Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 101

22 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k s e p te m b e r/o c to b e r 2 0 2 1 Seeing Past Our Hands Measuring the Value of the Practitioner, Not the Modality By Cal Cates best practices | MASSAGE THERAPY AS HEALTH CARE In early June, I had the honor of being invited to participate in the creation of a state-based palliative-care coalition. It was an excellent two days of meetings and synergies and collaboration . . . for mainstream providers. The vacuum that existed around integrative practitioners and their incorporation in care is not unique; it's endemic. Many of the people I spoke with shared excitedly, "Some of our nurses have some massage training" or "We have a great volunteer who does that." When asked about the volunteer's training, they would respond with surprise, "Is our volunteer a massage therapist? Hmm . . . I don't actually know." We have some work to do to advance the practice of massage therapy in this space. We have to move beyond modalities within the profession and in our outward-facing engagements. I feel that most of us, massage therapists or not, are talking about the act of rubbing when we talk about the value of massage. (Yes, we massage therapists may be talking about a specialized kind of rubbing based on specific training and knowledge of anatomy, but we're still thinking and talking primarily about our hands and what we can do with them.) As massage therapists and bodyworkers, it's time to advocate for being more than people who rub; we have to show ourselves to be practitioners whose hands are the very tip of an outcome-improving iceberg. Absolutely, nurses should be offering kind touch to their patients. Volunteers too. But health care and the people who consume it need practitioners who can competently practice the essentially important discipline of massage therapy. And as massage therapists and bodyworkers, we must also know, believe, and talk about the reality that we bring exponentially more than is often considered when talking about massage. The value of our presence does lie partly in the work our actual hands do when we interact with a patient's or client's skin and nervous system, but a perspective that focuses on that aspect is unable to create a career path for massage therapists as health-care providers. Our research sights need to turn toward measuring the value of the practitioner and not the modality. What if we start asking what happens when a provider enters the clinical space with the freedom and skill to practice SAMIR JAMMAL/PEXELS.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021