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Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge


Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge

This is a place for public discussion of Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge issues in an open forum

Members: 102
Latest Activity: Jul 27, 2015

Discussion Forum

Any interest in creating a book/video exchange? 1 Reply

Perhaps better as its own group, please give your thoughts. Here's what I'm thinking (and maybe it exists here?)A place for1.  Book/video reviews and commentary2.  More to the point, a place for…Continue

Tags: videos, books

Started by Deb Evans. Last reply by Bert Davich Jan 16, 2011.

MTBOK 2ND Draft 5 Replies

Hi, You've had time to print and review. What changes are needed? This is the last draft, before the presentation! The effort by MTBOK, funded through the Massage Therapy Foundation, to keep everyone…Continue

Started by Mike Hinkle. Last reply by Nancy Toner Weinberger Jun 13, 2010.

Palpation Hints 13 Replies

I apologize for sending a group email, I ment to post as a discussion, so here it is...My name is Tina and I will be starting massage therapy school in Jan. I have been trying to get a little bit…Continue

Started by Tina Mundy. Last reply by Carl W. Brown Nov 8, 2009.

Minimal requirements strawman 36 Replies

I think that it might make sense to look at the problem from a different approach. One useful technique is to step up a “strawman” as a concrete example to critique.To do this I figured that we start…Continue

Started by Carl W. Brown. Last reply by Carl W. Brown Nov 7, 2009.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Michael A. Breaux on June 23, 2010 at 2:56pm
Dont forget - tonight is the Webinar "Learn About the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Project" which will take place Wednesday, June 23, 2010
it runs 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Pacific time, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Mountain time, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Central time, and 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Eastern time. You can join the webinar by going to:
If you can't attend, you can watch the recorded version next month on the website.
Comment by Carl W. Brown on June 13, 2010 at 12:19pm

The BOK does not define what massage it or what skills and skill levels are needed to do proprer massage. It is jus a list of what MIGHT be taught in conjustions with massage whatever that is. I think we need a real BOK and have no ised what this might be used for other that confuse legeslators.
Comment by Nancy Toner Weinberger on June 13, 2010 at 11:28am
This is what I haven't understood either. It doesn't seem much different from what has organically evolved into the NCBTMB Massage and Bodywork standards, emerging from the surveys. Surely we are not expecting every massage school to teach all of these skills? I am thinking here of the vast majority of the states not including Oriental massage techniques in their curriculums, and if they were required to, where would they find competent instructors!
Comment by Carl W. Brown on February 17, 2010 at 2:30pm

Unfortunately they have not made the changes to convert it to a real BOK. It does not set the minimal requirements for a massage therapist to perform to a basic standard that came be shown as essential for minimal professional competence. It is just a laundry list of potential skills that an MT may posses.

To be a true BOK it must only address the essential KSAs and assign a minimal competency for each. MTs failing to meat each and every KSA to the specified skill level should be considered sub-standard. These essentials should be based on real world performance or documented hazardous performance that can be corrected by proper education and training.
Comment by Mike Hinkle on February 16, 2010 at 11:15pm
Project Manager Chip Hines says there are many changes, Carl at
Comment by Carl W. Brown on February 13, 2010 at 10:02am
Am I missing something or is the Second draft just a minor revision of the first draft? I still don’t see a standard of minimal performance but it still looks like a shopping list of possible things that could be considered massage.
Comment by Mike Hinkle on January 28, 2010 at 9:57pm
Well, guys tomorrow starts Phase 2 for the MTBOK Project. It does appear energy work will be included as part of Phase 2. They did leave Polarity out.

I hope they will leave up Phase 1 for comparison reasons. An overlay of exactly what changes were made would be great too.

I wish Chip would do a video presentation of the second stage as he did in Orlando. He and the project workers made it all so much more simple and therapists felt "involved".

Either way, let's go!
Comment by Carl W. Brown on November 16, 2009 at 11:04am
Laura, I know that the associations sponsored this paper. We really need a proper BOK. I believe that if we ever want to improve the quality of performance that students have when the come out of schools we need to start by setting objective standards. It has to be a true BOK where the student had to perform to the specified level of competence on all KSAs because we can prove objectively that they are all essential to performance.

The whole point of a BOK is that the knowledge, skills and abilities all tie together like the legs of a three legged table. If a person is not competent in any one KSA their performance can be shown to suffer.

From this standard we can also judge schools and teachers. The point of a BOK is also to cull extraneous skills so that you first teach the essentials to form the core of the training. Form that core you can then build other skills. But you teach the basics first and do it so that you are sure that each and every student meets the minimum requirements before you more on the other training.

What I see instead is not a standard but a shopping list for skills that are all over the map. Teaching by hours says we do not have an idea of what it really takes so we will pant the student in a class and pile on hours and hope that when we are done that somehow they will have received an adequate education. This is a joke because we don’t know what they need to learn and to what competency. So we keep some people in school far longer than they need and graduate others who have no business practicing.

I this business where probably 2/3 or more people drop out of the business because it is not what they want or can’t make enough money to pay the bills it is criminal to just pile on the costs in hopes that they learn.
Comment by Mike Hinkle on November 15, 2009 at 11:09pm
Thai or Thai Yoga may be a great cross-over. Meditation is incorporated in as well with some instructors. Good call. Our ideas are being submitted and I am preparing side notes as well.

There is then Phase Two after the New Year with the second draft. It will get even more scrutiny. I just hope people will re-read what the initial Task Force duties are prior to comments.

And then the final draft will be submitted, I guess for approval by the stakeholders, at the MTF's CIM Research Convention in Seattle next May.

And we will finally have a direction, as a profession. From there others will follow and we will at least have a start to organize some of what's going on in schools and across the profession.
Comment by Bert Davich on November 15, 2009 at 10:51pm
Hi Mike,
No, it does not have to be Shiatsu. In fact, I am of the opinion that Shiatsu or any specific Asian bodywork should not be mentioned by name in the BOK. I just used it as an example because I am familiar with it.

I think 'meridian work' might work well as it would be inclusive without excluding Asian bodywork that might be identifiable as similar to western body work. If anyone has a better suggestion, please comment.

I am trying to follow the principal you convinced me of in our initial comments that all therapy that massage therapist are using should be included. I believe that by developing a language that will do that without limiting future innovations, approaches, or applications, we will be better served and the possibility of portability will be enhanced.

I hope anyone who has ideas that will contribute to this will post their response to this comment. If we can develop a consensus, even a small one, it would be worth submitting to the BOK committee and they might pay more attention than they will to my singular submissions (several of which I have posted).

Oh, and I also believe that Schools should be free to develop their own course work for introductory Asian Bodywork. There are many 'schools' of Shiatsu. (back to my most familiar example) Zen Shiatsu is the brand most taught in the realm of massage therapy in the US. It was 'brought' to the US some years ago by 1 practitioner who created the system for US consumption and schools in Japan might argue it's completeness. Look closely at a Tai Massage book and about the only difference I have noticed between them is the 'Hara' (stomach) assessment in Zen Shiatsu. It may be in Tai Massage, but I have not seen it in the books. (I have not formally studied Tia Massage)

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