I 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.