Educational Movement Systems

“Talk About Touch” Columns

The “Talk About Touch” column by Maryann Foster and Mary Kathleen Rose ( is a regular feature of the Massage and Bodywork Magazine, published every other month by the Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals ( 


1. “A Jarful of Pennies” Jan/Feb 2008 – When you go to get a massage and the massage therapist starts the session by exclaiming “You’re so tight!” how does this make you feel? This column examines how those first few comments set the tone for the whole session.


2. “Truth in Advertising” Mar/Apr 2008 – A discussion of what happens with a client goes to receive a massage, and receives some other type of treatment.


3. “I Have a Feeling” May/June 2008 – Massage therapists often rely on intuition to guide them in a session. In this column, we examine what intuition actually is; the role of intuition in massage practice; the difference between intuition and projection; and the client’s intuition.


4. “Flushing Toxic Myths” Jul/Aug 2008 – Is it time to flush the 100 year old myth out of massage education that lactic acid is a toxin? We’ll look at this belief as well as several other die-hard myths in the massage world.


5. “Massage: Alternative or Complementary?” Sept/Oct 2008 – When offered as a complementary therapy, massage can enhance the value of conventional medicine. What happens when massage is offered as an alternative therapy? Read this column and get in on the discussion.


6. “Expanding Views of Medical MassageNov/Dec 2008 – In this column, we discuss the role and value of massage in medicine, as well as some trends in medical massage today.


7. “Ambience: the Healing Environment” Jan/Feb 2009 – Have you ever gone into a massage clinic and been taken aback by some bizarre piece of art or décor? In this column, we chat about issues around treatment room ambience and make some practical suggestions.


8. “Grounding: A Body/Mind Practice” Mar/Apr 2009 – This column offers some simple suggestions about grounding and centering your body and mind as you give massage.


9. “Draping: Uncovering a Touchy Subject” May/Jun 2009 – We were surprised by the diverse approaches to draping we uncovered when tackling this topic. Are you being consistent with the standards of the profession?


10. “Bodywork in a Medical Setting” July/August 2009 –What does a bodyworker need to know to practice massage in a medical setting? We touch on a number of issues including: patient safely; scope of practice; precautions in the use of touch; and the use of appropriate techniques.


11. “Supporting Natural Breath in Massage” Sept/Oct 2009 – The main topic of this issue is how to support clients in breathing with more ease without interrupting the flow of the massage or the client’s relaxation.


12. “Owning Your Energy” Nov/Dec 2009 – In this column, we discuss beliefs and practices about the energy exchange that goes on between a client and practitioner, and how to maintain boundaries in a healthy manner.


13. “Envision Your Life” Jan/Feb 2010 – This column offer some practical, heart-centered ways to set personal and business goals for the New Year.


14. “Talk about Talking” Mar/Apr 2010 – A major complaint about massage therapists is that they talk too much. We look at what constitutes appropriate conversation between client and practitioner during therapeutic massage.


15. “Intention of Practice” May/Jun 2010 – We discuss the importance of understanding your legal scope of practice. Working with a clear intention can build your confidence and help you meet your client’s needs.


16. "Massage for Body or Mind July/Aug 2010 – We all know that massage is beneficial for both the body and the mind, but at what point does practitioner's questions or comments cross over into psychotherapy?


17. "Is Massage Supposed to Hurt?" Sept/Oct 2010 – Some clients avoid massage because they think it is supposed to be painful. In this column, we explore that fine line between deep massage and hurtful massage.


18. "Exploring the Anatomy and Physiology of Energy" Nov/Dec 2010 – An awareness of the world of energy in the body can give depth to your quality of touch.


19. "What Should We Wear?" Jan/Feb 2011 – Our clothes say a lot about who we are, but they also need to be practical and comfortable, which brings up the question of what clothing best suits you.


20. "Patterning Beyond Body Mechanics" Mar Apr 2011 – Effective body mechanics go beyond  position; core alignment and flow are just as important.


21. "Housecalls" May/June 2011 – Housecalls can be a great way to build a practice, although a practitioner needs to have good boundaries and policies to minimize the extra work required.


22. "Client-Centered Massage" July/Aug 2011 – Client-centered massage requires an orientation to people and the human connection, which can be rewarding.


23. "Clients and Friends" Sept/Aug 2011 – Keep in mind that the role you play as a professionals may be different than the role you play as a friend.


24. "Waves of Relaxation" Oct/Nov 2011 – Massage therapists can facilitate healing brain waves by giving their clients relaxation cues: "Allow the tension to flow out of your body on each exhalation."

Mary Ann Foster, B.A., R.M.T. is a somatic practitioner, educator, and author ofSomatic Patterning (EMS Press, 2004) and Therapeutic Kinesiology (Pearson, 2012). Mary Ann has practiced massage therapy since 1981 and maintains a massage and bodywork practice in Longmont, Colorado. 

   Mary Kathleen Rose and Maryann Foster  

       In our “Talk about Touch” column, which we coauthor every other month for the Massage and Bodywork Magazine, Mary Rose and I discuss contemporary issues about professional massage practices. We choose our topics based on issues that we notice continue to come up in conversations with friends, clients, and colleagues. If you have any feedback or any issues that you would like us to discuss, feel free to send us an e-mail or call us with your ideas. We appreciate your input and want to know what massage issues you are thinking about. 

To access the Talk about Touch columns through the Massage and Bodywork Magazine, go to the magazine archives at massageandbodywork. 

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