The Unenjoyable Ride

By Liz Sharkey

Who could have even guessed at the start of the year that we would all be on this rollercoaster?

I am:

  • Exhausted
  • Confused
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Worried
  • Disappointed.

Exhausted

I’m exhausted by social media. I have to physically remove myself from devices – if only for 30 minutes at a time. My feed is in overdrive and it is sad to see what is happening. Emotions are raw and it’s hard to watch. I’m greatly restricting my impulse to respond to posts. Some things being said are breaking my heart. Before I respond to a post, I give myself 15 minutes to reconsider. Is it really worth responding or will the post get absorbed into the feed and never be seen again? The latter is what I’m hoping because some of the absolute drivel, misinformation and downright lies causes me (and many others) to lose sleep at night.

Confused

Every time I turn on the radio or watch the news, the information is different. I know the situation is fluid but seriously politicians, can you please not open your mouth and make grand declarations before consulting with your peers? This is not a political point-scoring exercise. The complete about face from the Victorian and NSW Premiers is mind blowing. One day it’s CLOSE DOWN. Next day it’s STAY OPEN. If you say close down your business, cancel all travel plans, make arrangements to limit non-essential travel on one day, please don’t change your mind the next day. It is becoming a little bit like the boy who cried wolf. Please let us know when we should actually listen to you.

Angry

The lack of direction from the various massage and natural therapies industry peak bodies is dumbfounding. AMT has been the only Association that has been regularly engaging with the industry. Irrespective of whether you agree with their stance, at least they have a stance.

  • Massage and Myotherapy Australia released some incredibly confusing videos last Friday, which contradict the Government advice re PPE.
  • MAA have a small statement on their website.
  • ATMS have nothing public on their website.
  • ANTA have said they have emailed members, but it seems many have missed that email.
  • Massage Australia – well they’re still trying to respond to emails from last year!

The industry in Australia was fragmented already. This has now led to an “us and them” mentality with members of various Associations publicly abusing and demeaning other therapists. As Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week (about hoarding) – “STOP IT – just stop it”!

Sad

I’m sad that it has come to this.

As grown-ups, as business owners, as community members, every therapist must research what is going on, understand how the virus is transmitted and minimise the risk to their clients. For some that means closing their business. For others that means implementing risk minimisation strategies. I am alarmed at the lack of respect being shown to fellow therapists. There’s become two gangs – the “open” and the “closed” gangs. The “opens” are belittling the “closed” for being panic merchants. The “closed” are belittling the “opens” for being irresponsible. My advice – butt out. With the distinct lack of clarity in the advice coming out from the “experts”, is it any wonder we are confused? Everyone is doing the best they can. Stop judging. You don’t know what anyone else is going through.

Disappointed

I’m disappointed that for supposedly educated and evidence-based therapists, many are willing to simply accept what is being said as being truth. Check your sources people. A definition of what constitutes “Allied Health” from 2008 doesn’t cut it when there are documents from 2020. Ask for links to government websites. Some of us admins and moderators of the Australian industry (social media) pages are working our butts off to provide actual evidence, but it only takes one feed that start spreading misinformation to get out of hand and we spend the next 2 hours fielding questions.

Coming soon …

Pretty soon though, I suspect we will all be able to breathe. We will shut down. We will not have a choice. It will then be up to us to determine where we go from here. All I can hope is when we look back at this, we learn something. I hope we all grow up a little. I hope we can all support each other rather than judging. I hope that we can all learn to respect each other’s different opinions and I hope that we don’t lose our passion for massage.

It will be a slow recovery, but we will recover.

About the Author

Liz Sharkey has been a Remedial Therapist for 12+ years. She gets excited by rules, regulations and checklists. With a finger in many pies, Liz currently does corporate massage on the side while running her compliance training through www.massagetrainingaustralia as well as visiting RTOs around Victoria and developing online resources as part of her new job with Firm-n-Fold Massage Equipment.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Liz for all you do. We will all get through this. People will need massages on the other side.
    Therapist need to support each other.

  2. I removed myself from every online Massage group except AMT, I also unliked/unfollowed every Massage business in my profile. I did not log in at all for 6 days. I did this for my mental health. I only login from my pc, no longer using a mobile device for fb. I feel a little better shutting out all the unwanted noise. Step by step. I backed away quickly last night, so glad I didn’t engage in any of those discussions. Thank you Liz for this blog, I do miss your posts!!

  3. AMT has worked incredibly hard and long hours to inform and guide us in the crisis. I am so proud to be an AMT member.
    They have scoured up to date information from many aspects that professionally influence us and compiled it for us. Thankyou sincerely AMT for all your efforts, for us, in these uncertain times.

  4. Ricardo Garcia
    25/03/2020 - 7:06 pm

    Thanks Liz, stay safe and continue caring for those close to you. I work part time as a remedial therapist these days but my involvement in the industry here in Brisbane is light. I have followed our local and Federal Government advise but I’m in a position to do so. It will be harder if all one did was remedial therapy from a rented clinic space or from your own business premises. Here in Queensland I go to the homes of my clients but the law has changed as of tonight and I too need to reassess my practice. Your advise and this post will help me in the days to come…
    Thank you.
    Once again, stay safe. Regards from us in Sunny Queensland… Ricardo from Caring Hands Remedial Massage Therapy.

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