The Massage Therapy Career Focus Workbook

Terminology Used in This Workbook

We use the terms therapist and practitioner interchangeably throughout this workbook. Although some states and provinces in North America, and countries around the world give these terms specific meanings in order to indicate a massage person's level of training, we do not attach any such significance to them other than to mean a person who does massage. If anything, this fact just underscores the need for more consistency throughout the profession.

We also refer to massage styles, techniques and modalities throughout the text. The terms style and technique are often used interchangeably by most practitioners, however, some people feel that the term style should refer to a particular named massage method such as Swedish Massage. The term technique, on the other hand, should refer to the entire manner and methods by which an individual fulfills the technical requirements of their profession. For example, if someone asks you what techniques you perform, you could respond by saying "I have learned many styles of massage such as Swedish, Reiki, and Craniosacral, and from those I have derived my own particular technique for achieving certain wellness objectives."

The term modality has come to mean the same as style or technique as well. Modality is simply the application or employment of a therapeutic agent. Therefore, modality can cover more than just hands-on techniques but also the use of heat or cold, and therapeutic devices such as percussion machines, steam chambers, salt glows, mud baths, etc.

For those of you who are sticklers for grammatical conventions, we use the term focuses as the plural form of focus. This is correct usage; however, the term preferred by the etymological cognoscenti is foci. We just think that most of you would feel silly running up to a friend and saying "I have discovered my foci!" as opposed to saying "I now know which focuses are most important to my success as a therapist!" Better yet, just tell your friends you have found your focus and no one will get hurt.

Finally, we have tried to provide clarification of obscure or difficult terms within the margins next to the paragraphs in which these words appear.