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 I feel that moving the profession in the direction of rehab work would be bad for society, and good for the handful of people capable and desirous of doing medical rehabilitation.  Why would it be bad for society?  Because of the loss of affordable wellness massage, and all the jobs that go along with that.  The growing availability of affordable wellness massage is a huge boon in these troubled times. It's a boon both for the general population benefiting from healthy stress and pain relief and for all the good souls finding satisfying work as massage therapists.

     This question is central to my life.  I'm a physical therapist, a massage therapist, and I direct 2 schools of massage therapy.  As a PT who is qualified to work with severely injured patients, including people who have suffered strokes, catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries, amputations, sports injuries, geriatric populations, etc., I'm well aware what kind of training is necessary to do effective rehabilitative therapy.  My training was approximately 5,000 hours at a well respected University in a Masters program that lasted 3 years post Baccalaureate, with a heavy load of science prerequisites.  My school rejected about 9 students for every one admitted.  I consider this the minimum training necessary to practice in a rehab environment as an autonomous therapist.  Could some Massage Therapists do this?  Absolutely.  Should all MT's be required to do this?  Absolutely not.  At least 90% of all Massage is wellness work not rehab.  One can be the world's best wellness massage therapist, and not know how the kidneys work.  I'll go out on a limb here and say that one could be able to give a great wellness massage safely without even being aware of the existence of abductor digiti minimi.

    I say to those leading our profession that to advocate for elevating the profession of Massage Therapy to the rarified heights of Physical Therapy would be a mistake.  The sheer loss of numbers of practitioners in our ranks would diminish any hard won political power the profession has gained over the years.  There would be no money left to hire lobbyists at the state level, and not enough massage therapists to support popular use of massage therapy by the general population.

  Why reinvent the wheel?  Why don't those people who want to work in a medical environment pursue careers as Physical Therapists, and leave the majority of Massage Therapists to practice in peace?  As a Physical Therapist, I can assure you that if you dare to follow your dreams into the profession of Physical Therapy you will have ample opportunity to use all the manual skills you can learn and cultivate.  


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Comment by Linda LePelley, RN, NMT on September 13, 2011 at 1:11pm
Well said!
Comment by Mike Hinkle on February 14, 2011 at 5:33pm

In my view, the words were never needed. When my son thanks Massage Magazine for posting our Press Release and you step in it and say "More fracturing of the profession down south. Not good:-("

Your intent was immediately known.

You started our "relationship" with this Bodhi. No one twisted your words. They are very clear. After the facts are given you run, not me. Most therapists are timid and don't wish to argue or fight. I'll take it and give back. If that's what you are after.


You challenged few facts about what I wrote about instead acting like there ever was any relationship and then say I don't meet your needs. I'm sorry I didn't live up to your idea of what I am here for. If I lose a few folks. They will still be able to join later after they see the work the Alliance is doing for therapists. I'll take that chance as opposed to walking lockstep to completely tear this country apart trying to reach standards that you keep raising and think you control.


You say there is one voice in Canada. You are wrong again. Your Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance doesn't even have a website. Take care of your own please and let the profession down south find their way, not yours.

Comment by Bodhi Haraldsson on February 14, 2011 at 5:05pm
Dear Mike
your defensiveness is quite peculiar.
If your aim to draw people to your alliance by twisting my and Moyers words, well then you have done a great job.
Buyer be aware.......
Cheers, eh
Comment by Mike Hinkle on February 14, 2011 at 4:02pm

And no Province should control a profession.

Who we are is who we are. Who we want to be is dependent on who we want to be. We know your system. Allow us to decide. I do not think we have to meet your standards to be part of ownership of the massage profession. The more you push the more people are joining. It slowed down until these threads started and it has picked back up today. So keep going. I'll be here and waiting. We do not all have to mold to your scenario either.


Please quit interferring, we spoke for weeks how you and Moyer would interfere.  You are not eligible to join the Alliance to begin with. You have never written me concerning any issue. I asked for your thoughts of the MTBOK and never got answered.

