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Curties-Overzet Publications is Now Partnering with Handspring Publishing (U.K.)

Great News for Curties-Overzet’s U.S. Customers: We Have Signed On with a Fulfillment House!

From Our Editor, Debra Curties: "How Pat Benjamin Convinced Me That History Is Important"

Making Sense of Research

Our History Book is Now Here!

 Distributor News



Curties-Overzet Publications is Now

Partnering with Handspring Publishing (U.K.)

Continuing our mission to offer educational texts that are both high quality and accessible to practitioners and students alike, Curties-Overzet Publications is pleased to announce our new distribution relationship with Handspring Publishing. Handspring is a U.K. company that specializes in fascia, movement and manual therapies. Some of the engaging new books they have published recently include The Placebo Effect in Massage Therapy by Brian Fulton and Architecture of Human Living Fascia by Jean-Claude Guimberteau and Colin Armstrong.

As with all of the products we carry, these titles are fairly priced and backed by quality service and true-cost shipping. Schools and other distributors please note that our bulk order discounts will continue to apply.

Please have a look at these new titles. We feel certain you will find them quite interesting. If you have any questions about our expanded catalogue, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Robert Rodbourne

Office Coordinator

Curties-Overzet Publications

330 Dupont St, Suite 400

Toronto ON M5R 1V9




Great News for Curties-Overzet’s U.S. Customers:

We Have Signed On with a Fulfillment House!

Some of you have let us know that the higher postage and cross-border fees involved in ordering from a Canadian company are a deterrent. For others, technical compatibility issues with the Canada Post app meant you couldn’t complete online orders. We have resolved these problems by signing on with a U.S. fulfillment house to handle the shipping of U.S. purchases.

When you order books and products from us, you will use the usual methods, i.e., you can place orders with us by phone, email or online. However, your parcel will now be shipped within the U.S., at domestic rates, and there will be no cross-border hassles or charges.

We have heard your concerns and believe you will like this new arrangement much better!

We value our ongoing relationship with you. If you have any questions, please be in touch.

Robert Rodbourne

Office Coordinator

Curties-Overzet Publications

330 Dupont St, Suite 400

Toronto ON M5R 1V9




From Our Editor, Debra Curties: "How Pat Benjamin Convinced Me That History Is Important"

With the release of our new book The Emergence of the Massage Therapy Profession in North America: A History in Archetypes by Patricia J. Benjamin, PhD, LMT., our editor, Debra Curties has had a chance to reflect on how she became interested in the projectin the first place.


Pat Benjamin Convinced Me That History is Important – Debra Curties

If you’re like me, you didn’t study anything about the history of our profession in massage school. Or, perhaps you learned a smidgeon – a quick overview of massage as part of healing practices in ancient times, something about massage’s presence in different cultural traditions around the world, a mention of key Europeans like Ling and Mezger – with the purpose of identifying that massage has a venerable and longstanding history, but without many details, especially those that would illuminate how the profession has developed into its present form in North America.

My ignorance of the subject fostered indifference. It didn’t seem especially relevant to know about our history. Particularly, as I have come to learn, since massage experienced a “dark ages” period between roughly 1950 and 1970, it appeared as though, ancient Greeks notwithstanding, massage therapy really did begin to exist as I became aware of it in the mid ’70s.

So how did I come to be involved in publishing The Emergence of the Massage Therapy Profession in North America by Patricia Benjamin, PhD? Pat is a massage historian, but I met her years ago in the context of massage association politics. As often happens, we encountered each other at meetings and conferences, enjoying the occasional coffee that became more regular dinners. I also read Pat’s history column in the American Massage Therapy Association’s journal, and from time to time she would send me historical references and images (usually bizarre) of breast massage she had come across.

