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Massage Today
April, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 04

Achieving More Than Just Working on One Person at a Time

By Debbie Roberts, LMT

I invite you to take the time to read this short story on how to help millions of women prevent chronic pain. It begins at a very early age when the mind and the body are the most impressionable. We can do more to fight chronic pain than just working on one body at a time. Learn how you can get involved and why.

What is a Muse journey? It is an opportunity to earn three Girl Scout leadership awards, all of which build foundational leadership skills critical to moving up the Girl Scout ladder of leadership and becoming lifelong leaders themselves. The leadership award has three parts: Reach out, Speak out and Try out. The journey has to do with building self-esteem, which is linked to confidence and other positive benefits for girls such as health, happiness, athletic ability, academic achievement and social skills. The journey takes about a year or more to complete.

So, why should you get involved in something like this? Because through this process of involvement, you, as a massage therapist, can help build self-esteem in young women across the country which can lead to a lifestyle of less chronic pain. Also,, this is a fantastic opportunity to achieve business exposure in your community. Here is some staggering statistics regarding the future of women and pain. Research has shown that more than 10 million Americans will be afflicted with Fibromyalgia and that 75% to 90% of that number will be women.

Pain management centers across the country affirm that the number one thing that can help in managing this kind of chronic pain is lifestyle change. Their recommendations are increasing happiness, movement, being a part of the community, improving health through better nutrition and staying positive about life. Doesn't that resemble what the Girl Scout troops across America are trying to instill in our junior-age girls? The Girl Scouts goal is to help avoid the typical drop in self-esteem during the adolescence years. Research studies have linked low self-esteem with depression. For further information on this research you can visit

hot facial towel - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Here is how I got involved. A friend of mine became a Girl Scout leader to help out her granddaughter's troop and she told me about the year long journey she was planning with the girls. She explained it was about visiting the women in the community and having the girls experience their roles. Her intention was to work on two badges at once Reach Out and Try Out. Reach Out, as she explained, is about visiting and understanding the many roles women and girls play in the world around them and the leadership skills used to play them. And Try out is all about the juniors having the courage and confidence to try out new roles. So, I reached out and invited them to my facility to try out being a personal trainer, massage therapist, esthetician and business owner.

Earning the Try Out Badge

First, I asked them what they knew about personal training. And they had great answers like: diet, exercise and sweating. This is where I really got to do some education about personal training. I gave them information that a personal trainer actually helps people achieve their goals of not just looking better but feeling better and instilling a sense of well-being. We talked about the difference between fitness and wellness. With the goal always being wellness. Each one of the girls had the opportunity to lead us in movement, calling out the body part they were exercising. This is a great way of teaching them the names of the anatomy and what the function of the anatomy does.

Second, I asked them what they knew about massage therapy. And again great answers like, "it relaxes you" and "feels good." We had hand reflexology charts printed for them to follow and try out on each other. During the reflexology session, one of the girls proclaimed after answering a question I asked, "I must have woke up my brain." The experience also went much further than that day. This girl's grandmother told me while at school the next day she was searching for an answer on a test and remembered that pressing the end of her finger was how you wake up the brain. She did just that and relayed to her grandmother that the answer came to her immediately. She busily told all of her other classmates about the experience and she is happy to report they all are waking up their brains!

We also went over some of the conditions that massage therapy can help from the young to the old. Many of the girls were involved in sports so we talked about different sports injuries massage therapy can help with. They also got to experience the six strokes of massage and were encouraged to give Mom and Dad a massage when they got home. I was told that all of them did just that and they didn't stop talking about their experience for at least two hours after getting home.

Third, I asked them what they knew about facials and skin care. Again they had great answers, like "a muddy face and cucumbers." So, we finished the journey with skin care education and leading them through giving themselves facials. They did miss the mud, but really enjoyed the hot towels.

How You Can Get Involved

  1. Reach out! Find a local troop to work with and invite them to your facility or room. Or, go to them at their next meeting and bring educational materials such as charts, aromatherapy and your expertise. This is about the girls learning the many roles women hold in the world.
  2. Speak out! It is never too early to introduce massage therapy into a young person's life. Bring awareness to the benefits of massage on all levels from relaxation, preventative medicine or acute and chronic pain.
  3. Try out! Increase public awareness by teaching young girls a modality of massage therapy. Touch therapy is just that, touch. You can't explain the benefits, you need to have them experience the benefits. Wake up their brains.
  4. This whole event lasted just under two hours. So, the time involved is minimal compared to the benefits that come back to your business later in the form of parent visits or gift certificate sales. And why not become known as the expert in your community. You have a lot to offer.

Bring Community Awareness

There are other ways you can bring community awareness to what you do. Why not try a falls prevention program at your local church, or a headache prevention workshop for your bank branches. How about carpal tunnel prevention for your medical transcriptionists or even teaching self-stretching to your local Parkinson's group. Pick up a copy of your community calendar at your chamber of commerce or local community meetings and get out there and become an educator. If you hate public speaking, then read the book by Susan Jeffers, PhD, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. And to quote the Girl Scouts of America, "Trying on roles and realizing your limitless potential builds confidence!"

Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.


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