You might be surprised at the many ways you could define professionalism in massage. It is not a clear cut issue at all that is determined by a piece of paper that you frame and hang on your wall. Especially when you look at it from a global perspective, you will find many different laws, cultures, ethical standards, perceptions and interpretations. I wrote an in depth article that sheds some new light on this topic. If you are a massage therapist, you will find it quite interesting, I think. You can find it here:
Please post some feedback with your comments.
October 16, 2012
November 22, 2013
There are all kinds of different rules in different places, counties, states, provinces and countries. And if we practice massage professionally, we have to follow those rules. But aside from the rules for practicing massage, there is a mindset which is not linked to the laws of particular locations. That’s what I wanted to point out in my article, that laws don’t necessarily make someone a professional. And you can be very professional even if you are in unregulated locations or countries.
November 22, 2013
Ouch! Unfortunately I have stories like yours myself as well. I once had my thigh adductor tendon severely injured by a “professional” Shiatsu therapist in the US who badly overstretched it and it took years for it to almost revert to normal, but it has never been quite the same ever since. Licenses definitely are no guarantee for professionalism. I agree that they are necessary to prevent the worst abuse, but a piece of paper will never be a guarantee for quality.
In Belgium, the massage business is more or less controlled since a few years… I say “more or less” because, as long as you say you only execute a “wellness” massage, you don’t have to be licensed. Anyone can run his business, with no study, and no experience at all…
But as long as you say your massage have an impact on aesthetic (cellulitis, lymphatic drainage, etc…), you have to be certified (in aesthetic massage, or you need to be a beautician).
So, you can imagine there are a lot of very, very bad practiotioners here. Some of them are nearly paying the clients to have the right to massage them (in most cases, these practitioners are men who massage only women… ).
So, I really think our business is not so professionalised. I meet persons each week who think that “massage” means “erotic massage”. Each week I receive emails asking me if it is permitted to have an erection during the session, and if it is possible to be received by a woman… even though I don’t think my website is ambiguous or equivocal…
But the fact is that in our business, there will always be people in quest for easy money/easy sex. So, professionalism is not a matter of certificate or whatsoever, it’s just a matter of right mindset, honnesty, and integrity.
Have a nice day you all…
Espace Ayurvédique Shanti
Massage - Reiki - Yoga
Rue de la Citadelle 124
Very true. I happen to be in Vietnam right now, and here it is very difficult to find a massage place where you can get a massage only – no extras like in “happy ends” as they call it here in Asia. In the US however regulation is very strict. If you touch someone and get money for it, you have to be licensed in almost all cases.
There is a wide spectrum in our chosen profession, and that will never change since human nature and human desires don’t change. Somehow in some way there is room for all types, styles, interpretations and executions of massage. We might not agree with all of them, but they still exist and will keep doing so. They can never be totally legislated out of existence.
Quality massage comes from one’s personal desire to provide excellent work, and from good training and good intuition. This might go along with a paper document or not depending on where in the world you are.
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