July 2016
TouchPro International News

Greetings from David Palmer

[David Palmer Picture] "The last three months have been nothing less than exhilarating. I feel like every day is filled with discovery and new connections, both internal and external. Perhaps that is the privilege of living in my "ivory tower" in the middle of rural Connecticut."

The last paragraph was written a week ago before the cascade of tragedies that occurred in  St. Paul, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Nice, Turkey and, yet again, Baton Rouge. To top the week off, yesterday I found out that one of my oldest friends had died after only 64 years on this earth. Rest in peace, Robert Stansel. My heart is with all of the families and communities and countries directly effected.

I don't pretend to know how to reconcile the last paragraph with the first, but I know that both must be acknowledged and embraced--a word that I love for both its literal and metaphorical meanings.

With that off my chest, I hope this newsletter provides a small measure of respite as I report on a couple of exciting global and personal "firsts" in the world of intentional touch, one of which comes from France. I hope you enjoy these stories.

In touch,

A dream come true

Three years ago our TouchPro affiliate in France, Xavier Court Training, began an application process to obtain approval from the French government for the first recognized certification in chair massage. The process proved far more involved and expensive then Xavier anticipated but, fortunately, he persevered and on June 7, 2016, the application was approved. As it turns out, their country-wide certification for "Seated Massage Practitioner" is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Their credential was also the first of its kind approved by the European Union making it portable throughout the entire EU. You can read the formal press release here.

I have long dreamed of an entry-level professional chair massage training program that didn't require  a credential in table massage to legally do seated massage. Unfortunately, making that dream come true in North America is nearly impossible but, fortunately most other countries in the world don't treat chair massage as a subset of table massage and are open to acknowledging it as a distinct occupation.

The French experience is being reproduced by our TouchPro affiliate in Trinidad & Tobago where their application for a Caribbean-wide credential is already in process. Perhaps, if we can get chair massage officially recognized everywhere else in the world, then North America will take off the regulatory brakes so that the public will finally be able to get regular massage when they want, where they want, and at a price they can actually afford.

A book about touch

I met Janet Courtney last year through a small working group that is exploring the feasibility of creating an interdisciplinary, international conference on touch. On so many levels I find her amazing. She is an internationally recognized expert in developmental play and attachment therapies for children and gave a wonderful TedX talk on the importance of childhood touch.

This year Janet wrote/edited a book on Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical Guide. She was surprised to discover that nobody had written a text for professionals about the crucial role of therapeutic touch for children. At her invitation I co-authored a chapter entitled Teaching Positive Touch: A Child-to-Child Massage Model for the Classroom with Jean Barlow, another hero of mine whose program was profiled in the chapter. The book (to be published in late 2016) is a first and my writing an academic chapter in it is also a first. It felt like a marathon with the same finish line exhilaration and craving for more. Thank you Janet and Jean for challenging me and including me in your lives and ground-breaking work.
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Link to History Channel Story
If you haven't seen the History Channel clip about the origins of the massage chair and contemporary seated massage featuring David, check it out.
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