Pat is now semi-retired, but she is the working author of Tappan’s Handbook of Healing Massage Techniques, having collaborated with Frances Tappan as she got older and then taken over after her death. Several years back, Pat revealed to me that there was another book she had always wanted to write, that she would like to be her legacy to the profession. I had my doubts about how welcome a text about the profession’s emergence in North America would be, but I somehow got hooked as we discussed Pat’s vision for it sporadically over dinners in different cities.

She began to convince me of the importance of knowing our roots and of the role historical knowledge can play in helping a still-young profession understand the influences that have shaped it, its unique traditions, and its imperatives in the present day as we craft an identity as a modern health profession. As it turns out, the challenges we face today have arisen before – it is fascinating to see the historical interweave of the “art versus science” debate, the “how to differentiate ourselves from less savoury/less professional others in the public mind” issue, and the “whether to join with mainstream medicine or to hold on to a more holistic view of what massage therapy can be” questions.

Once we started working together on the book, our talks shifted to pragmatics. Pat started out with a sweeping era-by-era approach beginning with the first arrival of Europeans. There were big questions about how much to include from each time period and what types of broader contextual detail were relevant to the purpose of the text. It got bogged down, but was re-invented when Pat settled on the method of telling the story through archetypes.

Each era had its own healing traditions and the practitioners who embodied them. These archetypal therapists became the focus of the chapters. The book takes us on a journey from “old woman” healers to early-day nurses and midwives, to bonesetters and rubbers, medical gymnasts, old-style masseuses and masseurs, magnetic healers, hydropathists and bath attendants, nature cure doctors, wartime reconstruction aides, Swedish massage practitioners, through to bodyworkers and today’s massage therapists. This new motif brought the history alive. The practitioner narrative is central – their successes and failures, how they were educated, the terminologies they used, their understanding of their work, the way they were viewed by the societies around them, their collaborations and struggles with conventional medicine, how they utilized massage and explored techniques and modalities… all of it is antecedent in some way to massage therapy as it is now. And, I finally learned why it’s called Swedish massage despite the fact that our terms are all in French!

As I’ve been brought along on this journey through editing Pat’s work, I have come to appreciate some important benefits of understanding more about our profession’s history:

•         Reclaiming our iconic figures: Every profession has its leaders and heroes, people who have been instrumental in moving things forward in significant ways. However, when that history is influenced by power struggles in which more mainstream forces often “won” and professions like massage were often viewed as “alternative” at best or “quackery” at worst, major figures may have come down through the historical record looking tarnished.

Pehr Ling (1776-1839) is an excellent example. By any standard he was a remarkable man – he spoke multiple languages and was a fencing master and expert medical gymnast who worked with the Swedish military to enhance soldier fitness. He was also an avid student of how the body worked, a researcher focused on evaluating the impact of his clinical methods, a practitioner dedicated to drugless healing versus the often dangerous “heroic medicine” methods of the time, and a university lecturer and later founder of the Royal Central Institute in Stockholm. This school had a huge impact on the evolution of movement and massage techniques in treatment of injuries and physical conditions. It was also crucial to North American massage history because it was the training ground for numerous practitioners and instructors who immigrated to this continent and began practicing and teaching here. Like many others of his time, Ling embraced vitalism, which was a belief in the “vital spark” or dynamic energy inherent in living things and saw manipulation/restoration of this energy as central to healing. Although this belief system became discredited as medical science progressed, it still exists in certain cultures (for example “qi” in Chinese medicine) and has echoes in the holistic traditions of present-day massage therapy. Because vitalism later became associated with mesmerism and other practices that drew scorn, and because it was supplanted as medical science evolved, Ling’s story often comes through with a “flake” label that is clearly unfair.

•         Learning about our historical figures: Most of the key thinkers and teachers in our profession, even in recent history, are unknown to us. Some are names we may have vaguely heard of, for example, Gertrude Beard, James Mennell or Frances Tappan, and many others probably not at all, like Douglas Graham, who was a major advocate for quality massage education in the 19th century, Mary McMillan, who was a key player in the success of the reconstruction aide service, or Eunice Ingham, who pioneered reflexology and road-tour continuing education. Knowing about these individuals – their thought processes and their vision for the profession, how they addressed the challenges of their times and what they added to the breadth and richness of our work and professional identity –does make a difference. It gives us a respect for the solid foundations from which we come and an affection for the sometimes quirky alternate pathways that are part of our unique history.

