S2E4: Science Nerds Who Care About People

Episode 4

Apr 24, 2021

This week, it's Cal and Cathy talking about stuff. Hear what your favorite podcasts hosts are thinking and reading these days, and how everything is connected to good health care.

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This week, it's Cal and Cathy talking about stuff. Hear what your favorite podcasts hosts are thinking and reading these days, and how everything is connected to good health care.

Join the Healwell Community to continue the conversation, and get discounted registration for the Just Care: Social Justice in Health Care virtual conference: community.healwell.org

Support us on Patreon! patreon.com/interdisciplinary


Cal Cates 00:09 Hello, I'm Cal Cates

Cathy Ryan 00:12 and I am Cathy Ryan.

Cal Cates 00:14 Welcome to another episode of interdisciplinary. In this podcast massage therapy educators, practitioners, and positive deviants Cathy Ryan and me, Cal Cates, will use research, science, experience, and humor to explore the broad landscape of healthcare and really of just humanity through a truly interdisciplinary lens. You'll always learn something, you'll always laugh, and you'll come away better informed, and with real things you can do in your own community and practice to create a more compassionate, and collaborative system of care for all humans. Please be sure to go like us, give us the stars, give us the reviews, spread the word that you are listening to interdisciplinary and what it has done for you and your practice. Thank you for listening. And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, this week's pun, is an oldie but a goodie. Are you ready? Doctor, I've broken my arm in several places. Well, then don't go to those places.

Cathy Ryan 01:10 Stay away.

Cal Cates 01:12 Right.

Cathy Ryan 01:14 Have we not learned that? Right?

Cal Cates 01:16 No. We haven't.

Cathy Ryan 01:17 Just stay away.

Cal Cates 01:20 So what's happened, Cathy?

Cathy Ryan 01:23 Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you know, issues with the vaccine rollout, inequity issues with vaccine hesitancy and not in the places that people go on about. Exploding numbers, particularly Ontario is is, you know, scary right now, the Canadian government's reluctance to, you know, not allow flights coming in from places where infection rates with variances are rampant, and we're not sure why they're not doing that. And COVID is real.

Cal Cates 02:06 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 02:07 And, yeah, that's where that's at. How about you, my friend?

Cal Cates 02:14 Yeah, well, you know, it's, we have this, everything that I've been listening to, you know, and reading, is talking about this weird tension, because we've got, you know, I have such mixed feelings about in the United States, now, where over 50% of people are vaccinated, and I think that, it makes me sad, because I know that that is a unique thing in the world, and that there are countries that are nowhere near that. And it also I think, is giving Americans a false sense of security in terms of what they can and can't do. And, and I can also really understand people's confusion, who don't have the patience, or maybe even the interest to really like, pour over the articles and statistics that are out there. Because, you know, when the CDC says, if you're vaccinated, you can fly. But maybe don't fly if you don't have to. And vaccinated people can get together on masks without being distance, but like, you know, like, if you've got your first shot, maybe you should wait, and you should definitely wait. But even if you're vaccinated, probably you should mask and people are like, well, what am I supposed to do? And, I mean, I sort of feel like, you're just supposed to keep masking. You know, like, just, it's really not that hard. And I know, it's inconvenient. And I know that just the specter of disease is exhausting. And that people are, to some extent, just over it. But it just really pushes all my buttons about sort of, you know, American privilege in the sense that we have that, you know, there are people in other countries who've been wearing masks for a really long time. And it's just a way of life, and they, they seem to be managing just fine. So it really does make me want to shake my country and say, like, for real care, care about each other. And, you know, I really appreciate President Biden saying yesterday that, you know, he made a sort of a state of the vaccination speech and he was talking about it made me sad, but it was very smart of him that he said, first of all, you're protecting yourself. And then of course, you want to protect your community and whatever and then I just I know that there are lots of other countries that the compelling thing is actually protecting your fellow human and that the fact that you're protecting yourself is just a bonus and it makes me makes me sad for our perspective. So yeah.

Cathy Ryan 04:41 Yeah, yeah, I was I was saying in a conversation I said, You know, I am going to write on my mask when I you know, cuz I wear when I of course go into town, those rare occasions to go shopping for groceries and nothing else. I'm going Write on my mask wear a mask save a neighbor.

Cal Cates 05:03 Yeah

Cathy Ryan 05:04 You know, to try to get that point across, you know, and I think that's just such an important point. You know, I think one of the things that we saw out of New Zealand, very early on, is that part of what worked in that country is that consideration for each other, that was at the forefront, and that's what, oh, if I wear a mask, it's going to protect my neighbor. Okay, I'm going to do that, because that's a pretty simple ask for the greater majority of the population. You know, there's always those exceptions, that a mask might be a challenge for some individuals, and I completely respect that. But for the greater majority of the population, it really wearing a mask and washing your hands is not a huge ask.

