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Can MT Hold Multiple Identities Successfully?

It appears we – as massage therapists - are trying to fit all the definitions of massage into one basket, hence trying to serve all populations with a single, definitive model. Historically, massage has origins from post World War rehab in physiotherapy and nursing, where massage was one of many methods or modalities applied in the larger scope of these two professions. Massage also hails roots from the European spa/aesthetic field and, of course, there are influences from the human potential movement of the 60’s and 70’s.

All of these identities have different “products” they offer to the marketplace, use different funding models, different promotional tactics and receive different levels of recognition and respect by the general public, the media, the insurance industry, government, and other health care providers. Unfortunately, by trying to be all inclusive to our colleagues we’re confusing these agencies that regulate or determine funding and access to massage therapy care.

Question: Can massage therapy successfully contain multiple identities, serving different markets with different expectations and funding models? If not, what could the massage therapy profession do to improve its position and credibility with government, the insurance industry, other health care providers, the media and the general public?
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