After reviewing a lot of comments regarding Polarity Therapy and the MTBOK, I believe most of the issues relate to a mis-interpretation of the MTBOK itself, its impact, and the intent. We have made some changes which we hope will resolve the concerns, and offer the following additional information:
Impact and Intent: The MTBOK is “just” a body of knowledge for the Massage Therapy profession – it does not now, nor will it, have any legal force of law or regulation. As it stands now, the MTBOK does not in any way suggest that other professions such as Polarity Therapy belong under Massage Therapy, nor does it say or imply that Polarity Therapists must or even should be Massage Therapists. Of course, even if that was in the document (it is not) it wouldn’t matter since the MTBOK does not change law or regulation.
Although the MTBOK does include work including energy in the scope of practice, it clearly states in the section description (Section 130) that the therapist must have specific post graduate training where necessary or required. The MTBOK recognizes that although there may be some overlap between distinct professions this does not imply that a trained professional in one must be in the other.
Although the Scope and Description sections of the MTBOK are intended to cover the full breadth of the Massage Therapy profession (and does not include other professions such as Polarity Therapists), the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) section is even more narrowly focused – it is specific to entry level Massage Therapists (and not other professions such as Polarity Therapists).
In the MTBOK, the section relating to energy actually only requires that an (entry level) massage therapist should know broad theoretical frameworks of several different energy approaches, and although it did mention Poles, and included the word 'polarity,' Polarity Therapy itself was not mentioned, nor is there a skill or ability required for it. Nevertheless, since this area has apparently caused some concern, particularly for people in Polarity Therapy and other energy focused professions, we have made some specific changes which will appear in the 2nd draft:
• The term “Polarity” has been removed from the document
• The KSA section originally titled “Energetic Approaches” has been changed to “Energetic Theory”
• The bulleted item under Skills and Abilities has been changed to read “Identify personal perception of energy and one common theory of energetics.”
Let me reiterate one key point – the MTBOK does not now, nor will it suggest or recommend (much less mandate) that polarity therapists be massage therapists. I’m not sure why this concern even got started. Regardless, I hope that this explanation as well as the document changes noted above will help to clear up any misunderstanding.