An impulse, instantly regretted, to say to Skepchick et al: if you take up with people who make a regular habit of contemptuously dismissing other people's perceptions and experiences, what do you expect?
I can't quite get enough air, in the discussions about massage. I always feel that I'm misrepresenting myself. I really do value massage very highly. I just don't think it's medicine or spiritual instruction. To me it's a conversation, conducted by touch. Sure, conversations can be terribly important, even life-changing. There's a chance that you'll say exactly what someone needs to hear exactly when they need to hear it: and the chances of that go up, the more closely you listen, the more deeply you care, & the better you are at dismissing your own agenda. But you never know, and it's hit or miss at the best of times. And it doesn't make you a doctor or a psychiatrist or a priest. You're just one human being touching another.
“You can't feel someone's pain directly,” said Diane, but actually you can't feel your own pain directly, either: we know that now. It's always mediated. In fact we are social animals with a considerable nervous apparatus devoted to precisely that: detecting and emulating each other's sensations.