From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Guest Editorial: Organic Standards are at Risk,” by Bob Butler, in the June 2010 issue. Article summary: Increasingly, health-conscious consumers are indicating preferences for organic goods, including food, apparel and body-care products. It’s important you know how to identify truly organic products, both as a therapist who uses organic products on clients and as a consumer who purchases them for yourself.

by Bob Butler

Why is organic certification important to your massage practice? This is a philosophical question. Studies have demonstrated organic crops are no better for you than conventionally produced crops. They both contain the same nutrients. Other, more recent, studies demonstrate organic crops are actually better for you. I’m not going to address that issue because it misses the point.

The point is, conventionally produced crops use soil amendments, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides (i.e., chemicals and synthetics) that are potentially harmful to us and our environment. When you purchase certified organic, you are, literally, supporting a method of crop production that does one thing no other method of crop production can do: It guarantees the absence of the conventional approach.

If you’re looking to introduce certified organic products into your practice, don’t be fooled by the chicanery and jaded attitudes of those who endeavor to appear organic without walking the talk.

Organic certification as a grower, processor and handler is an expensive, involved, time-consuming and exacting procedure. The complexity of the procedure is one of the reasons U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program-certified organic products are more expensive than noncertified products.

However, it’s the very complexity of the certification process that provides assurances to the consumer and professional, and upholds the very integrity of USDA Organic.

Bob Butler, a former organic-jojoba grower, is president and owner of The Jojoba Company (, a provider of certified 100-percent organic jojoba.