The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook

Part One

Service Provided

As the name implies, Service Provided refers to what you intend to provide your existing or future clients. Or, in the words of a client "If I give you money for a massage, what do I get?" In the introduction we mentioned that we had a theory that people only sought health care in order to keep doing those activities they wanted or had to do. That theory nicely addresses the what do I get? (i.e., to keep doing the desired activities) aspect of why people go for massage. But if life were that simple we would never have written this workbook. There is another aspect to massage, however, which makes it unlike any other service industry in that What do I get? is often just as important as How do I get it?

For example, people don't care how accountants add up the numbers on tax returns so long as everything is correct and balances in the end. In massage, however, how you go about providing a customer with the service is often just as important as the actual result of such service. In fact, sometimes the means are all that the client values. No end is even expected. To put this in a more ridiculous, yet illustrative light; would you pay an accountant just to be nice to you while he did your taxes and then just walk out without taking your tax return? Of course not. But people will go for a massage just for the sake of the experience. But now we have a problem. When a customer just comes for the experience, then the experience becomes the What do I get? and not the How do I get it? It's all so very confusing, but that's what makes massage so wonderful in its own right.

So, in order to address this dichotomy, we must break up your career focus into sections. This first section defines the What do I get? aspect of your massage career. The focus principles are:

The choices you make within each of these three focus principles will establish what your clients can expect to receive when they come to you for a massage.

Specifically, Wellness Area is not something your clients will get but the region of wellness (as defined by activity) in which they get it. What they actually get will be found in your choices of Therapeutic Outcome and Documentation. Therapeutic Outcome, if you are a massage therapist, represents why you do massage and why clients come to you. To say that it is important would be an understatement. It is also here, within Therapeutic Outcome, where we address that dichotomy of massage being valuable for the sheer experience and for what it can produce at some later date. Which leaves us with Documentation.

Documentation is truly the only tangible thing a massage service can provide its clients (Don't confuse tangible with quantifiable. For example, improving a client's range of motion is not tangible, it is quantifiable). And, depending on your choices of Wellness Area and Treatment Outcome, documentation may be of little or of great importance to your clients.

At the end of Section One you will find an example and exercise for combining your focus choices into the first part of an effective communications statement. Section Two, Service Method, will help you to define the How do I get it? aspect of your career focus.