The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook


Promoting your Massage Career Focus

Now, what about other ways of communicating like advertising or promotional material? Once again, the approach is the same. Just build your message around the framework of your career focus statement using words that sound as natural as possible. For example:

TIME OUT MASSAGE CLINIC

Bored Silly or Just Need To Escape The Hussle and Bussle?

Our massage clinic specializes in relaxing or stimulating minds and bodies. For the bored, we use techniques that stimulate your psyche and invigorate your muscles. For the overworked, we use techniques which soothe the hectic mind and release those taut, tired or aching muscles.

Time Out Massage is your chance to do something nice for yourself. We do all the work, you just have to let the gentle touch, fragrant oils, soft lighting, and soothing sounds carry you away.

CALL: 555-5555 for an appointment.

Located in the Family Health Complex.

Sorry, no insurance claims.

Let's look at what we have here. Obviously, we are talking about two different services under one roof: Psychosocial—Experiential and Biomechanical—Experiential. Documentation is alluded to by the line Sorry, no insurance claims. That doesn't mean that they don't keep documentation, just that any documentation they do keep is probably basic in nature. Approach to wellness is not mentioned specifically either, however, the mention of fragrant oils, soft lighting, and soothing sounds implies a whole client approach. The care mode is obviously Passive since the ad says "We do all the work …" Touch depth is mentioned as gentle. That's okay because it fits the tone of the ad, so we can assume it is shallow. Finally, the treatment setting is given as the Family Health Complex.

From this example, you can see that your career focus statement really is just the tool for creating the framework for conversations and other forms of communication.

Up until now, we have just been telling you how to use your career focus statement for communicating with the public. What about communicating with colleagues and other health professionals? For these folks you can use your career focus statement almost as is. Just string it together in a way that fits the flow of the conversation. If the professional you are talking to doesn't know what you mean when you say things like active care, or a structural-functional approach to wellness, then you can explain these things as needed.

Which leads us back to something we said in the introduction about how these career focus principles would not only help you to see where you fit in massage, but where you fit in the entire health care system. If you turn to the Appendix, you will find the section entitled: Wellness Area Supplemental Information. This section breaks down other health care professions by wellness area. Depending on your own wellness area choice, these are the professionals you need to tell about your massage practice. Once you explain your career focus to these people they will be in no doubt about how you fit into their list of possible referral sources for their clients.

If you own a large massage clinic, you can now train your intake personnel to ask new clients which wellness area activities they would like the therapist to focus upon. Things such as documentation needs, preferred approach to wellness, care mode and touch depth preference can also be asked of each new client. From there, you can pair these clients up with the most appropriate therapists. Further to clinic operation, if you want to offer the broadest number of choices to the community, you can use these principles to select therapists from the entire spectrum of core focus combinations. This will give your clinic the diversity it needs to stay competitive as well as help you to avoid hiring staff with redundant skillsets.

If you own or run a school, you can now see how you can plan your curriculum in order to give your students the widest possible exposure to the many facets of massage. You simply have to ask yourself if the courses you currently offer cover each of the options in Service Provided, Service Methods and Service Context. But lest you think we have forgotten what we have said earlier, you can also use these principles to give your school a unique educational focus. An educational focus which is very narrow, but highly intensive in order to turn your students into experienced career focussed professionals from the moment they graduate.

In closing, there are some additional tools in the appendix which will further help you to implement your new career focus. Take particular note of the sections entitled: Specific Career Focus Statements, useful for a variety of different massage careers; and, Wellness Area Supplemental Information, a useful section to show you the career issues, resources, and networking opportunities specific to your chosen Wellness Area.

You have come a long way in just a handful of pages. You learned how a simple question like "What is massage and how is it valuable?" could lead to so much inquiry and eventual discovery. You also learned that it wouldn't cut the mustard to say massage is valuable because it enhances wellness until we could define what wellness means to people. You then learned that wellness is defined differently from one person to the next according to his or her slate of desired or necessary activities.

From there you learned how to define what you wanted to provide as a massage therapist, as well as how and where you wanted to provide it. You then learned how to use this understanding to communicate effectively with the public and your peers. Finally, almost imperceptibly, you have learned how to use a tool which will help you to filter every single training or employment opportunity that may come along from now until forever. Never again will you need to accept that which is convenient or expedient. From now on, you will always be able to recognize what you want, or that which you need, in order to succeed on your own terms.

Now, wasn't that better than spending five or ten years and thousands of dollars to accomplish the same thing? We thought so.