Massage Therapists Need ...

By Robert Chute
[Practitioner Parables]

 1. Experienced teachers who educate in an interactive manner that communicates respect for the client, the therapist, and the process. When teachers forget that the ability to help people is a sacred contract, students follow to the Dark Side.


2. Relevant curricula and hands-on time to develop technique and palpation skills. Don’t compartmentalize left-brain or right-brain thinking. The best therapists use their whole brain.


3. Mentors for recent graduates so they make the transition to full-time therapists with the aid of real-world grounding. Mentors can feel the zing of enthusiasm fresh blood brings to the profession.


4. Just enough regulation that we get out of the sexual service perception, not so much that we’re absorbed into a medical system where we are perpetually the poor cousins. Don’t give away your power. Get something for it.


5. To cut the nonsense about how we need massage therapy to be a four-year degree program. If it comes to pass, graduates may find that, despite their huge investment, they aren’t making any more money. Many excellent therapists have very little formal training.


6. More emphasis on the intangibles. The personal interaction we have with clients is key to the benefits of massage. If you don’t honor the body-mind and can’t relate well to people, your technique can’t save the massage from being a disappointment.


7. Less whining that massage schools don’t teach business skills. Many professions receive zero education about double-entry accounting and tax law details. Pick up a business course somewhere else. Quiz your accountant. Major in your major: massage.


8. A strong, comfortable squeakless table, clean sheets, massage oil, and the willingness to serve.


9. An open heart and a calm vibe. When therapists drag themselves into the massage room like wounded animals, the client is already dialing down their expectations—and thinking about dialing up a new therapist.


10. To raise our rates. Therapists’ prices aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. One of my teachers has eight years more experience than I do and she was shocked to find I charge more than she does. She started off too low, raised rates too slowly and, though she’s an excellent therapist, her rates haven’t caught up.


11. To sneak a nap, get some fresh air, eat an apple, read for pleasure, ride a bike. Dream … whatever tickles the pleasure center in your brain and gives your body some rejuvenation time. And when was your last massage?


Robert Chute is a writer and massage therapist and often laughs maniacally. Contact him at Next issue: Massage Therapists Want ...