The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook


Treatment Setting — Concept:

Treatment setting refers to the environment in which you apply your therapeutic massage technique. The following listing and descriptions of different types of treatment settings, although hardly comprehensive, should serve as a good reference. The intent here is to equip you with a better understanding of the range of possible treatment settings so that you may start thinking about any potential conflicts with your other focus choices.

Treatment Setting — Options:

OPTION 1: Spa/Resort

In Europe, more of a lifestyle outcome facility. In North America, more of a retreat, pampering, weight loss and cosmetic facility.

OPTION 2: Salon

Gradually becoming more lifestyle focused, however, most salon-based massage practices are typically seen as having an experiential focus. Very difficult to be taken seriously as a corrective outcome therapist when you work in a salon. The best place, however, to be applying all those experiential outcome modalities such as herbal wraps, salt glows, aroma therapy, etc.

OPTION 3: Fitness Club

Traditionally focused on weight and exercise training. These facilities will range from strictly body building clubs (where a massage therapist may be available only on certain days or during certain hours) to the full-service alternative wellness center with full-time nutritionists, physical therapists and massage therapists.

OPTION 4: Chiropractic Clinic

There are over 35 different styles of chiropractic treatment. These styles range from disciplines using shallow touch depths in conjunction with reflex stimulation techniques and an underlying oriental medicine approach to disciplines that rely exclusively on mechanical joint manipulation and mobilization with a purely Western medical approach to wellness.

OPTION 5: Physical Therapy Clinic

Traditionally, a place for biomechanical corrective outcome therapists operating in an active care mode only. However, there is a movement within the physical therapy industry to provide their clients with a wider range of wellness modalities. Acupuncture, nutritional consulting, and psychological therapy are now commonly in use in this environment, as are kinesiologists (referred to in some locales as exercise physiologists). It's common now, especially when kinesiologists are present, for physical therapy clinics to have fully equipped gyms for weight training, exercise training, and aerobics.

OPTION 6: On-Site

First, we must clarify the difference between the terms on-site and out-call. An out-call is a thing you do and not a setting. Out-calls are about leaving your normal treatment setting to provide a treatment somewhere else. On-site refers to treatment settings that are established at a site where the clients are working, gathering, or recreating. For example, business conventions, sporting events, and recreational gatherings. The point about on-site to keep in mind is that the therapist just happens to be set up and available as all the activity goes on around him or her.

If you have experience with a certain demographic group like athletes, office workers, or even square dancers, working in an on-site treatment setting may appeal to you.

OPTION 7: Massage/Alternative Health Clinics

As recently as twenty-five years ago, clinics devoted entirely to massage and alternative modalities of achieving wellness within North America were few in number. These clinics, which have exploded in number, are full-service facilities offering their patrons numerous choices of massage and alternative health modalities. Each therapist in the clinic will have a particular skill and focus which he or she offers as part of the overall menu of choices provided by this type of clinical environment.