The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook

Wellness Area — Concept:

Human be-ings. To be or not to be. See a pattern here? In order for humans to exist they must be. A rock can be, but it can't be a being. Being implies doing something. Doing something like breathing, thinking, walking, growing healthy cells, or digesting food, to name a few. We call doing something an activity. And if you recall from the introduction, we found that people value their ability to be doing things; that is, to perform those activities they desire. We also know that when a person's activities become impaired or threatened, he or she will seek health care. Therefore, if health care is about improving or maintaining wellness, then we could also say that health care is for improving or maintaining activities.

So, it makes intuitive sense that if we divide all human activities into handy categories (or areas), we will have some insight into why people go to health care professionals. Hence the term Wellness Area. Then, we as therapists, can choose which area we want to focus in ourselves. Fortunately, we have already made such a list of all the activities humans perform in order to be and then found the minimum number of categories into which they all fit. Here's what'we came up with: Psychosocial, Biochemical, Biomechanical.

Wellness Area — Options:

OPTION 1) Psychosocial Wellness Area

Psychosocial wellness is highly dynamic and represents the ultimate wellness area. It is where the sensory information from the other wellness areas (including itself) are perceived and interpreted. It encompasses activities such as thinking, feeling, interpreting, reacting and interacting. But every person perceives, interprets and acts upon stimuli differently. What makes one person feel terrible, either physically or emotionally, may only be a minor irritant to another. Therefore, what you learn about someone's psychosocial wellness area is entirely dependent upon his or her subjective interpretations.

There is also another factor which makes psychosocial wellness somewhat unique. Therapists who specialize in this wellness area are as much a part of the treatment themselves as are their massage skills. That is to say personality and empathetic skills are very important. If you have a caring, sympathetic nature, plus a fundamental desire to improve the relative quality of people's thoughts, feelings, interpretations, and reactions to internal and external stimuli, you would focus in this wellness area.

OPTION 2) Biochemical Wellness Area

The biochemical wellness area refers to those activities performed by a person's circulatory, lymphatic, endocrine, immune, reproductive and digestive systems. A number of these could be grouped under the term metabolic activity. It is most directly affected by a person's diet, environment, and hygiene. Sure, there are genetic influences, but we are only concerned with those things we can readily identify and influence within the scope of massage. If you want to help clients suffering the effects of a poor diet, unhealthy work environment, or improper hygiene (including the inability to efficiently transport or expel metabolic waste), this would represent your wellness area focus.

OPTION 3) Biomechanical Wellness Area

The biomechanical wellness area refers to those activities which are performed by the mechanical components of the body. These include bones, muscles, and related soft tissues which help us perform the actions necessary to move about and perform work. If you would like to help your clients to move about and perform biomechanical activities, this would be your choice of wellness area.