Thoughts on the profession

Complementary or Alternative?

I hear other massage therapists talk about “healing” their clients.  I am uncomfortable with this idea.  I refer to myself as more of a facilitator — my clients heal themselves, I help them along. 

I am also hearing a lot of talk among my colleagues about practicing “alternative medicine.”  This makes me even more  uncomfortable.  As a massage therapist, I see what I as a complement to other forms of medicine or wellness practices — Eastern, Western, Southern or whatever.  It takes more than one approach for each person to find their balance and their idea of wellness.  My practice exists to complement other approaches, not to replace them. 

I would like to thank Isabel Adkins for clarifying this idea for me.  She was my teacher for a “Massage for People Living with Cancer” class.  With great clarity and compassion, she explained some of the history of chemotherapy to us, and some of the reasons why it is so damaging to the body.  She was careful to let us know, however, that she saw her work as a massage therapist as a complement to Western medicine, not an alternative. 

Think of the power of this — we are not working against anyone, we are working with them.  This is how nations are built, people. 

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