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There was a recent article on physician burnout that brings to light a very important point for the massage and polarity therapy industries. The need for professional massage therapists and polarity therapists is more urgent than ever. Rather than people who come into the profession for 6 months or a couple of years, what's needed are therapists who come in to make this their life long profession. The demands on physicians with changing technology, medical financial challenges from new government funding models and the extremely high cost of becoming a doctor is making the profession increasingly less attractive to be a doctor. Many doctors are looking for exit strategies from the profession with many going into specialty private practices such as sports or cosmetic surgery that pays better and is outside the constraints of the medical funding model. They are also opening Medi-Spas and other clinics to cater to the high end private pay clients who can afford to pay a premium. What does this mean for health care for the future? It would imply a huge looming crisis where General Practitioners and family practice doctors as well as surgeons will be in decreasing supply. It will become increasingly difficult to find qualified doctors who have a rational work load. The availability of appointments and the time that doctors actually have for patients will decrease and people will be left with bouncing around to various interns who do not know their medical history or have any meaningful healthcare relationship. It's already a major problem as doctors have limited time with their patients and it's hard for them to know what's happening with them. As there are fewer doctors compared to the number of people who qualify for insurance, the system is going to go from bad to worse. It's not the doctor's fault. The system is moving towards mechanization instead of personal care.

Opportunity for Massage and Bodywork Therapies

As a professional massage therapist or polarity therapist, this means the role of being the primary point of healthy guidance and maintenance becomes vitally important. First and most importantly, you are helping them to manage their stress which is a prerequisite for being healthy. There should be no questions remaining on the value of the work from that point of work. But secondly, as a therapist, you develop an ongoing relationship with your clients where you are the first person to see changes that may be occurring in their health. The need for having both a strong disease prevention platform as well as a primary health and wellness care professional relationship is fundamental to all future healthcare. The massage therapist, polarity therapist and all other holistic related practitioners becomes essential as the basis for all people. But it takes several years of doing this work to be at a level where you can actually make a significant difference in people's lives. Massage and polarity therapists who continue to expand their base of knowledge and build the wisdom that comes with doing thousands of sessions are rare. The industry is seeing some growth in this area but the percentage of people who are currently served by experienced massage and polarity therapists is very small. There are no national statistics on this but if you look at the number of licensed professional in any state compared to the population, you see that there are far too few therapists to be giving people weekly or even monthly sessions.

Solution?

The need for qualified massage and polarity therapists to truly address the problem is multiples more than we currently have. Even though the employment projections show above average, double digit growth well into the future, what's really needed and possible is triple digit growth. However, in the current environment, there are not enough people looking towards massage as a viable career due to the lack of information and role models for people to follow. In contrast to the cosmetology field where stylists are known to make a good living, massage therapy is still seen as a low paying position. A lot of the reason can be found in the fact that the more successful a person becomes, the less visible they become. A successful practitioner frequently has a strong client base with more clients and referrals than they can handle. They don't advertise or expand into a larger format. They take care of their clients, do a great job and are well compensated. Why would they take on the stress of going beyond what's sustainable? So what the world needs to learn is this: Massage and polarity therapists as well as other holistic practitioners are making good livings if they have the right training and dedicate their life to the work.   Kris Stecker, President Spa Tech Institute Schools of Massage, Polarity, Cosmetology and Aesthetics http://spatech.edu

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