I am Massage Therapy because I am a massage therapist. Each of us makes up what massage therapy is. This is vital to remember when trying to figure out what the “Brand of Massage Therapy” looks like. I come from a marketing background so when I tell you that the “Brand” is important, you can trust me. It is what is identifiable: to you, our professional community, clients, and the public at large (including legislators). My dilemma is we have always been in an identity crisis and I kind of like it this way.
I like that it’s up to me to define my professional calling. Since September my schedule has included:
- Stone Medicine retreat with massage instructors from Japan
- The American Massage Therapy Association National Convention
- Teaching salon in-services: The Beard Ritual for Cancer Awareness Promotion
- Facilitated a Stone Medicine self -care class based on Native American traditions (for a group of mental health professionals)
- Attended a four-day workshop on legs, feet and knees at the Ankrum Institute
- Spent a considerable amount of time working on clients in my treatment room…..
- And wrote a newsletter article for my state AMTA….. and this blog
This schedule represents what makes me the massage therapist I am.
As much as I love the fact that we are a diverse profession, I can’t ignore the fact we need to agree to some basics or we will really be in crisis. Specifically how the “Brand of Massage Therapy” is being hijacked: one way has been with us a very long time and comes from an outside source; the sex trade and human trafficking. It’s something that our organizations like AMTA and the ABMP are committed to fighting but we all have to stay involved. So as a massage therapist, really look at how you can support the ongoing effort to not let a criminal element ruin the work we have already accomplished.
Another major threat (and the most heartbreaking) is an inside job and it’s all about how we treat each other. One of our priorities in protecting the “Brand” is making sure that massage therapy continues to develop as an occupation that is skilled and professional. No matter what focus or methodology we individually integrate in our treatment rooms, we need to do the best we can to support each other and hold ourselves to the highest standards possible. We do this by educating ourselves about the benefits of these different approaches, keep an open mind about these differences, and give each other the benefit of the doubt. The better we know each other, the more effectively we can be. Networking is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to accomplish this. So for many many reasons don’t miss a chance to mix it up you’re your fellow therapists.
I was recently notified that I will be inducted in the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame at the World Massage Festival, in August. I do not share this information to brag because in reality this honor is very very humbling. I am humbled when I look at the list of previous inductees. I am grateful when I think of all the people who have influenced me over the last 25 plus years…… every teacher, mentor, student, and client. I am honored because this is really about being a massage therapist and a teacher/coach /advocated of massage therapists. I am proud to be Massage Therapy, I am one of you, and so this is an honor for all of us who day in and day out work our work and do the best we can.
Be well, do good work, and let us know why you are proud to be a massage therapist.