2019 Assembly of Delegates Discussion Topic - Speaking the Same Language

Published: October 3, 2019

Individual/Group submitting proposal: Debra B. Gallup, LMT, AMTA-SC Delegate

Date Submitted: July 7, 2019

Proposed Discussion Topic:

What specifically does “speaking the same language” mean in relations to massage therapy becoming more integrated in healthcare? 

Summary rationale of why the AMTA Assembly of Delegates should consider this topic for discussion:

In last year’s AOD meeting there was a discussion focused on massage in integrated healthcare and how we can be more confident that U.S. massage therapist have the knowledge and skills to contribute to optimal patient outcomes. A good part of that discussion centered on needing to “speak the same language.” This brings up many thoughts regarding exactly what that means and how we can help our therapists do this. What is “that language?” Is it an anatomically based language? Is it specific to a certain group of professionals or clients? Is there a common foundation of language that will cross-over regardless of what profession or what setting one might be working in? Is it the language or the delivery of our message that is more important? How does our delivery vary? Often in discussions regarding massage we are not specific. The question of how might massage benefit the individual is often met with simple answers like: it helps relax tight muscles. Can we improve our language to align better within the integrated health field? Can we figure out how to truly integrate our knowledge with how we talk about things; what words we use to describe our work. If we can it seems it needs to start with our common understanding of exactly what that language is. What do we mean when we say we must “speak the same language” and how can we as professionals and an organization help us all to move forward with this?

Further discussions can be of benefit to massage therapists and the profession around this idea of “speaking the same language”. If this language truly exists it may aid in opening doors into integrated health opportunities for massage therapists, strengthen our stance that we are an integral part of healthcare and provide a means for us to be better understood within the healthcare community. 

Questions you'd like to pose for discussion by the AOD.

1. In relations to integrated health care what is the specific ‘language’ we should be speaking (with examples)?

2. Is this anatomically/physiologically based and where is it learned?

3. Are there resources that the AMTA has, should develop or can make available to members to help strengthen

our collective ability to communicate in a more professional and constructive manner within integrated health? (i.e a guide to ‘professional’ language, or an online CE course on ‘talking the talk’)