Book Review of The Ethics of Touch

National Association of Nurse Massage Therapists
August 2003
by Teresa Kirkpatrick Ramsey, BSN, LMT
Founder, Baby's First Massage Program

The authors have taken the primary ethical issues all touch therapists encounter and present overviews of the issues, very life-like scenarios that demonstrate the issues, questions to ask ourselves, and opportunities to explore positive responses. The text is very helpful to individuals and, clearly, in the classroom.

The format of the book is enjoyable! I found it very readable and inspiring to have a resource like this. The quotes in the margins are profound, sometimes humorous, always effective in putting ethical issues in the context of life in our families, our communities and world. There are prompters in the margins that guide us to information in the text that offers deeper, or expanded information on a topic.

As an actively practicing nurse massage therapists for 15 years, and the founder and trainer for the Baby's First Massage Program, I felt really grounded in ethics. But, this text has expanded my viewpoint in many ways. The authors have such depth of experiences that I haven't had, and I am very grateful they have presented us with these teachings. In particular, the information on touch with survivors of abuse, and sex, touch and intimacy issues was helpful. Also, after all the years of offering therapeutic massage, the reminders of roles we take as client and therapist was helpful.

As a labor and delivery nurse, and working in Obstetrics in a hospital setting, I was privileged to be part of the very intimate details of the lives of many people for a brief time. I became adept at creating safety and trust and providing boundaries when the patients couldn't do so. What can be really interesting for me now, as a therapeutic massage practitioner, is to be present in my work, maintain friendliness and caring, yet keep the professional overview with long term clients. I see this text as very helpful in expanding my capabilities as a therapeutic person.

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