Less Chaos, More Massage.

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chaos1Right now, this world, is crazy.  With the current events unfolding around us on a daily basis we are all working to thrive in a state of crises. Whether you know it or not, we are all coping in one way or another to deal with the surrounding chaos. No one is exempt. One way or another, everyone who is a human being and who is alive in this time is having to DEAL with the madness around us.

Helpers are needed more than ever. Helpers are the courageous people who are coping and dealing, by trying to help others cope and deal. This is a healthy and conscious way to manage what is going on. Helpers choose to be part of the solution, rather than focus on the negatively and the problems. Helpers bolster the survivors of these times.

Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers are Helpers. We work to make an immediate positive impact on the quality of people’s’ lives by providing rest and nurturing in a safe place to simply BE. We offer comfort and therapeutic touch. Some of our clients simply need to breathe, rest and receive a nurturing and relaxing massage. Others can benefit from a deeper treatment approach for musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. We adapt to the full spectrum of people and  we are here to help. Massage Therapy is holistic healthcare, meaning, the benefits of receiving massage therapy are emotional, psychological and physical. We are not just here to help our clients, but to help ourselves by giving our lives meaning and purpose in this wild world we call home.

Massage Therapists are wave makers. Our work has repercussions. We offer valid and skilled therapy for our clients and we make a positive impact immediately on their lives. After receiving massage therapy, our clients can’t help but be more present, and thus more consciously aware of their actions and reactions.  They leave their massage with a heightened sense of themselves and can be more in control of how they respond to the world around them. A client may be kinder to their employee, or their partner or their child after a receiving a massage because they are more connected to themselves. They have received comfort, nurturing and therapeutic attention from a massage therapist who has offered them unconditional positive regard, and time to just simply be taken care of.

If you are considering a career in massage therapy. Please find the school that is best for you and sign up right now and become a helper.

If you are a person who is suffering from the unreal stresses of your life, please make receiving massage therapy a NORMAL part of your life and watch how things get better.

If you are in the massage profession or industry, please take responsibility to support the profession by educating the public about the benefits of this career, and help bring the right people to this profession.

Jill Kristin Berkana LMT BCTMB

 

“Can I Steal a Moment of Your Time?”

There are many people in the holistic healing community who are serious professionals, who have put in thousands of hours in practice and study and invested deeply in their education in order to be able to serve the greater community in a superior capacity.
Some of these rare individuals are my friends. These health care providers should be recognized by their communities with an air of respect and be treated with dignity as the prestigious professionals that they are. The education and study, devotion of time and energy, practice and investment should warrant a great celebration and recognition, but it does not.

I am sure what I will describe here plays out in many professions. For this article… I will describe how it shows up in the complementary healing world.

These unconventional scholars who have pieced together a patchwork quilt of traditional healing modalities and expertise in a non-traditionally academic way do not receive a graduation celebration or a diploma. Some of them are beyond worthy of the recognition of an academic higher degree such as doctorate, however they will not receive letters after their name or be properly acknowledge for what they have gone through to embody the knowledge which they generously share. Please know in the same realm there are people who pretend to be this which I describe, but who are not. There are frauds and a little bit of research will usually uncover who you are dealing with.


People who seek to receive care or assistance, consultation or advice from these individuals regularly challenge the reality that these people deserve to be appropriately compensated, if at all, for their time. The phrase “can I steal a moment of your time” will regularly float around.

Let’s explore this phrase-“Can I steal a moment of your time”.
Would you approach someone and say, can I steal $20 out of your wallet, or can I steal the jacket you’re wearing? Why is a the value of someone’s time (that you genuinely desire for yourself) equated to zero value in the field of exchange?
Some people will try to exploit time with these high level persons and not blink an eye, and will actually be offended when there is a fee associated with service or will ask for a discount with attitude. They may even be amazed that there is a charge at all. People would never do this with a doctor or a plumber.

Please understand that if you are wishing to benefit from the expertise of a professional of this caliber, you will need to pay a professional fee. It would not be right to think otherwise.

One thing is for certain, if you don’t value your own time, you cannot value another’s. Hopefully for those who read this… this essay will provoke an inventory of how we all value or do not value our own time.

