Massage therapy continues to demonstrate its inability to make space for the range of practitioner that exists within this broad discipline. Practitioners who provide relaxation massage are somehow deemed less important than those who provide more specific work to address injuries, conditions, or illnesses. A de facto tiered system has emerged that prioritizes and values condition-specific work over relaxation.
Resources & Recommendations:
Make some cold calls. Seriously. As we recommended in The Worst Things (Part 2), you can find practitioners by self-labeled modality on the locator software of both ABMP and AMTA websites. Find someone who practices a type of massage that you think is “dumb,” “simple,” or “fluff” and ask to have a phone call or a Zoom session with them to learn more about what they do. And then? ...shut up and listen. Listen for similarities. Listen for connection and for information that will support a shift in your mindset beyond the dogmas and assumptions of your own silo of practice.
Experience something different. Go receive a session with one of the providers you spoke with -- or better yet, with a provider you've never met who practices a modality very different from the modality you practice. Turn off your massage therapist brain and simply receive. What's it like? Does your nervous system hate it? Love it? Are there elements you really enjoy? Even if the session isn't ideal for your body, can you see what benefit it might have for someone else?
Treat a friend, family member, or favorite client to a session with this practitioner. Ask them to report back to you on what they liked about it. Not why they still love your massage best. Not what was sub-par. What was really good about the session/practitioner/modality?
Take a CE class in a modality that doesn't particularly speak to you. Once again, open your mind and make a genuine effort to just participate in the class from a place of curiosity.
As always, we love to hear from you. Tell us how it went! Share your experiences and what you've learned in the comments.