Cal Cates 05:47 Yeah

Cathy Ryan 05:48 Whether the trade off is the potential to save a life or protect somebody from serious ongoing complications?

Cal Cates 05:56 Absolutely. Yeah. And I think I mean, I'm excited that today, we've decided to not have a guest and to unpack some of this stuff, and also to share some other lighter but valuable resources with with our listeners. But I think that this is really the thing is, I feel, as I listened to they're sort of a new wave of people in our discipline in massage therapy, at least in the US sort of considering going back now that the vaccination rates are going up. And, and I think a lot of their data is outdated. And that, you know, the idea that we should be washing surfaces, because surfaces are gross. But that really the data now about COVID is that this like 10 minutes of what contact time with a bleach solution. And the things that we were doing in the very beginning aren't necessary. And that really it is what you just described, masking and hand washing are key and continuing to be socially distant as much as possible, or what's the, it's not? So is it socially distant? What's the, there's a term and people say don't call it distant. It's social something. And I'm drawing a blank on what they call it, but they tried to soften it because we don't want to be distant from each other, you know, we want to we want to sugarcoat everything. But it really does seem simple to do what's necessary. And that, you know, I guess we can keep taking people's temperatures and things like that. But it really if you follow those basic rules, you can keep yourself and your clients pretty safe.

Cathy Ryan 07:26 Well, and it's been fascinating to me, and I've had several clients say this to me, and some that I wouldn't have necessarily expected them to say this, let's say, but I've had several of them say to me, I have not had a cold this year. Yeah. Or I didn't get the flu this year. Yeah, I think there's something to this airborne and masks thing going forward. I think I'm whenever I fly, or if I'm going into, you know, during cold and flu season, in particular, if I'm going to be in close contact with large groups of people and in indoor spaces. Yeah, I think I'm gonna wear a mask from now on. Right. Wow. Okay. Yeah. You know what? I'm right there with you. Yeah, it was, if you happen to be sitting next to me on a flight, you know, at the time when it becomes safer to do that. I'll probably be one of those folks. Just wearing a mask from now on.

Cal Cates 08:23 Yeah. Yeah. And like, it's just, I mean, I feel like it's, it's like wearing like, when I ride my bike, I wear a fluorescent vest and my helmet. And I wouldn't think of not doing that. I don't care that I look like a nerd. I'm a live nerd. You know? Like, if I'm the only

Cathy Ryan 08:42 A non-head injured nerd.

Cal Cates 08:43 Exactly. But it is, it is interesting to me that the the data is really clear that there was a precipitous drop in flu incidence this year in the United States with people wearing masks, and that there are still people saying masks don't work. And that there's still a solid contingent of people who would sort of rather have their their sense of freedom than wear a mask. And it is it is hard to we've been having some debates in our, in our private online community about, you know, will you start in your practice asking people if they've been vaccinated? Will you you know, how will you manage this? And I feel like we are still going to be masking and washing our hands for a really long time. So if you want to ask people if they've been vaccinated, great, but it's not like, well, if you've been vaccinated, and I've been vaccinated, we'll just all go back to normal because other clients would be coming into your space. And we still want to be as safe as we can possibly be until we have a critical mass of people and we really start to see a drop in incidence rates and death rates. And that seems more consistent than what we've been able to observe and yeah I think that that is a it's a challenge. And we want to be as responsible as possible. But sometimes I feel like, we almost open our minds so much that our brains fall out. And, you know, it's like, this is simple. Stick with the basics, you guys.

Cathy Ryan 10:15 Yes, you know, and I've had clients start some of those conversations around, you know, once the greater population has been vaccinated, you know, in our community, you know, will you still be masking and asking people to wear, people to wear a mask? And my answer is yes. And here, here are the reasons why. So I, you know, I engage in that conversation with people about why I still feel, in addition to my regulator is still saying, you got to wear a mask,

Cal Cates 10:45 Right.

Cathy Ryan 10:46 But, you know, even if it weren't mandated, for me, you know, look, looking at the data and just even common sense, and I think, particularly what we've seen with the cold and flu season, I've had several teachers, both in my personal life, and in my practice, say to me, this is the first time in 23 years of teaching, that I've not had three colds. And they're actually teaching in the classroom. They're not, they're not doing the, you know, online stuff. They're actually in contact with students. So I, you know, I think just even common sense looking at that. And now, I think it was the WHO that recently came out and said, Yes, COVID is airborne. That is how it how it is transmitted, no travels, yeah, we get we kind of gathered that.

