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Massage Today
September, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 09

Making a Difference

By Angie Patrick

Some people can live their whole lives unconcerned with the state of affairs of their community, the friends they have, or the profession they choose. I think we all know someone like this. It seems the only interest in life they have is simply to make more money, amass more material things, and to elevate themselves regardless the cost.

Unsavory as they are, they certainly can help to shed light on the attributes most of us would like to avoid in ourselves and our friends. While the description above is unsavory, there are varied shades of grey that are not so extreme. None of us intend to fall into these grey areas, but sometimes, it's really all too easy to get so wrapped up in our own little micro-galaxy that we forget the bigger universe spinning around us.

The bills have to be paid, the house has to be cleaned, the laundry must be done, the kids must get to school, and the needs of your own half acre can sometimes seem to be greater than the sum of what you can provide, especially in hard economic times. We work so hard to make everything go precisely as planned that we sometimes deplete the well that exists within us filled with the desire to give to our community. In fact, many of you reading this are probably even saying, "I am tapped out, Angie. ... It is all I can do to make my practice successful and keep that balanced with the needs at home." I hear you. And I can truly identify with this.

As with everything in our lives, there must be balance. I am no stranger to working and trying to make my home a happy and healthy place for me and my family. I certainly cannot tell you where your threshold lies for capacity to participate in other community enriching activities or self-enriching pursuits. No one knows that but you; it is a personal decision and one only you can make for yourself. But I can share with you  my experience from making the active choice to MAKE the time to be an activist for positive change in the massage community; it has enabled me to feel as if I am making an impact on my community, while replenishing the well inside me that desires to do good for others. And it doesn't really pull from the needs of the job or the needs of the family.

girl laughing - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I think anyone who knows me would have to say it is more than just a little obvious that I love massage. I love it for many reasons. First, the health benefit it has provided to my family and those I love has been profound. Second, it is the means by which I provide for my family and their needs. It provides a roof over our head, and it provides the food on our dinner table. Most of my friends are in this industry, and many more people I know through Facebook, tradeshows, and through public speaking are also in this profession. To say massage permeates my life would be an understatement. So, for me, after recognizing the impact massage has on all phases of my life, it makes sense that I needed to find a way to balance what massage provides me with a gift I can give to support the profession that is so important to me in so many ways. In thinking about what I can do, I came upon two things. One, provide the best quality professional grade products on the market at a reasonable and fair price, while upholding the standard of professionalism for our industry. And two, by being a proponent for supporting massage therapy research and beating the drum about its importance to each of us who depend on massage as a means of support. Without research, the future of massage is at risk. Suppose there were no more contributions made to the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF), and no further research was possible. In a very short while, massage therapy would fall decades behind and we would be taking huge strides back into the dark ages when "massage" meant something completely different than it does now. It would no longer hold the stature it does now, and it would certainly no longer hold the interest of the medical community as a true therapeutic means for facilitating and maintaining overall health.

How would this impact our ability to maintain our own micro-galaxy? I believe it would be impactful enough to make many of us have to leave the profession we love and look into other careers far less rewarding, and for which we have far less passion. I don't know about you, but I can certainly see the importance of continued forward momentum in quantifying the belief we all hold: TOUCH HEALS. Without those in the field documenting, conducting field trials, and making strides to publish papers with outcomes of these trials - our profession dies on the vine.

I, for one, choose not to allow this to happen. I cannot fix the world, but I can facilitate positive change within the community I love. I can bring about fundraising opportunities to assist in funding research. I can speak to the need for research whenever I am given the chance. And I can donate on a personal level, so that I can be certain I am part of the fix, and not part of the challenge. I can try to instill in others the impact we, as the custodians of the profession, can have upon future generations of therapists by doing a small part to create big changes.

Think about this: If there are 250,000 (estimated number) therapists practicing in the U.S., and we were able to mobilize just 10 percent of these therapists to give up just two "venti-skinny-mocha-latte's w/ whip" each year, and take that money and write a check to the MTF, we could raise almost overnight a whopping HALF-MILLION DOLLARS the first year alone! Can you imagine how much change this could facilitate? What if more mobilized and we each encouraged others within our community to do the same? We could expand that percentage exponentially, and by doing so, we could all help insure the future of massage therapy for generations to come.

The small parts done by many become stellar in size and can change the future of at least part of the Universe. I choose to be a proponent for positive change. I know it takes a small effort on my part, but it is absolutely worth it to me. I will make the effort. Will you?

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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