Many thought your system was so far superior than ours because of the number of hours. AMTA-FL has more therapists than you. Yours may be the model they choose. But trying to stop an Alliance from forming to help therapists in the US is sad.

That is not drawing a line? Please stay on your side, if you are going to draw it!


Comment by Bodhi Haraldsson on February 14, 2011 at 3:39pm
Where is the line between MT's and other similar professions? The line is where we choose to have it. Scope of practice is a mold-able, movable line. No one profession "owns" a territory. Who we are is dependent on who we want to be.
Comment by Las Vegas Massage In Summerlin on February 14, 2011 at 1:26pm



It seems replies to blog posts have character limits.  A further response to this post here.


Vehicles and Destinations



Comment by Mike Hinkle on February 14, 2011 at 12:34pm

There ya go Kris! You are absolutely correct no one has ever asked me either and that's my point, with changing our media approach to the general public. They don't know what to ask, what to expect and many other aspects of their massage. No one is educating the public. This is one of the Alliance's Directives. And helping teach sales skills, which they aren't in school much. Someone scoffed that this would be a reason to draw people to the Alliance. I think many therapists need help in this area. All we can do is keep on keeping on. Thanks for sharing!

Have a great day!


Comment by Las Vegas Massage In Summerlin on February 14, 2011 at 12:08pm



Quick comment here.


"What is wrong with wanting to improve the stature of the profession and income?"


Nothing.  Here's the trick.....


Stature in whos eyes?  Our own as the massage industry?  My eyes?  Your eyes?  That doesn't lead to income.  People look for solutions, not letters behind our name on our business cards or hours in training.  In the seven years of performing massage (regardless of WHAT modality I was performing,) I've never been asked what school I attended, how many degrees I have or how many hours I spent in massage school.


Please understand that I'm all for continuing education and improving our stature.  I, myself, am taking my own practice in a medical massage direction.  Sure, I can take every seminar out there, become the best I can be, but if I don't know the business aspect of massage, i.e., how to market and advertise the benefits and solutions to the public, it's really of no use.  I see this already with therapists I work with on the business end.  Many have far more knowledge that I do in many modalities yet have few clients. 


The trick is, imho of course, to have a knowledge base, perform great massage and customer service, and be able to communicate our skill to the public and more specifically, target markets. 


When I can communicate via a marketing message that attracts attention, gets them to contact me, provide superior customer service and provide the solutions they are looking for via massage for their own specific issue, then I'm taking responsibility for improving my own stature, the massage industries stature AND then increasing my income.



Comment by Pia Poulsen ALST on February 14, 2011 at 8:48am

There's room for all of us here.

People seek out that massage therapist who're qualified and skilled to give them what they need and want.

The more people who realize all the good a regular massage can give them, the less need there is for a lot of  medical treatments - physically and psychologically.

Comment by Pia Poulsen ALST on February 14, 2011 at 8:45am

I agree.

I do "wellness massages" - and not rehab type of work. Nor have I any interest in "curing" people for various medical problems that a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor can do so much better than I can.


I'm very happy to give a wellness massage that focuses on preventive health care. A massage that focuses on relaxing stressed people. That focuses on easing soreness and tension in muscles.


A lot of people out there have sore shoulders from too much office work and all that. Should they suddenly receive medical treatment (physiotherapy and the like) in order to take care of themselves, get rid of those sore shoulders and prevent injuries and chronic pain?

What about those cases where the massage becomes an emotional and spiritual journey. Where the quality of touch and techniques allows them not only to let go of stress, worries and physical tension, but also allows them to reconnect body and mind, understand themselves better and grow as persons.

If massage therapy must have PT-like education, then certainly there should also be a psychology-like education required.


Receiving a massage is SO much more than fixing an acute problem. I would claim receiving massage is much more about preventive health care, de-stressing and taking care of yourself so you don't get injuries and other problems, than it's about fixing something that's wrong.


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