Jill Kristin Berkana
Jill Kristin Berkana

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The Great Pause…

…and here we are, stepping back into the treatment room with an arsenal of hand sanitizer, chemical cleansing fluids, wipes, plastic bags, thermometers, smocks, masks, and a healthy measure of trepidation.

But is now the right time? Is it too soon? What is happening here and now that makes it okay for me to take this risk to give what I give to the world? Have I made it as safe as possible? And even if I have, is it worth the risk? Am I being ethical?

To give what I am so good at giving to the world. To share what I am so eager to share. To offer what I have studied, practiced, and loved. To provide the service I do to earn a living and take care of my family. To do what shows me that my being has great value…

to be a Massage Therapist and bodywork artist.

I don’t have the answers for you, but can we explore for a moment…

did we ever imagine that we would be here now, asking our selves these questions when the reason we fell in love with this work was because it was what we were born to do?

Yes. I know you were born to do this work and that is why you do it. That is why you love it. It is within your natural and sacred constitution and this, in and of itself, is unusual and wonderful.

What our profession is experiencing is a great pause. Some of us are learning how to get back to work while some of us still need to wait. Regardless of your timing and thoughtful decision making process, I want to encourage you NOT to allow the trauma of what has happened to take your art away from you.

This is a great pause and a time for deep investigation, research, and adaptation. Please do not leave the profession that you love and have invested so much into.

Breathe deep… Find a way to pay your bills right now. You ARE creative enough and I know that because you are a Massage Therapist.

Today and tomorrow you are needed and more than you have ever been needed. The world has now received the big wake-up call on the power of touch by being starved of it.

Breathe deep… remember who you are and stand by. Your number is going to be called soon and you are going to be very busy.

Be a warrior and fight. You have the courage to touch people while they are making themselves completely vulnerable. I know you are peaceful, but you are also braver than most to do this work at all and you have what it takes to continue to share your skilled and knowledgeable touch.

Warrior UP! Sometimes fighting for what is important means waiting. Sometimes being a warrior means staying keenly on top of research, following the mentors who advise you, and with sharp attention to the unfolding details using great discernment. Sometimes being a warrior requires perfect strategy, weaponry, and stealth timing. Sometimes being a warrior means sacrificing what you want and need for the greater good.

New skills, knowledge and tools are required.  Timing and processes must be modified. Attachment to how things used to be is fruitless. Take time to grieve what was but don’t get stuck there.  Now is the time to get excited about what will be and BE at the READY!

Jill Kristin Berkana
Jill Kristin Berkana

Massage Therapy, it’s going to be okay.

Blank Facebook PostHello Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers. I wanted to reach out to you with regard to what is happening to our profession in the wake of the Corona Virus. I know this is a scary time and you have had to make some really tough decisions. I know there has been confusion and a great deal of stress.

I know that you have a home to keep going, and that you have kids, pets, rent, groceries, student loans, medical bills, car payments, insurance etc. to pay for, and being without your income is devastating and scary.

I understand that many of you have had to negotiate ethical dilemmas because your clients or employers wanted you to continue but you knew that the potential to do harm was real, and you had to disappoint others who did not understand and that some of you had to risk losing your job because your employer had sketchy ethics and greed.

I know you are trying to figure out how to make ends meet for the next however long it will be to make your life work. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this difficulty.

What I want to shine a light on for you is that your career will be stronger than ever once we make it through this challenging time. This pandemic which is forcing people not to touch one another is clearly showing the entire world the crucial power of, and need for touch. I know this clarity will prove to empower our ability to serve in a much greater capacity than ever before once we arrive to our new world post Covid-19.

Take heart. You are one of the best people because you chose a career of service to your fellow human beings. You chose to touch people for a living. You chose to hold space for people so that they have a chance to practice self-care and come back to themselves. You chose to learn and embody the knowledge of the organization of the body. You chose to learn how to make people feel safe enough to be completely vulnerable with you. You chose to honor all people and offer unconditional positive regard for them. You chose a righteous profession and one where you are not alone but part of a larger community of encouraging helpers and positive wavemakers.  Your heart and hands are pure gold.

It is going to be okay. Put your house in order the best way you can. Ask for help as you need it. Rest well. Take care of you and yours. Offer the compassion that you offer to your clients to yourself in this time of waiting and please, practice self care because you will be on the front lines of the chronic stages of recovery from the pandemic for the masses. You are going to be needed so much in a short while…more than ever before. And so, be creative in the face of adversity and do what you know best… breathe.

