Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2022

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76 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k s e p te m b e r/o c to b e r 2 0 2 2 The second type are called internalist histories. The best of these manage to avoid the narrative freedom of the first type and focus more closely on the development of a technique or practice. They might explain the way a particular practitioner drew upon several influences to develop, for example, Muscle Energy or Neuromuscular Technique, and then outline the contributions of various later practitioners who took these further. Versions of such brief, internalist histories often highlight details such as early archaeological and ancient references to particular medical practices (Hippocrates always gets a look in, though context is rarely provided); if speaking of the modern period, the immediate actions and interactions of the founders and developers of such methods in direct relation to their practice. These are most commonly used in bodywork textbooks and curricula. 1 Like the first type, internalist essential skills | SOMATIC RESEARCH fathers (or mothers), their development through the work of individual practitioners held up as leading lights, and brief notes on their evolution into fully fledged professions— often in the face of establishment opposition. Some critics call these hagiographies, which means "biographies of saints," reflecting the uncritical spirit in which they are often taught and discussed. Common examples found in various bodywork communities might include features on A. T. Still, founder of osteopathy; Ida P. Rolf, who developed structural integration; D. D. Palmer, the father of chiropractic; or James Cyriax, known as the father of orthopedic medicine who exercised a strong influence on physical therapy. They include biographical anecdotes that are largely cherry-picked for their wisdom and experience, numerous quotes with little context, and dates and events surrounding the evolution of their particular method or school. They do not follow a structured or academic method of historiography (from the Greek historia, meaning "story" or "history" and graphein, which means "to write" or to have the skills to research and write a history). What's the Point of History? Why Understanding the Three Types of Histories is Important to Bodywork Professionals By Sasha Chaitow, PhD GIAMMARCO/UNSPL ASH When you're studying to become a manual therapist or looking for courses to keep your skills sharp, history probably isn't high on your list of priorities. Curricula, especially in osteopathic, chiropractic, and physical therapy training, sometimes include a couple hours on the history of the foundation of the profession early in the syllabus. Similar potted histories are encountered in massage therapy classes. Yet, there seem to be precious few uses for anything other than bullet-point history summaries in any health-care clinic. But is that really the case? This article explores the role of histories in bodywork education, considers the recently revived interest in aspects of the history of manual therapy professions, and investigates its hefty relevance to the integrative health professions. WHICH HISTORY? There are three main types of histories written about bodywork professions. First, traditional narratives of origins, which comprise broader versions of those summarized in curricula. These tell the foundation story, generally praise the founder of a profession relatively uncritically, and outline how the technique or modality developed, was passed on from the founders to their students, and, from there, evolved into schools. These often begin with narratives of ancient, traditional, and pre-modern healing practices, occasionally highlighting their antiquity as a kind of "proof" of their efficacy and safety. In other cases, they trace the foundation of some of these approaches (largely in the 19th century) through their founding

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