Being a massage therapist is a calling. Your desire to care for clients supersedes the physical and mental strength it takes to manually manipulate their bodies, sometimes seven days a week. All that work can take a toll on you.
So, what keeps you going? What drives you forward in delivering the best care for clients?
For me, it is the personal and professional growth I see in the therapists I train.
Massage therapists come to my training unsure of what to expect; perhaps they’ve learned about it at a convention or been referred by a friend who went through training. But it’s all still an unknown until they experience it for themselves.
Massage therapy is well-regulated in some regards, in terms of initial training and licensing. After that, continuing your education is often a shot in the dark—there are many options to choose from but little information on what is best for you and your clients.
I’d like to explain why and how I approach ongoing training and how it can affect you and your career.
What is Structural Energetic Therapy®?
Structural Energetic Therapy—which I have developed, refined, practiced and taught over the past 40 years—is a unique, rehabilitative, therapeutic bodywork regulated under massage therapy. It is a client-centered approach to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
Structural Energetic Therapy identifies the cause of clients’ pain and dysfunction based on their structural imbalances. Then, with the integration of cranial/structural techniques, specialized soft tissue protocols and energetic emotional healing techniques, their pain and dysfunction are addressed.
It is a complete therapeutic system for long-term rehabilitation from acute or chronic pain and dysfunction. The goal of Structural Energetic Therapy is to get clients back to their normal life activities, pain-free.
The road that got me here to this technique wound through many different methodologies, practices and teachings, resulting in a unique approach that I have found to deliver long-term results for clients’ pain.
Coupled with this is the focus on not just training therapists, but transforming them into Structural Energetic Therapists. Transformation is the key word, as we focus not just on the practical impact of effective training, but on a holistic approach to changing our therapists’ thinking and ultimately, helping clients.
A Personal Transformation
Most massage training relies upon teaching what you can do for your clients. While that’s a very important aspect, I go beyond that, allowing students to experience what Structural Energetic Therapy can do for them personally.
When a student named Autumn came to our class, for example, she was two years into her massage therapy practice and was ready to quit completely. She was breaking down physically—her entire left side was in pain and she was struggling to massage her clients.
Her training process was physically, mentally and spiritually transformative.
“If you want to know what mind, body and spirit is all about, this is it,” she said. “It takes care of the way you think, your spirit, your functionality, your body, everything.”
Going through training, Autumn received Structural Energetic Therapy, which includes the Cranial/Structural Core Distortion Releases, taking the spiral twist of the core distortion out of her body and creating a weight-bearing support.
She gained significant structural balance, leading to a substantial increase in muscle strength and function. This alone increased her physical body’s capabilities in strength, endurance and potential, allowing her to heal physically and strengthen her body to better face the physical demands of being a therapist.
Having that structural balance paradigm then allowed Autumn to use her new strength and function to work with soft tissue. Included in the protocols were advanced body awareness and body mechanics that ensure the practitioner a healthy, functional structure.
Complete protocols that work with the body as it unwinds out of the spiral core of the core distortion are composed of advanced myofascial techniques, including a three-step process for working deeper and more easily in early sessions.
Chronically tightened muscles will also have blocked emotional expression, which creates a buildup of emotional energy. When these muscles are addressed, it allows the release of old trapped emotional energies and old emotional behavior patterns.
Even after the thousands of students I’ve taught, seeing new students break free of their physical and emotional constraints is an inspiring and beautiful experience—each student’s realization of the power he or she has received is unique and fascinating to witness.
Transforming Your Career
Continuing education is important, as it allows you to stay on top of clients’ needs and keep your skills sharp. After going through training, a Structural Energetic Therapy therapist will have significant advanced therapeutic skills that were not taught in basic massage training; this will be like having a graduate degree in rehabilitating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
Students learn and master new skills in cranial/structural therapy that will open the way to successfully address musculoskeletal issues by shifting the focus to the core distortion. The spiral twist of the core distortion is evident from the cranial motions of the cranial bones to the feet.
They also learn advanced myofascial techniques that integrate with the advanced cranial/structural therapies to address the soft tissue of the core distortion. Advanced emotional energy release techniques are taught, which integrate into the changing body structure.
By shifting their focus to bringing the entire body back into balance, therapists dramatically expand their ability to understand and deal with musculoskeletal issues.
As therapists apply these techniques in their practice, their reputation will grow and their clients will recognize their advanced skills. The advanced skills allow therapists to address and successfully help many conditions that result from core distortion and are beyond their previous training.
Some of these conditions are degenerative disk disease, herniated and bulging disks, stenosis, migraine headaches, rehabilitation from concussions, long-term sciatic pain, prevention of joint replacement, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, osteoporosis, plantar fasciitis, scar tissue and adhesions, to name a few.
Impact Your Practice
Joel is a Structural Energetic Therapy practitioner from Orlando, Florida. When he came to our training he was only seeing 10 to 15 clients per week and struggling to keep the rent paid and the lights on. We understand such situations and see them all too often.
Structural Energetic Therapy training gave Joel a new set of skills that made him invaluable; he was able to effectively get clients out of pain long-term using cranial/structural techniques, advanced myofascial techniques, and emotional energy release techniques.
His clients had less pain and were excited about the work that was making such a difference in their lives. As a result, he saw an increase in client referrals.
Joel reports that he now sees 20 to 25 clients each week and is booked three months out. It’s stories like this that make us so proud of the students we’ve taught, who can now go out and help so many others.
While a larger income is important, sometimes it’s the intangible things that bring the biggest transformation—like experiencing a renewed vigor and interest in your work, figuring out how to best address a client’s issues with the new tools available to you, and being able to guide clients to becoming pain-free over the long term.
Structural Energetic Therapy therapists have professional confidence that comes from client successes, and their reputations grow in their community based on the respect clients have for them. Other professionals in the health care field, including physicians and physical therapists, may learn of their work from mutual clients.
Another student—now a Structural Energetic Therapy therapist—Melissa, said the training has given new meaning to her practice. She came to the training looking to differentiate herself from other licensed massage therapists.
Now, in addition to growing her practice, Melissa has chiropractors contacting her wondering what she’s been doing to their mutual clients—the difference has been that dramatic.
Is Structural Energetic Therapy Right for You?
It depends. If you’re content with who you are and the results you provide your clients, then maybe not. If you’ve been searching for something that makes a difference in your life, and pushing yourself to provide the best care to clients, then yes.
The training is challenging, but it is true hands-on training, with a two-to-one student-teacher ratio to ensure that when you complete training you will have skills that few possess—and an entirely new perspective on yourself and your career.
About the Author
Don McCann, L.M.T., L.M.H.C., C.S.E.T.T., developed Structural Energetic Therapy and Cranial/Structural Therapy. In practice more than 40 years, he is a licensed massage therapist; continuing education provider; Structural Energetic Therapy and Cranial/Structural Therapy instructor; and lecturer and instructor for universities, conventions, schools and workshops. He has produced videos and published five books, and written for massage publications.