Do Massage Therapist like their job?

February 20, 2024

Massage Therapists are some of the most dedicated working professionals I know. Every single person studied Massage Therapy because we wanted to help people. Whether that’s helping people with pain, helping people relax, or helping comfort people in different ways related to their body… it all boils down to this intense need/ desire to be a positive influence in another’s life.

But, very similar to other work environments, burnout can happen really fast because of efficiency expectations. The work we do isn’t only done during that hands-on time you enjoy so much.

We write notes, we have house keeping between clients, we need to eat. Maybe use the bathroom. It is very standard to have only 15 minutes to talk to someone about their session before and after, PLUS all of the other stuff I just mentioned.

And, being burnt out, we are often in a scenario where it seems we need to sacrifice ourselves.
It is common for an LMT to forgo eating well, or overworking their bodies.
I often wonder if this excessive demand on people who literally use their body as a tool for hours at a time every day is why the average time spent in the profession is 3-5 years.

Also, I think there is a way to do consistent deep tissue work without breaking the practitioners back
– this is 2 pronged. Initial training and the ability to be mindful of our body while working but that’s a different tangent

We want to help people so much, we forego many things to our physical and mental detriment. Yet, that attitude of over giving isn’t safe for anyone. It allows employer’s to manipulate us in terms of pay and workload expectation. The neo-old adage rings in my mind – “you do this because you want to help people, money is only a plus” welp, money is the way we take care of ourselves….

And to keep up with expectations to keep our jobs we are prone to

We slack on our notes, we excuse inappropriate behavior (doesn’t have to be sexual), we injure ourselves, we aren’t present enough to be the space required for profound work.

So, I’m not going to lie to you. Massage Therapists do the work because we want to.
If we didn’t, we would leave… SEE 3-5 year average time in the profession.

And, I’m not going to sugar coat it. That’s how you end up on a cruise ship doing massage 10 hours a day for months on end.

When we don’t talk about the bad parts it allows new and well seasoned professionals to continue accepting that working as a LMT under the efficiency expectations of restaurant staff is normal/ understandable.

It’s tough when the work we do is boiled down to someone else’s financial expectations that are so opaque that they can’t see through to the importance of listening to the needs of their staff.
I.E. medical safety concerns, inappropriate comments/solicitation, improper employment classification, strict productivity expectations

If you are someone who is concerned about the health and livelihood of working peoples in this country, consider that many many LMTs have the dream to be self employed because it affords them more control over the things that would make it easier to best serve people. Trust me, it costs a good chunk of change to keep my doors open and I chose to do it every day because people deserve my services at the fullest capacity.

As a previously employed person for 20 years, the bottom line has always been that the relationship with your staff is the energy that will carry out to the “consumer”.
And when we’re dealing with the human body, that shit is so important.
I wish this was even talked about for medical environments. The burnout in American work culture is a safety concern.

Something that I personally/ professionally focus on is balancing my time well enough to be as present as possible in session. Being able to be of exceptional service is a constant goal. Structuring my time well to meet all my needs so that I am centered well for work ensures that I am able to operate in a way that is unmatched compared to when I was employed by another.

I opened by own office to be able to take care of myself properly. My temperament that lends itself so well to the hands-on work that I do requires a flexible schedule.

Eventually, I would like to become the sort of employer I always felt was required for the sensitive people like me. Where quality is more important than quantity.

Massage Therapists love the work we do. Sometimes when working with one person, we meet 2 people – The person they are while living in pain or stress and the person they are when they are better able to move or rest. We cherish the opportunity to help you improve the movement capacity of your body closer to what it may have been before the pain+restriction+stress.

Disclaimer: I am human, not perfect by any stretch. Always doing my best and that looks different every day.

And, there are spa and wellness center bosses who do take care of their staff really well. I’m speaking only from my own personal experience and hearsay by other professionals, of which I know many.

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