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A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 37 Medical/Clinical Environment • Do you like to develop detailed treatment plans for each client to set short- and long-term goals for progress? • Do you like SOAP charting to track a client's progress over time? • Does analyzing a client's posture, range of motion, and movement patterns as a way to plan treatment appeal to you? • Do you enjoy researching pathologies in order to gain current knowledge and offer education, resources, and best approaches for your clients? • Does supporting injury rehabilitation interest you? • Do you want to work with a team that might include athletic coaches, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and chiropractors? Wellness Environment • Does releasing clients' stress and muscle tension without the need to prepare detailed treatment plans sound appealing to you? • Do you prefer simple charting systems that don't require you to track a client's progress over time? • Do you like to add creative flair, like the use of aromatherapy, hot towels, rice bags, and soft music to enhance the client's relaxation experience? • Would you prefer to generally reduce stress or work with specific injuries or pathologies? • Do you like to creatively plan treatments that please the senses and promote mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness? • Do you want to work with a team that might include skin care specialists, cosmetologists, dermatologists, yoga instructors, and spiritual coaches? If the medical/clinic environment speaks to you, you can seek out work at a chiropractic office, massage clinic, physician's office, nursing home, hospice care, pain management clinic, physical therapy office, rehabilitative center, hospital, sports medicine clinic, or with a sports team. If the wellness environment sounds more pleasing, you can find work at a day spa, cruise ship, yoga studio, resort spa, hot spring spa, or beauty salon. For each environment, you will likely want to continue your education to prepare for specialized offerings. For example, in the wellness environment, you might offer hot stone massage, body wraps, paraffin treatments, and body scrubs. If you work in a medical office, you will want additional training in anatomy, physiology, specific injury techniques, SOAP charting, medical terminology, and insurance billing. The bottom line is, if the tasks within the environment call to you, follow the call. TO SPECIALIZE OR NOT TO SPECIALIZE? Massage therapists have something to offer just about anyone. You may decide you want to work with a variety of client types, or you may choose to make a difference for a special population. As you read through the following list, notice if any of these tug at your heart and create a spark of excitement. Are you interested in specialization for any of these groups? Athletes Burn victims Cancer patients Children Clients with chronic pain Clients with HIV/AIDS Clients with injuries Infants Men Mental health patients Pregnant and/or postpartum women Seniors Seniors in assisted-living facilities and/or memory-care facilities Survivors of abuse Terminally ill Women Several of these special populations are untapped—or better said, untouched. We have great gifts to offer, and the benefits are very rewarding for client and therapist alike. WHAT IF YOU'RE NOT SURE? Sometimes it is difficult to know if you will like a job until you are in it. Job- shadowing and informational interviews are great ways to try a job on for size to see if it fits before making a commitment. Contact someone who does the kind of work you are drawn to and ask if you can do one or both of these activities with them. Job-shadowing involves spending a day alongside the massage therapist observing what they do and how they work with their clients and other team members. An informational interview involves asking questions about their day-to-day work, what they like about it, what the drawbacks are, and if they can offer advice about how to enter into the chosen environment. YOU ARE THE DESIGNER What will best serve you, your life, your passion for massage and bodywork, and your ongoing journey as a professional therapist? Is your current career path tailored to your evolving personal interests and goals? You are the designer of your life and your career, so ask these questions to ensure you are designing a career you love. After all, when you love what you do, it no longer becomes work. It becomes service to your clients and to you! Cindy Williams, LMT, is a graduate support liaison for ABMP and has been actively involved in the massage profession since 2000 as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. She maintains a private practice as a massage and yoga instructor. Contact her at

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