To truly understand the purpose of massage is to realize you cannot become an expert without taking care of your body through receiving ongoing massage.

What livingpresence are you guaranteed to have with you for a lifetime? The answer is simple: Yourbody.

As we know, one purpose of massage is to help people connect with their bodies.

I often ask massage therapists I mentor, “When was the last time you had a massage?” Many times, they cannot even remember. As a massage therapist, your body is literally the tool you use to do your work. It is difficult to ignore your body as your most valuable asset.

To be a true massage professional is to realize you cannot become an expert at massage without taking care of your body through receiving ongoing massage.

The most practical and important piece of excelling in the massage business is learning to be a receiver of massage. Like anything in life, the more you get massage, the better you become at receiving massage. If you are giving massage, you will need to be not only an advocate for receiving massage but a receiver yourself.

One Purpose of Massage: Sharing Through Experience

Truly discovering the power of touch is exciting. Without a good connection to your own body, it will be difficult to generate an overall “feel” people can trust. Your success is, in part, going to be based on how well you know how massage feels on your body.

Our best examples are people who have gone through situations, not around them. People feel the subtle difference in the presence of a talker versus a walker of the talk.

Your passion is best based on your experience. If you don’t have an idea of the inner workings of your own body, your own pain and what feels good to you, it will be hard to share that excitement with others. It is difficult to honestly convey a process you do not or have not experienced.

Sharing through experience has the deepest effect on people. It creates a resonance beyond words. People feel the difference.

Our education has mostly been received sitting in a chair, dulling our senses and connection to our body. Massage is a career that can awaken your senses. How lucky are you! In order to get better at your chosen craft, you need to continue to get massage. At the root of everything is youand your connection to your own body. You will not succeed as a body expert if you are disconnected from your own being. Self-care is key in the self-care industry.

Make it Happen

New therapists tell me the number-one reason they cannot get massage is they cannot afford it. Here’s how to turn that around:

Trade with other therapists.

• Don’t buy coffee out every day. Make it at home and save that money for a massage.

• Pack your lunch. Eat meals at home.

• Ask yourself, “Do I need that piece of clothing? Do I need that bag?” Only buy things you need and put your body first.

• Put $20 a week in a jar. At the end of the month, use it for massage.

One Purpose of Massage: Build Realistic Connection

You are in a business in which you are suggesting people take time to get massage. Right now, consider not asking others to be or do things you’re not being or doing. Building trust with yourself and knowing your own body will be essential in building trust with others. Don’t worry. It’s not something you need to master today. You don’t need to be dancing through fields and in total love with your body.

You do need to have a realistic connection to it, whether or not your body is how you want it to be right now.

If you use a saw to cut down trees and use it every day, every week, all year long, it will surely dull. A saw needs to be sharpened or it will be much more difficult to cut wood with.

Most things in the world need rejuvenation.

Similarly, gold medalists don’t get their medals by hypothesizing about a sport; they get their medals by understanding the sport through experience, diligence in working with their bodies, patience and ongoing practice.

You need your own self-care regimen, or it will be much more difficult to be an advocate for self-care.

About the Author:

Diane Matkowski, LMT, HHC, has been practicing massage for more than 20 years. Her massage business is a five-time award-winning establishment. Diane maintains a staff of 10, and together they have served more than 12,000 people in the community. She has established Freedom Technique Bodywork classes.

This article was excerpted from The Massage Therapist’s Guidebook, by Diane Matkowski, LMT, HHC, which is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork as a home-study course.