Massage Therapy | Treatment Perversion and Commercialization

Published: Aug 27, 2022 | Revised: Oct 17, 2022
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Massage Therapy | Treatment Perversion and Commercialization

When I started my Thai Massage practice in 2010, I simply offered Thai Massage. Today, more than ten years later, I still only offer Thai Massage treatment sessions. I say this, because what I noticed through the years is that many of my colleagues steadily increased the types of massage treatments they offer to their clients.

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As it is, there are a whole bunch of massage therapists out there who think themselves qualified and experienced enough to offer a vast range of different types of treatments — all by themselves.

It’s really not uncommon to find therapists who, for instance, offer Shiatsu, Hot Stone Massage, Thai Massage, Tuina Massage, Swedish Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Massage, Ayurvedic Oil Massage, Chinese Foot Reflexology, and whatnot — if you know what I mean. I feel this is not only a misplaced and unsettling commercialization, but also a perversion of what massage therapy actually stands for.

You see, if those massage practitioners were practicing already fifty years, and had 10,000 hours’ worth of training courses in all those modalities, well, I might have been able to be impressed. But this is not the case at all. The therapists I talk about usually only have a few years of massage experience, or maybe a decade or even fifteen years, and typically just a few weeks — or few months at best — training in the different treatment modalities they offer.

As a matter of fact, and that is my personal experience, they usually offer watered-down, erratic, and simplified forms of the massage modalities they advertise being proficient in. But tell me this, honestly, if you offer a whole lot of different types of treatments, how can you ever become good in even one of those?

I feel that becoming good, becoming excellent, becoming a master in your massage specialty means years of intensive training and continuing education, a whole lot of practice with that specific massage modality, and treatment experience with many different types of clients — young, old, healthy, ill, disabled, thin, obese, flexible, stiff, tensed, relaxed, cranky, willing, resisting, and so on.

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As I see it, there’s an absurd idea playing here that with “mastering” as many as possible different types of massage modalities, you would increase your income, well, because you have “so much to offer.” And as customers often don’t know what a specific massage modality is about or what it should be, most practitioners simply get away with it.

Unfortunately, I must say, most customers don’t question the actual proficiency of a therapist who offers twenty types of treatments. I think that this has as one of its reasons that people often think that massage therapy is something that’s very easy to learn. Thus, why would a practitioner not be able to master every type of massage?

Yet, what these types of therapists do is not only corrupting and perverting massage therapy, they also — and that’s perhaps even worse — cheat on their clients. In fact, in my opinion, they give clients naught, nothing, zero, or maybe at best someone who touches them and talks with them (which, I must agree, has its own therapeutic value).

I know that I’m most likely talking to deaf ears here — this type of behavior is continuing and getting worse by the year — but I just wanted to ventilate my worry and aversion. Just simply because I love massage and because I think that massage therapy and the people who receive it deserve better.

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