Thursday, April 12, 2007

Abolition and Massage- an Animal Exploiter’s Worst Nightmare

We all know that massage therapy is great for relaxation, relieving soreness and muscle tension, and a great number of other things. But did you know it could help make you a better animal advocate?
One thing that all people who spend time focused on others, human or nonhuman, have in common is they consistently neglect themselves. It’s easy to do. With everything we have going on in our lives the idea of stopping for a little me time can even seem selfish, but taking time out for you is essential to your ability to continue to help others for many years to come.
As animal advocates and especially as abolitionist’s we suffer from a great deal of stress in our pursuit to help animals. After a wile, this stress accumulates and many people become overwhelmed. This leads to the high burnout rate that the animal rights community experiences. To combat this high burnout rate I suggest groups of activists seek out Massage therapists they feel comfortable with, or alternative stress relieving activities.

Incorporating a therapist into your activist community could be as easy as inviting them to do 10 min chair massages at your next potluck for a fee you agree upon. You could even work out a group discount that everyone receives if a certain number of people book a treatment. Look within your community first, you might just have a Vegan massage therapist in your ranks already. A few things to keep in mind when talking about prices is the same rules for tattoos pretty much apply here. Haggling is never a good idea, but trades are normally welcome by all, such as free advertising or something similar.

Combating burnout is something that urgently needs to be addressed. By implementing some of the suggestions above, I hope activists can keep “making Vegans” for many years to come.

-Matt Hastings

P.S. Since my girlfriend and I are interested in working within activist communities in the ways described above when we move to Chicago, please let me know how it’s going if anyone tries this. Thanks!

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