After I had already massage therapist for a few years, I received many phone calls from people who were considering entering the massage field. They wanted to know if I thought it was a good career field.
I would almost always say “yes, I highly suggest it because even if you don’t start massage practice for your living there’s still a lot to learn about the body and you get to receive massages for months”!
These days, however, I am not so quick to recommend it. First of all, the field is getting pretty flooded and not necessarily in a good way. Second of all I think a lot of people think it sounds like a nice idea at first, then when it comes down to actually giving of yourself in a physically demanding occupation, which also require some emotional maturity, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
One of the nicer things these days, is that you don’t really have to work hard to sell yourself because so many people know about and have heard of Massage therapy.
The public is more educated about holistic health in general. Nowadays you can actually get hired to perform massage consistently in a clinic or spa setting. When I started there were maybe a handful of spas in the state.
Under the previous climate, there were just a few of us and we were doing a physically demanding job that not too many were willing to do. Now there’s a million of us vying for business and this drove the fee schedule downward.
What I suggest these days is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. What’s a therapist apart from another one it’s just how useful they really are. My relaxation massage might be nice and comforting and people want that sometimes. It’s not going to be considered as valuable as a massage therapist that can help you when you’re in pain.
Even if you can help someone who’s in pain, for example, when they call you from their living room floor because they are in so much pain they can’t get up. You show up and help them make it onto your massage table and when you are done working on them, they can sit up and walk on their own.
What can you do beyond that? How will you take what you learn from working on bodies and perhaps develop methods which will help them prevent their back from getting this drastically painful, to begin with.?
After I started exercising in order to stay strong enough to do massage, I realized that most people did not really understand how to work out effectively. They hadn’t a clue as to how to work out in a way that will continue to improve their structure over time. So, I took personal training classes. Why? So, I could not only relieve my client’s pain, but I could also help them to move and work out in ways which could prevent the pain in the first place. Even today, I continue to study on my own, read everything I can and watch my clients closely to notice a correlation between their movement and their pain.
The other smart thing I’ve done is reached out to other massage therapists who are more advanced than me as well as meet with physical therapists who were willing to trade with me. I have always looked for the solutions which would be best for my clients, and some instances, at certain points in time, a massage wasn’t going to be the best solution. In those instances, I am not afraid to refer people to them needed.
My personal goal is and always has been to help my clients. It’s never just been about how many times can I get them to pay me to work on them. One must be honest with oneself and say if this is beyond my scope, I need to help this person find someone else that can improve their well-being.
I hired my friend that has in-depth knowledge of Pilates and exercise to come to help my mother after she had her hip surgery. I recently met Deb Arthur who has not only studied many modalities of fitness, training, and pain-relieving techniques but continues to seek knowledge in order to help people redefined their movement patterns to prevent recurring injuries.
I strongly feel this is part of being an ethical therapist. Do no harm, and do everything you can think of to help your patient.