality.


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Massage - The Next 10 Years As a textbook author

it is necessary for me to be able to accurately make educated guesses about the future of massage. The revision cycle for textbooks is typiSandy Fritz cally four years. This means that not only do I have to capture the current massage content but also write to the future. The next ten years I believe will hold promise for the development of agreed upon professional and practice standards and maybe even a definition of massage. If the profession is diligent and transparent and inclusive, we may even agree on terminology. I also believe that standardization through legislation (license and registration ) will be the norm. The most important aspect of the future is research in some key areas. We need to understand the underlying physical mechanisms for the benefits of massage. Since massage can simply be explained as applied mechanical force to the soft tissues of the body, we need to know what happens as the body processes this type of stimulus. The mechanical forces are sensed through many different processes such as various mechanoreceptors but there is more to it. The autonomic nervous system and endocrine systems and the various neurochemical and hormones some how are influenced. Is it the rhythm, the duration, the stimulating of primitive reflexes such as the righting reflex that results in the massage benefits? Certainly the new emphasis on research on the connective tissues of the body will potentially answer some of the questions. We still do not understand the influence of water movement and

changes in pressure in the body but it appears that massage can influence fluid movement. There are so many questions and maybe the next ten years will reveal some of the answers. The profession also needs to understand the nature of the therapeutic relationship and the benefits of massage. Preliminary research has been done (Christopher Moyer) indicating that intention and a sense of connectiveness are influencing factors in reducing certain types of anxiety. We need to understand the interplay between the more concrete effects from shifts in neuro and endocrine chemicals and the more elusive qualities of connection and compassion. The massage profession desperately needs to study how to ergonomically do massage so that individuals are not burning out in a few years because of neck, shoulder, wrist, hand , low back and knee pain. We need to find objective professionals outside of massage to help us know how to give a massage. We think we know what we are doing but the truth is no one truly understands bodymechanics. Education will increase and technology will influence the delivery of that education. There are things that can be learned in a web based format but certainly not the essence of massage. I believe that as technology supports increased communication, without being face to face, people will need the touch of massage even more. The profession needs standards for teachers. I have just reorganized the curriculum at my school (Health Enrichment Center in Michigan) to prepare my graduates for the next five to ten years. One of my goals is to teach the next generation of teachers. I will be able to at least

mentor a few. The areas I mentioned are incorporated in those changes. I hired my own ergonomic engineer, I support research and influence the ideas of an agreed upon base of terminology and best practices. If I did not believe that the future of massage was bright I would not waste my time. I also know deep in my soul that as the massage profession matures it must change and while it will likely be messy it will end up better.

Bonnie Prudden


2008 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

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Massage Therapy: The Next 10 Years by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM

Since we first opened the doors of The Upledger Institute in 1985, we have trained more than 90,000 practitioners in CranioSacral Therapy (CST), a light-touch approach that releases restrictions in the central nervous system to relieve pain and dysfunction and enhance whole-body health. To my delight, the majority of those practitioners have been massage therapists – professionals I consider to be uniquely qualified to practice CST.

Indeed, I have every reason to believe that the ever-growing respect for and reliance upon massage therapy will continue to strengthen. I also believe, and certainly hope, that conventional medical practitioners may begin to rely more on massage professionals as the first line of healthcare defense rather than the last.

Personally, I would also like to see an end to the polarizing issue of semantics in manual therapy. In most Massage therapists tend to be deep- states massage therapists cannot say ly compassionate human beings they are “treating patients.” Instead, who dedicate their lives to serving they must say they are “working others. This along with their will- with clients.” But does using differingness to continually refine their ent words really change how well palpation skills and spend up to an massage therapists care for others? hour with each client makes them exceptional practitioners of subtle No matter how you put it, massage therapies like CST. Now with as therapists use their skills to help many different types of hands-on people relax and rehabilitate from modalities as there are person- pain, stress and dysfunction. This alities, I expect this trend toward is and will continue to be good for specialization to continue over the everyone. next decade. While I am not a futurist, nor do I have an overly accurate crystal ball, I can tell you from my perspective some of the other trends I can imagine taking place over the next 10 years. As the massage therapy industry continues to move away from its long-outdated reputation as being primarily of ill repute or reserved for relaxation only, I expect these therapists to be increasingly viewed as the valuable, trained medical professionals that they are.

About the Author John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, is founder and president of The Upledger Institute headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It’s recognized worldwide for its groundbreaking continuing education, clinical research and therapeutic services. Throughout his career as an osteopathic physician and surgeon, Dr. Upledger has been a leading proponent in the investigation of new therapies. His development of CranioSacral Therapy has earned him an international reputation. Dr. Upledger has served on the Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council for the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. He has also been featured in TIME magazine as one of America’s next wave of innovators. To learn more visit www.upledger. com or call 1-800-233-5880.


