Knowledge Changes Everything

This past week, I got a massage. I love massages. I’ve met people who don’t like them. I think they are freaks of nature, but I love them for that, as it makes it easier for me to get an appointment!

I’ve received massages more or less regularly my entire adult life. Just over a decade ago, my perception of them went from pure bliss and awe to a clinical experience.  What happened?  I went to massage school.

Mueller College School of Massage


Yup, part of that collection of degrees that I don’t use is a Massage Technician certificate.  After about the first month of training, I realized that I would never have the same experience from a massage again.

I started to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Once you know he’s there, it’s hard not to look. In my head I was visualizing what my massage therapist was doing – initially to be able to duplicate it in my own practice, and then later that information was merely filed away. I can usually tell within the first few minutes of a massage if my therapist has trained in San Diego, as I know the end product produced by the local massage schools.

I was thinking all of this during my massage, and I posed myself two questions: Does it matter? and Why am I wasting massage time thinking of anything?!?!?

I no longer view the massage therapist as a magician that can make the tension away. Yet now when I encounter a new therapist I can say very specifically what I’m looking for during my session: I have the knowledge and vocabulary. I also can refer friends to different massage therapists based upon what they are looking for in a massage.

Some times I miss massage back when it was magical, but to go back to that would also mean giving up the skills I’ve learned. I love being able to watch someone walking down the street and being able to tell what muscle groups are too tight. Plus giving massages saved me during some tough financial times before my wrists gave out.

In what areas have you seen behind the curtain? Are you glad that you have the knowledge?

7 thoughts on “Knowledge Changes Everything”

  1. I love massages too, never learnt how to do them. But everyone I know hates them, they always say its a random person touching your body- but regardless, I love it!


  2. I was at the Chicago Art Institute with my sister last week and I felt like the man behind the curtain as we moved through this magical place. Such art! So many beautiful masterpieces under one roof! I love art and have studied it. My sister has not. So I explained different movements and genres and mediums and artists and she told me later, “I never knew.” “About art?” I asked. “Well yes,” she responded, “but also that YOU knew so much about art.” So, in that instance, being the man behind the proverbial curtain was a good thing. And since you are behind the massage curtain – can you guide me as to what to ask a therapist to do to relieve the tight, tight neck and fascia (spelling on that?) I have. My dentist said I have really, really tight myo-fascia (I’m sure I’m butchering the spelling on both). Thus I have headaches and pounding neck aches. Thanks, Doctor!


    1. Barbara, I love how your “behind the curtain” knowledge of art allowed your sister to see you in a new light. 🙂

      So far as massage is concerned, given your diagnosis of Myofascial (you were close!) pain, you would probably be best served by a trigger point massage since it is the trigger points themselves that are causing the pain. (Excellent overview of your pain syndrome from the Mayo Clinic can be found here:

      You will want an experienced massage therapist to do this, and one that is attached to a doctor’s office might be the best. What I’d recommend is that you call and talk to them and have them explain trigger point work to you. If they seem to be racking their brain to remember back to massage school, that’s not your therapist!

      Keep in mind, this is not going to be a “feel good” massage. They will be working on nerve clusters. If it is done well, you will feel sooooo much better the next day.

      I hope that helped!


  3. For me the proverbial “man behind he curtain”, was the current form of religion that I experienced in my childhood and throughout the early part of my adult life. As I stood back and realized “for me” a lot of it was smoke and mirrors and not really rooted in any kind of doctrine, my eyes were opened and it was impossible to close them and go back. I’m a very spiritual and moral minded person but at some point I had to realize that I was on my own journey to find truth and that I had to be honest with myself. Thanks for a great topic. Jeffrey


    1. Being able to use your new knowledge, the seeing behind the curtain in whatever way it happens, is the important part. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the knowledge, but that normally doesn’t last long. I’m glad that you were able to be honest with yourself in accepting your new truth … and thank you for contributing to the conversation!


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