Jill Kristin Berkana

Jill Kristin Berkana

 

Wherefore Art Thou… Professional Ethics?

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Every now and then I take a peek at the professional massage therapy boards on Facebook. Every time I do, I am astounded by some of the comments I see left by some Licensed Massage Therapists and/or Body-workers, and Massage Therapy and/or Body-Work Educators. It is deeply concerning. What I saw in the conversation tonight was so stunning that I had to write this. I would suggest that some of the Massage Therapists participating on these boards could spend LESS time on these boards and more time taking ethics classes.

I’m just guessing here, but many signs indicate on these threads that some of the participants had ethics in entry-level and then never took another ethics class after that. It also seems that if they did have an ethics class in entry-level, it was either a marginal class at best, or they simply forgot the important ethical rules of engagement they agreed to.

Another problem is ethics classes 20-30 years ago were non-existent or completely different from what we have now.  We didn’t have the internet or much regulation in those days, let alone testing, and some states don’t require continuing education in ethics for licensure renewal. This is very bad as it produces seasoned professionals who are operating ethically from the education they received 20-30 years ago.

Commonplace ethical violations seen all over these boards are: breach of confidence, discrimination, therapists out of scope, personalization of the therapeutic relationship, diagnosing, prescribing, promoting mythology and advising incorrectly to name a few.

A few reasons we as Massage Therapists and body workers need to take ongoing ethics classes are as follows:

  • Things shift and change. We want our profession to evolve, It IS evolving, and we need to evolve with it.
  • We will never know it all.
  • Our clients make themselves vulnerable whenever we work with them. We need to be as prepared as possible for the multitude of potential ethical dilemmas that can unfold before us, keep our clients safe, and protect ourselves and the profession.
  • We can do harm.
  • We are all representing the profession that is now respected as legitimate health care. We need to protect that by acting as ethical representatives. To do otherwise is to sabotage the gains.

If you are a practicing LMT or body worker and have not had an ethics class for several years, and/or failed to learn the basic ethical rules of engagement in entry-level, please, Please, PLEASE get up to speed NOW on your ethics, and continue to learn! Ethics classes are fun and no one knows it all. Those who think they do are a problem.

If you are a massage therapy and/or bodywork educator and you are not up to date on your ethics, your feet are to the fire because the damage you can do will multiply. It is critically important to get the ego in check so one can learn. Humility is critical for the ability to receive information and thus embody that information as knowledge.

Plenty of ethics classes right here at NCBTMB and you can even take some of them online!

It IS an ethical responsibility to continue to learn about ethics for the life of your career and it does not matter if your state does not require it for licensure renewal. It’s the right thing to do.

Jill Kristin Berkana

Founder/Director Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy

Jill K. Berkana LMT, BCTMB

You don’t need an excuse…but have plenty.

Massage-circle-sustainable-living-upward-spirals-diamante-centerWhen you receive a professional massage, you are receiving health care treatment by someone who has been trained in the art and science of therapeutic touch, and who is there for you completely.

Receiving this type of attention and nurturing will enhance your life in a multitude of ways.

Massage improves everything! When you receive professional massage therapy, you are encouraged to connect with yourself. When you connect with yourself you can feel more, contemplate the quality of your relationship to your self and to your life, shift your perspective and inspire a creative and positive outlook.

You can be thoughtful about everything, or rest your mind and consider nothing at all. You give yourself the opportunity to rest, slow down and connect. Additionally, you receive the long list of proven physical, mental, and emotional benefits that massage therapy provides.

When you consider all of that, are you not worth this investment in your life?

You can receive therapeutic massage from exceptional therapists across the country. Be selective when you decide who you will trust to touch your whole life. Not all Massage Therapists have the same training or skill set, and it will be important for you to connect with one who can best serve your specific goals.

If you are interested in working with a Berkana trained Massage Therapist, we have about 350 around the country; and of course, our Student Clinic in Prospect regularly welcomes the public to participate in our education, and receive outstanding bodywork from our students for about half the cost of a professional massage.