Cal Cates 11:31 Got it. But WHO being the last to the party, that's not a thing that we usually see. Well, and I was talking with a good friend of mine, a colleague who owns a massage school, and this person was saying that as the guidelines change for what kind of precautions to take if you're vaccinated or not, and as their student and educator population in their school changes in terms of who's been vaccinated and who hasn't been the dilemma of, do I just continue like, and this was during the everybody wear two masks, which now seems to be up and down in some places, they say, yeah, some places that say no, but that the change in guidance had been if you are not vaccinated, wear two masks if you are vaccinated wear one mask, and that just in floating, a possible change in policy at the school, this person was getting pushback from instructors saying, Well, I don't want everyone to know my, my vaccine status. And, you know, if you change this policy, then it's like announcing to the world that I have or haven't been vaccinated. And, you know, it's like, people just want to make it hard. So just wear two masks, if you don't want people to know you have or haven't been vaccinated, like, you know, this is, but I also part of the resistance for this person was that, you know, they don't, they don't want other people to know, their health care decisions, which are on a basic level, I appreciate that. But this is a health care decision that affects me. And it is reasonable for me to know if you are or not presenting, or what level of risk you're presenting to me. And I feel like, we just really, we're so invested in this concept of freedom in in the States, I don't know if you guys see this in Canada around this issue, but that we, we missed the we missed the point. And that, you know, this is a healthcare decision that does affect the people around me. And it is fair for me to know, as a person who's going to come into contact with you as a massage school instructor, where if I'm an instructor and you're a student, we're agreeing to be in space together to achieve a common goal. We don't have the option to not be in the space together. So to establish trust, I need to know what decision you've made about this specific health care decision. I don't need to know anything else about how you manage your health care. But this affects me. And it's fair for that to be a more publicly available piece of information, I feel like.

Cathy Ryan 13:52 Well, and I think that's, I think that's been one of the more challenging pieces for, for me in conversation with folks is around that peace of seeing those individuals who are clinging so tightly to "my freedom, my freedom, my freedom," and and getting so constricted by that people who typically would be fairly reasonable folks become so constricted by that, that they don't allow themselves to just look at some of the common sense points. And I'm not even saying you have to take that deep dive into the science like like we would. Right, but really just you know, that people talking about I haven't had a cold this year.

Cal Cates 14:36 Yeah. That

Cathy Ryan 14:37 Couple of times. Yeah. Yeah. How did that How did that happen? Yeah, you know, so just they do they just, they're clinging so tightly that they just can't even take a moment to take a breath and have a common sense moment to say mask and I wash my hands. Well. Yeah,

Cal Cates 14:55 Well, and I think you made an important point early in the episode that we sorta skipped over. But that, I think it's also people are not thinking about the long term effects of people who have been infected with COVID. And that, yes, less people are dying. And as vaccinations become more widespread, the vaccination doesn't keep you from getting it. It hopefully keeps you from dying. But it doesn't mean that you then don't have the series of complications that we've seen various people have. And I know you and I both have colleagues who are, you know, were affected months ago, who are still really struggling with, like, just daily life because of the aftermath of COVID. And that we do have to continue to take it seriously for that reason.

Cathy Ryan 15:36 Yes, yeah. So So, you know, in the context of that, and and having had people around me get infected early on in this, you know, it made it very personal very quickly for me. So the reality of it was, right there in my face early on. And I think that's been part of the challenging conversation of you know, people and and I have a colleague who had a client completely lose it in their during their session. About I don't see any sick people where are the bodies and like, just like, yeah, and my colleague was like, took everything I had to not want to do something. Yes. Yeah. Not nice to this person. And I'm a totally peace loving groovy individual. Yeah, cuz I thought about, you know, they shouldn't I thought about you, and you have, you know, people around you have been, you know, really impacted by this. And it was just like, a moment of, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Yeah.

Cal Cates 16:37 Yeah, I think I mean, yeah, I think we're gonna continue to see. And I, the neurology piece of it is really fascinating to me that there's just a, there's a very human desire to distance ourselves from fear and from harm, and certainly from things that feel too big to manage. And, you know, we see it, I mean, we see that all over the place. And we'll pivot to some other topics where this is showing up as well. And I mean, that's part of why we have the show is so we can talk about how like, so this isn't because you're dumb, it's not because you're like, morally flawed, it's because we really have to be thoughtful about how we use these brains of ours, because they're really designed to basically keep us safe. And safety, and connection and authentic living don't really go together in the ways that we've understood them.

Cathy Ryan 17:27 Yeah, you know, and I think we're, we are being given so much opportunity to take a moment to really think about our humanity. And, and to really take a look at how our world is treating others, you know, and certainly in in our podcast, we have taken, you know, a deep dive into inequity, particularly for people of color. You know, and this is our opportunity as a species, to maybe take a moment and really think about, is that okay?

Cal Cates 18:08 Yeah, yeah. And I do think it matters that the highest incidence rates in with COVID are people of color, and that there is this very real pattern of dehumanization, and that the more distance again, that we can create, you know, as a white person, I can say, Well, you know, it's not it's not affecting me and the people that I care about, you know, when sort of people of color become this imaginary statistic, and like you said, people will say, Well, you know, where are the bodies, and, you know, I hear about all these things, but, you know, I think it's sort of the liberal media and, and how do we continue to come back and ask those critical questions? And how do we, you know, I try to imagine, you know, when we talk about there being less flu this year, during the same period in 2020, the CDC recorded 130,000 flu cases, and 1,300 in 2021, when people were wearing masks, like we're not talking about a little bit less, we went from 130,000 to 1,300. That- do you read that and say, oh, they're just trying to make me wear a mask? Like if you if you don't believe that, or do you I don't understand where the resistance comes in? Or do you don't have access to that kind of information? And I feel like it's our job to find people who are not compelled by that information and kind of be really curious about, tell me what's Tell me how you understand this information and how what it is about it that's not compelling to you.

