Guarding the Good Name of Massage Therapy

Good Name of Massage Therapy

By Lana J. Russell, RMT

When you begin your journey in Massage Therapy School it’s also a lesson in keeping an ancient art sacred. Several noted histories of Massage Therapy often cite the father of western medicine, Hippocrates (The Hippocratic Oath) mentioning the importance of massage. Way back in Ancient Greece Hippocrates wrote “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing, for rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid.

The history of massage therapy is an ancient transcontinental art that can be traced to Athens, Egypt, India and China. Hippocrates rolls in his ancient temple every time another massage therapist has to hear another “happy ending” joke.

Its pathetic that in the modern world we can’t live up to centuries of civilization and recognize massage as the science it is. It is a practice that has developed through these centuries as a healing art to ease pain and promote relaxation.

Preparing for Massage School also means preparing to defend your professional practice. It saddens me in having to forewarn you that friends and even loved ones may joke about the sexual nature often associated with massages. With one simple addition of the word “therapy”, it exalts the practice into a medical profession. The greater appreciation that you will inherit through Massage Therapy School will heighten your sensitivity to unsavory comments.

A joke may be unintentional or ignorant harm, but don’t be afraid to defend the profession you have chosen to become part of. What’s the best way to handle jokes about massage in a suggestive nature? Shut it down.

Don’t encourage the joke by being a good sport and laughing. Even your role as a student in Massage School makes you representative of the field and reinforcing enlightened perspectives is necessary.

Jokes about massage are not only degrading to professionals, but the sale and advertisement of sexual services is illegal. As both a massage therapy student and professional you want to establish a distinction from this element immediately. For instance say you are specializing in sports massage.

You can educate someone that the Ancient Greeks performed massage techniques on athletes in preparation for competitions. This continued for centuries, but began to lose precedence with medical technologies in the early 20th century. It was athletes that eventually brought massage therapy back into favor in the 1970s.

Since then sports massage as grown into a highly beneficial application for the world’s top athletes and a lucrative career for practitioners. This is just one educational tidbit about the history and importance of sports massage, amongst a field that has many facets.

One thing you will learn in Massage Therapy School is to introduce every massage you give just as any doctor would administer medicine. Hippocrates will back you up and it can’t hurt to apply your own Hippocratic oath in defending the name of massage therapy.



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