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As a massage therapist it can be hard to remember to take care of oneself regularly, especially if you have a busy schedule and focus on the well-being of your clients. It’s important though that you take time to get a massage often, for those working full time at least once a week. This just to take care of your body and prevent injuries and fatigue. What we preach to our clients is true for ourselves as well and shouldn’t be ignored if we want to last long in this profession and be able to give our clients the best experiences possible.
Ideally though is to do massage exchanges with other therapists. There are several reasons for this.
It builds professional relationships with other therapists and allows you to assess their skills so you can recommend them to your clients should you not be able to see them for an appointment. This in return of course will have your massage partner refer clients to you as well and the end result becomes better for all partners.
You build upon your own professional experience and can share knowledge, techniques and experiences with the massage partner. Together you can work on a technique, introduce new ones or simply fine-tune the ones you already use.
It can at times be hard to get feedback from clients as they don’t have the professional background to tell if the way you moved your thumb is the best way technically or if there are minor details you need to correct and change. A fellow massage therapist will provide the best feedback and constructive critique of your massage, as well as being able to show you the better way. We also often build bad habits over time, as we develop our own styles and techniques. Without feedback from a professional massage therapist it’s easy to get caught up in something that might not be the best for the clients.
With a colleague you can share your experiences and help each other. One might know a lot about sport injuries and be able to fill in gabs in your knowledge about a specific field. But it’s not only technically experiences can be shared. It can also be ideas and advice on how to deal with certain situations you can experience as a massage therapist. The client who doesn’t play, an erection during a massage, the client who gets such an intense mental release from the massage that they break down in tears afterwards. All these things can be difficult to handle if you don’t have any experience in it. By hearing of others experiencing these things, you find other ways to see a situation and get ideas on how to deal with it next time it might happen.
It doesn’t just need to be massage therapists within your own fields you exchange massages with. A lot can be learned from receiving massages from someone doing something entirely different from yourself. It brings in new perspectives and gives ideas that you might use on your own clients. It also allows you to counsel and advice your clients based on first hand experience and not just theory. First hand experiences always become more valid. Or even, expands your knowledge about massage styles into areas you might not even know about.
Finally, massage exchanges can teach you new techniques and massage forms. It can even grow into a situation of you teaching each other about your own special areas and techniques. Not just as inspiration, but as a full skill-set. Here of course you’ll need to keep in mind if the other therapist is qualified and allowed to teach. You might consider taking classes and courses to finalize the training and use the massage exchanges as practice and general education.
Giving and getting massages from another massage therapist is a great way to improve your own skills and perfect your techniques, while for a small cost maintain your wellness and counter injuries and exhaustion. A good site for finding a fellow massage therapist to do exchanges with is http://www.massageexchange.com/