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Professional Discovery through Personal Disaster Erik Dalton, Ph.D., Certified Advanced Rolfer® The Development of the MAT Method Life can change in an instant. As the emergency crew rolled me into the narrow MRI tunnel, it felt as though my world would never be the same. It was 1989. The radiology scan confirmed my worst fear: a fractured neck at C4-5, frightening evidence of severe spinal damage resulting from a clumsy judo fall. That was 19 years ago. Today my neck and arm pain is but a faint memory, due to a discovery that prompted my development of the Myoskeletal Alignment Technique (MAT) method of deep-tissue therapy. The foundation of the program lies in early identification and correction of chronic strain patterns before they become pain patterns. The method incorporates a broad overview of many of to day’s bodywork modalities. The resulting conglomeration of techniques is primarily aimed at fixing the most frequently encountered neck/back/extremity complaints. My method combines modified therapeutic techniques from Rolfing®, manipulative osteopathy, and assisted stretching as well as joint-capsule and receptor routines. The suffering I endured from the aforementioned cervical fracture inspired a series of self-healing experiments that guided me into the intriguing world of muscle/joint relationships. A brief explanation of the extraordinary chain of events following this unfortunate accident shows how bad situations sometimes lead to positive, life-changing experiences. This disabling episode transformed my bodywork practice and led to the development of the MAT method. The day the neurosurgeon declared my cervical fracture healed and removed the halo, my emotions vacillated from cautious elation to nervous apprehension. My cynicism centered around two residual, highly bothersome problems: lingering radial nerve pain down my left arm and a funky cervical curve. Daily routines of self-treating my cervical myofascia offered only temporary relief from the unrelenting arm pain. While digging through the transversospinalis muscles deep in the cervical lamina groove one memorable day, I palpated a couple of bony knots protruding above and below the healed fracture. Unsure of what might happen if I tried aligning these bony asymmetries, I decided to experiment. Using traditional deep-tissue finger techniques, I applied sustained pressure and occasional digital frictioning to the fibrous zygapophyseal (facet)

joint capsule that enclosed the superior bony knot. Surprisingly, in only a few minutes, the capsule began to loosen-and suddenly the knot mysteriously disappeared into the contour of the lamina groove, with no noticeable side effects. As my fingers palpated the opposite side below the fracture, I encountered the other protrusion that appeared not only larger in size, but more rigid and unyielding. I soon realized that the same technique wasn’t about to budge this stubborn C5-6 joint capsule. After a brief series of unsuccessful experiments, an old scalene “finger-gripping” maneuver came to mind that seemed to fit the situation. I thought that by applying bilateral finger compression to the joint capsule while taking the neck through flexion/extension movements, the resistant facet joints might relax and come into alignment. Although the technique felt therapeutic, nothing moved. As I was about to stop and adjust finger positions, the fibrous capsule began to melt into my fingers, and without warning, the bony knot slowly vanished into the groove. Immediately I experienced a surprising sensation of enhanced cervical mobility. A giddy feeling of optimism rushed through me, and a smile spread across my face as my fingers anxiously scanned my neck, appreciating my new range of motion. Incredible! Caught in the exciting whirlwind of palpating my new “smooth groove,” it took me awhile to notice that my left arm had stopped hurting. Head sidebending and rotational movements caused only slight tingling sensations in my index finger and thumb-but no pain! Intuitively, I felt that somehow this discovery might help solve the pain puzzle in many of my unsuccessful client cases. The impact of the experiment sparked an obsessive desire to understand the neuromusculoskeletal mechanics that relieved my pain that day. I fervently believed that a straightforward explanation existed somewhere within the contemporary and historic schools of bodywork. The search began by investigating manual therapy pioneers whose therapies consolidated both joint-mobilization and traditional myofascial techniques. Advice from an old friend and advanced Rolfing instructor, Jim Asher, steered me to contemporary teachings by osteopathic notables such as Phillip Greenman, and Fred Mitchell, Jr. Thus began my true appreciation of the intimate reflexogenic relationship between muscles and joints. All my spare time was spent rummaging through

old texts whose philosophies addressed the practical use of joint-mobilization techniques in massage therapy. Oddly enough, John Mennell’s Physical Treatment by Movement, Manipulation, and Massage, first published in 1917, contained the most interesting and sensible explanations of any book I uncovered. For years, Mennell carefully collected and recorded assorted manual therapy techniques he had observed in various European countries during World War I. His accumulated research was compiled into a textbook that he considered to be the basis of effective therapeutic massage treatment. A large part of Mennell’s legacy is based on what he termed joint play, which is defined as a small, precise amount of movement (less than 1/8 inch) that is independent of voluntary muscle movements. Present only in the living synovial joint, the amount of available joint play is the primary factor in the voluntary range of motion in a joint capsule. Mennell’s research initially investigated all the body’s synovial joints. But for practical purposes he later isolated easy-to-study capsules, such as the glenohumeral, sternoclavicular, hip and knee. Since correction of neck and low-back pain was my primary goal, I experimented with Mennell’s joint-play theories on spine-related tissues only. My intention was simply to develop soft-tissue therapeutic techniques to restore joint play to vertebrae, ribs and sacroiliac joint capsules. But I soon discovered that the key to unlocking these compressed and torsioned joints was not located in the myofascial structures I had been accustomed to working with, but hidden deep in spinal ligaments, intervertebral discs, and fourthlayer transversospinalis muscles. Loss of joint play caused by protective muscle spasm was responsible for the months of pain I endured. I only hope these Myoskeletal Alignment techniques have benefitted others in need.

The Bridge Builders - 2008  

2008 World Massage Festival Program