Updated: Apr 5, 2020
What does ‘evidence based massage’ mean to you?
Do you seek out evidence-based therapists? How do you identify one? What is the technique that they use?
Do you judge the outcome based on how your body responds, or how it’s suppose to respond, or otherwise?
Is ‘experience based massage’ a thing? How would it differ?
Does it matter?
These are interesting to think about. I’ve often thought to myself, I don’t intellectually know exactly what I’m doing – I wouldn’t honestly tell you I know what muscle attachment my fingertips are palpating deep in your lateral spine or what that lump of tissue is that’s always in the same spot near your PSIS. I feel for it; it seems more intuitive a skill. I listen as you tell me about it experientially; I observe how your body reacts to palpation, movement, pressure; I pay attention to how your body is affected by the treatments or by the technique. Is that evidence or experience based? Is it effective? Often. Because I learn as we go and I adapt in whatever way I am capable. I don’t know that your psoas is pulling your pelvis into rotation or your hip flexors pulling into a tilt. But I observe a difference in how each side feels or how it sits with the rest of your body, and that when we address your psoas and hip flexors you say your pain decreases, you have more range of motion, you say you have more freedom of movement and feel less restricted. But it doesn’t always work like that. There are attempts that don’t yield any improvement, change in technique that doesn’t inspire change in your body. And that’s okay too. I don’t claim to know it all, or to know much. I can only offer what I hold within me, and that’s observation, a range of techniques, and the ability to learn and adapt. I can apply what I have learned, I can listen as you relate your experience within your own body, and we can alter it as we go until it’s no longer useful to you.
Maybe evidence based and experience based are one in the same with different names. Or maybe different shades of the same color. What do you think?