If you need more information, please feel free to reach out!  I hope you will schedule a massage for yourself today and know truly…you don’t need an excuse, but you have plenty. ​

“Located on the corner of Ionosphere and Tenacity…

head_img_worksmartThe Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy revealed today its massage therapy licensure program will relocate to Prospect New Town, Colorado as of July 2017. Plans to convert the current Lower Downtown Denver campus into a Massage Therapy Co-Op and Continuing Education Facility for NCBTMB Approved Providers and fellow Holistic Educators were also announced.

“Prospective students from Colorado and the entire nation seek out The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy for its pillars of excellence: A faculty of devoted experts, mindful and holistic approach, small classes, accelerated learning, and professionalism. Our exquisite environment also plays a large role in students’ desire to attend and bolsters their success,” explained Jill Kristin Berkana, founder and director. “As our licensure preparatory program strives to be on the cutting-edge for our rapidly evolving profession, it was time to find a new home that could match our holistic intent, and remain true to our core values. With wall-to-wall windows, endless natural light, beautiful architecture that borders a large public park, and the overall tranquility of the neighborhood, our new location will empower students to learn and grow in congruence with this progressive, mindful, and artistic community.”

Conveniently located on the corner of Ionosphere and Tenacity in Prospect New Town, the new Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy location resides on a bus line and off of a major highway. Students can easily commute from most of Colorado’s premier Front Range destinations in as little as 20-40 minutes. Such accessibility permits students to reside in nearby locations most affordable and appealing to their personal styles.

Named “The Coolest Neighborhood in the United States” by Dwell Magazine and winner of the Governor’s Smart Growth Award for its innovative alternative to suburban sprawl, the prime location in Prospect New Town provides ample parking, restaurants, and boutiques all within walking distance—establishing The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy as a true destination.

Pending approval from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Private Occupational School Board, the grand opening of the new Prospect New Town location is scheduled for Mid-July 2017. Courses for the entry-level program will begin in the newly-renovated space in Late-July 2017. Inaugural, class-only residents from Denver and further away will receive special incentives. Furthermore, a Student Clinic will be established shortly after to serve the Prospect and Longmont communities with affordable massage therapy.

Berkana described plans for the Denver location: “As The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy continues to align with the needs of the massage therapy and bodywork profession, we have not forgotten the wonderful city and people of Denver that helped establish our premier brand. For that reason, our Board of Advisors have agreed to convert the current LoDo location into a Massage Co-Op to further support our graduates and the greater community. In addition, we will dedicate a portion of the space to act as a Continuing Education Facility for local and international NCBTMB Approved Providers and fellow Holistic Educators.” Additional information regarding the plans to convert the Denver location into a Massage Co-Op and Continuing Education Facility will be released in the coming weeks.

About Prospect New Town

Prospect New Town is Colorado’s first New Urbanist community located on a former 80-acre tree farm in the southwest pocket of Longmont. Framed by snow-capped peaks and surrounded by farmland, it’s the perfect pocket of city in a rural setting. Locally owned restaurants and boutiques offer city chic with personalized, small-town service. It’s home to an array of lively, year-round events such as wine tastings, food trucks and cycling events. Intimate streets and walkways connect homes to numerous parks, shops and workspaces making it an ideal place to live and work.

For more information, please visit www.prospectnewtown.com.


About The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy

The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy is an nationally-recognized, accelerated, and premier Massage Therapy Licensure School dedicated to cultivating professional, competent, and compassionate bodywork artists in Colorado. The rigorous, 5-month program (offered in the Spring and Fall) is founded on a comprehensive curriculum, expert instruction, and state of the art equipment in a focused environment. Berkana students maintain an impressive 100% first-attempt success rate on the U.S. state licensing examination, the MBLEx.

The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy is an approved school through the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Private Occupational School Board, The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Additionally, the school provides top-notch Continuing Education for the profession and greater Berkana community as an Approved Continuing Education Provider through NCBTMB. The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy is approved by the VA to accept the GI Bill. Affordable tuition payment plans and opportunities for discounts are available.

For more information, please visit www.berkanainstitute.com.

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Free Student Chair Massage? Nope!

NO FREEE STUDENT MASSAGESI have written this message about 3 dozen times in the last few years. This morning I started to write it again and so it seemed time to blog this out and save myself some time.

As a one-woman-show, massage school owner/operator I am only representing myself in this message, but I know many schools will echo my sentiments.

