Have you done your homework?

Did you do your homework?

Huh? What? Homework?


I bet you’re wondering why you are hearing a Registered Massage Therapist utter such words. As a health care professional, I believe that part of my responsibility is education. Part of my role as an educator is to explain ways to help my clients improve/heal/get better.


So as part of my treatments I prescribe self-care. Self-care is the “homework” I give to my clients to help them to heal faster, and achieve a state of balance and wellness quicker.


Depending on the reason for your visit for massage therapy, I may explain and prescribe certain activities that I would like you to perform between treatments. These are designed especially for you to help you heal and get back on the road to wellness and balance. These may be stretches, or strengthening exercises, perhaps applying ice or heat and even self massage. I may suggest ergonomic changes to your workstation, point out postural issues and I may even refer you to the care of another therapist, chiropractor or other healthcare professional if I feel it is warranted and in your best interest to help you heal and attain the quality of life you deserve.


There are many options and approaches to healing. It is well known amongst my practitioner colleagues that the clients who do their homework and thus take an active part in their own healthcare, heal faster and return to normal function more often and usually faster than those who don’t.


I have heard about clients who go for one or maybe two treatments, and don’t follow their self-care instructions. They usually don’t recover from their condition as quickly. And some don’t come back for quite a while (and sometimes ever again) stating that “massage didn’t work for them”. But truthfully, do you think they gave themselves a fair chance?


It probably didn’t take those clients one day to develop their current state (unbalanced, injured, in-pain), so how can they expect it to take just one treatment to help them to correct their condition? The idea of “one and done” is almost always a bad one. Unfortunately we live in an “instant gratification” society. People want instant results and this is usually not realistic. Sure, you can take a pill to ease your pain but you’ve only just addressed the symptoms – not the root cause (that’s another blog post right there).


As a Registered Massage Therapist, I work to consider the entire being. I consider the condition that is presented. I consider the individual’s health, fitness, lifestyle, and occupation before I make recommendations on how to treat them and prescribe self-care. And no one ever said it would be easy. Although, it often is quite simple and just requires some consistent effort.


And I can’t think of a better reason for working hard, if not for your health!


So, give yourself a chance for success! Give the treatment plan a chance. And please remember to do your homework. Your treatment plan is not just limited to the time you spend on the massage table. Take an active part in your health care so that you can be a vital, happy and health-ful individual.


Yours in health,
Scott Burns, RMT

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