September 06, 2009
Last week I was contacted by a fellow blogger and LMT friend of mine about an article she was writing that may be expanded in Massage Magazine. She was aiming to discuss the unethical topic of Happy Endings and asked: How do you as a massage therapist feel when someone assumes that your field of work includes prostitution? As you can read in her article HERE: My thought is the assumption that a Licensed Massage Therapist would in any way be associated with prostitution is based on ignorance and the unfair social influence they have yet to think beyond. Everyone understands that a Fake Rolex is just that- A Fake. It might tick a little, but the quality and respect of the item is nothing near a real Rolex. And a Masseur that has no education, no certification, no license and no respect for the work that real trained practitioners do – is not Massage Therapist.
The fact that she was doing this research, made me - yes, piggy back her - by recovering some info to share as well. During my training at the Swedish Institute, they encourage us to always refer to ourselves and those who are qualified in our field as Therapists – not just because that is the official term, but because it will give you a more authoritative first step when dispelling these sad sexual stereotypes.I think the fact that I am still in training molds much of the foundation of my response to this stigma. The Swedish Institute has required Professional Development classes where they addressed this issue. First, they have encouraged us to learn where and why this connection was originally made. We were encouraged to read In Good Hands: The History of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy by Dr Jean Barclay. In it I learned that due to the lack of work for women in Europe at that turn of the century and the need for work, woman who had no training decided to still try to give massages for money. Queen Victoria was openly supportive of massage therapy so these untrained women thought – why not do it anyway? There was also a history that earlier in 1884 – Doctors were becoming jealous of the attention massage was getting for healing and rehabilitation effects, and they accused even educated therapist of stealing their patients. Leaving no support for the woman who had not earned the right to call themselves true therapists, they went underground. Only finding a place to set up shop in brothels. This movement propelled the Society of Trained Masseuses – leading the way for all legit Massage Therapists. From that point on practitioners had to publicly earn the title of Massage Therapist. School became required. Exams were sat and certification was needed to work. It was because of the growth in illegal massage workers setting up in the only place they were “allowed” that gave way for licensing, rigorous text and practical learning. Sadly, it was also because of this joining of fake bodyworkers and brothels that tarnished the name of a profession that had been respected and appreciated for over 4000 years!
I encourage you to check out Punkie's work, it is informative and important! For the full article by Punkie Speltz please visit her blog www.punkiespelts.com.