Cathy Ryan 19:48 Yeah, exactly. You know, I think if we immediately get into someone's face over that they're going to constrict even further, you know, and again, I think this is partly what, hopefully what we've been doing with the podcast is to open up those conversations and and look at these things, examine these things and have respectful conversations about these things rather than shaming or damning people for what they're doing or not doing. Yeah.

Cal Cates 20:17 Yeah, I'm interested in. And I mean, this is certainly a rabbit hole that there are other people who are doing much more extensive treatments of this topic. And and you should go to those places to really dig in. But what, talk to me about what the conversation is in Canada around the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial?

Cathy Ryan 20:44 I haven't seen a whole lot yet in the media up here. And probably the media that I follow is gonna have a particular point of view. Yeah. Yeah. Because I don't always go to some of the other media that has points of view that I think is atrocious.

Cal Cates 21:07 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it I think it's, it's, it's certainly worth exploring for millions of reasons. But I think when we, when we think about law enforcement, I think it's not too far of a leap to think about health care providers. And and, you know, one of the things I was listening to yesterday, they were interviewing a variety of police officers, and that the the sense that they gave in this piece was that the broad population of law enforcement officers feel like the trial was fair, and that clearly, this person who was an officer, Derrick Chauvin, murdered this person, and that George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. And, you know, the, the media in America, of course, is saying, and like you said, that, I guess I'll call them the liberal media is saying, why is this such a triumph? Like we have a nine minute video of this crime? Why are we relieved and excited that this person was convicted? We should be ashamed that it took this long, and that exactly summer of protesting to even bring a trial. And that, you know, what do we do from this place? And I and I think that one of the things in the law enforcement community that they were exploring in this story that I heard yesterday on NPR, was about many of the police officers who are relieved talk about this, this concept of the lone wolf or the bad apple, and that even what they call conservative media in the United States is, is lauding the the verdict and saying, you know, this is really important, but that they're excited about it, because it supports this, well, this guy was clearly an aberration. This officer who did this, you know, he, of course, should be punished. And that I think we have the same thing in healthcare, that when you hear about a negative experience with a health care provider in terms of race, or bias or prejudice that oh, well, that's, you know, that's just that person.

Cathy Ryan 23:09 That's the outlier,

Cal Cates 23:10 that's the outlier, and that we are all swimming in this. And certainly, we're all on a continuum as providers or as law enforcement officers, in terms of how aware we are of our bias, and how much we let it color, the way that we interact with the people we're serving. But we're so busy polarizing that I think we miss the places to understand that, you know, health care providers hold a similar, I think they hold a similar place in society as law enforcement that they're expected to protect you, they're expected to care about you, they're expected to sort of be above these very human tendencies to be prejudiced and they're not. And and that's not again, it's not a moral failing, but people are, they're not trained law enforcement officers or healthcare providers to notice that the water they've been swimming in is racist water, and it's angry water. And it's, you know, water that's gonna lead you if you don't pay attention, to make these kinds of decisions that are ultimately harmful and perhaps even gravely harmful to the people that you're supposed to be serving?

Cathy Ryan 24:17 Well, I mean, it's written into our legislation as a registered massage therapist, and which is the same umbrella of legislation for any regulated healthcare provider. But if society isn't supporting it, and people aren't raising their their children, you know, in that way,

Cal Cates 24:36 Yes.

Cathy Ryan 24:38 It's happening. It's happening in healthcare. I see. I see stories all the time in Canada that are very similar to that about the way that people of color are treated differently by healthcare providers. You know, where, again, we're not that different than our neighbors south of the border.

Cal Cates 24:58 Absolutely. Yeah. And then we're gonna go Go ahead,

Cathy Ryan 25:02 Because we come from a similar beginnings, you know, like, like the US, you know, this this country was, you know, birthed in the same kind of way, you know, we have a colonial construct that was the beginning of this country.

Cal Cates 25:19 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 25:19 You know, with white Europeans coming over and putting a flag in the ground saying, oh, there's nobody here. You know, so I can claim this for whomever?

Cal Cates 25:31 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 25:31 You know, and, and in front of them are standing, all these people of color saying we've been here since time immemorial.

Cal Cates 25:39 Yeah. Right.

