Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2015

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education PATHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES 34 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 5 I am fond of telling the story of a phone call with a person who had found my brand-new business card—my first potential client who was not already a friend or acquaintance. I had my beautiful 1985 calendar out, and I was ready to write in her name, and then she said it: "By the way, I have Guillain-Barré syndrome. That won't be a problem, will it?" I didn't know. I didn't know how to find out. I had to turn her away. It broke my heart. Much later, I was blessed with the opportunity to write the book that I wished I'd had while I was a student: A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology (MTGP). The first edition came out in 1998, and it was far more successful than anyone predicted. My publisher has supported the book's success by encouraging me to update it on an aggressive schedule. The sixth edition, now subtitled Critical Thinking and Practical Application, is now available. The solid success of MTGP has allowed me to both witness and participate in the evolution of our profession, going from an occasional treat for people with a little extra money to being part of an integrated strategy to achieve and maintain health and wellness. NEW ERA, NEW TOOLS—BUT ARE THEY THE RIGHT TOOLS? I speak with some authority when I say that the landscape of decision- making tools for massage therapists is fundamentally different today from what it was 30 years ago. Far from operating in a bubble with a few nonmassage textbooks that might apply (but no one really knew for sure), we can now instantly reach out to hundreds, even thousands, of our colleagues for advice and input for those "Guillain-Barré" moments. We can crowdsource pathology decisions! Sounds great, right? Truthfully, I see questions in massage therapy Facebook groups that make my blood run cold: "My client has one kidney. I should just go light, right?" "My client has cancer. I don't know what kind. I should just go light, right?" "My client has MRSA …" This suggests two things: that pathology education in many schools may not be adequate and/or many massage therapists do not have the skills or motivation to independently seek credible information, analyze it, and make decisions based on what they find. And without that ability, we are even more limited than we were back in the pre-Internet dark age. ELAPtitude Creating an ELAP-Friendly Textbook By Ruth Werner

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