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Good Advice PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

clAs always, this last Wednesday was the last-Wednesday-of-the-month Open House here at the JREF. We had a full attendance of the usual friends, visitors, merely curious, and undecided, some even from out of state, who drop by at 7 in the evening to exchange ideas and opinions. Following this last meeting, one of our regulars, Collin Leach, dropped me this note, which I thought you should see. Collin is a professional massage therapist who has studied many techniques of his trade, and has travelled all over the world for that purpose. He first showed up here years ago at our door to present a problem he'd encountered - that most of his teachers in various cultures insisted on having heavy woo-woo as part of their instructions; Collin was unable to merely ignore these fripperies, since in order to obtain certification in a therapy, he had to go along with the teachers. Since taking these techniques into his repertoire, he has been able to omit the woo-woo in his practice and get down to the valued procedures that he knows work so well.

Collin has worked his magic (did I just say that?) on my ailing frame, and the word exhilaration only begins to describe it...

He e-mailed me this morning, ending with this:

As usual people approached me after the meeting enquiring about Reiki. I'm impressed that it's such an enduring fad. I guess it has an alluring mix of eastern mystique presented within Christian gift wrapping, at a time when all kinds of "healing" modalities are increasingly popular. I like to recommend that people can enjoy ritual and touch amongst each other more regularly without remuneration.

Well said, Collin.

Hey, any of you folks who find yourselves in South Florida at the end of a month, look up the last Wednesday and plan to drop by at 7 p.m. for a couple hours of interesting conversation. The doors are open, coffee and cookies are available, and riots are kept minimal... It's my job to empty the place out at about 9:30 or so, but I always pull away leaving a dozen or so diehards milling about in the parking lot.

I love my job...

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Comments (19)Add Comment
I'm not going on your link merry-go-round but....
written by BillyJoe, May 29, 2009
How can James Randi be an eternal liar when eternity hasn't come round yet and how can you win a fraudulent challenge.

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And reflexology
written by garyg, May 30, 2009
My girlfriend gave me a gift certificate for a facial (!) in April, noting that the
woman also does a head and shoulders massage. When I was there I saw that
she was also a reflexologist and she also rubbed my feet. A few days later I
received a note in the mail containing a blurb about the "science" of reflexology.

Massage Envy, a chain of (legitimate) massage "therapy" clinics also features
reflexology, but doesn't push it too much.
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..., Lowly rated comment [Show]
x
written by BillyJoe, May 30, 2009
Thank you for blowing James Randi's cover for why he loves his job. The rest of us were already embarassed enough to dirty our heads with that thought.



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gary
written by BillyJoe, May 30, 2009
My girlfriend gave me a gift certificate for a facial
She was testing you. Will he use it or will he not. Does he love me or does he not. On the other had, I once got off by giving my girlfriend a gift of a ride into the country with a biker.
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What was funny about it...
written by garyg, May 30, 2009
...was that she came over to my place after having a manicure, facial, and hair styling
and with perfect timing I asked, "Do men get facials there?", whereupon she presented
me with the gift card!
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disentangling from the woo-woo
written by BartiDdu, May 30, 2009
Thanks for this one. I'm coming up with woo-woo being incorporated into my Alexander Technique teacher training though I suspect to a much lesser extent than what Collin's referring to. The forthcoming challenge for me in the autumn is the Principles of Personal Development module which includes in its syllabus Julia Cameron and Depak Chopra!

For years I've dreamed of a woo-woo free world and always tended towards writing off not-immediately-explainable hypotheses too quickly i.e. not really having Sagan's 'exquisite balance between two
conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas'.

Now having discovered what appears to be indisputable value in the Alexander Technique in more than simply 'posture', a woo-free world is WAY too ambitious for now - a woo-free me is enough to be getting on with!!
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Trivia
written by BillyJoe, May 30, 2009
Ironically, although the Alexander Technique has some evidence for effect in managing back pain, there is little evidence for its use in the treatment of voice problems, the condition for which it was first used back in the 1890s by its founder Matthias Alexander
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Thanks for the link!
written by John A, May 30, 2009
The idiot at the top brought the Atheist Nexus to my attention and I joined.

By the way, I mentioned Randi in my latest blog post - but not to worry, I mentioned Randi only in a good light.
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...
written by BillyJoe, May 30, 2009
I mentioned Randi only in a good light.

That's a bit difficult on recent form. I'd keep him underwraps for a while. Maybe he'll come good again.
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Re Alexander Technique
written by BartiDdu, May 30, 2009
> ...little evidence for its use in the treatment of voice problems...

I believe this to be the case but this side of it is not problematic to me.

