Accra, Sept. 19 - Ms. Hettie Mercer-Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of Spa Body N Beyond, has noted that massage therapy and wellness industry in the country is evolving to support the health system and must be regulated.
She said Ghana should begin to discuss the integration of the massage therapy into the health care industry; “We must, therefore, work to effectively integrate into the national health sector, the state licensing requirement and immediately develop mechanisms to regulate practitioners.
“As a massage therapist’s job is to cater to the physical, emotional, psychological and wellness needs of the clients,” Ms Mercer-Ricketts stated at the graduation of the third batch of students of the Spa Body N Beyond in Accra.
The graduation ceremony was chaired by Mrs Mawusi Awity, Executive Director of the National Vocational Training Institute.
Ms Mercer-Ricketts explained that years ago, massage wasn’t regulated at all even in America. “With the formation of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) in 2005 and the establishment of the ‘MBLEx’ massage licensing exam, things have changed considerably.
She said it is therefore time for Ghana to begin to regulate the massage industry as well, so that new professionals sit for and pass for a Massage Licensing Certificate before they can begin practicing.
With more and more people getting involved in the profession, it’s estimated that the profession will become increasingly accepted as a useful complementary health modality by mainstream medical practitioners, therefore the urgent need for the country to set the ground rules for practitioners.
Ms Mercer-Ricketts noted that years ago, mainstream medical practitioners in America were suspicious of massage. Some of them considered it harmless at best, while others lumped it together with other alternative modalities (such as chiropractic treatment) as nothing more than a waste of their patients’ time and money.
However, in recent years, this has changed dramatically. One of the reasons for the change is the number of Americans who have begun to broach the topic of massage with their doctor or a health care practitioner.
She said Ghana can begin to learn from the jurisdictions of the other countries especially as both massage therapists and clients want to see massage further integrated into the health care industry.
She noted that “today when a client comes to a massage spa, they are able to describe their current condition and sometimes at great length.
“Clients are increasingly interested in preventative health care, while many clients will continue to come to see the massage therapist for medical and injury-related reasons, it’s becoming more and more common for people to seek out massages as a kind of preventative therapy”.
“The therapist on the other hand, should be able to formulate a customized treatment for each client.
“At the same time, the number of massage therapists is inching upward from year to year. If you are new to the field of massage, you might be wondering where the industry is headed,” Ms Mercer-Ricketts stated.
Ms Mercer-Ricketts explained that; “It’s clear that the massage industry is growing. Massage is gaining popularity amongst Ghanaians, with an increasing number of people seeking out massage for a variety of reasons.
What can you expect in the future as a massage therapist? Will growth continue indefinitely? What do consumers want these days from their massage therapist? What are the primary reasons for people to be requesting for a massage?
What’s the approximate demographic of the average massage therapist? Will employment continue to go up, or is there a chance that finding a job will be difficult?
Ms Mercer-Ricketts also warned the practitioners, that every client is different, some come in with a sports-related injury, while others might be suffering from chronic pain that has been with them for years.
“Still others may have suffered an acute injury as a result of a car accident or something similar and, of course, there are many clients who simply want to de-stress with a massage every now and then.
“The average client doesn’t want to receive the exact same massage that everyone else gets when they come into your office. With this in mind, you should expect some clients to come to you with a generalized desire to simply “feel better” and “take care of themselves”.