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Recently I read an article about MT's physical injury issue, written by Whitney Lowe of Academy of Clinic Massage.  It struck me with an idea of why MT's do not stay in this profession long enough.

I always encourage each therapist to take a rest between services and wear the wrist support.   But that doesn't seem to be enough.   

I can understand they can only earn high tips from customers when the customers are satisfied and it takes rigorous amount of hand muscles work to achieve it.   I am thinking now.

Anyone out there have any advise on how to train therapists to work this out to minimize the burden on their wrist particularly?   I like to gradually add a program for educating some guideline to protect their body too.   All your advise will be appreciated.

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This is only my opinion.   But I’ve been saying and implying this in all my threads.   It comes down to our education system.  Massage therapist suffer, in more ways then one, because of a poor education system.   Our education system is not designed to create a massage therapist.  It’s designed to teach people to pass ridiculously challenging licensing and certification exams that don’t help very much when it comes to reality.    A lot of massage therapists suffer and drop out because of low pay( not enough money), overwork( to make money in order to live), and repetitive stress injury in the hands, wrists, back, and so on, because of poor trainining, and overwork.  It’s a sorry education system.  It il prepares for reality.  Every single one of those issues could be taken care of with proper education.  

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop, for now.  

I take care of myself, I have my own rehab system that I might talk about later.  The work I’m doing now ( Holographic Acupressure ), is not taxing on my body at all.  The massage work I did in the spa, was very taxing.  Basically I don’t do massage anymore.  

Anyway, there are courses out there that teach therapists how to work smart and take care of themselves in order to insure a long lasting career free of injury.  I have not taken the course, I have my own methods, so I can’t vouch for it on that level.   But here it is.

http://www.saveyourhands.com/

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge——Stephen Hawking

Thank you, Gordon, for your input.

I agree with  you 100%.   We all go thru long, expensive education only to get a certificate that is required to practice.

That is what has been bothering me.   I need to hire therapists.   I want them to make good career out of this.  I want them to make good money too.

I wish someone come up with a brilliant tool to replace human hands to do the service.    I put together some articles at my post, http://massagegrapespa.com/index.php/training-program/ .   Please look thru to give me some advise.   I like to help out my employees for the long run.

All that is good, except for the strengthening exercises you recommend.  The muscles are over worked to start with.  Not good to make them work more.  In addition, protein supplements really help if you do a lot of deep work.  Hydraulic tables, save your back.  

Gordon: I think in many ways you are right. The educational system for MT's is at fault with a few exceptions. I have learned that all MT's are not equally schooled.

At my MT school, one of our classes was devoted to entirely to movement, that is, utilizing massage techniques with physiological efficient posture (PEP for short). That was only the beginning, all of the instructors were always very vigilant and always correcting student posture in all of the bodywork classes. Also, there was always ongoing instruction in self care throughout the program. Many people graduated with that school are still going strong decades after. On the other hand, those MT's that I have met that have survived 20, 30 years without proper training in this industry learned by necessity and injury what constitutes good PEP.

It's very common in my experience most MT's have very poor PEP. That's why they don't last. Too many thumbs to start with.

Here is an example... I recently went to one of the larger spa chains for a massage. My wife had some hours to use up and thought a couples massage would be nice. I needed some self care anyway. My regular MT, one of the older more experienced, was booked so I took whoever was available. Overall I have had good massages there. He was a young fellow, clearly not to long out of school. OK take in, asked what was bothering me, told him some trigger point on the glutes and QL would be nice and that I liked a firm medium pressure overall. He said no problem, trigger point was his specialty. I can't begin to list all of the things he did that one shouldn't do in a massage. Draping was good though. The one main problem I will say for this MT is PEP. I know I wasn't his first massage. Based on the time of day I would guess I was at least his fourth. Just trying to generate enough force to do a 6 or 7 pressure I could feel him shaking throughout the whole massage, which means to me that he was just using his arms and shoulders to generate force rather than from his center of gravity. Of course the pressure varied widely. I'm not sure what he thought trigger point therapy was, but what he was doing wasn't. If this MT keeps up like that he won't last 2 years working that way. Injury, if it hasn't happened already, is just around the corner sidelining his career. Clearly this wasn't addressed in his education and as we know is not uncommon.

Why did I let the massage continue? I just wanted to see how bad it could get and a refresher lesson in what not to do to a client.

Erika: Bravo that you are willing to invest in your people on how to save themselves from themselves. I would recommend finding someone who is skilled in movement to come in and hold a hands on seminar for your folks. Have them come back a few weeks later to evaluate and make corrections, as old patterns are hard to break.

If that's not possible, there are good articles throughout past issues of Massage and Bodywork magazine that are great resources on proper posture mechanics and self care.

I always like your input, Gordon. Have you tried any massage therapy at major resort place like La Costa Resort, or major spa hotels at Atlanta?  I did a few times at cost of more than $300 altogether each time.   They provide fancy environment all right but they do not spend whole one hour doing the physical therapy.   They use tools and they use mild soothing rubbing, but not deep therapy.   I personally don't believe in those to meet the need.   I believe in the deep tissue massage as a therapy.

I haven’t been to those spas you’ve mentioned.  But I did work in a very nice spa here in Anchorage.  Maybe we had ten therapists all together.   Anyway, we were all different.  One therapist had a very light touch.  Her nick name was angle hands.  Other therapists were known for their deeper work and so on.  The front desk was aware of everyones style and did their best to match the client to the therapist.  All the Therapists except for one, could kind of swing both ways, so to speak.  Because deep tissue was also an add on extra cost option.   That spa continues to do well.  I worked there for 21 years.  I left because I had been slowly over time developing my own style of trigger point therapy.   Well it’s the type of work not expected of a spa.  There has to be communication ( talking) throughout the treatment, for one thing.    Now I’m in a medical setting where my type of work is expected.  I think there is room in a spa for individualism, as long as the clients are aware, and the front desk directs.  

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