The usual thought in the UK seems to be that Masseuses/masseurs (massage therapists god damn it) are nothing more than glorified beauticians, it’s a job people do when they’re not bright enough to do anything else, or they really like doing nails. The public has no idea that it involves hundreds of hours of study, knowing the body in depth and of course all the pathology we need to cover. They don’t know we have to know the history behind every therapy, or that many of the techniques we use can actually be quite difficult to learn to get right (do they know the difference in pressure required for effleurage to petrissage? How about when you should use tapotement? No I didn’t think so).
Why is all of that relevant? well, when I moved to another town, I couldn’t get clients interested! I couldn’t figure out why? so I googled. I asked the question to anyone that I could. Their responses?
“I used to like it, but the people round here all seem to go to that (name of school offering quick qualification for super cheap) school, and they don’t know what they’re doing.”
“You’re too expensive! The girl over on this street only charges £15 for a full body massage”
Wow, how could she charge so little? That wouldn’t even cover the rent on the room if I worked a sensible 25 hour week, plus trying to make the course money back and survive (we therapists need to eat and have a home too you know), and I was only charging £30 for a full body at that point. So I decided to educate as many people as I could, making sure people could see I was a member of a professional organisation, add the amount of study I had to do for each course on my adverts. Suddenly people were interested. But it took a long while.
Having that professional membership to show, hey I am qualified, I have insurance, I KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT, mean a lot to me. It meant a lot to my clients. It also showed that if anything happened or they were happy, they didn’t have to complain to me, they could go higher, see it dealt with by independent people, who may be more willing to listen. (never happened thankfully, but the option was there).
The professional membership showed that the idea that I was just another beautician (very funny to those who know me, can’t really imagine this long haired, pierced skater guy sitting doing nails), and that I was actually smart enough to be able to learn about the body, the techniques and how it will effect each persons wellbeing.
The reason I wrote this today, was because I saw that the NHS has opened a complementary health training facility. I think this is great news! Our profession is now being taken seriously and This can only be a good thing!
The problem may come up though, for those who are not registered or have done quick or distance learning courses, their knowledge isn’t enough. If it happens that we become a regulated profession, they won’t be able to run their businesses anymore. Yes, honestly I see this as a very good thing, get rid of those who are under qualified and we can be taken seriously, but I feel bad for them, they may have thought they were doing good, saving money and being able to help people.
This is why we need professional organisations! They regulate courses, they help people understand what they need to do to be the best they can be. And they show that to the clients as well.
I always recommend 2 organisations, but today I will give a few more respected groups.
Complementary health professionals-small but amazing, they will go out of their way to help each person who wants to be a therapist, whether that be course recommendations or how to boost training to be the best you can be.Federation of holistic therapists-BIG, this organisation is massive, but well respected. Having their logo on your ads really boosts you up.Complementary and Natural healthcare council- a government organisation set up for voluntary registration, allowing you to be recommended by NHS services as well as be used by private health insurers and companies.
therapy specific organisations
association of reflexologistsreiki federationInternational federation of aromatherapistsInternational federation of professional aromatherapists
Don’t get caught out when the time comes and you need to be registered, do it now, work towards whatever you need to be able to do so. You are worth the effort and the organisations are worth it too!