Welcome! Please help us to know what the rules and regs are in South Africa and the UK. We have a few posts about the UK in the County, State & Country Requirements, Legislation and Politics Section, but I am not sure if we have anything about South Africa.
Also, if you have anything to add in the School & Curriculum Discussion that would be a bonus.
And, of course, we hope to see you elsewhere on the forums! Please resurrect some old threads and put your 2 cents in!
Thank you for the welcome.
As for qualifications... Sigh... I closed a busy clinic in London, UK, to come to Cape Town for love and marriage. Before I left, I spoke to the Allied Health people, who look after massage regulation in South Africa. They told me I had all the right qualifications, gave me a list of things I need to bring with me, and told me I would have to additionally sit an exam. I was totally confident about the exam and excited about revising anatomy, physiology, etc, from the point of view of an experienced massage therapist. I went through the process of getting all the documents; my University BSc Hons certificate, which I had lost, I got a copy from the University; I copied all my certificates; I got Police clearance from the UK Police; and then I contacted Allied Health again after I got here. This time, the goalposts changed. They said I will have to speak to a massage school, who will assess whether I need further classes before proceeding. I went, and I found out that education in this country is stretched out. For example, any Honours degree in the UK is 3 years, whereas here it is 4 years. The particular massage course I had taken was an intensive over 9 months. It was just as much practice, case studies, and knowledge as a 1 or 2 year course, only it was given in a shorter time, and we had to study hard and fast for it. Because of this, I had to do an extra year, at R20000 (about £1700 then) and a whole year off work, plus the school was so far away, travel would have been another huge expense. I could just about consider the fees if it did not mean taking a year off work and the travel costs. On investigation, I found only one other school teaching the government health-department approved massage, and that was also far away, and just out of my reach financially. The Principal of the first school then advised me to not bother with the qualification. He advised me that it really was not worth getting, and that I may as well set up as a complemetary massage practitioner, as long as I do not say my massage can have any health benefits - not even relaxation (it is illegal, although most here break the law out of ignorance). I decided to wait and see if I can make the money, because I am proud of the therapeutic work that I do and did not want to be denigrated to the position of a beauty masseur (no disrespect to any beauty masseurs out there, it is just not my passion). I mean, in London, I was a highly-rewarded and appreciated neck and shoulder expert. This was a huge contrast. But, having waited, I then contacted the school again, who told me that the course to become a massage therapist had become 4 years. The reason is that the powers-that-be wanted massage therapists to be consulted in lieu of the doctor, so they can diagnose and do most of the functions that a doctor can do. Crazy, huh? Anyway, he said that I had to still attend half the time, and so it was then 2 years. That was way beyond my reach, so I gave up. So now, I do mainly other therapeutic things and am doing reasonably well, but I miss massage so much! And I miss my therapeutic massage combinations! I am denigrated to the position of an alternative practitioner, whereby I am competing with ill-trained practitioners that charge a pittance and work from their living room or at flea markets. Having said that, I still charge almost enough for my Deep Tissue Massage - about 60% of what I should be charging, and I enjoy giving it whenever I get a client. I am limited on my advertising, as any claims of health and any massage benefits, including reminding people it is time for another massage, can land me in prison.
What makes things worse, is that there are two departments here that look after massage training in the government. Get this:
* The Education Department, who approves any massage course that ticks all the education boxes, such as blackboard, Unit Standards, etc, as per the Education Department requirements.
* The Health Department, who only approves qualifications gained via the schools that have been approved to run the 4-year official health massage course.
* The above two entities are not on the same page. Many parents spend thousands getting their youngsters through a massage school approved by the Department of Education, only to find out that at the end of all that money and sheer hard work, the youngster graduates with a qualification that they cannot use for therapeutic massage. And this is Africa, where most of such schools lie and say it is the right qualification. I know, because I interviewed a number of them in the hope that they will help me, but only on my cynical grilling did I find out that they could not. With their qualifications, all they can do is work as a beautician, and not in any therapeutic way. It sucks, doesn´t it?!
Anyway, I am adapting to Cape Town and happy with whatever massage work comes my way. My main thing is Energy Therapy and I am working hard with my association to make sure that nobody can rule us out of business, and that the ridiculous 4-year study is not imposed. I am not sure how successful I will be, but at least if we can make the study affordable and congruent with working for a living, we will have achieved something.
The end result for my clients is a massage practitioner who is soo keen on massaging them, she is always eager. i guess that´s not so bad, is it?
Mods, if this posting is in the wrong section, please feel free to move it