Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2022

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Michael Reynolds wrote an article that pushed back on the age-old belief that we shouldn't mix business with "politics." 1 He suggested that " . . . more small businesses and especially massage practices need to take a stand and make their opinions known. The issues facing us are too important." He went on to say that consumers report choosing businesses specifically because of their stances on issues. While more massage therapists work in hospitals and clinic settings now, most MTs work in environments where we have a good bit of control over how we construct and share messages with our clients. Let's be as clear as possible about two words in the mix here: politics and values. Merriam-Webster has a lot to say about politics. Its definition points to inf luence, control, power, competition, and my personal favorite, "artful and often dishonest practices." What we're really talking about here is more akin to values though, "something intrinsically valuable" or "things you hold dear." In recent years, our societal disagreements about values have led us to characterize values as political. This has resulted in a muddying effect that has made the sharing of those values mostly taboo. Our sharing has become suddenly about defending and justifying rather than connecting and learning. First, we have to acknowledge that health care is business. And business is complicated. Because . . . humans. Personally, I find it increasingly difficult to avoid demonstrating my values in my engagements with clients and patients. As Reynolds says, the stakes are too high. If consumers are choosing where to spend their money at least in part because of what they know about a business's values, where does that leave us? 90 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 essential skills | MASSAGE THERAPY AS HEALTH CARE Should You Be Forthcoming in Business About Your Personal Beliefs? By Cal Cates TAKEAWAY: Being forthcoming about their beliefs and values may help MTs avoid ethical conundrums down the road.

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