Massage therapists often work with clients who have physical and mental disabilities, and they should be prepared to identify potential contraindications in order to best provide massage therapy to this population. Often, special needs clients may not disclose medical ailments or their need for accommodation until they arrive for the appointment, so it is up to massage therapists to be well educated about situations when it is, and when it is not appropriate to provide massage therapy services.
Too often, massage therapists forget to take the time to receive massages, as they tend to always be busy giving a massage! Burnout can be prevented by frequently getting massaged, and while it is sometimes difficult to make time in your busy schedule for your own well being, it is critical to receive massages as a massage therapist. This not only keeps your body well and feels amazing, but it also reminds you how it feels from your clients’ perspective to receive massage and helps you grow as a massage therapist.
Some massage therapists report experiencing “massage burnout” when they do not receive massages at least once or twice a month (at the very least! More is always better). When massage therapists receive massages from either a co-worker or another massage therapist at a separate practice, it helps to refresh the reason behind the desire to become a massage therapist, helps you recognize the benefits of the therapy, and gives you energy and new ideas to bring back to your own clients.
I’m retired from hands-on bodywork, but I loved being a massage therapist and I loved my work. What I didn’t love was the bureaucracy being a massage therapist entails, but that’s another article for another day, perhaps. What I will say is, state or national certification does not guarantee you’ll be a better therapist; or, will it make you a safer therapist. It’s a bureaucratic hoop designed for us to jump through.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating against getting certified if it makes operating your business easier, or it makes you feel or appear more professional; or, of course if it’s required by law in order to work or get a job. But getting certified is not necessarily going to make you a “better” therapist. If by getting certified requires more training of you, perhaps it will; but more training will generally make you a better therapist with or without a piece of paper.