We in the massage field are so often confused or at odds with what to call legitimate therapies. (What, for example, is medical massage? It depends on who answers the question.) But I’ll posit that the more important clarification battle should be waged with spas, who in their race to add the latest and most unique treatments to their menus of services tend to marry such things with what is traditionally the most popular spa therapy, massage.

Hence, on msnbc.com we see, “Spa unleashes snakes for your pains: Massage offers reptilian relief,” above an article that describes “snake massage.” Meanwhile, a spa in Virginia offers Dr. Fish Massage, which involves dangling legs and feet in a tub of little fish—I’ve been trying to find out exactly what kind of fish these are, without success—that nibble away at the skin. “These fish have no teeth, uses their powerful sucking lips to suck away deadskin, which can stimulate acupuncture point and modulate nervous system to relax your body and releases your fatigue,” reads the convoluted text on the Dr. Fish website.

How, exactly, is this massage?

I’d like to call on spas to by all means continue to offer sessions that are therapeutic, natural and that cultivate interest in spa-goers.

But please, leave “massage” to the massage therapists—not to the snakes, the fish, or anything else that doesn’t possess human hands.

Until next time.