I am a massage therapist, and a very good one at that. I was blessed with the opportunity to receive an amazing education, and I have an extreme passion for what I do. I love massage and I know it well, I know 11 modalities of massage therapy which is more than most therapists are trained in, in a lifetime. I love that I can educate people about massage, the benefits and how the body works. I love helping people understand what’s happening when the body isn’t working, what can be done to fix it and how it can be prevented. My priority is always the client and helping them achieve their goal of wellness. That is the way I have always been. When a client would come into my practice for a session, it was my goal to have made them a little closer to their goal, even if it took an extra ten or fifteen minutes of my time. That was more important to me than booking one extra client that day or worrying about that little bit of money I could charge if I so charge.
Whoopi Goldberg once said, ” I don’t have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritations”. As funny as this quote is, I too, have kennels of irritations. Normally, I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of gal, unless there is something I’m completely passionate about. Massage is one of those things. I cant tell you how many massage therapists I know that are simply in the field because it can be good money. It’s not because they LOVE what they do, or that they have a passion for it, or even a care about the big picture. For them, it’s about getting as many people through that door to make sure that check is a big one. I suppose that is somewhat understandable, we all need to make money but I think there is a line!
Then there are the therapists that LOVE what they do. They are passionate about the meat and potatoes of it. They thrive to see progress within their clients, it makes it all worth it. They feed off of helping their clients find solutions to feel better when western medicine tells them nothing is wrong, or slaps a label on them to try a lull their patient. That’s the kind of therapist I am. I’m the therapist that lays awake a night wracking my brain trying to think of solutions for my clients that have been living with pain for months or years and are trying to find the solution, one more option before just giving up and deciding they will just have to live with the pain. The massage therapist that adds 10-15 minutes of my time to the massage so the client can have the best care that session to help them reach their goal without charging them.
Some may say that I take my profession too seriously. I’m not a surgeon, or a doctor. Heck, I’m not even a chiropractor. I’m just a…massage therapist. I just be a massage therapist but I have seen the faces of people ready to just come to terms with the fact they will always have pain. I have listened to the people that have been told by their doctor that nothing is wrong with them because nothing comes up on their scans or tests and are treated like their pain isn’t there, even though it’s very real. I have also seen the faces of the people that have been able to walk a better, move better. The people that have increased their range of motion, or have seen progress by helping decrease scar tissue. Feel less pain. All…holistically. No pain medicine, no surgeries. If that isn’t powerful, I don’t know what is.
With that being said, today I went to an interview for a fitness center, in two days. Today I was told that the spa of their is ran by step by step protocols for everything. I was told my massage had to be the exact same as the other girl massaging because it shouldn’t matter who the client goes to, the massage should be the exact same between the therapists. I was told that if a client was to come in for a swedish massage (this type of massage is light pressured massage, usually used for relaxation) and the customer was to say they had a problem area (for example their hamstrings) I would have to tell that client that I was sorry but they would have to upgrade their massage for $20 for me to work on any part of the body specifically. Seriously? I was also told they have 1 therapist that is full time there that has been there for 2 years with a community school massage education and they base all of their massage protocols and types of massage services off of her and her education (of 4-5 types of basic massage). The woman interviewing me told me that sports massage and deep tissue are the same kind of massage and during these massages you are only allowed to work on 2 parts of the body. I asked her why that was and she told me that a deep tissue cannot be performed as a full body within an hour time frame. Ok, hold on just a minute…what?! If that is what your therapist said- FIND A NEW ONE! So I nicely and simply said, “Excuse me, what?…I have done hundreds of full body deep tissue massages.” and the lady goes, “In an hour???” and I replied (I’m annoyed by this point) as nicely as possible, “Yes, a deep tissue massage is based on the pressure applied. There are other types of massage types that could be more intricate and specified such as myofascial release or rehabilitative “injury” massage.” And she told me pretty plain and simply, they don’t offer those types, and that sports and deep tissue are done the way they are. So I decided to ask her what the “sports” massage in tells and she told me, “umm, two areas of the body”. So I replied “I know 5 different techniques within sports massage: pre-season, post season, pre-workout, midwork out and post workout, do you offer any of these?” (as I am sitting here waiting on the answer I’m thinking, please tell me yes! This is a FITNESS FACILITY! You can’t honestly tell me you don’t do an honest sports massage). And she said, “No. I can get the description of the sports massage from the therapist for you if you would like and e-mail it to you.”
Ok, so lets recap: this is a fitness center who doesn’t offer anything worth the time or money of someone who comes there; the massage therapist they base everything on is CLUELESS; the spa director who interviewed me knows NOTHING about massage; all the massage services they offer are based on the massage therapists IDEA of what things should be NOT what they are; I can’t help someone who needs it WITHOUT upselling and charging them an extra $20. OH! and did I mention its a REQUIREMENT to upsell a certain quota of massages per week.
So, here is where the fork in the road comes in, do I take the job where I cannot be doing what I love and feel good about it, so that I can have a job since I’m not hiring many places around here worth a darn, and put the whole reason I’m in massage and my conscious aside to pay some bills or keep looking?