Beata Aleksandrowicz is 'Shooting from the hip'
When I talk to spa managers and directors, they very often grumble about the need to undertake more training for therapist staff, especially when it comes to massage.
While it’s sad that they don’t see the need to invest in the future knowledge and development of their staff, I do understand their point of view.
In theory, once a therapist has finished college, they should be ready and able to provide effective massage therapies.
But it seems that there is a serious gap in education. I often hear spa managers question whether the diplomas that the future generation receive are supplying with them with the necessary skills to undertake effective, results-driven massage. And sadly, I don’t think they are.
The problem is that many beauty colleges still operate on the old principle of pampering. The institutions don’t have enough training in massage included as part of their syllabus and it appears that the current content of their massage training is just not relevant to the present demands of the spa client in the 21st Century. It gives little thought or understanding to the role the therapist either and is little more than instruction on how to apply the products.
Our staff are the core of our business and our greatest asset – let’s begin to regard them as the professionals they are
With precious little time devoted to massage training in college, I hear stories that the equipment they are using falls far short of an acceptable standard.
For example, the beds are not adjustable and very little time (if any) is devoted to instructing therapists on how to avoid injury or how to care for their emotional and physical wellbeing.
Massage is a demanding and very physical job. It is draining on the body, mind and spirit and, from my experience, no students are equipped to handle the demands of four or five massages (or sometimes more) per day. It leads very quickly to burnout, especially if they have not been educated on how to employ injury-free techniques in the treatment room. Let alone considering issues of care for their emotional wellbeing.
These young therapists are our industry’s future and I fear we are losing far too many of the aspiring stars because we are not educating them correctly or supporting them when they are 'in the field'.
When we get to the point where staff have a good solid basis of basic training it is still vitally important to continue to invest in them, because only advanced training will keep them growing and passionate about their job.
What few managers fail to grasp is that therapists are not machines, they are humans exposed to all of life’s challenges and up and down moments. They are also changing all the time like rest of us.
Advanced training can help to stimulate their mind, inspire them with new ideas and give them more awareness of who they are as a person, therapist and professional. I think that the analogy with an athlete is pertinent here. Imagine what kind of results you would have from the professional athlete if you didn’t invest in their continuous training – nothing at all.
So let’s begin to regard our staff as the professionals that they are. They are the core of our business and our greatest asset. By investing in their continuous learning, we are investing in the future, reigniting their passion and future-proofing our businesses.
Beata Aleksandrowicz is co-founder of Pure Massage Spa Training Method®. She is a therapist, healer, writer, teacher and expert in the field of massage.