Today was the first day that we were taught to “palpate” in our practical class. Basically, we are given a part of the skeleton-or other bodily structures-and asked to find it. There are a lot of purposes for palpation. Although, I admit my knowledge about this subject is quite limited as I just started the massage therapy course. In the future we will be asked to “palpate” to make decisions about a client’s condition, but today we were using certain “landmarks” to determine where our “draping lines” are located. For example, when one massages the back, the draping (also known as a sheet) is brought down to expose the back. We are supposed to use body “landmarks” in order to know how far down the sheet is to go. Sounds simple enough? Not exactly.
You see. We’re expected to know both the laymen’s terms for the body part, for example the lower back, and the proper nomenclature. Your hip is not just called a hip you know. In fact, the bone that your massage therapist uses to determine the draping line on your back is called the “posterior superior iliac spine,” and the back of your lower leg is called the “inferior aspect of the iliac crest.” I mean, seriously, who comes up with these things? To all of those people who are sceptical about massage therapists out there, we are not just crazy quacks waiting to make your “happy ending” come true. We are highly, specialised trained people. Well, at least in Ontario and British Columbia we are. In Ontario you have to put in 2200 hours before you can become a Registered Massage therapist (RMT), and in B.C. it’s about 3000 hours respectively. That isn’t even taking into consideration the crazy insane provincial board exams we have to pass. If even just a centametre of our massage table is showing during this provincially sanctioned exam, we fail. We could be wearing the wrong coloured pants and they will fail us.
How crazy strict you think? Yes and rightfully so. We’re touching people’s bodies. How many people can say that their profession allows them to touch naked bodies? We have to respect this prvelege and treat it just as that, a privelege. And, as I have alredy mentioned, we’re paid to ensure people get treated for their injuries and if we don’t have the proper training, those people will end up with further complications. I just have to keep telling myself when I’m sitting through fifteen hours of anatomy class a week or when my instructor asks me to palpate my own xyophoid process so that I know where to draw the sheets down to when undraping to massage someone’s head, neck and shoulders.
PS: please excuse the typing errors-my computer is not allowing me to edit. : that thisll worth it and that even though I may not have a xyphoid rocess, I canit!