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so i was reading a blog entry and it got me thinking....where does the core skill of massage come from? is it a natural gift we possess or is it something anyone can be taught and do well? (i can't help but relate it to photography...another of my passions) anyone can be taught to take a great photo...but only those with that natural eye for it can actually create a great photo.

here's the entry i read (hope you don't mind me posting it here Rudy):

As a teacher of massage and lomi lomi I have learned that for every 100 students I was teaching only 3 (at the most) will possess the natural abilities, passion and drive that make a good therapist an exceptionally and profoundly dynamic therapist. This is where I believe that schooling and national certification will always fail. You can train them and model for them all of the powerful attributes for success, they can pass the hardest test in the world, but they and they alone either get it or they don't. As someone who has travelled the globe learning and teaching massage in numerous cultures, I have been more impressed by some (natural talent) that had never spent a day in school. Their intuitive prowess allowed them to see into my tissues what all of the text books and tests couldn't.

thoughts?

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Please remember that I have taught thousands of students over the last 20+ years so there are 30 students that actually went on to be totaly successfull and dynamic massage therapists. Sometimes it is a numbers game. sigh. But hey that is thirty people making the world a better place one body one session at a time.

Lisa said:
totally agree with you Mike...one never knows until one trys. i just wish i had bucked upon this sooner...because i DO believe it is innate in me. however i also believe things happen in their own time, and therefore any other time but the present, i wasn't ready for. :)

Mike Hinkle said:
Hi Lisa,

This is the same in almost all fields of endeavor. Some people just naturally fall into whatever they do. The skills they have learned along the way "just fit". It will always be this way.

Talent can be taught, to some. Otherwise only three of those students, Rudy mentioned, would be successful. Given time and effort, it is possible. Some doctors are naturals and some should change careers. Along the way, trying and then quitting, they will affect many aspects of the profession. And change opinion of it.

Massage is a skill. Whether natural or taught, I hope everyone is given a chance, because you'll never know if you are or aren't a natural, until you try! It's like the kid that wants to hit the ball, but is afraid to swing the bat. Go for it and find out!
i hear what your saying Rudy. I feel blessed that i don't believe this was the case in my schooling. But isn't that what accreditation is for? to make sure schools live up to their obligations as educational providers?

rudy m smith said:
Yes yes, here's the thing... if you realy study massage therapists who graduate as a group and you realy look at some HARD markers for success in terms of what a proffesional carreer is you will see that most are scraping by, many having to hold several jobs to make ends meet... few able to pay for health care insurance, let alone short term or long term disability insurance. We will also see HIGH levels of dissatisfaction in this same group for these same reasons on top of that many give up, burn out, or settle for poor working conditions and very low pay because what clients they do get in the door they can't retain and don't get referals from. Here in this cyber place - Those of us who are making it are the minority. Just several years ago the (new student in a private massage school) was forty something, carreer change, mom with an empty nest, recent divorce etc... now corporations have moved in to get their share of the federal money available to many disenfranchised low end socio-econimic (very young) and very gullible, couldn't handle college, so they thought massage would be an easy job, students. Whew! This recruiting proccess has been in many cases criminal at best. Promising these new students great jobs with great pay that seldom pan out. It still blows my mind when I walk into a classroom at month 8 of training and ask "so where are you going to work? what are your plans?" and I get a whole lot of blank stares followed by some poorly thought out answers! Part of the reason is that massage schools often hire massage therapists who have never had a succesfull practise so they resort to teaching to make a living. Those who can't teach, those who can do. This is NOT always the case (I love to teach). These unsuccessfull (now teachers) of massage pass on very watered down skills, that never cut it in the real world, - and so it goes. But I ramble :}
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Mike Hinkle said:
Hi Lisa,

This is the same in almost all fields of endeavor. Some people just naturally fall into whatever they do. The skills they have learned along the way "just fit". It will always be this way.

Talent can be taught, to some. Otherwise only three of those students, Rudy mentioned, would be successful. Given time and effort, it is possible. Some doctors are naturals and some should change careers. Along the way, trying and then quitting, they will affect many aspects of the profession. And change opinion of it.

Massage is a skill. Whether natural or taught, I hope everyone is given a chance, because you'll never know if you are or aren't a natural, until you try! It's like the kid that wants to hit the ball, but is afraid to swing the bat. Go for it and find out!
I believe it is a natural ability God has given us to share the healing power of touch
I think I have a natural talent for it, before I went to school I would give family or friends massage and they would say I should train in this profession and it turns out I love it, next to doing security jobs. You can be taught it, but doesnt mean you will excell
I think alot of what we attribute to intuitive prowess comes from past experience in the treatment field. I am considered by the people who know me as an extremely intuitive practioner. however to this I submitt that i spend at least 1 hour a day reading the various articles especially those of case hx. I may not be able to immediately cite where this info or direction came from while working with a client ... but I think it comes from retained info and dedication
I know from years of supervising and training that anyone can be taught anything and some can actually be very good at what they learn. However, only the people possessing the talent, gift, or natural ability can excell at what they do if they are willing to nuture and improve on their God giving talent.

