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5 Ways to Prevent Massage Burnout

The average career span of massage therapists is only 5-8 years, that's crazy! Burnout and overuse injury are the biggest reasons why massage therapists end up leaving the profession. This is entirely avoidable. As someone who’s been in practice for 20 years, here are 5 things I’ve learned along my journey that can help you enjoy a long, prosperous career in massage.

1. Learn to say “no”

If you’re a massage therapist, you’re likely the kind of person who is eager to help others. We want to be able to squeeze in that extra client who’s in pain. We want to help our employers when they are short staffed. In our eagerness to help we can easily overextend ourselves and end up taking on too much. It’s important to know when to say no and establish that boundary. Remember, “no” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain yourself or give a reason for it.

2. Nourish yourself

Eat real, whole foods and limit the foods that deplete you (processed foods, enriched white flours & sugars, seed oils, etc) Drink plenty of water throughout the day. I remember back when my body was very sensitive and reactive to wheat, I ate a hamburger during a busy shift at the spa. After I ate it for lunch I started a deep tissue massage and I actually thought I was going to have to end the session early because I felt so terrible. Luckily I was able to pull it together and complete the session! Massage is so physically demanding. If you’re feeling depleted in your work, your diet and food choices may be the culprit needing a shift.

3. Lean into rest

In my 2 decades of practicing massage, no matter what setting I’m working in, there are busy seasons and slow seasons. While the slow seasons can be nerve wracking for your bank account, I’ve learned it's best to accept the slow times as an opportunity to rest. This prepares you for your next busy season, and the cycle continues on…

4. Receive regular body work

Not only does your body need it, so does your practice! I learn so much when I receive body work from other practitioners, not just new techniques but their bodywork can remind me of techniques and moves that I’ve forgotten about. By receiving bodywork I also remember how good it feels - sometimes I get so caught up in the technical aspects of my work, I actually forget how everything feels. If you’re feeling disconnected from your massage practice, it might be time to get yourself on the table! I love doing trades with other LMT’s but I also think there is value in spending the money and paying full price every now and then.

5. Learn and apply proper body mechanics.

I’ll venture to say that no one has perfect body mechanics. For me, it's a practice in mindfulness. If my attention wanders off and I end up getting schleppy in a session, my body often lets me know! If you are feeling pain or discomfort during or after sessions it’s likely that your body mechanics need improving. Many massage therapy programs don’t place a lot of focus on body mechanics training either, so perhaps you never learned them to begin with. I’m excited to share with you the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last 20 years of my career. My body mechanics course is all online, designed for you to complete at your own pace and it’s worth 3 CEU’s through the NCBTMB! This masterclass will be available Saturday March 25th, click here to learn more and get the latest updates!

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