1st whilst his throat and voice problems and the audible 'gasping and sucking in air' when reciting were the reason behind F M Alexander embarking on his voyage of experimentation (he was at the time a professional reciter), the discovery it led to - that there is a close connection between the way we use ourselves and our functioning - is what led to the principles being applied to a much wider field (including the way we use our muscles in our backs).

Whilst there are many possible causes of throat and voice problems, such as viruses etc. on which I can see the Alexander Technique having no affect whatsoever, if the way a person is tensing muscles in that region is playing a part in the problem (Alexander's 1st premise), is it not reasonable to deduce that a stopping of the tensing of the muscles could have a beneficial outcome? Whether or not the Alexander Technique can play a part in helping someone learn to stop the tensing of muscles is another question.

As for the improvement of vocal production (as opposed to treating vocal problems), which was one of the first fields Alexander took his work to (and still plays a significant role in drama and music schools in the UK), on this I have no doubts myself (although I wouldn't expect that to carry any weight with anyone else here). An objective improvement in the quality of voice, say of someone singing, is very difficult if not impossible to measure and quantify. Yet as a musician, the improvements I have experienced time and time again, observing others' lessons*, and subsequent to people having taken lessons*, is blatantly obvious.

It is on the more tenuous aspects of the work that I may well be calling on the assistance of the critical minds that hang out here in the forthcoming months. However, my primary goal is to sharpen up my own critical thinking to lessen the chances of being 'taken in' by something someone else may have missed (or ignored).

*I'm talking about Alexander Technique lessons where the activity chosen for the lesson has been singing.
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Correction/Clarification
written by BartiDdu, May 31, 2009
Looking at my 'Alexander's 1st premise' bit again I thought it could be misleading because Alexander does not at that point mention muscles, neither does he there state explicitly what his 1st premise is. Safest to quote!

In Alexander's 3rd book, The Use of the Self in the first chapter, Evolution of a Technique, Alexander details the stages he went through in making his discoveries and in creating a means by which we can make better use of ourselves*. In it he talks of an exchange he had with his physician after a problematic recital after having abstained from using his voice on said physician's advice. "...the old conditions of hoarseness had returned within an hour after I started to use my voice again. 'Is it not fair then' [Alexander asks] 'to conclude that it was something I was doing that evening in using my voice that was the cause of the trouble?'"

*My interpretation of what the chapter is about.
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Good Advice
written by AMFCook, May 31, 2009
"I'm not going on your link merry-go-round but....
written by BillyJoe, May 29, 2009

how can you win a fraudulent challenge."

By fraud, of course!
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...
written by Caller X, May 31, 2009
written by BillyJoe, May 30, 2009
Thank you for blowing James Randi's cover for why he loves his job. The rest of us were already embarassed enough to dirty our heads with that thought.


I wasn't talking about Mr. Randi's "job" as it's my understanding that he holds a position, but I don't know his employment status. I was merely commenting on the fact that it's not creepy for an older gentleman to go on about the delights of being massaged by a smooth young boy. What you're embarassed about is unclear, and your business.
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...
written by BillyJoe, May 31, 2009
He regards it as a job...
I love my job...
...but, hey, he is not all that particular about accuracy these days. smilies/sad.gif
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Massage & Quackery
written by LindaRosaRN, June 01, 2009
Unfortunately, massage therapy is being taken over by quackery. I've heard of people who have refused to take licensing exams because of the inclusion of questions about "human energy fields," Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, etc. There's even quite a bit of nonsense about accessing "repressed memories" stored in the tissues being massaged. Yes, memories stored outside the brain. Just try finding a legitimate massage therapist today. Kudos to Mr. Leach.
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...
written by Steel Rat, June 02, 2009
I wasn't talking about Mr. Randi's "job" as it's my understanding that he holds a position, but I don't know his employment status. I was merely commenting on the fact that it's not creepy for an older gentleman to go on about the delights of being massaged by a smooth young boy. What you're embarassed about is unclear, and your business.


You seem to be injecting some of your own fantasies in there, since nowhere did Randi say "massaged by a smooth young boy." Are you a Catholic priest, by any chance?
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Reiki and Healing Touch
written by Karen521, June 25, 2009
I am a holistic life coach and I noticed someone in these comments saying that massage therapy is being taken over by quackery such as reiki, etc. I might point out that while reiki and healing touch, as well as energy fields does seem a bit far fetched, it actually isn't. Our human energy fields are real, as evidenced by newer quantum physics measuring tools-- they can actually be seen. Not to start a controversy but just a note from my perspective.
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@ Karen
written by BillyJoe, June 25, 2009
Our human energy fields are real, as evidenced by newer quantum physics measuring tools-- they can actually be seen.
To quote quantum physics in support of quackery means to be dismissed as a quack, sorry.

...unless you can show me that you actually understand Quantum Physics.

(Good luck on this, seeing as you clearly don't even understand the concept of energy)
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