Whitney W. Lowe
Thoughts on training from Whitney
When I began exploring massage in the mid 1980s, I had no idea of its immense possibilities as a truly therapeutic application. However, like many others I have found the broad medical and healthcare uses of massage entirely intriguing. One of the most rewarding experiences a practitioner can have is to relieve the pain for someone who has been suffering for a long time. It is utterly amazing how incredibly powerful massage can be. This is often the main reason students choose to enter this profession – if it is not, then those individuals soon leave.
I was fortunate that my training proved early on that it wasn’t any specific technique that would make me the best clinician, but a much more comprehensive understanding of the body and how it functions in pain and health. Students who develop a fascination with the human body and then strive to go beyond prescribed routine to a more holistic understanding of massage practice, are the ones who wind up going home at the end of the day satisfied with their art.
Today practitioners have so many myriad options for study and techniques it is hard for many to make sense of what their practice should be about. The educational model for massage has exacerbated the idea that massage is about recipes (do this, for that). Advertising confounds this problem with promises of ‘immediate’ and ‘permanent’ treatments with mystical origins. Yet the truth is the human body is organic – and so is massage.
The reality of massage is that it is a therapy for a responsive, but complicated, physical body, with all the anatomical, biomechanical, physiological, and psychological elements that make us who we are. When the light bulb goes on for my students for the ramifications of this particular reality they and their practice fundamentally changes. The study of massage, is the study of the human body.
After over 2 decades teaching and continuously studying pathophysiology, rehabilitation strategies, massage therapy applications, and other topics in rehabilitation science, I still remain fascinated with this aspect of massage. With the new research and inquiry going into soft-tissue therapy and the workings of the human body, it is an exciting time to be pursuing this practice.
Massage is an art and a science. If we only practice it as an art without a solid foundation in the scientific elements that help us be thinking clinicians able to decipher the puzzling, we short shrift our professional and personal growth and the possibilities for the client.
Any student or practitioner who truly engages in the study and practice of therapeutic massage – not stopping with the simple, but aiming for the challenging – will have enormous potential in their careers and be the healers they deeply strive to be for their clients.
I remain committed to expanding the expertise and success of massage therapy professionals, and moving the profession forward into new possibilities. I hope you join me in this exciting and meaningful adventure.