We are really excited to share with you the next installment 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!
So what can you do to bring about a change?
Who can be your voice, who has the opportunity, who is well connected? Unless you are actively involved in, and sit on boards that can make policy changes, you may feel that you struggle to have a voice. One way to change this is to volunteer your time, become involved and sit on a panel that is dedicated to changing things, or invest in a professional association to do this for you.
I am aware that it is not uncommon for therapists to wonder what their professional associations do for them. Many therapists do not hold these associations in high regard. I frequently hear therapists questioning why they are paying their fees for each year, as they do not think that they are getting anything for their money. What they fail to recognize is what they are investing in is not tangible. However, with your support and trust, your professional association can play an active role in changing the market, changing the current perception about what you do, making those connections that will elevate your status as the professional you deserve to be regarded as. When choosing the right association, you might want to see if they belong to GCMT (The General Council for Massage Therapists). This is the council for soft tissue therapies, and is the only forum in which other PAs and educators come together to discuss and resolve industry issues.
Another option is the NMC, (the National Massage Championships). These competitions have been held at Olympia for the past 2 years. They are judged by those who have been involved in the industry for decades. Having been involved myself with the competition, the feedback I received is that everyone believes that these competitions can do a lot for our industry. They are good for the therapists involved as they offer space for connecting and networking, and also demonstrate to the general public, the very high level of skill that is out there. They educated the public about what they could expect from a well-trained and practiced therapist and what all the various forms of massage entail. Education such as this is vital if we are to change the historical perceptions that massage is a dark and seedy industry, and demonstrate its importance within the health and wellbeing fields.
Being involved in the NMC myself, as well as the pride I felt from watching the incredibly talented and professional therapists, I was also able to use the opportunity to discuss with other judges the premise of this article: what changes and improvements we’d like to see within the industry. The judges at the event were some of the industry’s top professionals hailing from all around the world. Being able to analyse and evaluate our industry with these figureheads was incredibly insightful. I think the main conclusion that we all reached was that in order for these competitions to truly reach their full potential, and work as a beacon of professionalism and education for our industry, we need to form a committee. A committee would establish formal protocol and regulations for competitions the world over and give us all common criteria and standards to aim for.
Finally I should mention the internet. The internet has made a big difference in the massage therapy world, just as it has everywhere. Thanks to the power of the internet and social media, as therapists we have access to more information than we ever have before. However, while some of this information is excellent and really beneficial, we also need to be wary of the misinformation out there.
A great thing about the internet is that we have access to a community of therapists. On social media, there are groups and forums we can use to post questions, have discussions and share information. The best way to avoid misinformation is seek advice from other therapists you know and trust about which groups and forums to use. The more you use the internet, the more savvy you will become about what is genuinely useful information, and what isn’t.
In conclusion, I think the most beneficial way we can all bring about change within our industry is by uniting together. Using our joint voices to be heard. I started off this article saying that as an individual perhaps we struggle to be heard, however although most of us work alone, we are not alone in our mission to elevate the massage therapy profession within the health and wellbeing world. We have a community of other professionals that we can access through our professional associations, through the events like the NMC, and through the multitude of forums and online communities. Therefore, I think the biggest change that I would like to see is that we start to view other professionals in the industry, not as competition, but as team mates, united together in our shared goal to raise professionalism in the industry, and change perceptions both within the medical fields and the general public. We understand how beneficial massage is for health and wellbeing, and by working together, we can also ensure that the world does too.
Watch Susan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!Jing
Watch Rachel and Megan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!
Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!
the decisions, actions and outcomes of each massage treatment. As well as being best practice, this helps to position massage therapy within the healthcare system. Extending this into marketing and promotional material will also help to shift public perception and increase the public's awareness of our skill and expertise.
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.
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.Jing
Their team would also like to see more funding provided to support therapists emotionally both when working with clients with complex health conditions and with personal issues that they might share during their massage treatments. More self care should also be encouraged with employees of massage therapists providing access to training for no hands techniques and regular treatments from fellow therapists. Wellness and well-being are common buzz words being used by companies to promote their services but they need to reflect this in their own practice and support their workers to have long, healthy careers.
Watch Sue answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!
Online there is lots of debate as to whether professional associations are worthwhile. Many therapists are put off by the cost and, in an attempt to run their clinics as lean as possible, leave this off their list of business expenses. Whether you have recently trained as a massage therapist or whether you have been working in spa but are looking to strike out on your own and set up your own massage therapy business, whatever your circumstance if you are looking to have a successful career in the massage industry then you should seriously consider joining a professional association.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.