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Wisconsin School of Massage Therapy

Message from the Director 
March 20, 2011
Informed Consent

I want to talk about informed consent today. I heard from a client awhile back, "Thank you so much, I finally got a massage that was exactly what I asked for." When I quizzed the client about this I found out that in other massage sessions she'd had she was either never asked about what she wanted or her wishes were ignored.  

This sometimes means that a client suffered through overly deep, painful work and was told this is what they "need." Or that the client asked for something specific like, "Spend the hour on my back and neck" only to receive a full body relaxation massage because they "need" it.

This treatment of clients is, first of all, illegal. We have informed consent as part of our massage laws in Wisconsin. This means that we are bound, as licensed massage therapists and as students of massage therapy to honor the client's requests. We do always have the right to refuse to do massage work, however. So if a client asks for dangerous work such as heavy pressure on something that is swollen, bruised, or open we may refuse. But we do not have the right to force a client to receive something they have refused. If a client asks for lighter pressure we may not insist on heavier work. If a client asks us to skip their feet, we may not insist they have their feet worked.  

I think it may be easy to fall into the trap of believing that we have some special knowledge about a person's body and that we know what is best for them. This is a classic example of clinical arrogance. Beware of this as a therapist. You are not inside your client's body and you can never know what that is like so get off your high horse!! And if you are a client reading this please know that you may say to your therapist, "I do not give you my informed consent to work that deeply (or whatever the conflict is.") This should bring the therapist up short and give them pause in pursuing any forced work upon you.

Massage work is expensive and treasured by our clients. It should be a beneficial experience, not something to be endured.  

If you are interested in joining us for one of our next massage classes, check out our schedules coming up for fall. Come in for a tour and we'll introduce you to our school in person where you can get all your questions answered!

2011 Highlights
Message from the Director
March 11, 2011
Prepare Your Heart

Recently I spoke to the business classes at school about how I started my massage therapy business back in 1997. Some of the concepts might be interesting and important for people to hear who are contemplating entering this field so I repeat them for you here.

I approach the practice of massage therapy as a very privileged position. My clients are trusting me with their bodies, their time, and their money. I think it's helpful to come to the massage table with a servant's heart, ready to serve the client's needs. Then afterward focus on the gratitude you have that clients come at all! Lastly, always be generous. Be generous with your time, attention, and effort. Listen lavishly to your clients.  

Give them the exact time on the table you advertise which means they get 60 minutes massage work if you advertise 60 minutes. The intake interview and changing time, etc. would be outside of that time and generously given by you. The effort on your part should be big and focused. This client right now is the most important thing. You set aside any of your own concerns.  

There are a lot of people doing massage work now. Sadly, many are mediocre. Preparing your heart with serving as the goal, generosity as the means, and gratitude as the result could just put you into a stellar class. You cannot have these attitudes and do mediocre work. Clients can tell. 

Message from the Director - Mary McCluskey -2/9/11
PNMT Lower Extremities
We are just back from another amazing weekend with Doug Nelson and his Precision Neuromuscular Therapy for the Lower Extremities. The American Massage Therapy Association - Wisconsin Chapter hosted the weekend. The AMTA here in Wisconsin especially values education and the fee for this workshop was heavily subsidized by them making it really affordable. The membership fee is well worth it when they bring such excellent learning opportunities to the members.

Doug Nelson's classes are different from any other continuing education provider I know of because of the research he and his staff coordinate, as well as the research scientists are doing all over the world. All of the work he teaches is based on the best knowledge we have currently. The classes are continually updated when new research shows a better way to accomplish our goals. In addition, there are no routines or protocols with steps. Therapists are encouraged to think critically about each client's unique situation, to gather information by doing physical assessments, palpating tissue and working in the most logical places based on the results of their investigations.  

This kind of work is for the therapist who enjoys puzzling out a problem. I find many people enter this field because they picture this work as quite mindless and all about helping people in a broad, general sense. But for those of you who long to use your mind in this work, Precision Neuromuscular Therapy is for you. You are still helping people, very significantly, when you are so skilled and thoughtful about your clients that you can zero in on their exact problem(s) and help them out of pain, sometimes for the first time in many years.

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Wisconsin School of Massage Therapy
N112 W15237 Mequon Road Suite 400
Germantown, WI  53022