Browsing: Massage

Injury Prevention Tips For Massage Therapists

Massage therapy seems to have evolved into a big industry. Today, massage is no longer limited to athletes or to celebrities. It is now being used for treatments and also relaxation of injured, wounded and also healthy individuals alike. Standard allopathic remedies often integrate massage in their plans and because of this there is a great need for licensed as well as experienced massage therapists. Across the US along with other parts worldwide, a large number of massage treatment faculties are producing therapeutic massage practitioners each year. There is, therefore, a huge pressure to provide massage services at the highest degree to remain at the very best. This kind of expectation is definitely the significant contributing factor to the striking surge in personal injuries like arthritis of wrist and even fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome and other work related spasms.

Bearing this factor in mind, large businesses, health care spas and even massage faculties are putting in ergonomic workstations to permit the students as well as their experienced work to be able to work perfectly.

Here are a few suggestions for Therapeutic massage practitioners to hinder work place injuries.

1) Allow Relaxation to your body : Not that long ago, the work at spas as well as salons was not as well informed and prepared as therapists are these days. In order to reach for the financial pursuits of their organizations, massage therapists performed a lot of massages without taking more than a five minute break. Additionally, they performed services in crowded and uncomfortable therapeutic massage areas. These days massage practitioners are a lot more educated. The massage faculties are even incorporating Injury reduction programs into their curriculum. A physical therapist understands how to use breathing and also enjoyment approaches amid massages. This really is necessary for permitting the muscles loosen up along with minimizing the tension that gets built up due to massage appointments. It is also very important that a therapist controls and controls their massage schedule to ensure there is no rise in number of massages with reduced break time in-between.

2) Including exercises and using high-quality massage tools : A therapeutic massage therapist must be physically energetic. This is very important to strengthen the muscles as well as also to increase blood flow. A massage specialist should get involved in aerobic exercises, stretching out and also some other physical activities at the very least three times a week. It will help in growth of good body mechanics. Using proper therapeutic massage equipment and even tools having ergonomic designs can also be most important.

3) Discontinue the massage strategies which injure : Any process that causes distress or pain must be discontinued right away by the therapist. It is also recommended that you vary the massage methodology to prevent repetitive activity to one part of the hands and even arms. Also, therapists having pre-existing injuries in addition to ailments like back in addition to neck injuries should execute only those massages that will not require much strength and also pressure. Hydrotherapy and Aromatherapy are a couple of massage forms that may maximize one's clients and even also do not demand much extreme hand-work.

4) Do Not disregard pain as well as discomfort : A regular mistake which a massage therapy professional makes is to neglect the pain as well as discomfort that one sufferers from. Typical thought process is often that “If I ignore it, it is going to subside.” At the slightest ache as well as discomfort one must get the injury or pain taken care of by a qualified professional. One must be aware that one is a human as well as needs to establish a practical attitude in direction of this job.

Occasionally, a physical therapist should do not forget that injuries is usually a complex issue. There is not a formula to keep one protected from work-related incidents. One must educate itself in addition to use refresher CE courses that will help them up-date the Injury avoidance strategies learnt at faculties, which can be ignored with time. One must strengthen body mechanics, allocate time for exercise, take well-timed breaks between massages and also make use of the preferred educational resources available in the market.

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What Is the Difference Between a Massage Therapist and a Bodyworker

The difference between a massage therapist and body worker are distinct yet not mutually exclusive since they both are body focused for relief of pain and stress while restoring and revitalizing strength and energy. The different benefits of each approach are evident in their intent and result of intervention. A massage therapist works on the physical body with Western medical and physical therapeutic training. While the bodyworker works on the mind, body and spirit as one entity with Chinese and Easter medicine philosophy (practice of acupuncture, acupressure, herbs and hot and cold items).

The bodyworker is trained in the delicate techniques of touch with the added influence of pressure that comes from centuries of ancient Chinese medical training in manipulative application of needles, physical pressure, natural herbs, hot stones and ice or cold items to relive, restore and revitalize the energy field of an individual person (known as the “Oi”). The major theory behind the bodyworker's practice is to provide balance and restorative power so that one gains vitality and maintains equilibrium of good health. The belief is that if a person has regular intervals of bodywork, they will arrest chronic aches and pains caused by stress, illness or disease and have a healthy “Oi,” and thrive on positive health.

