“Keep working on yourself, because the more you invest in yourself, the more
you invest in your ability to serve others.”
Career longevity is the length of time spent in service or employment within a field. Although investigations into factors contributing to career longevity in the massage field have not been conducted, studies have been carried out in nursing, education, and athletic training. The information from these studies can be applied to massage because all these professions have commonalities—they involve taking care of others, and there is a physical component in the performance of professional activities.
While no study has been conducted on massage professionals investigating career longevity, we can look at research in other allied professions. This information can guide our decision-making until studies are carried out. Factors contributing to career longevity in nursing, education, and athletic training professions include a sense of pride and passion for the job (Alexander et al., 2015; Mazerolle et al., 2016); a supportive network and positive interactions with administration and team members (Alexander et al., 2015; Mazerolle et al., 2016); balance between work and family life (Mazerolle et al., 2016); feelings of optimism (Alexander et al., 2015); and education (Pustułka-Piwnik et al., 2014). Many professionals persisted in their careers and prevented burnout by utilizing self-care strategies such as exercising, talking with peers and supervisors, spending time with family, and practicing spirituality (Killian, 2008).
Wellness is a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential, according to the National Wellness Institute (n.d.). Wellness involves programs of self-care, which are learned, proactive, deliberate, purposeful, and continuous activities to reduce stress, avoid burnout, prevent illness and injury, and live a more balanced life (Killian, 2008; Taylor & Renpenning, 2011). In medical professions, self-care is located at one end of the wellness spectrum and health care is at the other end (Segall & Goldstein, 1989).
In 1976 Dr. Bill Hettler published a wellness model of six dimensions, including physical wellness, occupational wellness, intellectual wellness, social wellness, emotional wellness, and spiritual wellness. Some wellness models include an environmental dimension, but Hettler states environmental wellness is an aspect of the occupational and social dimensions. For example, work environments are aspects of occupational wellness, and living environments (which include the community) are aspects of social wellness.
It is vital massage therapists actively practice self-care in order to perform quality massage sessions throughout the day, day after day, year after year, for the span of their career.In the posts to follow, we will explore the wellness model and it’s application to promote self-care in the goal of career longevity for massage professionals.
*** This is one of several self-care blog posts written by Drs Salvo and Renee. ***
Alexander, R. K., Diefenbeck, C. A., & Brown, C. G. (2015). Career choice and longevity in
U.S. Psychiatric-mental health nurses. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 36(6), 447–454.
Killian, K. D. (2008). Helping till it hurts? A multi-method study of compassion fatigue, burnout, and self-care in clinicians working with trauma survivors. Traumatology, 14(2), 32-44.
Mazerolle, S. M., Eason, C. M., Lazar, R. A., & Mensch, J. M. (2016). Exploring career longevity in athletic training: Factors influencing persistence in the NCAA
division I setting. International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training, 21(6), 48–57.
National Wellness Institute. (n.d.). The six dimensions of wellness. Retrieved from
Pustułka-Piwnik, U., Ryn, Z. J., Krzywoszański, Ł., & Stożek, J. (2014). Burnout syndrome in physical therapists – demographic and organizational factors. Medycyna Pracy, 65(4), 453–462.
Segall, A., & Goldstein, J. (1989). Exploring the correlates of self-provided health care behaviour. Social Science and Medicine, 29(2), 153-161.
Taylor, S. G., & Renpenning, K. (2011). Self-care science, nursing theory and evidence-based practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Dr. Susan Salvo is a massage therapist, author, educator, researcher, explorer, and perpetual student. To learn more, check out the “About Susan” tab. You can contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Michele Renee began her career as a massage therapist in 1998. After several inspiring and successful years, she expanded her scope of practice, first with chiropractic and later with a master’s degree in acupuncture. Today she runs a multidisciplinary clinic in Minneapolis, MN and serves as the Director of Integrative Care at Northwestern Health Sciences University. Drawing from many years of teaching and administration in the health sciences, Michele shares her varied experiences in education, patient care, and many paradigms of healing with health care practitioners across the US. She lives in beautiful Minneapolis, MN with her foster son and four furry friends. You can contact Michele at email@example.com.