Periodically, I'm asked why I became a massage therapist. It wasn't until I started preparing for a new career as an EMT Firefighter in Washington State, that the simple answer of, "to help people", just wasn't good enough. To help people doesn't actually answer WHY. As true as that answer is, it has no depth to it. There are unlimited ways to help people, why massage, what does it mean to you, where's the story that brought you to become a massage therapist.
When I decided to become a massage therapist, I was enjoying my dream job as a full-time rock climbing guide. As much as I loved being a guide, it wasn't as fulfilling as I had hoped, it was time for a change. I wanted a career that would continue to give me a connection with people, something that involved movement, fostered an environment of learning (about body and soul) for both me and "them", improved people's quality of life, and provided a significant tactile experience for me. It wasn't until I had a heartfelt conversation with my sister, that it became clear that massage therapy was the path for me. I was initially drawn towards Shiatsu and Thai Massage, being that they were closer to yoga (which I practiced for 15 years) than what I specialize in now. In my first year of practice out of school, I focused more on Swedish massage and energy work. Although my clients loved my work, it wasn't giving them the long-term benefits that I had intended for them to have. I started to shift my perspective and pursue orthopedic and sports massage, and that's when I started seeing the long-term change in my clients. That's when my clients started to have a renewed sense of hope, become empowered and felt free again. Freed from pain and discomfort to do what they love to do.
I also wanted a career that had endless room for growth. Orthopedic and sports massage is an ever-evolving field. Not only in terms of hands-on techniques but in terms of scientific studies, understanding more about pain science, orthopedic research and so on. Not only that, but my wife is a Dr. of physical therapy and orthopedic clinical specialist. Not a day goes by that we aren't talking shop (abiding by HIPAA regulations of course), asking each other questions, talking about new research, and what we learned from our patients that day at work.
So, there you have it, that is why I am a massage therapist. Give some thought as to why you do what you do, you may be surprised what you come up with.
If you enjoy TED talks videos, give this one a watch. It may help you to understand how important the answer to "why" is.