Healing Arts with Patrick Moore

Borrowing Cheerup and Calmdown
February 27, 2017, 5:02 pm
Filed under: brain, compassion, healthcare, self-help, tucson | Tags: , ,

Up or Down?  Where is balance?


Pep Up or Calm Down? Which is the Best Way to Live?

 The following is an excerpt from the most recent Natural Healer Newsletter. To subscribe to the email newsletter sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bnuPuj

Your nervous system has two processes—up-regulating and down-regulating. Which is better? Should we live life always pepped-up? Or always calmed-down? A natural balance uses both strategies. According to Arlene Montgomery in her 2013 book, Neurobiology Essentials for Clinicians. http://smile.amazon.com/dp/0393706028  people can get into a bad habit: people who habitually upregulate, Montgomery calls anxious. People who habitually downregulate, she calls depressed. Montgomery defines a resilient person as one who can use both systems at appropriate situations.

I want to be resilient! I tend toward depression.

This article describes how we may help others become more resilient. The side-effect of helping others is that we helpers become more resilient ourselves.


Relaxation Is Not Always Best

Isn’t relaxation always good? No, relaxation is not always the best remedy. Just as often, a person needs to pep up. …


Nerve State is Borrowed by Mirroring

… If you were listening to talk radio, with callers shouting passionately, and hosts hammering their points with persistent hard voices, how would you feel? If you were watching a video with protesters marching, seeing cops handcuffing them, how would you feel? We can’t help but borrow nervous states when we see facial expressions, postures and hear tones of voice. Mimicking–or Mirroring–is hard-wired into social animals…


Therapeutic Borrowing and Lending

The fact we humans mimic, is very useful for therapists.

First let’s make it too simple: You are a therapist. A person comes in to your office, looking very depressed and low. You in turn, turn up your smile, raise your voice a bit, lift your chest and present a cheerful, alert and active presence. The other person can mimic, and so borrow your state. Then they too will be cheerful, alert and active.

This is too simple. A depressed person does not mimic someone who is peppy. People have tried that on me when I am depressed, and it just annoys me. Why does this NOT work?

By laws of nature, we will not mimic someone whose state looks inappropriate for the situation. When I am depressed I think the situation is inherently depressing. When I see someone cheerful, they clearly do not perceive the world the way I do. My brain thinks, Why would someone be cheerful while the situation is depressing? In a depressed person’s judgment, anyone who is cheerful must have a screw loose.

Similarly, in an anxious person’s judgment, the situation requires more action–fighting or running away–and anyone who is calm at a time like this, must have a screw loose.

It would be dangerous to mimic someone whose thinking deviates from reality. By the laws of nature, we social animals will not mimic someone whose expressions, postures and tones of voice appear (in our judgment) inappropriate to the situation. Our survival would be at risk, to mirror someone who thinks it is time to act when it is time to give up, or vice versa.

Under what conditions will a depressed person, or an anxious person, resonate with another who wishes to be helpful? …


To see the rest of the article please subscribe to the email newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bnuPuj


Below are four of the upcoming Tucson workshops that feature mirroring, borrowing and body psychology. To register, contact me through my website: meltingmuscles.com/contact.html  


Sunday, March 26, 9 a.m.

Activating Your Intuition – 5 hour (Self-Care)

Awaken your sixth sense! Based on workshops with Stephen Bruno, partner exercises to dramatically improve your intuitive perception.


Monday, April 3, 2017, 9 a.m.

Responding, Not Reacting – Being Nonjudgmental with Challenged Clients and Yourself

(Communication/Therapeutic Relationship), Body Psychology, (discussion) 6 hours.

Don’t get aggravated. Turn challenges into healing moments by responding and unlocking this gift.


Monday, April 10, 2017, 9 a.m.

Mirror Neurons – Using Clients’ Mirroring Tendency to Connect with their Tension and Lead Them to Relax

(discussion), Research, 5 hours.

We social animals mirror others in order to understand them. Learning how, aids therapists and anyone who wants to improve his relationships.