In the alternative, a massage therapist has the goal of providing a form of tension relief, soothing of muscular and joint discomfort that is calming and supportive of overall restfulness and fitness. It does not suggest to be a health remedy. A massage therapist manipulates soft tissues, massages and pressurizes the skin to varying degrees. It goes through a range of levels of application of pressure for specific effects. A light massage stimulates blood circulation and loosens muscular tension, while more intense therapeutic applications serve to provide deep tissue massage and vascular muscle stimulation. Massage therapists can also apply hot stones, oils and other items in the process of massage.

In addition, a massage therapist provides the manipulation that many find very relaxing to relieve daily stress and anxiety. They also provide the manipulation that sufferers from arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pain and chronic pain disorders, injuries due to accidents, sports and illness, headaches, sinus misery, depression, hypertension, immune disorders and more find relieving.

In conclusion, the similarities of a massage therapist and bodyworker are those that provide physical touch, pressure and applications for relief, relaxation and health related, self care purposes. The main focus of a massage therapist is to provide release of tension, decrease soreness, relieve pain and elevate feelings of fitness, reduce some mental and immune disorders as well. While a bodyworker focuses on obtaining and maintaining optimal health, restoration from aches, pain, illness and symptoms of disease. Areas of practice tend to determine the requirements, credentials and training required for practice of each of these disciplines. The bodyworker is trained in ancient traditional methods for wellness maintenance and health related remedies.

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Massage Therapy (and Other Enjoyable Ways) to Lower Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you're going to want to read this article. These are some easy, natural and even enjoyable ways you can bring your BP numbers down.

Research tells us that at least 1/3 of all men have high blood pressure, and women are not far behind. Much of the time this disease has no physical symptoms, but it dramatically increases your chance of dying of a heart attack and your risk of heart failure. It is the number one cause of stroke, and only second as a cause for kidney failure. Studies also show that the following are simple ways that could help control your blood pressure. For example:

Squeeze a Tennis Ball
Yes, you read that correctly. About 40 years ago, Dr. Ronald Wiley developed a new device to stop pilots from falling asleep by increasing their blood pressure and circulation to their brains. Interestingly, it was discovered that after prolonged use, blood pressure actually reduced.

You can get a similar result by squeezing a tennis ball. Just hold the ball loosely, then squeeze it as hard as you comfortably can, holding for a minimum of five seconds. Relax your whole body for a count of two, then repeat the process ten times. Rest for a five count, then do ten more repetitions with that hand. Repeat with your other hand.

Enjoy Some Dark Chocolate
Dr. Karin Ried, working with researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia said that eating dark chocolate can “significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.”

Another study published in the JAMA found that eating approximately 30 calories per day of dark chocolate was associated with lowered blood pressure. This was reported to occur without weight gain or other adverse effects.

Savor a Cup of Tea
Wow, I love tea! Almost a countless number of studies have shown that tea has positive effects on our blood pressure. Most of these studies have been done with green and oolong tea (a bit more robust and heartier than green, but also low in caffeine).

One study that spanned a decade and conduct by scientists at Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University, determined that drinking just 4 oz. of oolong or green teas a day can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by a 46%. When that was increased to 20 oz., Researchers saw a 65% drop.

More recently, Hibiscus tea has been touted as a BP-reducer too. With no caffeine, this is a preferred choice for some. It's said that at least two cups of this mild tea per day can show results in as little as 4 weeks, and it tastes pretty good too.

Know You Are Breathing
Notice that I did not say, “Just breathe.” We are breathing all the time, so if that was all that was needed, there would be no high blood pressure. However, knowing that this is so, that is – bringing your attention to the activity of your breath – can help bring blood pressure down.

All you need to do is regularly spend 5-10 minutes sitting comfortably and allowing thoughts to drop away as you simply observe your breath. If you notice that your mind has wandered, no big deal, just come back to experiencing the inhalation and exhalation.

Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., and director of research at the HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, Ca, says that having a routine breathwork practice can achieve results. One three-month study of computer-company workers showed that drop could be as pronounced as ten points systolic and six points dyastolic.

Get a Massage
Ahhh, massage therapy. Recent research from Dillard University in Louisiana showed that combination of massage therapy and diaphragmatic breathing reduced blood pressure and also anxiety in as little as one week. Another study done by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, shown that regular massage reduced high blood pressure and depression too. As with chocolate, tea and tennis ball-squeezing, the best results were gained by regularity. (Who could resist such a scientific experiment – regular massage therapy treatments for research?) Clients I have seen who report BP improvement are receiving at least 1-2 treatments per month.

Of course, do not take all of this as a new regimen to solve your high blood pressure woes, but continue to follow your health care provider's guidance. This is not meant to be a substitution, but a possible compliment to your current plan.