Cathy Ryan 25:41 You know, and you're welcome to come here and share this space with us, because that is their belief system. You know, and indigenous people in Canada, and I'm sure, it's similar in the US, that they didn't own property, they had territory that they used to, you know, gather food and medicines, and, and there was a sharing of that space, but there was no real sense of ownership. So when, you know, the treaties were written, there was a lack of understanding of what that meant. Yeah. Yeah. Because it just didn't, it just wasn't a concept. It wasn't a concept in their governance system, for the governance system that indigenous people had, for, again, time immemorial. They have a governance system, but it's not the same as white European governance system. So the How can you understand that concept if it's just nothing that was ever presented to you? So we see the same issues here in Canada because the roots of that those issues are the same.

Cal Cates 26:40 Yeah, yeah. And I feel like we, we, we still have such a sort of skewed understanding. And I'm, I'm concerned about the, what I what I have felt this kind of a broad sigh of relief among white people in America because of this verdict. And, and that it, you think of the 1000s, of murders that have happened at the hand of law enforcement, that don't have this kind of notoriety and this visibility, and that weren't captured by multiple videos, and that this is, you know, we've spent the last year roughly white people who are waking up angry and working and trying to really change things and saying, like, wow, we have a really huge problem here. And, and I am afraid that this is where we go, whew, well glad that's over, you know, and that now, this will all be fixed. And we really just, this is like the very first in what will be centuries of continued consistent focus, I hope that that more white people than not will say, Okay, well, that was that was good. I mean, it's not that this is not worth celebrating, but it's not any kind of a final answer to a really pervasive and systemic problem. And our unwillingness to stay in this conversation is going to continue to challenge us, I think, whether we're healthcare providers, law enforcement, wherever we fit teachers, that humans interacting with humans have to keep asking these questions.

Cathy Ryan 28:21 Oh, precisely. You know, I think the, you know, body cams and people standing around, shooting video, as things unfold, may adjust certain people's behavior in the moment, because someone's watching. And I think that's good. I'm not knocking that that perhaps may start to move us in a direction. But it really is, it should count even if no one's looking. So however you behave really shouldn't matter whether someone's watching you or not, you know, is that respectful, appropriate human behavior period? Yeah.

Cal Cates 28:59 Yeah. And I think, you know, we we get into these conversations, and people say, Well, now, you know, you're getting away from healthcare. And, you know,

Cathy Ryan 29:07 No, no, we're not.

Cal Cates 29:09 We're not at all. None of this is- none of this exists in a vacuum. And you know, when you have when you have healthcare providers, arguing for gun control legislation, because they are the ones treating the gunshot wounds, they are the ones treating the people who are the victims of gun violence. That is an intersection with healthcare, and we do have to have these conversations we had while the verdict was being delivered in Minneapolis, a 16 year old girl Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and it's still not clear who was stabbing who what was happening, but we definitely see this was a girl in the foster system. We don't know anything about the background, but it's another place where health care probably let at least one if not more than one person in that environment down. And that there was probably additional support, that didn't happen for a variety of reasons. Most assuredly, because of race because of access to resources that might have prevented that tragedy, even before law enforcement was brought into the picture. And until we can really go upstream, and look at those things, these will continue to be healthcare issues and their health care issues upstream. I mean, these are, you know, if you're, if you are unable to access mental health resources, or pharmacological resources, or whatever kind of resources, you need to prevent your interaction with law enforcement, that continues to be our problem and conversations that we need to keep having.

Cathy Ryan 30:42 Well, yeah, you know, and I mean, there, there are people in health care who are stressed out at work, because they're concerned about coming, people coming in with weapons on them. You know, here here in Canada, we had a physician who was shot to death by by a patient, you know, I don't want my health care provider stressed out, trying to get themselves to work without getting killed, or, or simply being stopped, because they're a person of color and the stress of that, and then arriving at work in that stressed out space.

Cal Cates 31:17 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 31:18 You know, so. So there's so many intersections between all of that, and healthcare on so many levels. So, yeah, so yes, it is about health care.

Cal Cates 31:28 Definitely. So where, so Cathy, where do you go for your information? And do you, you know, I, I hesitate to even call it counter intelligence, because that suggests that there are sides, do you read things that aren't, you know, from your perspective? And if so, how do you find that?

Cathy Ryan 31:45 Of course, you know, I do look at some of those sources that are, let's say, more from the conservative side of things, because I want to understand what people are thinking, Yeah. You know, so so I mean, I don't have a specific place that I go, you know, I, we don't have a television in our home. But we do have internet. So, you know, I do kind of look at different sources, you know, kind of mainstream media here in Canada, the media, big media giant here in Canada, CBC, you know, so I will look at some of those, you know, traditional typical kind of media sources. But mostly, I'm going online, because we don't have television.

