Massage & Bodywork

September | October 2014

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I t p a y s t o b e A B M P C e r t i f i e d : w w w. a b m p . c o m / g o / c e r t i f i e d c e n t r a l 99 But the difference from 1974 is that I am much better at handling it, managing it, and making it a teachable moment for those individuals. I don't get angry about it. One of the great Buddhist sayings is, "Anger is like holding a burning coal. The only person that it hurts is you." You need to let go of that burning coal. M&B: What do you think is the most important challenge facing massage therapy today? The massage therapy profession has a reputation of being kind of weird, or being too new-agey (whatever that means), not being on time, going over time, not showing up. So I think the biggest challenge is just being professional. If we want to be treated like professionals, we need to behave like professionals. M&B: What advice would you give therapists regarding professional longevity? Take your health seriously. Treat massage therapy as an athletic event and train yourself the way you'd train for an athletic event. I'll be 63 in October, and I can still make it go. I still come to work every day and do massage. My average day is seven or eight sessions, five days a week. Some of these young massage therapists, after three or four people, they say, "Man, I need to go home," and I'm like, "Come on, you gotta do better than that!" I'm by no means suggesting that people need to work themselves to injury. But if you have good body mechanics, if you take care of yourself nutritionally, work out, and stretch— you can have a long career in massage and provide great service for people. Typically, I can work more than all the young massage therapists, because I know how. You have to use good body mechanics at the table, and you have to strength train—lift weights or do some kind of resistance training. You have to spend a lot of time stretching, too. Your shoulders, hips, feet, hamstrings—everything. Also, do things that make you happy. Have a work environment that you love. My office is a wonderful place. People just like coming to my office because it's so comfortable. So many massage therapists are put into small, windowless rooms that are like caves. I don't understand that. I'm designing my new massage facility now, and every treatment room will have a window for natural lighting. M&B: You have a reputation as a rock star in the world of continuing education. Educators carry a great responsibility that can dictate both the direction and the outcome of our profession in the future. It's a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Our profession will be judged by how we educate our students, because that's the next generation that's going out there to work on people. And I will say this: there are a lot of dog-and-pony shows out there that are taking money under the guise of education. Massage therapy, 25–30 years ago, had low professional self-esteem, so it became a beacon for snake oil salesmen who knew they could impress massage therapists because they had credentials in other health-care fields. I mean, seriously? A doctor or a physical therapist knows more about massage than we do? You've got to be kidding me. Why aren't we heralding the veteran massage therapists out there? We need to celebrate our own people, our veterans and our old- timers within massage therapy. We don't celebrate them. All we're looking for is the newest fancy technique. M&B: What are your plans for the future? I'm going to keep working for the next 10 years, and at 73 I'm bailing out. At that point, I'll turn it over to the young massage therapists to keep it going, but my name will still be on the building. M&B: And you'll still be able to outwork them. Probably. Brandon Twyford is assistant editor of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. BENNY VAUGHN Vaughn oversees construction of his new copper-clad massage therapy facility.

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