I have just had the great honor to perform the duties of a Judge at the 3rd annual World Massage Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am eager to share my impressions. To begin, I feel it necessary to share who I am, so that you the reader can understand the perspective I am coming from and why my opinion might matter to the conversation. Here is my bio.
I wish to congratulate all of the participants. What you have done here is awe-inspiring. You have taken your craft to the international stage to share your life’s passion and how you work. You made yourself vulnerable to be judged. This takes tremendous courage and drive. I know that your investment of time, money, travel and intention is phenomenal and I applaud you! If I did not have the chance to meet you at the competition and give you feedback, I apologize. Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to be connected.
Taking into consideration the globe spanning representation, the melting pot of culture, holding a mass of professionals, who are all coming from the broadest sample of the profession’s schools of thought, I genuinely hope not to insult anyone, but to offer an opportunity for all of us to share, learn and grow.
Please know that my perspective is coming from that of the highest United States Standard, which I must exemplify, hold and teach. This standard is rapidly evolving due to the profession’s investment in legitimate research, as we work toward a model of Massage Therapy as legitimate evidence informed healthcare.
I was skeptical and had great concerns about this competition because like many prominent stakeholders in the field have shared, I felt that having a world championship in massage therapy automatically lent itself to the following detriments:
- Glamorizing the therapist in a client centered healthcare field where humility is paramount to appropriate and honorful execution.
- Damage to the progressive and improved reputation of Massage Therapy as legitimate healthcare.
- Enforcing the myth that massage therapy is prominently cosmetology and/or sport based and not legitimate healthcare.
While I had these reservations, I was also curious and excited to witness the techniques and approach of Therapists from around the globe and had respect for the International Massage Association for taking on this enormous living project. I still have concerns and reservations, and I am still excited. I’m involved now, and at least see an incredible opportunity for a global conversation with regard to standards of practice.
Now that I have participated in the 3rd year, I am clear that while this event is VERY young and there is room for great evolution, the overall experience is a positive one for our profession and has the potential to become a great asset. Please note that this organization is volunteer based. This is important to consider and acknowledge while making judgments. Everyone involved who is spearheading this ambitious project have lives and careers to tend to, therefore, the evolution of a project such as this will take considerable time.
I am writing about my impressions extensively in short articles here on my blog. My sincere hope is that everyone who engages in this series will benefit and intentionally take advantage of the opportunity for professional inventory and evolution.
Since my expertise is in the realm of strong foundational practices and standard rules of engagement I will be addressing the stunning inconsistent global standards that I witnessed in the realms of:
- Basic Rules of Engagement
- Client Communications
- Draping and Privacy
- Therapeutic Presence
- Universal Precautions
- Contraindications and Endangerment Sites
- Therapist Self Awareness
- Maintenance of the Comfort Barrier/Zone
- Honoring Therapeutic Relationship – Boundaries
- Mindful Approach
While it is always easy to criticize differences, I know it is important to embrace and recognize the amazing opportunity to share, learn, and elevate our professional standards. This is why I am invested in this project.
Stay Tuned while I unpack my thoughts in this series, and please do become involved in the World Massage Championship and International Massage Association, an unprecedented gathering of international Massage Therapists and Bodywork Artists.