Cal Cates 32:31 Yeah, well, isn't that the thing, trying to understand? And I think, *really* trying to understand not "tell me why you think crazy things." But actually, I want to know how it is that you see the world the way you see it, and sort of we just, we've been doing a series of blog posts about we we got some some interesting mail a few weeks ago from someone when the murders happened at the Asian owned spas around Atlanta. And we had someone write to us and say that, you know, she asked us if we knew that the worst thing to happen to massage therapy is sex workers posing as massage therapists. And so we I wrote back and explained that that is a problem, but it's a problem for sex workers, not for the massage therapy profession. And but it led us within Healwell to talk about what are the worst things to happen to the massage profession, like what is it that's holding us back. And this last week, our blog was about our sort of infighting and our, our sense that our ideas about the way we practice massage individually, are better than others. And, you know, with each of these blog posts, we're also making suggestions about how to move out of this space. And one of the suggestions we made was like, so let's say I do, I do hospital based and sort of oncology massage. So that would be my job to sort of pick, pick a type of massage that I think is ineffective, fluffy, insert your sort of pejorative descriptor, right? And to reach out to someone who practices that and say, like, Hey, I'm a massage therapists in your community, or maybe you reach out to someone who's not geographically close to you, and you say, like, tell me about what you do. And really just be curious as they describe what they do, and maybe have a couple questions in your pocket, but really listen, and then maybe go find somebody in your community who does that modality and actually receive a session and not that you're going to become an instant convert, but at least your opinion can be formed and based on something real rather than a stereotype and that we can be willing to be surprised and willing to be like, Oh, I thought I knew this or this isn't so XYZ as I thought it was.

Cathy Ryan 34:51 You know it I recall a conversation and it was during my time when I was serving as a as a board member or for the regulator. And I can't remember the entire context of the conversation, but there was some kind of less-than conversation that was happening about massage therapists who work within the spa kind of setting. And I remember saying at that meeting, well, what do you call a massage therapist who works in a spa? And there's kind of a silence in the room? And I said, RMT.

Cal Cates 35:24 Yeah. Yeah, you know your name doesn't determine

Cathy Ryan 35:29 Same credential, you know, I mean, if they're, if they're registered, if they're regulated here in BC, they have the same credentials that I do I work in a different setting than they do. But their education and training their credentials are no different than mine. So the way that perhaps they're using their hands might be a little bit different than mine. Or perhaps the people who come in to, to see them are coming for maybe different reasons than perhaps maybe someone is coming to see me. But an RMT is an RMT.

Cal Cates 35:57 Yeah, yeah. And, and, you know, we get requests all the time from from people who are saying, you know, so I live in such and such a place, and I can't find an oncology massage therapist, do you think I can just go to Massage Envy or, you know, Massage Heights? And and we always say, "Maybe, here are the questions I would ask when I call that place." Because

Cathy Ryan 36:16 Exactly,

Cal Cates 36:17 There's just no way to know they're probably or possibly rather, is a therapist there who happens to work at Massage Heights, and also has oncology training. So you know, you could go to a hospital and find a massage therapist who doesn't have oncology training. So, yeah, we really have to get a lot more curious. And obviously, I feel like every time we notice a limitation like this, and the way that we shape our perspective, we have to assume that this happens everywhere. And so if it's happening within massage, it's probably happening within medicine. It's probably happening within law enforcement. I'm sure the detectives think the beat cops are, you know, everybody's got their opinions about who's more valuable.

Cathy Ryan 36:59 It's Yeah, you know, and I, and then that's the thing, if we think it's any different, again, drawing upon some of my experiences of interacting with board members from the other regulated disciplines, being at these regulator conferences that I went to, you're sitting at the table with board members from the nursing profession, and the, you know, physicians and whomever else. And it was so interesting, because the issues are pretty common, regardless of what hat, you were or weren't wearing.

Cal Cates 37:37 Absolutely.

Cathy Ryan 37:38 So some of the some of the issues that we grapple with in our profession are really no different than some of the issues being grappled with in other professions. And I think it's just a microcosm of the macrocosm some of the same issues that we see in the greater population as part of our culture or society types of issues as well.

Cal Cates 37:56 Yeah. Yeah. I'm curious. You know, one of the things we had talked about leading up to this episode was sort of what are the resources that have shaped your perception of these issues and other issues and kind of your practice, and as you're talking, I'm thinking about this book that I'm sure we've actually mentioned in prior episodes, but it's called The Person You Mean to Be. And one of the most important concepts in that book, I feel like is this idea of, sort of, like, ego threat, or that, what we don't notice is happening is that when I let in a new idea, my perception of myself feels challenged. And I feel actually like I'm in some sort of danger. And the better we get at noticing that allowing new ideas to exist, is not actually a threat. And to be able to say, you know, when we're teaching our racism courses, and our dismantling whiteness courses, we will say to the participants, what would happen if this was true? Like, let we're not saying it's true, we're not saying that the world is going to now run at full speed with whatever this concept that's feeling frightening to you might be, but just let's imagine for a minute, what actually happens if this thing is true. When it just sort of it's like, you know, turning and looking at the monster in your dream, you're like, Oh, it's actually not as scary as you thought it was.