Every year I am approached by several companies who want my school to provide free student massages for their awesome and hard working employees. Most often the employers soliciting my school are non-for-profit providers of some kind of worthy service to the greater public; and so it seems reasonable that these workers should receive free massages from student therapists.

Your employees probably do deserve free massages, but the organization needs to budget and plan accordingly to pay for these real services.

There has been this broad misconception that somehow massage schools are in desperate need to have their students provide massage therapy in order to meet the clinical practicum requirements of their massage therapy educational program. The organizers/solicitors believe they are approaching the massage schools with a great opportunity for the students to work with their worthy group, and also get some much needed practice. Seems like a win-win! Nope.

Any legitimate massage therapy school is going to have everything set up to meet their students needs prior to opening the school. They have to in order to be approved by the regulatory bodies that are protecting the public. Additionally, most regulatory agencies require any new class location to be approved prior to taking students there, AND often that requires filling out a form, paying a fee, and then appearing before a regulatory board at the next board meeting. At least that is how it works for me in Colorado.

Reality Check! We can’t drop everything and on a whim pack up massage tables, chairs, linens, hygiene maintenance materials, forms, load it in a van…so our students can come massage your staff this coming Tuesday afternoon. Think about it. The students must have supervision, there is equipment, paperwork, travel, loads of people involved. This requires great effort and we can’t do it, and definitely not for free.

If you wish to provide massage therapy for your awesome staff who certainly do deserve it, please consider starting this conversation with a school a year in advance of an ONGOING arrangement, and find the funding in your budget to appropriately support the school’s efforts.

Alternatively, you can arrange with a school to buy a package deal of student massages in their student clinic, and I am sure they will give you a discounted rate.

Back in the day when there was very little regulation of massage therapy and massage education free student chair massage probably happened a lot. It is over now so please stop asking for free student massage in exchange for the great opportunity for our students to serve your community. You need to pay for massage… even if students are providing it, and you are participating in their education.

Massage Therapy and Integrative Healthcare: An Overdue Embrace

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“Medicine is like the Tai Ji. There are two theories of thought. But truly one does not exist without the existence of the other. They are intertwined as people try to make them a dichotomy.”       ~Brent Jackson

The intent of this blog post is to address and plead with the small and shrinking group of holistic health care practitioners, specifically massage therapists, who have a tendency to say negative things about western or traditional medicine to their clients, step out of scope with diagnoses and prescribing, and they do this all day long. I know this group well because 20 years ago, I was a full-fledged member.

This morning as I stand in my kitchen making breakfast, breathing and hungry, I’m reflecting on how many times traditional/western medicine has saved my life and the lives of my loved ones. My father, grandmother and brother have all suffered from serious bouts with Diverticulitis. My brother endured a temporary colostomy bag while his large intestine healed, and my dad had surgery to remove two thirds of his large intestine after years of suffering with chronic pain and acute flair ups of the disease. I recall his discomfort from time to time as a child, and watched him peel the sesame seeds off the top of his hamburger buns.

I’ve been a holistic health care professional for 27 years and counting, and a nutrition/natural medicine passionista for over 30, therefore, when I first started to have intestinal pain 22 years ago I decided to take matters into my own hands. This was also convenient because I did not have health insurance at the time. I did my research in naturopathic journals, read books on cleansing and fasting, talked with the experts at the health food stores and started a disciplined practice.  I have since done annual fasts coupled with intestinal cleansing for a week every year since I was 30. I have not had any significant problems, until now. This year the disease caught me. Seeing as I had done a short fast and cleanse 3 days prior to my attack it is possible that the cleanse itself is what exasperated and/or revealed my condition. I will never know. I will also never know if my lifestyle choices kept the disease at bay until now. What I do know now is I have it, I am fragile, and my life has been saved once again by western/traditional medicine.

While I was in the hospital I really wanted a massage. I was having horrible headaches due to the IV drugs saving my large intestine from rupturing, but no, sadly, there was no massage. While I was suffering an incredible wave of nausea with a completely empty stomach due to doctor prescribed bowel rest the nurse DID swirl her warm hand on my back which felt wonderful and comforting. She put lavender aromatherapy in the room, and cold washcloths on my forehead. They did allow my husband to come in and spoon me for an afternoon nap. This all was VERY powerful medicine, however, there was no massage therapist there to give me a much-needed neck and head massage. Why is that?

