Self-development can provoke change in your community
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.
…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!
Hello 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.
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 K. Berkana LMT, BCTMB
Right 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
When 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.
The 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.
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.