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Old 10-01-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
rkathryn
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Default 50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True

So, I'm reading the book mentioned in the title of this post and have found it to be a great read. Guy Harrison does an entertaining work of discussing irrational beliefs. One article in the book really stands out for me because it reminds me of my personal experiences when attempting to discuss DNM with my colleagues. Well actually, I'm going to share excerpts from two of the chapters.

In his chapter "All scientists are geniuses and science is always right", he describes great scientists who have had irrational beliefs, for example, "Aristotle thought the brain's primary purpose was to cool the blood." This chapter discusses people who believe everything just because research may show it to be true. Harrison states: "Science is imperfect and based largely on failure. It advances by riding on the backs of mistakes." And this gem, "Science is a brutal and unforgiving gauntlet that answers have to run into and come out of alive before gaining acceptance. Actually, nothing ever escapes that gauntlet, because nothing is actually ever proven "true" in the final sense. In science, everything is open to correction forever."

Those sentences really resonate with me as I contemplate my field of massage therapy and how we base treatments and modalities on theories that haven't actually been proven or understood how they are working. Yet, when attempting to discuss DNM, the ideas are completely tossed when pretty much all we do in massage is questionable and not really explained as of yet.

Here's the portion of another chapter that stood out, especially as there have been a couple times I have attempted to discuss DNM with colleagues. The argument invariably ends up going into this perpetual circle of underlying insults, instead of discussing reasons for the effectiveness of DNM. Here is where Guy Harrison shares some work by another writer.The arguers against seem to be following the precepts of what science historian Michael Shermer calls "deniers" in his research on the "anti-Holocaust movement" (folks who believe the Holocaust was a hoax). Shermer's description of the tactics are also "nearly identical to those used by many creationists and intelligent design proponents in their battles against modern biology"

These tactics, which I've found to be true are:

" 1. They concentrate on their opponent's weak points rather than strengthening their own position and focusing on it.

2. They exploit errors by mainstream scholars and suggest that if some things are wrong, everything must be wrong.

3. They take quotations out of context to bolster their position.

4. They claim that debate among mainstream scholars on specific points suggest disagreement about the validity of the entire subject.

5. They focus on the unknown and ignore what is known. They point to data that fit their claims and ignore the data that do not fit."


These topics covered in this book have helped me make sense of why discussions about DNM seem to spiral into pointless bickering and veiled insults. I have chosen to stop participating in a discussion about DNM on a private massage forum that could serve useful but I can tell isn't going anywhere good-- as usual. I guess I keep trying because I would like to have some serious discussion about it with my colleagues, but that doesn't seem to be able to happen. Maybe I should start a private forum for mt's who want to discuss DNM in a rational way. Actually, it's easier to just send them here! I don't mind if people want to debate the reasoning behind why it seems to be so effective, but that can certainly be accomplished without personal insults.
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"The danger is not that the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but that, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry" (Simone Weil)

Last edited by rkathryn; 10-01-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #2
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Welcome to my world, and the world in general. This attitude is never going to be eliminated. The best we can hope for is persuading each and every human on the planet to think for him/herself, in spite of all the dominators that exist, or would-if-they-could.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:14 PM   #3
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Hi Rajam,

I agree wholeheartedly. Nothing will change until Mt's agree on that which it is we are touching during the course of a treatment (skin of course), that which it is we are trying to affect ( nervous system) and until we ALL understand that pain is an output from the brain. When that happens ( not in my lifetime, hell no. ) perhaps we'll all get our heads out of our butts and realize how HUGE the gaps in our knowledge are and go easy on all of this ''health care professionals'' bit.

I'd rather call what I do SKINS: Somatosensory, Kinetic, Interfacing (of the ) Nervous System. At this point all I feel that is necessary in order to treat NON-pathological pain deriving from mechanical deformation of the nervous tissue (within the scope of my practice here in the Province of Québec ) is :

-DNM
-Simple Contact
-Pain education.

The gaps in my knowledge with regard to all three are as wide as the Grand Canyon.

And though I enjoy doing that type of work, I feel ''massage'' is in a completely different category. Adding ''therapeutic'' to the appellation doesn't make it more medical or legitimate. It only serves to confuse people. Once you understand the mechanism of action behind massage is neural and know the origins of pain, you wonder why it is some people still feel it is necessary to work in the manner most clients feel is ''therapeutic'' (''engaging'' the fascia, ''undoing'' the ''knots'', ''reintegrating'' the posture etc, etc, etc.)

So if I am honest with myself I'd say that I am darn good at what I do : providing a wonderful, professional, relaxation massage. I think I'd make a great addition to the staff of any Spa or wellness center but that's it.

As Barrett has been known to say, I'm hopeful but not optimistic as to the job's ennoblement...
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" Toute douleur déchire ; mais ce qui la rend intolérable, c’est que celui qui la subit se sent séparé du monde ; partagée, elle cesse au moins d’être un exil. Ce n’est pas par délectation morose, par exhibitionnisme, par provocation que souvent les écrivains relatent des expériences affreuses ou désolantes : par le truchement des mots, ils les universalisent et ils permettent aux lecteurs de connaître, au fond de leurs malheurs individuels, les consolations de la fraternité. C’est à mon avis une des tâches essentielles de la littérature et ce qui la rend irremplaçable : surmonter cette solitude qui nous est commune à tous et qui cependant nous rend étrangers les uns aux autres. ''
Simone de Beauvoir (Tout compte fait)
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