Some hospitals are finally providing massage therapy which is paid for by patient insurance and prescribed by the physician! With all my heart I thank the AMTA, the Massage Therapy Foundation, pioneers such as Ruth Werner, Xerlan Deery, Susan Salvo, Carole Osborne, Brent Jackson and too many others to mention for the progress massage therapy has made in the hospitals. Still, massage therapy is not fully integrated. Why is that?

Here is one prominent obstacle. There are still too many massage therapists practicing some form a shamanism, (for lack of a better word) making false claims about healing, telling clients to eat toxic essential oils, encouraging clients to forego doctor’s orders, diagnosing, and demonstrating to the greater medical community our profession’s inability to stay within its scope of practice and collaborate with consistent integrity and ethics. Sad.

Sadder still is most of the massage therapists doing this have positive intent and really think they are helping their clients! This is what they were taught in school by their beloved mentors, and now… some 20 -30 years later… they are telling the same very old story. Some of these folks are teachers and continuing to propagate the mythology and lack of professional boundaries.

Massage Therapists in every single inch of the United States should be required to take a certain amount of continuing education to renew their license including at the very least professional ethics and research competancy. Additionally, the Continuing Education providers absolutely should comply at a higher level so we know the people who are getting massage therapists up to speed, are up to speed. Last I heard, continuing education is only required for licensure renewal in 35-37 states.

If you are a massage therapist and you are not taking continuing education courses I hope this article will inspire you to pursue it for yourself and for your clients.  If you don’t like my message, please just take a moment to reflect on how many times traditional/westernized medicine has saved your life or the lives of your loved ones. Alternative Medicine is OUT  and Integrative Health Care is IN! It should not be us OR them but us AND them!

By no means am I saying that western/traditional medicine is perfect. Obvious to all of us paying attention, pharmaceuticals are completely out of control, along with health care costs. If massage therapy can get it together and collaborate with a high level of professional integrity we can position to replace at least some of the pills and surgery.

You should powerfully advocate for yourself and your body whenever you are submitting to healthcare of ANY kind. For example, the doctor wanted to give me one more bag of antibiotics and I told him, “too much medicine, not enough nutrition” and so, he put me on soft food before I took the next bag.

My journey with Traditional/Western Medicine:

  • In 1977 I had pneumonia and was saved by medical intervention
  • In 1988 my son was born via emergency C-Section after a 40-hour labor at home with midwives. The medical intervention saved both of our lives.
  • In 1995 I was in a horrific car accident and medicine did not keep me alive but kept me out of unbearable pain.
  • Medical Intervention repaired both my right big toe which I crushed under 300 pounds of wood in Costa Rica, and my thumb which was damaged in two car accidents. I am walking/running and doing powerful massage today.
  • 2017 – Doctors and medicine kept my large intestine from exploding.

Let’s face it, if you crush your leg, do you really want a shaman to chant over it and apply some tree sap? If you are a massage therapist, please do get up to speed and keep up. It’s not hard to do! Our profession is investing considerably in research and many new valid discoveries have been made! This is terrific news!

And if you have not yet got the memos:

  1. Massage Therapy is fine for healthy moms-to-be in the first trimester.
  2. Massage Therapy does NOT remove toxins.
  3. A new muscle has been discovered. See if you can find it.
  4. The parasympathetic nervous system may not govern the Sacral Plexus.
  5. Massage Therapy does NOT spread cancer.
  6. There is MORE! FIND IT!

Back in the day I would read a rune to each and every client at the end of their massage. I calculated their astrological charts to better understand how I could help them. I had crystals in my massage room and I still do because they are pretty. Today I believe in magic. I like to do ceremonies under the full moon, and I’m known by family and friends (not clients) for my special “white witch flu brew” around cold and flu season. I cut my teeth on the mystical, and I also know it’s high time massage therapy really honor the boundaries of our profession so we can work with and support the healing of those who need it the most.

Here is some powerful work all massage therapists should read:

Tracy Walton’s “5 Myths and Truths about Massage Therapy”

The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function and Pain

Here are easy ways to stay connected to what is new:

The Massage Therapy Foundation

The American Massage Therapy Association

Research Perch

Showing up late to your Massage

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lateI am a massage therapy educator, former practicing massage therapist of 20,000 plus hours and a mentor of over 300 graduates. Now you know why I’m exposed to, and experienced with this subject matter.  Let’s move on.