Cathy Ryan 39:17 Well, you know, it's interesting, because a little bit earlier, you asked me about, you know, what, what has been what have I seen here in Canada after the George Floyd decision? And you know, we were talking a little bit about media and stuff. And you know, one of the things that I kind of discovered about myself as a human being an introvert is that when when something major like that happens, I often purposefully will not look at what they're saying in the media, because I want to take some time to reflect to really think about, okay, how do I feel about that? Or what do I think about that before I become influenced by what I'm seeing in the media because like, any other human being I can be influenced some sometimes?

Cal Cates 40:04 Yes, yes.

Cathy Ryan 40:06 Particularly if I'm looking at sources that I highly respect. You know, you know, sometimes I can very quickly go Oh, yes. And then what I've discovered over the course of my lifetime is sometimes there are sources that I really respect. But then after I've taken some time for reflection is kind of like, hmm, I actually don't completely agree with that.

Cal Cates 40:27 Yeah. Yeah. And moving into that space I think it reminds me of when we were talking, and maybe this is like our last big topic for this episode. But this idea that we talked about with Janet- Jan Booth on our last episode about wise reintegration. And I, I feel like when we're searching for information, we are searching for, for ground under our feet we're searching for, I'm feeling uncertain, and I want information that will help me return to a sense of certainty. And that, I feel like that's part of why we're rushing back into life as it was before right now, because a year is a long time to feel like you're actively living in uncertainty. And anything we can do to live, like we used to, to go back to something familiar, we, we will just run headlong into that space, even though if you had asked us before COVID if we were enjoying that life we might not have.

Cathy Ryan 41:25 Exactly. Yeah, yeah. And that's so interesting, because you know, one of the things that might, I would say my day to day, our day to day life here, where we live, hasn't really changed a whole lot as far as our activity, because we live in a place where there are, let's say, there, there aren't a lot of opportunities for eating out. And I mean, we do have those things, but it's not a big part of lifestyle that we live here at home. So that kind of thing hasn't changed, what really changed for me was the travel piece. And you know, prior to COVID, I was traveling, you know, probably a half a dozen times a year, you know, for conferences, or teaching or whatever. And, of course, that completely stopped. Yeah, you know, and having conversation with my partner, you know, talking about that, it's kind of like, even when I don't know that I want to go back to traveling quite as frequently as what was happening before, you know, so it's been interesting to sort of have that. Whereas if COVID hadn't happened, that probably would have just continued at the same pace, or maybe even escalated. I don't know. But it's just been interesting to have that moment of pause to kind of go, hmm, is that really what I want to be doing at this point in time?

Cal Cates 42:42 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 42:43 Um, in my life, as I'm, you know, the age that I am,

Cal Cates 42:50 What ever that might be right? Yes.

Cathy Ryan 42:53 It has a six in it, so

Cal Cates 42:55 Oh, well, that's, that's a good vague.

Cathy Ryan 42:58 It's a great age.

Cal Cates 43:02 Yeah, no, I feel like bringing, bringing continuing to bring mindfulness as the world around us gains, what feels like momentum, at least to me, I mean, there's just a real sense of like, okay, everything's going back and kind of noticing, like, Where can I choose something different and, and maybe not even, like, resist the momentum, but just choose something different or choose to remain in you know, like, I, I am noticing, it's harder to find time to, I like to draw, I like to read, I like to do puzzles. And I was doing a lot of that last year, and I'm noticing that I'm not doing as much of that. And I'm like, oh, like work is creeping in to places that for a year were almost inviolate. You know that this is okay, so we're done working at five and now we relax. And that is slipped away. And I think luckily, in my household, we're both like, wait a minute, that's not cool. That's, there's no reason for that to happen.

Cathy Ryan 43:59 Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Puzzles and playing cards, and, you know, doing those kinds of playing Scrabble, those kinds of things in the evening. You know, we we live in a place where light is extended in the summer, it doesn't get dark until, you know, midnight up here. You know, so really long walks in the evening. And, you know, that hasn't changed a whole lot for us. But you know, we want to be mindful about we like that's good. That's a good rhythm. That's a good way to go about life for us and to be able to retain that as things start to ramp back up again. Perhaps not not too soon, because it's still really precarious up here, but

Cal Cates 44:49 It is here too, sadly that doesn't seem to be stopping the momentum. But yeah, yeah. You know, we've been we've been teaching a course called a year to live and this month we're doing, we're sort of doing decluttering. And we started with things in your actual physical space. But this week, we do a different sort of set of prompts and things to explore each week. And this week, we're looking at Digital decluttering. And really reincorporating we use this book called Digital Minimalism as an example. And he talks, the author of the book talks about when you sort of break up with your screen, whatever your screen might be, whether it's your iPhone, tablet, whatever. Before you begin that process, you need to make a list of what he calls high quality leisure activities, things that you will fill the time with, when you realize that like, wow, like I play Sudoku two hours a day, or whatever your thing is, that sucks you in if it's Facebook, or whatever, that what have you not been doing because you quote unquote, don't have time. And when you set strict rules for yourself about your screen usage, you're likely getting at least a full hour, if not much more than that back in your life. And that, just because COVID may be letting up a little bit, we all still have to remember that maybe we have a year or less to live just because we're in these really breakable bodies. And how do you want to spend that time I'd love to spend it having a beer and playing cards with some friends or, you know, drawing some pictures, and I don't want to spend it doing spreadsheets and zoom meetings for you know, that kind of stuff.

