Its been a strange journey to the career I've arrived at, but I would call myself a professional craniosacral therapist. I don't practice massage. I say this because the majority of people who do practice craniosacral therapy use it as a tool in their belt among multiple massage modalities. I think that's great and I hope more massage therapists continue to do that as it can only make them more effective.
However, there are those like me who present themselves as craniosacral therapists and that's how they serve people. Yes, I have a background in energy medicine and it certainly gives me an edge and helps me more effectively hold space for my clients. In fact, for me personally, I don't think I would have been emotionally equipped to learn craniosacral therapy to the extent I did without having learned energy medicine. But that's me, other craniosacral therapists I know are coming from very different places.
Why am I touting this? Because I've been hired in places where I was told "This is the first time we've hired somebody who only does craniosacral and not another form of bodywork, so let's see how it goes." Once people get on the table, they see the benefits of this work being done by itself and they're convinced of it's potency to address things that other therapies might not specialize in. Just like I wouldn't be able to loosen up knots in muscles or teach stretching techniques the way massage therapists can.
When I gave some students business advice on selling this seemingly unfamiliar form of therapy, one of them asked if I was concerned that they would be my local competition. While have to admit, there was a part of me that was a little perplexed as hustling, networking, and marketing are my least favorite aspects of running my own practice, having their practices out there in the end is a good thing. What I said was "Not really, because we're a community and the more of us that put ourselves out there, the more we stand out as an individual modality with nuances the way massage therapists do. And regardless of our respective skills and experience, clients are going to flock to the people they vibe with. The right practitioner for me, might not be the right one for you and vice-versa."
Because I'd rather hustle at my own pace, I've chosen to work at a few clinics in addition to my own practice and reserve that time and energy for my family. The million dollar questions is "Why didn't you learn massage?" by my employers during interviews. "Well, if I'd spent the time I spent studying craniosacral therapy studying massage instead, I wouldn't be as effective as I am now. I'd rather leave massage to people who are passionate about it and refer clients out to them when I they require a heavier hand." Furthermore, there is an endless wealth of knowledge and development in this work and the majority of advanced practitioners I know (myself included), are barely scratching the surface of it's potential.
Again, I'm mot saying a massage therapist who has experience with craniosacral therapy is any less effective, I'm just saying that being a massage therapist doesn't necessarily make them more effective as a craniosacral therapist. It really depends on what you're seeing them for and how serious they are about their practice. Just make sure they have a certification from at least a two year program and can confidently tell you how they're going to address your health issue if you want to be treated solely by craniosacral therapy. And don't write off a craniosacral therapist because s/he doesn't have a background in massage; it could very well mean this individual is continuing to deepen knowledge of this work.