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Massage Specialties Need to Get Little Respect to Advance Massage Careers


One of the biggest problems in the massage industry is massage schools that like to make a profit from the public too quickly by not allowing their students to grow into their hands. This is such a disservice to the public and to the massage profession. This is especially true for those massage schools that profit offering the public massage therapy specialties without having their students trained adequately let alone properly. This is one of the biggest reasons why massage therapists fail in the field and how the public gets ripped off and abusive to massage therapists everywhere.

There is a reason why there are over 80 massage specialties but you would never know it according to massage schools that offer these services without “official” massage specialty training. Is there such a thing as “official” massage specialty training?

We believe so, here at Massage Specialties CEUS and why we offer education about the tried and true massage specialties that are as old as massage itself. Reflexology has a rich history and dates back longer than Swedish massage therapy. We do not offer massage specialties that are made up by individuals for the sake of profit, or ego. This is why we offer the massage specialty courses that we do with deep history roots and have also been studied by NCCAM. We also include the most recent studies from NCCAM in every course.

Most massage schools in the business of making profit offering cheaper massage therapy prices for “professional” massage services other than a licensed massage therapist perhaps should only be permitted to offer Swedish massage only, especially if the massage program is less than 600 hours.

When massage schools offer massage specialties like reflexology, deep tissue, acupressure and other massage specialties is actually disrespecting those massage therapists who have put in the extra training time to become experts in their chosen massage specialties. Having a student perform a massage specialty without dedicated training time is like going to a chiropractor to get your teeth cleaned.

Perhaps we should attribute the misconception and blame the public in the first place who are looking to pay less than the price of a licensed massage therapist practitioner and far less than the price for a massage specialty practitioner. This is why the massage profession has not advanced in decades and actually has taken a few steps back. Massage therapy was far more successful, for the individual massage therapist when regulated as a business trade than a healthcare profession. How do massage franchises fit into the healthcare model? This is another commentary for another day.

Massage therapy is losing ground as a healthcare profession in the states and in Canada. Massage therapists are no longer permitted to bill insurance for service and while cash is king (or credit cards) in the massage therapy business, being able to bill client’s insurance companies certainly was an appreciated additional revenue avenue but that is all changing.

Healthcare is evidence-based and massage therapy is not filling those shoes as being an evidenced-based healthcare profession. Insurance companies want to see a bang for the buck that they are spending. Evidence-based healthcare whether how cookie cutter the concept and is how the world is turning in the United States and Canada and the insurance companies want to see the same results applied for the same condition for every patient.

Being able to obtain the same result for each client is just not the way things happen in the massage world and why there are over 80 massage specialties. Each massage specialty addresses a different condition in the human body from an energy imbalance, or an imbalance of muscles or the real purpose of massage for thousands of years is purely for relaxation purpose which is the greatest cure all of all. That’s why 90% of massage therapists are employed or work in a spa setting. Massage franchises would be considered a spa environment.

Massage schools that do not dedicate the time needed to learn the various massage specialties above and beyond basic training are just adding to the failure rate of massage therapists and feeding the frenzy of a misinformed public that think they can demand what they want for discounted prices expected as the same therapy performed by an experienced licensed massage therapist.

Massage therapy instructors pull their hair out because they know what a disservice this is to the massage profession they love but are helpless when massage school owners have no respect for the massage field and in it just for the high profit from the low cost of running a massage therapy program.

State massage boards also must take their share of promoting the acceptance of poor or inexperienced touch skill sets by not separating out the hours for specific training of the various massage specialties. If a practitioner is only interested in performing reflexology, then why are they forced to take a full massage therapy program when their main focus of study is the hands and feet and the anatomy and physiology pertaining to those body parts and the therapy best to address these body parts? This again, is another commentary entirely.

Problems also lie with “certification” boards that provide general exams for the separate massage specialties. Until these conflicting issues are fully addressed massage therapy will never be able to progress and may be wiped off the map entirely as a viable profession able to make a livable wage. This also includes a massage curriculum that truly addresses the subject needed for success in massage therapy and not a mish-mash of subject matter to fill up the required hours. Did you know that a physical therapist with five years of study never study most body systems and just focus on systems that pertain to body levers which is their trade. Physical therapy is clearly an evidenced-based healthcare profession and why physical therapists and physical assistants are successful and make a good living.

Why in the world does a massage therapist have to study the endocrine and digestive system except for the colon in the digestive system? Does the pressure applied by massage therapy really affect the endocrine glands found in the integumentary system? The evidence is not conclusive how, or if, massage therapy affects these systems and others. Too much information is just as harmful as too little but it seems to be good business for the textbook companies.

Allowing massage schools to charge for anything except Swedish massage is a disservice to the public and makes a mockery out of the massage profession. We are not a fly by night continuing education Company and have been in the massage business for over 30 years and why we express the opinions that we do. We are passionate about your massage career success and unless you are content working for a massage franchise then massage specialties are the way to go to have a long and successful massage career. Start with one of our massage specialty courses to find out which massage specialty you are passionate about and cannot get enough of while earning massage continuing education credit for your state massage license renewal.

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