Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Self-Care for Our Own Health and Wellbeing as Manual, Bodywork or Massage Therapists

A survey on injury among American massage therapists found that an astounding 77% of practitioners complained of work-related pain and discomfort during the previous two years. From the same survey we learn that 64% of practitioners had symptoms that were serious enough to cause them to seek medical treatment, and 41% were diagnosed with a musculoskeletal disorder. The American Massage Therapy Association reveals that the average massage career does not last more than eight years. 
From: Save Your Hands! The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists 2nd Edition Lauriann Greene CEAS and Richard W Goggins CPE LMP

This is American statistics but the likelihood is that the situation is not much better in the UK, so self-care becomes essential for anyone who wants to have a long, happy and healthy career in  Manual, Bodywork or Massage Therapy. 

Those ESTA(*1)  businesses who work in the area of Health and Wellbeing have started having Sector meetings - and at the last one we discussed what we did to be more ethical in our business practice. I read out the commitments I had written back in March (see blog post here) but realised - particularly after discussing the experience of one of our members of having to take a month off after getting repetitive strain injury and extremely painful hands - that I could add some information about self-care to the fourth 'Bottom Line' (BL4).With this in mind I have updated my ethical policy in the section on personal wellbeing and ongoing personal development:

BL4. Personal well-being and ongoing Personal Development

Self-care - making sure I look after my own holistic health and wellbeing:
 -  by striving to have a healthy lifestyle
 -  by developing a treatment style with an awareness of posture, body mechanics, ergonomics and injury prevention (*)
 -  by looking after my body pre-and post treatment with joint mobilisations, stretches, Yoga and self-massage.
 -  by going to local practitioners for complementary health and wellbeing care myself, including massage and reflexology.
Engaging in ongoing learning and personal and professional development to improve my knowledge and skills in service to others and for my own interest and satisfaction.
Developing social, networking and educational opportunities and relationships, groups and communities that support them.
  -  In this respect - I co-founded and am the lead co-ordinator of the FHT LLSG which is a local group in association with the Federation of Holistic Therapists which supports practitioners in the fields of complementary health care, holistic beauty and sports therapy, and puts on talks, and demonstrations, on a broad range of related topics and practices. This provides the opportunity for myself and other practitioners in the area to do Continuing Professional Development and get 'CPD points' as required by the FHT and other professional associations. 
  -  I also initiated the start of a 'Health and Wellbeing' sector group within ESTA(*1) to explore how we can support each other, encourage each other in ethical practice, and promote Complementary Health and Wellbeing locally.

*1 ESTA is the The Ethical Small Traders Association - a framework for mutual benefit and co-operation between local self-employed people and small businesses who are committed to environmental sustainability and community well-being. For the prosperity and common good of the wider community and a sustainable local economy in the Lancaster area 

More info at http://lancasteresta.org/


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