What Challenges Do Newly Qualified Therapists Face Today? (Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series)

by Samantha Jenkins February 29, 2020

What Challenges Do Newly Qualified Therapists Face Today? (Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series)

We are really excited to share with you the next instalment of our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we have asked the industry's top leaders what would they like to see change in our industry and how can we, as massage therapists, all work towards making these changes.  

You can watch the full video with all the specialist's answers compiled together HERE.... or watch each specialist's answer individually in shorter snippets below underneath their name! 


  • JING ADVANCED MASSAGE TRAINING 

    For Rachel and Meghan from JING the main challenges facing massage therapists today are very similar to those faced in the past, namely the lack of employment opportunities and the need to strike out on your own. Setting up your own business has always been tough and part of that struggle is knowing your value and being confident in asking clients to pay what you are worth! In terms of opportunities the internet and social media has made it easier for massage therapists to get themselves out there and reach wider networks than relying on word of mouth alone. In addition the recent boom in interest around wellness is a trend that will provide massage therapists with tonnes of opportunities and is a real cause for celebration! . 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Watch Rachel and Megan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    To see JING's upcoming training courses please click on the image below or follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

     JING Advanced Massage Training  

    Jing
    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Jane Langston
    Dror Steiner
    Darien Pritchard
    Sue Bailey
    Kush Kumar
    Carl Newbury
  • SUSAN FINDLAY 
    Susan Findlay Icon for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
    What challenges do you see newly qualified therapists facing nowadays?

    Confusion is the biggest challenge therapists face today. Our industry is confusing! There is too much conflicting information out there. There are too many providers talking different languages, too much criteria, and too many different modalities to specialise in.

    When a therapist begins training, they may not know what it is that they want to do with their qualification, but generally people go into a massage career to help ‘fix’ people. What they don’t necessarily know before choosing a training course is whether the qualification will actually reflect and provide the hands-on skills for what they want to do, i.e. will a level three qualification have given them enough knowledge to help ease people’s pain? The answer is, most probably not.

    Added to the confusion is this idea that you need to qualify in various levels before embarking on a higher one, this is not true and is why at NLSSM you are trained to a level 5 covering all aspects of a solid understanding of soft tissue skills in a one year course. That way, all of the therapists who train with us will leave knowing that they are capable of assessing, understanding and offering solutions to a client in pain. Obviously there is still the confusing choice of whether or not to specialise in some area or not. In fact, I wrote a blog all about this topic, which you can read here.

    In my opinion specialising has it’s place and its value, but its more beneficial for the way you market yourself, than for your actual clients. At the end of the day, touch is touch. Today there are so many different modalities, titles, and various takes on the hands-on skills therapists can offer, that we all just end up a little confused. Should you specialise in myofascial release or deep tissue massage? Which one will benefit you most? The truth is that as a newly qualified therapist, I would say, don’t worry about all the modalities, or specialisations. The more you work in our field, the more clients you get and the more practice you have, you will start to see where you would like to develop your knowledge. You will gain a better understanding of the skills you’d like to add to your toolbox. It will happen organically, so you don’t need to feel pressurised before, or as soon as, you’ve qualified.

    On the other hand, what opportunities do newly qualified therapists benefit from today that perhaps therapists in the past did not have?

    I think the biggest change that we are seeing in the industry falls under the marketing and awareness umbrella. I link these two together because they are directly connected with the rise of technology, namely - the internet.

    Therapists in the past pretty much had to rely on word of mouth, advertisements in printed papers or magazines, flyer drops etc. Now with the internet, we have so many other ways to get our names out there.

    Creating a website and having a social media presence is a fairly inexpensive way for a therapist to advertise themselves. However, I do think social media is both a blessing and a curse, it does bring your offer out into the public but it is not an instant fix to your marketing issues. It takes time to build up your brand and gain trust from clients and the public at large. It also takes time (and no doubt, a few mistakes), to learn what is and isn’t, what this form of marketing can do for you. At the same time you will need to learn the skills of digital marketing, branding, and innovative, authentic ways to demonstrate your expertise. If you’d like to read my full blog outlining all of my thoughts around social media, you can do so here.

    My thoughts about what the internet has to offer a newly qualified massage therapists that therapists in the past didn’t have, is that it is bringing awareness to the general public about what we can offer. The courses and education that is available to therapists today is of a much higher standard than it has ever been, and thanks to the internet, it is now known that if a therapist is well qualified, then their rehabilitative abilities are respected and sought after.

    And it is not only within the general public where we are making waves, finally those within our industry and outside it are beginning to join the dots, both digitally and physically. Slowly but surely we are inching our way forward, becoming more and more respected and understood by other modalities and being regarded as having value within the field of health and wellbeing.