Denise
Where does the core skill of massage come from....I believe you "want it" or you don't. What's so intriguing about this idea, is that some massage therapists don't realize this is their calling until they have already begun their massage education...and then they get their "aha moment".

It is so interesting to observe a massage class from the first day of class to graduation. The students are constantly evolving, and I agree that some individuals possess a "natural talent" that can be seen early on. I enjoy observing a diverse group of students who have chosen massage therapy for different reasons (career, passion, and some really don't know why!).

My point is, I think a student can "want it" without yet knowing it!
Lisa,
Yes I agree. Let me give you an example, I have two daughters... one has the touch... one does not. Same environment, same exposure to Massage therapy. I commend you for teaching all over. I am in the process of doing the same with Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage. Some people can move chi... some cannot. that all being said.There is a teacher for every student. In Chi Nei Tsang we see our clients as students. Sometimes a student is in a place that a less skilled practitioner may make them feel more comfortable. Sounds crazy but I believe it is true.
Those with natural talent blow the rest away. Finding them is a gift. But some students cannot appreciate the gift at specific times in their lives because their core is not ready for the kind of change that will take place. I am appreciative to have all levels of practitioners available. Hoping they all strive to become the best practitioner they can be.
Hi Mary, my 3 sons grew up with massage but only one took his sports massage course then I trained him one to one. He is a brilliant therapist but its not his time to use it yet..........which is a bit fustrating when dads in need?

Mary Ellen Derwis-Balaz said:
Lisa,
Yes I agree. Let me give you an example, I have two daughters... one has the touch... one does not. Same environment, same exposure to Massage therapy. I commend you for teaching all over. I am in the process of doing the same with Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage. Some people can move chi... some cannot. that all being said.There is a teacher for every student. In Chi Nei Tsang we see our clients as students. Sometimes a student is in a place that a less skilled practitioner may make them feel more comfortable. Sounds crazy but I believe it is true.
Those with natural talent blow the rest away. Finding them is a gift. But some students cannot appreciate the gift at specific times in their lives because their core is not ready for the kind of change that will take place. I am appreciative to have all levels of practitioners available. Hoping they all strive to become the best practitioner they can be.
I used to think there couldn't be any such thing as a bad massage, but I've had some, from graduates of massage schools far and wide. Some of them from people who have convinced themselves that they are just the cat's meow.

That being said, yes, there are some people who have natural talent, but I'd still like for them to be educated. I like a therapist who knows what a contraindication is.
Very insightful comment.

Kristi Nelson Waltrip said:
Where does the core skill of massage come from....I believe you "want it" or you don't. What's so intriguing about this idea, is that some massage therapists don't realize this is their calling until they have already begun their massage education...and then they get their "aha moment".

It is so interesting to observe a massage class from the first day of class to graduation. The students are constantly evolving, and I agree that some individuals possess a "natural talent" that can be seen early on. I enjoy observing a diverse group of students who have chosen massage therapy for different reasons (career, passion, and some really don't know why!).

My point is, I think a student can "want it" without yet knowing it!
WOW, Jade when I went to school, I wondered and asked myself the self same questions.... I am now teaching it is not solely a massage school, I am hoping that what I am learning will benefit me as I continue my life as a massage therapist and instructor....I really wonder how and why some schools allow people who may not have as successful a career as they could to attend or am I being overly critical? HMMMM

Jade Edwards said:
I haven't read the other postings ...so please forgive me if what I say is already mentioned! ;)

My personal view is that there are four (4) kinds of individuals who attend massage therapy school.

1- This individual attends massage school and wants to become a therapist...however, they are unable to absorb and regurgitate the AP portion of the course. This is the end of the line for this individual in regards to becoming a massage therapist. It also would be rare for this person to try again in the future.

2- This individual attends school, has the drive and mental fortitude to push forward through the lecture portions...but is unable to function during the hands-on training and has to drop out. This individual is more likely to try again in the future.

3- This individual attends school, has the drive and mental capacity to complete the lecture portions...but is able to master the hands-on techniques of massage. However, this person is unable to feel energy or work with it...energy is unknown to this student therapist.

4- This student therapist achieves all of what number three does...however this person is also able to 'feel' the clients energy and 'exchange' their waste and bad energy...with clean and renewed energy. This student-therapist functions like a sponge.

This is how I look at all the students who come through my school. You can almost tell immediately the first week of school.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my post! :)

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