Monday, May 1, 2017, 9 a.m.

Muscle Guarding as Communication – Learning the Nonverbal Language of Muscles

Body Psychology, 6 hours (group discussion).

A muscle tightening, tells you the brain feels unsafe about something. A muscle melting, tells you the brain is feeling safer about that thing…


More workshops are listed at my continuing education blog: meltingmuscles.blogspot.com


The Myth of Physical Illness (book excerpt)
December 21, 2016, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Book Reviews, Education, hands-on healing, healthcare, Sociology, Spinoza | Tags: , , , ,

The following is a new preface I have just written to my book-in-progress, The Myth of Physical Illness. I have been working on this book about five years, extending almost two hundred pages, and then starting over from scratch several times. I hope to seek publishers in the coming year. I thought it would be nice to share this experiment I composed this morning, for those who know I am a writer but don’t know what I write. I also work on fiction, novels, short stories and poetry but 95% of my writing over the last ten years is nonfiction like this.. Warmly, Patrick.

© 2016 by Patrick Moore. Do not copy without permission, but you may link back to this page at http://healingbrain.blogspot.com  


My book title, The Myth of Physical Illness, alludes to the 1960 book The Myth of Mental Illness, by the late Thomas Szasz M.D.. Dr. Szasz said, “there is no such thing as mental illness.” Without saying he was right or wrong, this book asks if his ideas also apply to physical illness.


For now, I define disease and illness as the same thing. I define it the way people commonly think of it: something that happens to a person, some damage done, something that can be caught. Our culture teaches that a person either has or doesn’t have a disease. There are ways of checking, of being certain that a person does, or does not have a disease, ways that are standardized so that a doctor trained at one medical school will give the same diagnosis as a doctor trained in a different school, even on different continents, we believe. For example a person throwing up may have the flu, salmonella or a hangover. A doctor has ways to determine whether the sufferer has one disease, a different disease, or no disease, we believe.

I define malady as bad feelings, pain, discomfort, stiffness, reduction in energy level, reduction in ability and activity, unwanted change to the body, behavior and unwanted personal challenge of all kinds. A disease (if disease exists) is also a malady because a disease presents unwanted challenges. But there are maladies that are not diseases, like painful joints for a week after pruning trees, or a hangover. Nobody considers these to be diseases. Often a person with a malady doesn’t believe he has a disease, and won’t form a strong belief until he consults a doctor who can tell him, yes he definitely has a disease, or no it’s only a malady.

A sufferer, I define as someone feeling the uncomfortable effects of a malady (or a disease if disease exists).


An Open Question

I leave open the question, does disease exist? This book won’t tell you an answer, for a number of reasons:

  • I trust you are smart enough to decide for yourself, once you have been offered a number of perspectives and ideas.
  • Is the answer to this question really knowable at this time in the history of human knowledge? I don’t think so.
  • I am not very interested in whether disease exists or not.
  • I don’t care to advocate any changes in healthcare policy, therapist education or any thing like that, so it won’t be important for me to prove anything to support my advocacy.

I don’t see myself as an advocate. If you were one of my friends or family you’d know I don’t push for issues. When I see a policy going in a direction that does not please me, (after perhaps an initial reaction) I don’t raise my voice in attempt to sway the momentum. Instead I offer ideas. I want people to have more adequate ideas as the foundations of their choices and behaviors. I trust that people with more adequate ideas will balance themselves in time.

The Effects of our Perspectives

I am far more interested in the effects of how we think of disease. In this sense, the book is only sociology. I only want to offer you different perspectives you can digest into understanding how and why we humans think and do the things we do. I will feel my book achieved its purpose if even a few people ask more questions like these:

  • Is our cultural concept of disease helping sufferers? Would alternative perspectives serve sufferers better?
  • Is our cultural concept of disease helping therapists and doctors to be more effective? Would alternative perspectives increase therapist effectiveness?
  • Is the concept of disease reducing the quality of life of healthy people? Would an alternative belief help healthy people more?
  • If people might be more harmed than helped by our culture’s belief in disease, what secondary gain outweighs this harm, so that instead of naturally shifting, we double-down in our beliefs about disease?