     

    Watch Susan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    To find out more about Susan's courses and sign up for her great Massage Monday series click on the image below or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

    Susan Findlay logo

    Jing
    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Jane Langston
    Dror Steiner
    Darien Pritchard
    Sue Bailey
    Kush Kumar
    Carl Newbury
  • EMMA GILMORE 
    Emma Gilmore profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
    The shift in the perception of massage therapy is a big opportunity for newly qualified therapists according to Emma Gilmore, Founder of the School of Bodywork. Supported by a huge bank of research massage therapists can now share online the benefits of massage and help push for therapies to be included in the wider medical sphere. In the UK this could even see massage therapy be included in the NHS which would have a massive impact on the career of newly qualified therapists.

    However there are also some new challenges that arise from modern life with massage therapists needing to be more discerning in a world of information overload. This can be a particular challenge when it comes to choosing courses and ongoing CPD. Another challenge that has always been faced by massage therapists is how to charge correctly. This is made worse perhaps by social media and comparing ourselves to others but therapists need to ensure they are charging enough to cover their business needs and not end up merely working as a hobby. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

     

    You can see the latest courses on offer at School of Bodywork by clicking the image below! You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.

    School of Bodywork logo

    Jing
    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Jane Langston
    Dror Steiner
    Darien Pritchard
    Sue Bailey
    Kush Kumar
    Carl Newbury
  • EARLE ABRAHAMSON 
    Earle Abrahamson profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
    For Earle the greatest challenges facing newly qualified therapists today is how to market their skills to secure clients in a world where there is increasing pressure to appeal to everyone. This combined with the wealth of options for professional association membership, CPD courses (some more relevant than others) and modalities they can train in can lead massage therapists to feel pressured into a number of post graduate courses straight off the bat, before allowing themselves some time to practice and analyse areas where they might like or need to develop. However, there are many benefits that newly qualified massage therapists can take advantage of today. The wealth of information available online and in CPD courses can help therapists develop their interdisciplinary skills to enhance every aspect of their business. Massage therapy is also thankfully starting to be integrated into the complementary therapy model rather than sitting within the beauty industry. This gives therapists the chance to join in as we develop our industry and change its perception amongst the public. It also opens up the possibility for therapists to write for the many scholarly outputs interested in the latest research and providing guides to other therapists.

     

     

     

     

    Watch Earle answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    You can find more details on Earle's latest book 'Muscle Testing – A Concise Manual' by clicking the images below or find out more details on the next Hands On Training courses by clicking here.

     

    Publications:

      • Making Sense of Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lotus Publishers 2016

       

        • Concise Manual of Muscle Testing - Handspring Publishers. Due out October 2019 
      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • JANE LANGSTON
      Jane Langston profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      Jane asked her students both current and recently qualified what challenges they are encountering as they enter the massage industry. Many stated that navigating the leap between leaving their previous job into running their own massage therapy business has been tricky, especially in regards to their finances. This is compounded by not feeling confident in setting their prices. Many therapists feel the pressure to offer a bargain but don't want to undersell their services, especially after the financial outlay of training. Luckily most of this fears can be soothed by creating a proper business plan which is easier today thanks to software like Excel.
      Jane's students also stated that the pressures of modern life, time management and the advent of social media are all big stresses from them whilst establishing their massage therapy businesses. Technology is seen to be a blessing and a curse with so much information available online and social media marketing opening up new avenues for finding clients. However, it also encourages us to stuff our diaries, encouraging us to take on more and more and leading us to always feel like we are failing. This lack of confidence transfers to networking and getting out there to potential clients. Setting aside dedicated time to look online, find new groups to promote yourself to and simply getting out their to say hello is really crucial. Remembering that today it is easier than ever to benefit from the support of your peers is also a boost for newly qualified therapist. Building a community from your local support group is easier than ever thanks to smartphones, social media and technology like Facebook and WhatsApp.

       

      Watch Jane answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      Click here to order Jane's latest book 'Muscle Testing – A Concise Manual' written in collaboration with Earle Abrahamson or click on the image below to join the next Muscle Testing and Human Anatomy & Physiology Workshop with Learn Anatomy Ltd.

      Learn Anatomy LTD

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • DROR STEINER 
      Dror Steiner profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      Like many of the Muscle Whisperers Dror cites the stresses of modern life as one of the greatest challenges facing newly qualified therapists today. The fast pace of life that characterises modern times is meaning that clients are bombarded by information and choice, which as we know often leads to people not making any choice at all!, cutting through the noise and capturing potential clients attention is perhaps harder than it has ever been. Add to this that clients are savvier than ever about massage, therapists need to keep their education levels up to continue to impress clients with our knowledge. Luckily the internet has made it easier than ever, with every topic imaginable easy to access online and has made it easier for massage therapists to find good CPD courses in their local community. Whilst the growing number of therapists should be celebrated and seen as a way to raise our profile, it has made it harder to stand out. However, today there are more ways than ever to reach clients thanks to the internet and for Dror it is your knowledge of anatomy that is the key to impressing clients and keeping their business. Perhaps the greatest development in the industry for Dror is that massage has finally gone mainstream! Especially as a male massage therapist, Dror sees this as a real cause for celebration and we agree! No longer is massage therapy seen as a seedy business and this is opening up real opportunities for therapists amongst mainstream healthcare professionals!