This article is not for me, and it is not for my graduates, but for the thousands upon thousands of clients our profession serves. Let’s talk about time management in massage therapy. My goal is to share with clients the perspective of massage therapists with regard to time and how it works in massage land.  This article is not intended to be an insult or to offend anyone in any way, but to educate the public on the unique perspective we massage therapists have with regard to time.

When we train to become your massage therapist, we crank our awareness of time management up to a level that is not normally understood or practiced in a lot of professional cultures. Specifically, we start to pay attention to not only the minutes of the hour, but the seconds of the minutes. When we come in to work to provide massage therapy for you, the person who reserved our time, we come in early to ensure the following:

  • The environment is prepared for you in every way.
  • We are mentally and emotionally prepared to devote ourselves to this time to serve you an awesome bodywork experience.
  • The condition of the drapes on the table (sheets) are hygienically and aesthetically prepared for you.
  • All odors or aromas in the room are neutralized.
  • The temperature of the room is comfortable for a person who is relaxing.
  • The song list that is prepared to play for you is at the appropriate volume to swiftly support your journey to bliss.
  • Our fingernails are extremely manicured so that we do not scratch you.
  • The amount of cream or lotion that we have is appropriate to meet your needs.
  • We have the water poured for you and for us.
  • We have flossed and brushed our teeth again because we had lunch or breakfast and don’t want to offend you in anyway.
  • We may have tended to  some other important hygienic and/or health concerns such as used the bathroom, washed our hands and arms, blown our noses, put on more deodorant, used a cat hair roller to remove any fluffs off our garments etc.
  • We make sure that the space is tidy, hygienically prepared, presentable, well equipped and pleasant for you in every possible way we can think of.

Once we know all of that is covered in advance of your arrival, we start to watch the clock and wait for you to arrive. We may do some deep breathing or stretching in preparation. We know we have exactly as much time as you have asked us for to provide a wonderful treatment for you. We are planning in our minds eye around that time. We have both agreed upon the price of our time together and that is to the minute, Folks.

When a client is late to a massage therapy appointment even by minutes, stress starts to bubble up for the massage therapist. The treatment will not only be shorter, but may be impacted by the stress experienced by the Massage Therapist. When you are late to your massage concerns begin to arise such as: Are they okay? How am I going to get it all done? Did I make a mistake in my calendar? Since I have to charge them for my time which they have scheduled, are they going to resent me when I have to charge them for the time I am spending waiting for them? Will I finish on time and have enough time to get the room ready for my next client? Or to pick up my child from Kindergarten? Or to miss traffic? Or, Or, Or? One late arriving client can create repercussions that effect the quality of the entire day for the Massage Therapist.

People are late and life is messy. Your massage therapist may at one time or another be late too. We all understand this. People are not robots. It may help you to know that this is not a comfortable situation for you OR your massage therapist no matter how unruffled they react when you are late. Their job is to conserve all potential for your therapeutic experience.  Your late arrival not only increases YOUR stress, but that of your massage therapist. We are paid for the time that you have reserved with us. The time you pay for does not begin when you arrive, but begins when the time you scheduled us to be working with you arrives. Additionally, we don’t want clients running through the door and launching onto the massage table without proper intake time. This starts to conflict with our ethical responsibility to perform a thorough intake with you before the hands-on work begins.

Some massage therapists will not practice a strict timing discipline, but most do, and all should. For our profession this is a measure of professionalism. For those who do keep strictly to the clock, please do your very best to be at least 5-10 minutes early for your massage so that you can receive the most benefit from your skilled massage therapist who is not compromised by the stress of a late arriving client. Consider distance and traffic patterns. Plan the rest of your day accordingly.

If you are going to be late, please text or call your massage therapist right away so they don’t have to imagine what is going on. Make sure you understand and agree to the policies your massage therapist has for missed appointments, late arrivals, sickness and emergencies.

Your massage should be a wonderful and life enhancing experience. It’s fantastic that you are taking this time for yourself to receive the benefits of therapeutic massage! You will receive immediate positive results from practicing this form of self-care. Be sure you get the maximum benefit by planning accordingly so that you can be on time to your session and prevent a late arrival from compromising your intended goal to feel much better.

Jill Kristin Berkana

Founder/Director Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy and Bodywork Passionista