The Important Questions Revolve around Responsibility

I think people have jumped to answering these questions too quickly. All of these questions have a commonality. They all require a concept of responsibility. As I read the scholarly articles about this topic, it seems to me the writers are not all using the same understanding of responsibility, and so they misunderstand one another and draw inaccurate conclusions about each others’ ideas.

I will pose more questions now, using the word responsibility, and you begin to see what I mean:

  • Is the sufferer responsible for the condition he finds himself in?
    • If it is a physical condition that a doctor has measured or seen on a scan, is the sufferer responsible for the condition he finds himself in?
    • If it is a mental condition, where no physical condition can be measured by a medical doctor, now is the sufferer responsible for the condition he finds himself in?
    • What else shifts the person’s responsibility for the condition he finds himself in?
  • Who is responsible for reversing the malady?
    • The therapist?
    • The sufferer?
    • The insurer?
    • Some split of responsibility among these three?
  • What is the responsibility of a healthy person?
    • Would a responsible citizen tolerate diseased persons among us?
    • Or would a responsible person advocate to have diseased persons kept apart from healthy persons?
  • What is the responsibility of a person who begins to experience troubles?
    • Is it irresponsible to hide the troubles from society (since society will shun and stigmatize him if he reveals it)?
    • Is it irresponsible to avoid treatment for fear of being stigmatized?

If you feel you know the answers to any of these questions already, I urge caution. I don’t know the answers already. I think the answers all depend upon our understanding of what responsibility means.

Good News

This book brings good news. This book claims:

All of the issues our culture has regarding ill people, revolve around our concept of responsibility. I think you’ll be surprised, relieved and hopeful, after learning a different perspective of what responsibility is.

©2016 by Patrick Moore, do not copy without permission. But you may link back to this page at http://healingbrain.blogspot.com

End of book excerpt…

If you enjoyed this please feel free to post your comments below or ask questions.


Radio interview on the Sexualization of Massage
May 14, 2014, 8:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I was interviewed earlier this month by Mishell Livio and Fook. I asked permission to get the audio for posting here and Mishell sent me the files which I have posted at youtube: http://youtu.be/NF2AMQ5TkPk .


The video is about 8 minutes of the 10 that I was interviewed, plus one minute of Fook and Mishell’s comments after I hung up, and one of the two callers.

The interview was mostly Fook asking me questions and he did well at getting to this basic point: even at legitimate massage establishments, male recipients often expect sexual massage, and this makes legitimate therapists feel high anxiety. Fook made some jokes about it the interview makes sense.

After I hung up, Mishell and Fook wondered how often innocent men happen to get erections. By an innocent male, they must mean that the guy didn’t book the massage with the expectation of receiving a sexual massage, that his arousal was a surprise to him. I imagine that does occur occasionally. However, men have ways of preventing the first stirrings of an erection from becoming full, as I describe in my previous blog post, Clothed Massage Prevents the Sexualization of Massage.

I notice that part of the interview was edited out. I remember saying something about the media. Fook said something like, oh, its the medias fault? and I said, yes, partially. Perhaps since radio is media, he did not feel this would be good to play on the air, and so this part of my interview was not aired. How much responsibility for the sexualization of massage is the media’s doing? (feel free to comment below).

I notice that in post-production, the sound effect of a spring going “boing” has been added several times. I imagine this is to give the listener the idea of an erection springing up. What is the responsibility of the media here? The image of a spring coiling and releasing gives the impression that a force has been placed upon the spring, and it is simply doing what it naturally must do. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, like a law of nature. I think this media portrayal of an erection teaches us that, once an erection occurs, it must fulfill its objective, like a spring must spring. This probably wasn’t what Fook had in mind when adding the sound effect. Perhaps he was just going for a laugh. But going for a laugh, often worsens the public’s view of massage. That was my point when we spoke on the phone, and that was the part that was not aired.

