If you are pessimistic about the future in general, or the future of massage specifically… this optimistic post will probably annoy you. Nevertheless, read it, it is the truth.
Friends, touch deprivation is a real thing. Babies die without touch. And in our current isolations during this pandemic, people are becoming painfully aware of just how paralyzing life can be without direct connection. We are seeing evidence of this as many people take unknown risks to just get out of the house and be around others.
We are on the brink of what we’ve all been waiting for—the world waking up to the truth that we massage therapists have known all along… touch is essential. Now there’s no need to debate about “essential workers,” because I’m using the word in its original Webster’s definition here, “something basic; something necessary, indispensable, or unavoidable.”
Just as many in our field are pointing out daily, we will play a necessary and indispensable role in the recovery and healing of our communities. The decades (maybe lifetimes) of fear and anxiety in each unique and beautiful life around us is reaching a tipping point. In the social sciences, a tipping point is when a group of people dramatically changes and adopts behavior that was rarely practiced previously. This tipping point will be the widespread use of touch therapies to manage fear and anxiety, as well as all the associated physical and emotional pain.
In the words of Su Bubik of the Institute for Massage Education, “We train and we wait until it’s safe and we can use our talents and abilities to heal the residual traumas, once the crisis is abating. We’re the time release capsule sort of profession, that continues on with the healing long after the trauma is no longer on the news.”
Massage is the most basic, most fundamentally human thing to do in the face of suffering. It’s something we all can do. And it’s something those of us who are therapeutically trained must accept as our duty to advance.
“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.” from Jill Berkana of the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy.
Now is the time to restore your energy and do not lose heart. We must take this opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow, as nature around us demonstrates every day. Our practices and our teachings will change, but our mission remains the same—to better the lives of everyone we touch.
Practitioners and Educators: If you have ever considered a leadership role before, you must accept your calling now. And if you know of anyone who has ever considered becoming a massage therapist, you must encourage them to accept their calling now.
Let me be clear, NOW is the time to prepare for the wave (the flood) that is coming. Let’s not wait for the wave to reach us, we must prepare ourselves NOW and begin educating our communities on the benefits of touch NOW.
I accept this responsibility to my profession and my fellow humans. Will you?