Massage & Bodywork


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EDITOR'S NOTE Let's consider what your client brings to the table. A body! Simultaneously miraculous and mundane in the world of massage therapy. But is it just a body? There's a dichotomy in the profession where we vacillate between objectivity and honoring the individual. Where are you on this continuum? Does a practitioner only see the anatomy and physiology? I don't think so. Massage therapists are the rare bright lights who spend an average of 60 minutes with each client—name one other wellness professional who invests that much time per person. So even after one session, you know a lot about that body and its person. I believe the reason we spend so much time and ink discussing healthy boundaries between therapist and client is because each generic body represents a unique, gifted individual with all their history—medical and mental, physical and spiritual. What other profession talks about individuals carrying their issues in their tissues? The last few years, thanks to courageous high-profi le individuals, we've heard a lot and learned a lot about transgender people and their worlds. In the past year, we've had several therapists wanting to write about their experiences with transgender clients, but it wasn't until bodyworker and educator Ellen Santistevan submitted her in-depth piece that we knew we had an editorial fi t for Massage & Bodywork. In so many ways, this subject refl ects the ultimate transformation and alignment of body and spirit, with some risking all to become their authentic selves. In my mind, this particular package wouldn't be complete without an outside expert's review, so I approached Max Galligan to critique our content. He's a transgender male who's immersed in this population's issues Toward Inclusion in contemporary society. When I fi rst met him several years ago, he was Margaret. I also knew he was a devotee of massage therapy. Galligan's response was swift and sure: "Let me start by saying that I am very pleased you are publishing this package. It takes all forms of communication to start a conversation that leads to education and action. It is important, now more than ever, that vulnerable populations have safe spaces where acceptance and understanding thrive." Read more of his insights on page 69. So yes, a transgender body is just another body on your table. But it's a showcase of a unique individual who's worked very hard to manifest their destiny. Human beings represent a fascinating palette of variety, and the more we learn about each other in today's high-tech, share- all world, the better we're able to respect each other's challenges and triumphs. To me, this subject is one more reminder to always be compassionate and never assume you know another person's journey. The next step along this path of inclusion is to explore the challenges facing transgender practitioners. Let me know if you have wisdom for us. In the meantime, let's celebrate the fact that those of us in the massage therapy profession have the capacity to accept diversity in all its vibrant forms and that you as therapists have the ability to focus on just one more incredible body—and its person—on your table, at your fi ngertips. LESLIE A. YOUNG, PhD Editor-in-Chief 10 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 7

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