Several more examples of this come to mind. I am reminded of the TV show, Friends. One character was a massage therapist, and she sometimes had to deal with customers who expected her to provide an orgasm as part of the service. This TV show was the first place I ever heard the term, “happy ending.” The term got a big laugh on the show. It is funny, I admit. I probably laughed, for a few seconds until I realized how the term makes my profession look bad. The phrase happy ending, went viral and now it is commonly used. I wonder if polls had been taken in the 90s prior to that phrase being launched, and now, if the public would have a greater sexualization expectation of massage now than they did before the phrase went viral? If so, then the media is partly responsible, don’t you think?

My wife and I began attending improv shows and learning improv at workshops two years ago. We went to the Phoenix Improv Festival twice. The one last year had an improv troupe doing a game they call “Foxworthy,” where the audience shouts out professions and the troupe says funny things about that profession. Here is the video of that performance, with the skit about massage therapists going from minute 2:00 to 3:10. Someone shouted, massage therapist. The first performer said, “good with your hands.” The second performer said, “happy ending.” The third performer said, “If you’re okay with men getting erections on the table.” Most of their responses to massage therapist, were sexual. Of course this made the crowd laugh, and my profession is reduced in the public’s view with each laugh. Note to improv performers: getting a laugh is not always the highest aim of art.

I do not blame the media entirely. I think equal.. no, greater accountability, should be upon us massage therapists. I don’t mind that Fook or someone at the station edited out my comment about the media. The problem of sexualization, finally comes down to those of us who are licensed to do massage therapy. After I hung up, one caller said that he had dated a woman who was a massage therapist, who did sexual massage as an option for her recipients. She encouraged this by dressing provocatively, and must have charged extra for this additional (somehow nobody mentioned illegal) service, because, he said, she earned $5,000 to $6,000 per month. There definitely are licensed massage therapists who also offer sexual massage as a secret option. These therapists do far more damage to the image of our profession than the media does. Even if the media were to immediately stop associating massage with sexuality, still the fact that it is easy to find massage therapists who will do illegal sexual massage, will continue to strengthen the association.  

Can our profession win the battle for our image? Please comment if you think yes, or no. It appears to me that our profession has been struggling to define ourselves as non-sexual therapy, nurturing, healing, and relaxation. This struggle has been occurring for the entire 20 years I have been licensed and I think we are losing the battle. I think this battle is one that cannot be won, and we need an exit strategy.

The exit strategy I suggest is clothed massage. Four years ago I stopped offering people the option of being nude during their massages. I only work through clothing. I believe muscles relax better when massaging them through clothing. When nude skin is touched, these sensations race to the brain and crowd out the muscle sensations. While a person is partially nude, his brain will be thinking about things other than muscle relaxation. While he is clothed, his brain will only be processing the less-sensual muscle pressure. In this situation, his brain is far more likely to relax the muscles, and relax them more completely. If you could quantify how much muscles relax during a 60-minute nude massage, I believe you could get that same amount of muscle relaxation in just 30 minutes of clothed massage.

When I said “I do only clothed massage now,” during the interview, Fook said, “eww,” like he was disappointed. I am not saying all massage should be clothed. I feel it is my duty to the reputation of my profession, to offer therapy and muscle relaxation in a way that nobody could possibly misconstrue as sexual. I believe if our profession is to continue into the future as therapy, that we must do something to assure the public what we are doing is purely therapeutic. What other options do we have, besides clothed massage?

So I thank Fook for asking me on the phone, if I blame the media. His question led me to putting accountability for the sexualization of massage where it belongs: on us therapists.

Further reading: “Code of Ethics” from the National Certifying Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

Standards of Practice from the NCBTMB

In a future blog post I would like to share what I think is the responsibility of massage schools, regarding the rampant sexuality out in the real world. Shouldn’t prospective students be made aware of this problem, before they spend ten thousand dollars and a year of their life learning the trade?