      Watch Dror answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

       

      See a full list of Dror's upcoming training courses by clicking the image below or follow Bodyology School of Massage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  

      Bodyology Logo

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • DARIEN PRITCHARD 
      Darien Pritchard profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      In the last 30 years since Darien came to the UK the greatest advancement in the massage industry he has witnessed is that massage is being taken much more seriously as a therapy. The seedy association has largely been removed and therapists are more commonly seen in gyms and spas across the country. Whilst this is fantastic for therapists, as massage gains its new reputation we can be under pressure from clients demanding deeper treatments in order to meet unrealistic expectations to resolve the issue in one appointment.

      In addition modern life has definitely brought its challenges, from additional physical stress caused by office life to mental stresses, whilst this can be good for therapists who are seeing more and more clients seek out massage to help them with their issues, we too are also subject to some of these stresses with online stalking becoming a real issue for therapists trying to take advantage of online or mobile booking systems.

      Watch Darien answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

       

      Click on the image below to find out more about the Hands Free Massage method or click here to see Darien's full range of professional development courses. 

      Learn Anatomy LTD

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • SUE BAILEY 
      Sue Bailey profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer For Sue and her team the biggest obstacle facing newly qualified therapists is the lack of support after initial training. When the unavoidable challenges crop up therapists can feel like they have no where to turn and this leads to the high rate of drop outs we see in the industry. Ideally this would be rectified with a year of supervision after qualifying to help therapists through their first difficult clients and tricky conditions that they might want reassurance with when tackling for the first time.
      On the other hand, the team do acknowledge that a big plus point for therapists today is the changing reputation of massage therapy with clients turning to therapists for help more and more. There are also more options with apps like Urban, Blow and Ruuby for therapists to get themselves out there on a freelance basis.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Watch Sue answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To see the latest courses on offer at Gateway workshops click on the image below or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

      Gateway Workshops

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • KUSH KUMAR 
      Kush Kumar profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      For Kush the biggest challenge facing new therapists today is vetting the qualifications they would like to undertake. Making sure that the teacher has all the relevant skills and experience not only in the modality in question but also as a mentor and teacher. This also extends into CPD courses which also need to be checked and vetted as rigorously as any initial qualifications. Online courses are making it easier to learn than ever but as Kush points out there is work that needs to be done to ensure these are up to standard.
      Luckily professional associations such as ThinkTree Hub are bringing together experienced therapists to advocate for change and to inspect courses to ensure therapists are getting the best education possible. ThinkTree Hub is also able to assist therapists with another big challenge of operating today, that of licences. Whilst this doesn't apply to all therapist, for those in London for example, being able to seek advice, help and ultimately exemption from associations like ThinkTree Hub is made so much easier by the internet and by being able to find information like this blog post!
      ThinkTree Hub are currently offering a discounted membership rate for new therapist, by using the voucher code ttmws!

       

       

       

      Watch Kush answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To take advantage of the special offer and join ThinkTree Hub click on the image below and be sure to give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

      ThinkTree Hub

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury
    • CARL NEWBURY 
      Carl Newbury profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      For Carl networking is the key challenge facing massage therapists today but also the area of business that perhaps benefits from the most modern opportunities as well.
      In addition to business meet ups and groups, apps are now offering new channel for finding clients and all it takes is a little trial and error to find which ones work for your massage therapy business. Carl feels finding a mentor is really key to your development as a massage therapist and thanks to the internet this is now easier than ever. At Massage World Carl has begun using mymassagementor.co.uk and would recommend it.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Watch Carl answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To check out the  click on the image below and be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and Instagram.

       

      Massage World Magazine

      Jing
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Jane Langston
      Dror Steiner
      Darien Pritchard
      Sue Bailey
      Kush Kumar
      Carl Newbury



    Samantha Jenkins
    Samantha Jenkins

    Author



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    and the success of that depends on how far we can spread the word about the campaign. 

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    Massage Table Size Guide

    Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

    A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

    The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

    1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
    2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

    Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.

     

    The Width of the Massage Table:

    Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

    Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

    Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

    Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

    If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

    Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

    measuring the width of a massage table


    Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

    The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

    You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.

     

    The Height Of the Massage Table

    Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

    A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

    1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
    2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
    3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
    4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

    The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

    You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

    There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

    1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

    If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

    2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

    The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.

     

    Massage Table Shape:

    The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

    1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

    This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

    2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

    Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.

     

    3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

    A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.


    This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.

     

    4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
    Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
    5. Oval Shaped

     The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

    oval massage table

     

    Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!

     

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