Has Mandatory Continuing Education Helped The Massage Industry?
About 20 years ago there was a movement to create”legitimacy” in the massage industry due to the public misconception that anyone who practiced the ancient health technique of massage was undoubtedly, engaged in prostitution. There are some men in our society even today, that associate loving, healing touch with sexual activity. So, it is my belief that large organizations popped up in the landscape to dispel that myth and create legitimacy to a vast scope of valuable health techniques, to a touch starved society. Massage continuing education was born with the hope, I believe, of being included in our gigantic bumbling health care industry, that is imploding under the enormous weight of its ponderous bureaucracy.
Alas, in almost all of the entire 50 states, massage therapy is still not a therapy where the insured can apply their benefits to deal with their chronic issues! Regardless of how much education some of us have acquired over many years, still we are not considered legitimate in the eyes of the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies which are the engines for our medical system. So, why is it necessary to be state licensed, nationally certified, and city licensed if we gain no legitimacy, and economic viability in the eyes of the “authorities” that create the legal requirements to practice. Why does a doctor who can only write a prescription for pain medication score high on the legitimacy scale, and the practitioner who has the education and the manual skills to potentially create a long term pain free condition, not considered legitimate? These are questions that would elicit lengthy and lively debate, but at this time fall on deaf ears.
When was the last time that a professional in the massage continuing education business actually experienced the technique that they purportedly teach? How many businesses have sprung up on the internet hawking goods that are considered valuable and legitimate and confer massage continuing education credits, but never observe or feel the work of those that they award with the credits? They just include a test in the materials that supposedly confirms the therapist’s knowledge of the course they “finished”. How many of those “students” who are motivated to “earn” those credits, are actually studying those disciplines because they have a long term interest in actually learning that discipline and putting the time into that is necessary. Remember the term journeymen (sorry ladies) where you apprenticed with a master for 7 years in your trade before you were allowed the wages that were awarded to you by the union for the amount of time you put into it with sweat equity? Now a typical student of massage continuing education spend 4 days, is awarded a certification diploma, places in on his office wall and pretends to have accomplished anything of value and is substantiated by the vast organizations that have lobbied for state support in setting certain standards. Hogwash!
Now we have home study/distance learning continuing education credits and we have people bickering about standards of value. Again, how can anyone know what anyone has learned from a home study course unless they actually get on a table and feel the work of those who have studied their work? They can’t. They can only assume that there is some template that students value when they learn at home. Like books and dvds and some esoteric approach that has been “proven” for adult education. Again, there is only one way to know and that is to observe and feel the work that you as a teacher has presented or by the results that the student has gained from their massage continuing education course. Results! But, like our ponderous bumbling governmental agencies that slosh around attempting to create models of efficiency, most of what transpires is more complicated, expensive and essentially useless.