The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook


  1. Lifestyle Psychosocial:
    For clients who wish to maintain, enhance, or prevent the deterioration of their psychosocial activities (i.e., thinking, interpeting, reacting, etc.). On one hand, some of these clients probably have no other choice but to live or work in mentally stressful situations. Many experience relatively greater levels of mental activity due to a heightened sense of physical awareness. On the other hand, there may be those clients who feel they need greater mental activity and engagement. These clients will require techniques which will help them to cope intellectually and emotionally from treatment to treatment.
  2. Lifestyle Biochemical:
    For clients who wish to maintain, enhance, or prevent the deterioration of their metabolic and other biochemical activities. Somehow these people lead lives that overtax or limit their biochemical activities. Perhaps their jobs prevent proper eating and elimination activities. They will require massage techniques that can assist these biochemical activities from one treatment to the next.
  3. Lifestyle Biomechanical:
    For clients who wish to maintain, enhance, or prevent the deterioration of their biomechanical activities. Generally, these are people whose work, recreational activities, or hobbies require the constant use or underuse of certain muscles and soft tissues. They will require massage techniques that relax or stimulate the activity producing muscles and soft tissues from one treatment to the next.
  4. Corrective Psychosocial:
    For professionally diagnosed, referred clients who have lost the capacity to effectively perform certain psychosocial activities. Clients are generally those who have experienced a trauma which has overburdened or blocked their perceptions of internal or external stimuli. The role of the therapist is to produce quantifiable improvements over a certain period of time.
  5. Corrective Biochemical:
    For professionally diagnosed, referred clients who can no longer perform certain metabolic or other biochemical activities effectively. These individuals may have a degenerative disease or they may have experienced a severe physical or emotional trauma which has affected the biochemical activities in question. Massage will be used in an attempt to produce quantifiable improvement of the biochemical activities over a certain period of time.
  6. Corrective Biomechanical:
    Professionally diagnosed, referred clients who have lost their ability to perform desired biomechanical activities. Massage will be used in an attempt to produce quantifiable improvement of the desired biomechanical activities over a certain period of time.

Now that you have seen these examples you may be asking "What if I have a client that one week wants Corrective Biomechanical and then the next week wants Experiential Psychosocial? How can I have just one core focus and not be in danger of losing my clients?" The simple answer is to remember that specialization has its advantages.

But let's not be too strident about this issue. You can have more than one core focus but only if each falls within the same wellness area. So, technically speaking, you could have up to three. For example, you could provide both Lifestyle and Corrective Biomechanical massage without too much difficulty or loss of focus. However, since each of the wellness areas require highly divergent skill sets and personality qualities, you will find yourself being torn in opposite directions if you try to specialize in more than one.

The fact is, trying to be all things to all people is one of the more direct routes to failure in massage. Attempting to cater to every aspect of each client's wellness means spending most of your time and money learning new techniques and styles rather than focusing upon and mastering one combination of wellness area and therapeutic outcome.

Therefore, if at all possible, attempt to stick to one combination of the options within these two focus principles. Granted, if you are a practicing therapist there may be some initial setbacks in your client base. But we have learned (through bitter experience) that the sooner one gets focused the better. Better for you, your clients, your colleagues and your practice.

Finally, if you have no prior training or experience, you may have no idea as to which of these nine options will suit you best. If that is your case, simply start by eliminating those options you definitely do not want to pursue. Hopefully, you will only have a few core focus options to explore rather than all nine.