•         Canadian content: Massage historians are thin on the ground, but while there are Americans like Pat Benjamin and Robert Noah Calvert in the field, no one has come forward to a similar degree in Canada. While there is plenty more primary research to do, Pat has taken her “North American” mandate seriously, providing a solid level of information about the Canadian profession.

•         Situating us in a broader context: A downside of the way massage therapists interact professionally is isolation. We often work alone or in small groups and tend not to engage with other health care providers in ways they would consider normal. We can be afraid of dialoguing with doctors and overly deferential when we do. We can lose confidence in our expertise and practice scope in multidisciplinary environments. While our profession’s story includes periods of segregation from the mainstream, and sometimes even persecution, it interested me to see that it also includes many eras of respect and inclusion. Knowing this can change one’s outlook, especially as the historical struggles of conventional doctors for respect and acceptance are also illuminated. A broader understanding creates perspective shifts – more paths and options for massage therapists seem possible. The other totally cool aspect of this book is the illustrations. We searched and explored and ended up uncovering hundreds of truly stunning visuals. Some are fascinating and some are hilarious, but the sheer volume of the images creates a pictorial history that is new to our awareness and so very engaging, like finding a picture of one’s great grandparents in an old box in the attic. The Emergence of the Massage Therapy Profession in North America is a ground-breaking book, but also one that cancapture your imagination and fill in spaces that you didn’t know were there. I predict you’ll be won over as I was.



To Our Customers:

Please note that, effective September 30th, sales of Making Sense of Research, Second Edition have transitioned from Curties-Overzet Publications to the author, Martha Menard . For enquiries, contact:

   Martha Menard    4551 Park Lake Drive    Kiawah Island, SC 29455    434.960.6862

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact Robert at 888-649-5411 or


It's Here!



Curties-Overzet Publications is pleased to announce the publication in 2015 of The Emergence of the Massage Therapy Profession in North America: A History in Archetypes by Patricia J. Benjamin, PhD, LMT.

This book explores how the massage therapy profession has been shaped in North America by its European heritage and unique circumstances in the new world. The reader is guided through this history via archetypal descriptions of various hands-on healers and practitioners as well as biographical information about many individuals who contributed to the emergence of massage therapy as a profession. Attention is given to the development of the organization and regulation of massage therapy, and to its relationship to conventional medicine.

Written in clear and lively prose and accompanied by numerous photographs and illustrations, it will be a useful and readable reference for practitioners and students alike.

To place an order, please contact Robert Rodbourne at 416.923.6792 or.




























Attention All Customers!

Of Special Interest to our Bulk-Purchase Customers:

Upgrades to Our Shipping and Returns Services

We would like to remind you of the benefits of our shipping and handling services. We understand that prompt delivery is important to most customers. That is why we have always offered Canada Post Expedited Parcel with its on-time guarantee and liability coverage. Nonetheless, in these cost-conscious times, we understand that customers are looking for better deals where they can find them. Therefore, in addition to our expedited shipping service, we want to assure you that we can arrange for more basic options, such as Canada Post Regular Parcel. Although this involves a slower speed of delivery, it is useful to note that package tracking is still available. This level of service may appeal for orders that are not time-sensitive or for large discount orders where exact-cost shipping charges will apply. Additionally, we want to inform you of a change in our returns policy. We realize that our bulk-purchase customers, such as schools, often have problems managing unsold books. Therefore, for these customers we will now extend our policy to allow for the return of overstocked materials. You will have up to 90 days from the date of sale to return items. If you have any questions about how you can take advantage of our new choice in delivery method or about our updated returns policy, please don’t hesitate to contact Robert at 888-649-5411 or