Would you like touch, and massage, as well as shiatsu, to be more widely valued in society and for those working within the massage industry to be more recognised for the work they do? Then you might want to sign Gill Tree’s petition to create a pro touch society.
I have known Gill since 1998, when I ran my first Massage and Pregnancy Diploma course in the UK with her School of Massage “Essentials for Health”. This was the first in depth pregnancy massage training in the UK and Gill had already been a pioneer in introducing infant massage trainings into the UK.
“I became interested in preventative health care, initially through diet and exercise and later in complementary therapies at a very early age. I made medical history when in 1963 I was the youngest baby in the world to have open heart surgery and visited my consultant until I was 5 and it had a profound effect on my wanting to stay healthy.
When I studied massage, it very quickly became a love affair. Giving treatments (not just receiving) helped me relax and I soon found a passion for passing on my knowledge by teaching others. I am very proud to have written the Manifesto for a Pro-Touch Society. Becoming a Mum has made me take this step to push much harder for greater recognition for the importance of touch for our physical and mental wellbeing. Our petition will be a tool to lobby parliament. Come and join the crusade! ”
Gill has now created a manifesto to raise the professional status and recognition of the Massage industry; celebrating its contribution to individuals, companies and the economy. It intends to influence society to become more nurturing, pro-touch and to push for Massage to be more frequently considered as the therapy of choice whenever indicated, by the medical profession. This can also help make life as a massage therapist a more productive and profitable one.
I have highlighted some of the key points below:
Why is massage important?
Massage is not a luxury for the few, a reward or treat but an essential, cost effective and often cost saving therapy. Nurturing touch for the infant is more important than food. Without it a child can suffer marasmus- they wither away and die. Beyond infancy; it is equally important for a grown person to stay chemically balanced. Research tells us that a society where children are held closely to their mother for their first year in life is 60% more likely to be a non-violent society.
We can all benefit from the stress reducing effects of massage. 80 percent of visits to GP surgeries are stress related and massage provides a preventative role in health care whilst also reducing the symptoms of many diseases and disorders. It is widely used in managing back pain, has a role to play in reducing absenteeism at work and is employed in specialist hospitals in assisting in recovery from treatment and surgery. It can raise self esteem and self worth amongst the sick, mentally ill and elderly and is widely provided throughout the UK in hospices often by massage therapists who volunteer their time to improve quality of life and reduce the pain and suffering of the terminally ill.
We need to create a cultural shift that recognises the crucial importance of touch for our mental and physical wellbeing and embrace the professional role of the Massage therapist as a catalyst for the release of stress, tension and stimulated good health.
What is stopping it being valued more?
Fear of touch
Costs of treatment for the vulnerable and ill
Regulations and ‘duties of care’ that inhibit teachers, social workers and foster carers from comforting a child.
1. Make Massage and other touch therapies more accessible in a balanced health care system via the National Health Service and Private Medical Health Insurance
2. Raise the professional status of the massage industry and increase the recognition for the way the industry is contributing to and supporting society
3. Build a statistical awareness of the economic and therapeutic value that massage has in society and organise a campaign to educate society to demonstrate how Massage and touch are not a luxury
4. Reduce the limitations and damage caused by regulations and ‘duties of care’ that prevent instinctive and natural touch in our institutions and by service providers
5/ Reduce and prevent inappropriate touch through empowering the receiver to say no
6/ Provide a mechanism for ‘Massage For All’ to ensure the vulnerable and poor in society still have access when needed and make massage and the power of touch accessible at the point of need