The professional status of massage therapists: experience, employability, and evolution


Marks A (2010) The professional status of massage therapists: experience, employability, and evolution. Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, 14 (2), pp. 129-150.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the development and work experiences of an occupational grouping – massage therapy – and to examine the employment experiences of members of this profession, including their relationship with a newly formed professional body. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with massage professionals working within a region of the UK. The participants were recruited through a survey administered via a professional newsletter. Findings – The findings from this paper suggest that there are few barriers to professionalisation for bodies attempting to represent alternative and complementary medical practitioners. Whilst arguably making this more accessible for the majority, it could lead to issues of control and manipulation of vulnerable individuals – both practitioners and patients. Practical implications – There is some suggestion that governments should put into place mechanisms to regulate individuals wishing to set up training bodies and professional bodies within complementary and alternative medical practice. Originality/value – This is an under‐explored area and presented unusually open access to both practitioners and key stakeholders in the professional body.

Careers; Massage; Alternative medicine; Professional services; United Kingdom

Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting: Volume 14, Issue 2

FundersHeriot-Watt University
Publication date31/12/2010
Publication date online29/06/2010
Date accepted by journal16/12/2009