Massage Therapy Canada

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The other side of the table: Summer 2003

Romeo is often quoted as saying, “What is in a name? A rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet.” As a communication teacher, I always object to students mistaking a line from a play for truth. Consider the following not-so-hypothetical conversation.


September 18, 2009
By Anne E. Wilson

Romeo is often quoted as saying, “What is in a name? A rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet.” As a communication teacher, I always object to students mistaking a line from a play for truth. Consider the following not-so-hypothetical conversation.

Stranger: “So, what do you do for a living?”

Massage Therapist: “I’m an MT.”

Stranger: “ … an … empty?”

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Massage therapist: “Yes, that’s right, an MT.”

Stranger: “Um, what exactly does an empty do?”

Massage therapist: “We treat soft tissue.”

Stranger to spouse: “Go see if you can figure out what that person in the birkenstocks does for a living. It sounded to me like she works at a Kleenex recycling plant … or something …”

I am aware that massage therapists need to call themselves something. And, it would be nice if MT were as instantly recognizable as RN or MD. It would be even nicer if MT didn’t sound anything like “empty.” It is EZ to forget that the listener may never have heard of massage therapy B4, and that the letters MT may be MT of any meaning or merely mean empty to many.

It seems likely that British Columbia will soon offer a Bachelor of Science in Massage Therapy. I have read that one possibility for degree letters is “BSMT.” I have recently been house hunting and know that a BSMT is a basement. Yet, unfortunate as BSMT looks in print it sounds even worse when spoken out loud.

Consider the following hypothetical conclusion to the preceding not-so-hypothetical conversation:

Spouse to spouse: “Well, I tried to figure out what that person does for a living and I think that whatever her job is at least she’s honest about it. She said that her work was empty bull____! or something to that effect …”  

A rose called “skunk-weed” might still smell sweet, but would anyone ever “take the time to stop and smell the skunk-weed?” Because of the difference that a name can make Romeo and Juliet both end up dead.


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