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Addressing the effects of isolation and getting the support we need.

Addressing the effects of isolation and getting the support we need.

There’s a factor that is often detrimental to our success and the longevity of our canine massage practices. Most of us are working isolated. Isolation is a bane on our culture. It’s the cause of great stress and distress.

Isolation is the theme of this week’s discussion. As canine massage practitioners, there’s someplace we can go, something we can do, that will defuse it’s effects.

Isolation takes on many forms. Based on your personality, the sense of aloneness can manifest in various levels of discomfort and anxiety. Numerous studies have shown the destructive and restrictive effects of social and touch deprivation. In prisons, the harshest punishment is isolation! I work with many dogs who are highly stressed because of separation anxiety. These are extreme behaviors; and tragically obvious.

More insidious is the day to day sense of separateness you may feel. The slow accumulation of anxiety eventually overwhelms your body, mind, and spirit.

Having to manage every aspect of your life and business is a massive undertaking. Even if you love what you are doing, when you cannot get the support you need, you can still burn out.

Even when we work with others, our journeys can seem like solitary ones. Your practice may be structured as a sole proprietorship. You may work as an independent contractor. You may be the only one maintaining a holistic perspective in a mainstream veterinary or an animal physical rehabilitation clinic.

Be reassured, you are not alone. We are still small in numbers. There are only a few thousand canine massage practitioners scattered all around the globe. If you are practicing canine massage, you are one of the pioneers, the trailblazers.

We, by our natures are most comfortable being our own managers, doing our own work, enjoying the satisfaction of being able to channel our creativity and empathy to help animals. As we gain experience, we are able to apply our skills with greater and greater degrees of confidence and effectiveness.

Our clients speak reverently of the many benefits we provide to their animals. What happens in our everyday sessions becomes the stories our clients talk about when they describe canine massage.

We are obsessed with self improvement and giving the best services we can. We are always eager to learn more skills. Then we can do more as we operate from a wider set of technical resources. We get so excited about what we’ve learned and discovered, we want to shout it to the world.

The best way to defuse the effects of isolation is to share your life experiences with the world; especially when that world is your tribe! Your tribe of like-minded animal massage and bodyworkers is organized and ready, available and eager to connect with you. You really are not isolated, after all.

If you are ready to share, and also if you are not quite there and would benefit with some powerful tribal support, I encourage you to attend the joint IAAMB/ACWT – NBCAAM Educational Conference in Seattle this September 26-29, 2019.

The description for the conference is on the www.IAAMB.org website.

The IAAMB/ACWT, The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork / Association of Canine Water Therapy, is the world’s premier association for animal massage and bodywork professionals.

As President of the IAAMB/ACWT, I’m excited to be partnering with the NBCAAM, The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage. The NBCAAM, pronounced neb-cam, offers testing for national certifications for massage and acupressure for small and large animals.

We are pleased to align the historic strengths and reputation of the IAAMB/ACWT with those of the NBCAAM for this event. Our goals are similar: to promote our industry, to support, encourage, and help our members develop and legitimize our practices, and to ensure that schools you attend for training provide quality education.

This conference was created for four groups:

  • experienced practitioners and students of animal massage.
  • people who are still in the due diligence phase of career investigation.
  • Career development for professionals to hone their presentation skills and resumes.
  • Schools, companies and non-profits that would like exposure to promote themselves as vendors and support our agenda as sponsors.

Whichever your experience level, participating in this conference is an opportunity for personal and professional growth. It’s an opportunity to move out of your isolation and immerse yourself in the world of canine and equine bodywork. Rub pasterns with some of the premier authorities in the animal massage and bodywork field and expand on your interpretation of your potential.

At the conference, I will have 6 primary duties.

  1. I’ll be representing the IAAMB/ACWT as co-host of the event.
  2. I’ll be representing The PetMassage School.
  3. I’ll be teaching a continuing education course on canine myofascial release.
  4. I’ll be giving a presentation on canine aquatic massage.
  5. I’ll be attending lectures and classes to learn more about canine and equine massage, TCM, aroma therapy, CBD therapy, animal communication, and more.
  6. And, I’ll be networking with attendees. Making connections. Making friends.

This is an historic conference. Learn more about it here [www.iaamb.org]

Let’s meet this September in Seattle. – Jonathan

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