The Politics Involved in a Massage Therapy Career: What You Must Know

When you enroll in a massage school, you should expect to learn the ins and outs of massage therapy and become an expert at it. Since you have to complete at least 500 hours of training before you can sit for the NMC exam, there is a good chance that you will know a good amount of what there is to know about performing massages by the time you graduate from massage school.

At massage school, you learn about different types of massages and how to perform them. You will also learn about the various modalities and the niches you can specialize in. All of this ensures that you can become a successful professional massage therapist.

But there is one thing that is not covered in the courses you take during your massage therapy program. It is something that you need to be mentally prepared for else you might be in for the shock of your life: the politics involved in a massage therapy career.

The increased level of cutthroat competition in almost every profession means that you need to be prepared to deal with politics. The same can be said of massage therapy. Not only does it take time to get good at the profession, but it also takes time to familiarize yourself with external factors such as politics at work.

Therefore, it is a must that you know about the politics that you may face in a massage therapy career. Always remember, awareness leads to preparedness.

Alternative Therapy vs. Traditional Therapy

There is a common view among many massage therapists that their profession shouldn’t be considered a part of the alternative care industry. There are many professions, including chiropractic and acupuncture that are considered alternative treatments for pain and other health problems.

If you are a purist when it comes to massage therapy, there is a good chance that you might develop the same view. If you believe that this view is somewhat absurd, you may fall in line with the sect which believes that massage should be considered traditional therapy.

On the other end of the spectrum are massage therapists who don’t consider categorizing massage therapy as a rehabilitation technique. This is the same view that many therapists have regarding traditional medicine when considering massage therapy a part of alternative medicine.

They feel that massage therapy is not a simple procedure and shouldn’t be considered as such. This has led to a dispute between the medical industry and the alternative medicine industry. The medical industry doesn’t consider massage therapy a viable treatment for health problems, which is why there is some degree of conflict.

The History of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has been around for many years now. In fact, the first written record of massages being given to people dates back to around 3000 BC in ancient China. This means that massage therapy has been around for over five millennia, which is almost unbelievable.

The Chinese believed that restoring the balance of energies within the body enabled it to heal itself. This is what they based their concept of massage on. From there, the Japanese picked it up and they developed the Shiatsu form of massage. The basis was the same but new techniques were incorporated into the methods followed by the Chinese.

During the same time, massage therapy was finding its feet in India. It has been a part of Ayurveda since the beginning. They also believed that allowing the body to heal itself was the best way to maintain overall health and wellbeing. In the same era, the Greeks and Romans also opened up to the value of massage as a means of healing the body. In fact, Greek scholar Hippocrates said that no one can become a student of medicine before first becoming an expert at massage.

But that was a long time ago. Over the years, particularly in the last century or so, the techniques and forms of massage therapy have evolved. There is more science than art to massage therapy now. Modern tools and methods are used to ensure the massages are given in the best way possible. That being said, if one says that massage has no healing properties, it would be doing injustice to the ancients who developed the art and concept of massage during the early years.

However, you may find a few massage therapists who believe that modern massage is everything. They disregard massage therapy as it was in ancient times and believe that ancient techniques have no role to play in modern massage therapy. This is absolutely wrong. There is no way massage therapy would have been as strong a field as it is now, if it weren’t for the effort put in by ancient therapists. So, if you are confronted by any massage therapists who disregard ancient massage, you should know better than to fall in line with them.

Contemporary Massage

The fact that some massage therapists believe that modern massage therapy is everything and the ancient massage concepts should be disregarded doesn’t mean that you should do the same. That being said, there is no doubt that the implementation of a clinical approach to massage therapy and making it more of a science than an art has its merits.

Scientific research has shown that massage therapy has proven effective in treating body ailments, including pains and aches. Elderly people who are in constant discomfort seek massage therapy as a means of living a more comfortable life.

In addition, massage therapy has also proved effective in boosting the immune system of the people getting massages as well as helping people combat stress. Stress is the root cause of most health problems people suffer today.

Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that massage therapy enables people to enhance their overall health and wellbeing. Not only can people save money on medical treatments but also beat mental and physical health issues without the need for medicine or surgery.

Despite being a proven fact, the medical community is apprehensive about accepting massage therapy as means of healing and treatment. Unless this perception changes, you can expect to deal with some degree of politics in the massage therapy industry.

Don’t let these petty issues distract you from your career. You are better off ignoring the politics in the massage therapy industry and instead concentrate on providing quality service to your clients.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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