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Massage Today
September, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 09

Don't Dismiss the Importance of Massage for Massage Therapists

By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT

I recently returned from a massage therapy convention in which several area practices had set up demonstration booths. I noticed how many attendees were signing up to receive the free 10 minute massages, myself included.

As I waited for my appointed time, I reflected upon the fact that at all of the conventions I had attended over the past few years, practitioners were eagerly awaiting their turn in the demonstration booths. This reminded me of an article I wrote several years ago addressing the importance of practitioners receiving massage for themselves. At that time, I was shocked to find out the majority of my students indicated they received a massage less than once per month.

For whatever reason - better education, stronger economy, changing attitudes towards health - I have noticed that my students and fellow practitioners seem to be receiving massage more often. While this is encouraging, I still believe there is room for improvement in terms of practitioners regularly incorporating massage into their lives. Inspired by my observations at recent conventions, I felt it was time to re-visit this topic, as a gentle reminder of how important it is to receive that which we give out every day.

Remember all the reasons massage is valuable for your clients? You share with them how massage can help to alleviate joint and back pain, speed recovery from injury, increase blood circulation and manage stress. Well, all these reasons apply to you as well. Below are some common reasons I still overhear for why practitioners resist receiving a massage. I address them once again, since they are important as always.

massage - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I Don't Want To Spend The Money

I still respect this response. While I feel like our industry is on the rebound, many are still experiencing a decline in business. It is always a good idea to manage one's finances judiciously. If you do not feel comfortable spending money on a massage, please consider trading with someone. Probably the most common person to trade with would be another massage therapist. However, if that is not an option for the therapist you like – he/she only accepts cash - perhaps another form of trade would free up some money to get a massage from the person you prefer. For example, maybe you could trade a massage for a haircut, yard work, babysitting, marketing opportunities or something else. By not spending money on these things, you would be able to put aside the money needed for a massage.

I Haven't Found A Therapist To Trade Services With

The Internet is a wonderful tool for finding people with similar interests. Searching for massage therapists in your area through blogs, listserves, chat rooms or Craigslist is a good way to start. Or, for the more entrepreneurial spirits, start your own massage therapy blog or post an ad on Craigslist. Visiting your area massage schools is another way to connect with fellow practitioners. Check the free daily papers for events related to massage or postings from local massage therapists. Word of mouth also goes a long way, so the more people you talk to, the better chance you have to meet other therapists. Once you start finding people, it is simply a matter of trial and error until you find a practitioner whose work you enjoy and with whom you can arrange a form of payment.

I Don't Have The Time

Really? I believe we all have time for what is a priority to us. Yes, we are all busy, especially those of us who are caretakers of young children, aging parents or other family members. What rings more true to me is to say, "I do not believe receiving a massage is a priority in my busy life right now." I urge you to reconsider, for all the reasons discussed above. Every massage therapist can find one hour (one and a half, including travel time) each week, or every other week, for something that is a priority. Your challenge, therefore, is to re-categorize massage as a priority in your life.

As I said before, we cannot be an effective massage therapist if we do not take good care of ourselves. It would behoove us to take the time to practice what we preach!

Click here for more information about Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT.


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