Did i bring my mace?: Professionalism and Massage Therapy

Some do's, don'ts and pet peeve within Massage Therapy. 

Ok so as being an active member of social media groups i have been reading over and over again about how some therapists are having issues with clients or fear of performing their  skills with a certain group of people.. Men in particular is what i'm trying to say. I know I know you're all think WHAT?! ( at least i was lol). Now before anyone goes on a rampage with these two sceneriors please read this blog or rant in its entirety. 

Let me start with a common question i see posted frequently as this fall under, what i would call, an 'issue' within the industry and it is very common. I personally have received several of these emails in the past and they are not even opened now. 

Scenario 1: Email to  my inbox for a new client stating they have xxxx$ of insurance that needs to be used up before the month end and want to come in and use all of the money within a short period of time. Part of this scenario has also included alternatives whereas they have asked about using friends and family who are not on their plan as well or "sensual" massage to be included. (EWWWW)

My answer: DO NOT ENGAGE in trolls or anyone that disrespects you and your business. (i will quote what our regulatory body says about this anyone can view this on CMTO website). 

First Point why on earth would you even consider, dwell, give attention, or entertain with an answer anyone or anything that intentionally will harm you and your practice as well as your sanity. For one its is NOT our job to educate anyone and everyone who is NOT our patient. We aren't mothers trying to raise children here to be functional working adults with filters or whatever you may think you are trying to accomplish by honoring this behaviour with a response.

Second point  To any one that asks us to charge insurance on another persons name and pretend it was the insured is to commit fraud. Yes its fraud. Using insurance for anyone other then the person registered under the plan is fraud. Why would i risk years of school my lively hood what i love to do and trade it for jail? duh

2. SENSUAL massage ? Again DON'T ANSWER common sense clearly escapes most people including practitioners and i feel a lot of practitioner unintentionally put themselves at become victims by entertaining this this sort of questioning. It;s BAD behaviour and inappropriate. WHY would you, again, give attention to this question. Its harrasment for one and second.. does my damn website say rub and tug on it (RNT) NOOOO it says RMT. i'm sorry if i want to be treated as a professional i ONLY deal with those who truly value and see me as  a professional. DELETE 

First point. CMTO rules of engagement:  Registered Massage Therapists (“RMTs”, “MTs” or “registrants”) work with clients (see this word here CLIENTS that after you signed the damn paper saying you agree to treatment and you're on the table and i'm physically performing treatment on you at which time you the client can change their mind about being a client) for
therapeutic purposes (again THERAPEUTIC PURPOSES). As regulated health professionals, RMTs are required to maintain professional boundaries at all times. Understanding the importance of boundaries and respecting boundaries is critical to the prevention of abuse and sexual abuse in particular. (the words professional boundaries suggest a bubble.. you burst that bubble you forfeit the right of me being nice.. in this case DELETE)
This Standard is divided into two parts: A) Maintaining Professional Boundaries, and B)
Preventing Sexual Abuse. The MT is respectful and works with the client in following the agreed upon structured and intentional treatment plan to meet client needs and goals......the MT establishes professional boundaries and maintains a therapeutic relationship built on mutual trust and respect. (THIS IS A CONTRACT as indicated by the word MUTUAL)

See that last 7 words?? THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP BUILT ON MUTUAL TRUST AND RESPECT. We are health professionals we must hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and when the questions above arise no response is the best course of action. If i were to engage this behaviour this convo would never ever end. i would be empowering this behaviour and i personally do not want clients who are not interested in me as a healthcare provider. With that being said looking into the CMTO self-assessment tool is very useful to determine (IF there was many emails like this sent to you) maybe something is being misrepresented.. we are human and we do make mistakes.  self-assessment tool for you elf and your business is pretty awesome to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go. We as professional have to give power to our clients along with consent the power to take consent away so does the power to have people mistreat you. 

Scenario 2: I want to do mobile but i am scared that i may be attacked or harmed going over to men's houses or dealing with a certain group of people how can i protect myself?

First Point  this is very offensive to begin with on so many levels i won't get started. I am so not making up the scenario if only i had the guts to include a screenshot of the sentence i would. This Professional was asking about ways to protect herself while doing home visits as there is an "inherent risk" involved  with performing mobile massages and she is scared of tall men closer to 6ft in height.

ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING ?? There is a fear when you go to work? You feel the need to protect yourself? Where do you work? My work environment is definitely NOT like this and i work mobile , at ,y home clinic as well at a multidisciplinary clinic. 

Let me take a step back

I don't know where to begin with this one and i may just go completely bananas as i try not to shoot myself in the face with how dumb this is and how insane this sounds. imma try tpp be nice and answer this with the most logical and less hateful answer AND without getting into sexual abuse or hate crimes or anything other then the real issue about professionalism and boundaries. Which clearly if someone has the gut to sexually approach you in your work environment there is a boundary issue that YES you the therapist created. We as health care professionals are in a power position just as other healthcare providers and professionals.. like Doctors and Lawyers. Pease keep reading i promise i explain all.

This is not meant to address or minimize the very rare case of real victims in a work environment who have been sexually harassed and abused or taken advantage of. Please understand that this is a COMMON scenario that is asked by many as they have fear and it rarely happens.

First Point. If ever as a human i feel unsafe especially in my work environment i would not work there. Safety for yourself and for our clients (this one being the most important but personal care is right up there) is the number one goal as healthcare providers and CMTO. Like seriously EVERYTHING we have learned in school deals with SAFETY especially the relationship we have with our clients. how many waivers, forms and "are you ok?" and "how is my pressure" and "do you want me to stop the massage" etc has been drilled into our learning continuously. Including ALL the standards of practice the CMTO has and as a Regulated health care practitioner. Insert facepalm smiley here!

Second Point The last thing i do when i wake up in the morning and get in my car and go to my clinic is think 'did i bring my mace?' or 'i am so glad i took those self defence classes cause i am about to do a home visit and who knows what may happen i may need to defend myself against a creepy guy!' SAID NO ONE EVER.

Sorry where are you working?? comes to my mind again!!

 We have an obligation to commit to our own health and personal and professional development. It in our code of ethics. Being aware of our personal values and being able to identify when values interfere with client care is EVERYTHING. If you feel you cannot perform your duties and provide care to to the best of your ability because you have fear toward a certain individual because of their gender race creed etc (this goes beyond safety) you are in the wrong field. We are a very personal industry and if you not comfortable with getting close to people on a professional level or cannot distinguish or set boundaries then the problem is you not the work. Don't do home visits... work ONLY with women, yes you can do this there are gyms geared toward women only facilities so it can be done.

If i would play devil's advocate here the ONLY this rationall that comes to mind (again) is SAFETY first and if your not comfortable don't do it but I can't even justify that as an answer, as i feel so strongly about 'you need to find another line of work' and 'counseling' as your own personal issues is affecting your career choice and professional relationship with your patients.. again not down play any traumatic event that anyone has gone through but clearly this scenario it's affecting your judgement on the general population and your business. 

Transference in our industry is big and Yes is happens.  as health care providers the power is in our hands. That's why we are called health care providers, we have a code of ethics and standards, malpractice insurance and an entire college etc.

If we don't hold ourselves in higher regard how can others. Some powerful words must be said.

Don't be looking for avenues to put yourself at risk if that is how you feel.. please use your common sense if any stop asking for advice on areas that are just nonsense as you sound like you have mental issues and for god sakes create a workable environment, you're in charge of your business run it as such.. a business with professionalism.


Anyway food for thought. let me know what you think good bad indifferent. I am interested