Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Keywords

Massage, Therapists, Professionalization, Professionalism, Biomedicine

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to collect and analyze information from massage therapists on how they construct their identities. It is meant to be a starting point in giving voice to a group of alternative health practitioners who have been marginalized and misunderstood. It also helps us to understand what it means (to them) to be massage therapists and practitioners of "alternative medicine." This study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with five licensed massage therapists in two metropolitan areas in Florida. Massage therapists work at the micro level to boost the image of themselves and their form of "alternative" medicine. They do this by pulling professionalizing tactics from general business practices and from biomedicine. They also pull from "alternative" belief systems, balancing the two in a bid to construct their practice as legitimate and "alternative" professional health care.

Share

COinS