ADVANCED MASSAGE IS ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN TEACHER.
I have been posting these blogs about my feelings about the concept of ‘ADVANCED MASSAGE” an hope that they have made those reading evaluate how they work with clients as they gain experience from the actual DOING OF MASSAGE. I do massage and each massage teaches me. There are however some factors that advance the teaching from just doing. When you are your own teacher then you are your student as well. This is interesting. I was teaching an entry level group of students that just started school and we introduce how to research for information with the main source being MedlinePlus and how to find and use research with the main source being Pubmed. I don’t see research ability as an advanced skill but a basic skill. They also had to fool around with a few case studies where the clients were complex yet they then figured out that the massage focused on general nonspecific massage with individual adaptations (previous post). They did really well showing ability to critically think as well as problem solving skills that I believe are fundamental- not advanced. I taught them how to look up reliable data and then apply that to each client. We were discussing medications. There are thousands of them and if I can’t remember all that data how can anyone else. I taught them to sit with the client – using MedlinePlus and look up there medications. Learn what the medication is for and what are possible side effects. Then they had to problem solve about what might happen when various massage applications are introduced to the client’s body when the physiological effects of massage and the medication combine. This is always an exercise in the educated guess. Then we looked up a condition one of the students actually had experienced- breast cancer and using the information on MedlinePlus learned about the condition and treatments along with side effects. Then we went to Pubmed to see what research existed to guide massage application. Finally we came up with a treatment plan using the experiences of the student who had been treated for breast cancer. Some of the ideas we had developed she thought would work well for her and others she did not agree with. Yup that’s what happens- come up with a great plan and then modify to serve the individual client.
The students need to learn this process and do it over and over because ultimately then need to be their own teacher. Maybe –just maybe- massage schools should be teaching students from the very beginning how to do this. We become more “ADVANCED” or skilled with the increase in experience expecially if we learn about the situation for each client we serve. I am skilled working with athletes because I have worked with hundreds of them. I am skilled with chronic pain conditions in all the various forms because I have worked with-and therefor learned from many clients with variety of chronic pain issues. Each time I look stuff up. Check for new research and continue to learn. So now I have to research a condition so I am skilled as I work with my next client.