The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook


Focus. Just another buzzword? No!

The fact is, clarity of purpose in any endeavor is always more efficient and rewarding than an unfocussed approach, be it in massage or life in general. Having focus means getting what you want—not settling for whatever comes along or for that which seems most expedient at the time. Unfortunately, massage is a vast industry which, unlike most other professions, virtually defies all attempts at career focus. Until now, that is.

If you have just started your training in massage you stand to reap the most benefit from these principles. This is because you haven't already spent any of your valuable time and money learning techniques or investing in business opportunities that don't meet your career focus. If you are already a practicing therapist, we assume you are reading this because your career locomotive has jumped its track. In your case, these principles will help you to get your career locomotive back on track toward a practice which is not only enjoyable but also rewarding. If you are a school or clinic administrator, these principles will give you greater insight into what courses to offer or therapists to hire.

However, before we let you rush onward to figure out your exact massage career focus, we need to explain a few things. First, we want to explain the situation and reasoning which lead to the development of these principles. Why is this? you ask. It's just that solutions are always better appreciated when one understands the full extent of the problems and circumstances which lead to the solution. Second, we will explain the benefits of these career focus principles. And third, we will give you some insight into the layout of this workbook and some tips on how to get the most out of it.

Twenty years ago, while writing the script for a ten-minute promotional video on massage therapy, we tried to answer this seemingly innocuous question: What is massage and why is it valuable? Our intuitive response was: Massage therapy is the manipulation of muscles and soft tissues and it is valuable because it makes people feel better. But that answer just didn't seem to do the profession any justice. What kind of touch was it? How did it make people feel better?

We pondered these questions awhile and came up with dozens of possible answers. We realized the answer to What is massage and why is it valuable? depended upon many things. It depended on the individual therapist, his or her training and objectives, the nature of the practice, and the needs of the clients. We also realized, given the terminology extant at the time, that no two therapists described massage or its value in the same way. We knew right then we were in trouble; we couldn't possibly explain all these answers in a ten-minute video.

In the end, we limited the video's scope to educating the public about common, everyday activities which could lead to muscle and soft tissue complaints. We then simply added the assertion that massage was uniquely suited to relieving such complaints. This approach, although not our original one, deftly skirted the entire issue of defining the nature of massage. But we weren't ones to skirt an issue, especially when it came to something as important to us as massage. We resolved to do more intellectual ruminating starting with why the public should value massage.