Cathy Ryan 46:23 Well, yeah. Nor do I want to spend all that time listening to a podcast. I mean, I do listen to some podcasts. But I don't want to spend all that time listening to podcasts. And, you know, I've I have taken a fair amount of flack, professionally, because of my lack of presence in social media.

Cal Cates 46:42 Yeah.

Cathy Ryan 46:43 Because I'm scarce on social media. About the quite honestly, the only social media that I might somewhat regularly pay attention to is Healwell. And that's not just the plug, plug, er, because you know, you're having this conversation. But you know, I think about it was Nancy Keeney Smith, who introduced me to y'all at a conference a number of years ago. But you know, thinking about this today, what has really bonded me to y'all is, is that you're talking about important things, and I you know, if I think about influencers, I would say that Healwell has been an influencer for me, you know, Healwell's really made me think about certain things. You know, so if we're talking about as a massage therapist, what has influenced me as a practitioner, I do have my influencers for sure. And and you all are one of those.

Cal Cates 47:43 Oh, we're so glad to have you in our community. And I will say that is definitely a thing I'm glad that I don't think we'll lose with the increased momentum is that we really have built a, an even stronger tighter community during COVID. And people really found us and we found them who, you know, we never would have come together. So yeah, I feel like if we can keep the connection going, that's huge.

Cathy Ryan 48:07 Well, and I think for me, one of the things that has kept me interested in Healwell is that you you're not just talking about techniques. You know, I mean, I'm a science nerd. I like the technique-y stuff, you know, and you know, I like the mechanism of action thing. And, and I love all that. But for me to stay interested, there has to be a lot more and certainly the the giving a crap about humanity part of Healwell is what really resonates for me.

Cal Cates 48:40 Right. I feel like we get to be the science nerds who also care about people that

Cathy Ryan 48:46 I love it

Cal Cates 48:47 Show that this is not antithetical concept that you can do both of the things.

Cathy Ryan 48:51 I do.

Cal Cates 48:54 Yes. Awesome. Well, so it's always so fun to just get to talk with you, Cathy. Are there topics that are burning that we didn't get to that we should hit before we sign off today?

Cathy Ryan 49:10 No, you know, I not that really jumps into my mind about anything that we didn't get to. There's always stuff we didn't get to, but that's why we'll keep doing this.

Cal Cates 49:20 That's right. Well, and I'm really excited we have next week we have Jill Cole from the University of Kentucky, Jill's the massage therapy coordinator there in their Integrative Medicine and Health Program and we've got the folks from Health Care for the Homeless here in Baltimore who are going to join us. And we've got I think, some are they from British Columbia, some folks who do some trans advocacy stuff?

Cathy Ryan 49:44 I don't think they're from BC I think they may be out of Manitoba.

Cal Cates 49:48 Oh, cool. Okay.

Cathy Ryan 49:49 So how I found out about them is they're they're also presenting at the M Tam conference, which is the Saturday that I'm present presenting at and I saw the roster of who's presenting them Whoo.

Cal Cates 50:00 Ah, excellent.

Cathy Ryan 50:01 That sounds interesting. Can you introduce me to these folks, I got the introduction. So hopefully we'll be able to get them on the on the podcast soon.

Cal Cates 50:08 Excellent. So yeah, we've got a couple of weeks lined up of really interesting folks sharing more interesting stuff. And as always, come join us at community.healwell.org. Remember that we've got our Just Care conference coming up: social justice and health care covering all kinds of topics that will be happening in the community. And if you're already a community member, when it happens, your registration fee is way less. And we're also offering our Opening to the Mystery course, which is a six day it's just three and a half hours each day. So it's not actually six days all day sitting in front of your computer, but a great opportunity to connect with your mortality and fellow humans who want to talk about all the stuff that we've been talking about. And yeah, stick with us. We didn't mean for this to be a Healwell infomercial. But thanks, Cathy, we- the more the merrier. So bring yourself and your vulnerability and all your stuff and join our community and let's talk. We'll look forward to seeing you guys soon. Thanks for listening. Leave us some reviews, some stars, share us like us. All the things. Cathy as always, thanks for being with us.

Rebecca Sturgeon 51:23 Interdisciplinary is produced by Healwell. Our theme music is by Harry Pickens. You can send us feedback at info@healwell.org. That's info@healwell.org New episodes will be posted weekly, via Apple podcasts, Spotify, and our Facebook page. Thank you