Clarification: PTs Are NOT Massage Therapists
As I was standing in our PT office last week to drop off some paperwork, a student came in and asked if he could enroll in one of our massage classes. He explained that he was "interested in learning massage, and thought this would be the place to go-since PTs give massages."
Since I have a Type A personality (at times) I explained to the young gentleman how PTs are very different than massage therapists, and the differences between massage and soft/deep tissue mobilization. We don't give manicures or pedicures, either. I'm not trying to belittle the massage therapy profession, or spas and salons for that matter-but trying to emphasize our differences (Our PT curriculum does not include a "massage" course, but the concepts are intertwined throughout several courses. Either way, I gave the gentleman the name of a reputable massage school in downtown Milwaukee and he thanked me for my time. )
So, to simplify: PTs focus on reducing pain and increasing function in our patients. This might mean using soft tissue mobilization during a therapy session (to increase blood flow, and use the Gate Control Theory for pain relief). Most likely, the remainder of the session will focus on active stretching and strengthening, and regaining lost range of motion.
That's one aspect of PT I kind of like-standing up for the profession. PTs are often confused with massage therapists, and we all know the discrepancies with chiropractors, athletic trainers-the list goes on. But, it's our generation of PTs who will determine the turf of the profession. Likewise, it's our generation who will have to establish the reputation of PTs to the general public. It's important for PTs to educate patients, caregivers and friends about the roles and specialties of PT.
Anyone else out there having a career identity crisis? What's the best comment you've heard about being a PT?