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Basic Tantra Massage Guidelines

Tantric Massage is only one aspect of learning and practicing tantra. Other vital components that the tantra teacher will instruct his pupils in are tantric yoga, meditation, breathing and sexual techniques.

One of the most basic fundamentals of tantra massage is that the giver and receiver must have a pre-existing emotional bond. By this definition, all commercialized tantric massage services fly out of the window. It is almost impossible for a woman or man to enjoy and benefit from a tantra massage if she or he receives it from a stranger. The element of trust and intelligence is paramount in all tantric techniques, tantra exercises and tantra rituals.

A tantric massage must take place in a setting that is conducive to complete relaxation and whatever intimate contact may follow. Obviously, it must also provide complete privacy and freedom from potential fluctuations. Therefore, all contact with the outside world must be cut off. The surface on which the massage will take place should be equipped with a comfortable mattress or mat with a freshly washed sheet. Rolled-up towels to support the neck and knees are essential.

For the tantra massage, only high-quality massage oil should be used. Ideally, the intimate atmosphere should be further enhanced with incense, candle light and soft devotional music. I personally recommend a prolonged musical recitation of the Avalokitasvara Stratra, which is commonly chanted at Buddhist histories in East Asia. It is the perfect musical back for a tantric massage.

Begin this tantric ritual with the recipient lying on his or her stomach. Start with a gentle foot massage and then shift your appointments to the neck and shoulders. These areas have vital pressure points which, if attended to with light but firm massage strokes, release relaxation through the body. The masseur can then proceed to massage the upper middle and lower back, continuing in these areas until all the knots and tension have been worked out from the muscles there. Then gently turn the recipient over so that you can work on the front.

Remember that this form of massage is not just about relaxation but also about building up the tantra energy in the recipient's body. As this energy is liberated and begins to flow, Kundalini is awakened. This energizes and balances the chakras – energy centers that are distributed along the central axis of the body. By energizing the chakras, you unleash various physical and emotional benefits in the recipient.

It is perfectly alright for the massage to be followed by sexual activity, but at least half an hour of patient massage should precede such activity. If your partner is fully relaxed as a result of the tantra massage, the lovemaking can indeed be spectacular.

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The Health Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

There was a time when the thought of a massage would bring a spa to mind. A luxurious setting in a health club or at an upscale resort may come to mind. Times have changed and so has deep tissue massage therapy.

There is a variety of massage types. The general term means the manipulation and rubbing of the skin, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Therapists generally use their hands and fingers for massage, but may also incorporate the use of elbows and forearms to achieve the desired result.

Deep tissue massage uses a more forceful approach. The slow, forceful technique is used to target those layers of connective tissue and muscle that are deeper in the body. This is usually the method chosen for the relief of damage due to injuries. Deep muscle massage concentrates on realigning the deer layers of muscle. While many of the movements are the same, the strokes are slower and deeper.

Although massage has been considered an alternative type of medicine in the past, it is becoming increasingly popular among professionals for relief of many conditions and various situations. People who have subscribed to the use of deep muscle massage will be quick to tell you of its many benefits.

Deep tissue massage breaks down the adhesions (bands of rigid, painful tissue) and inevitably relieves pain and allows the client to restore natural movement.

During the massage, the client may experience some discomfort due to the pressure applied. The client needs to tell the therapist when the pain or discomfort is beyond their personal comfort zone.

The problems that are generally deal with during deep tissue massage are:

1. Limited mobility due to injury or disease process

2. Chronic pain

3. Carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries that may be caused by repetitive movement

4. Osteoarthritis

5. Whiplash, sports injuries or falls

6. Fibromyalgia

7. Muscle spasm

During the massage, the therapist will ask you to take deep breaths. This is done at certain points of the massage when the therapist is working on specific areas. The process will release metabolic waste substances from the muscles. It is important to drink a large amount of water following the massage. This will flush the waste from the system.

If you have never had a deep tissue massage, be aware that you should not eat a heavy meal prior to your appointment. You should arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.

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Massage Therapy Certification Survival Guide

Every graduating massage therapy student when coming out of massage therapy school, still has to take their national certification exam in order to get their massage therapy license. This may sound like an easy thing, but you would not believe how many students simply do not pass their exam. Not passing their exam the first time, causes needless unnecessary expense, needless frustration and anxiety, and needless prolonging putting off your massage license and practicing massage therapy. Speaking from experience, and seeing so many others struggling with this ordalal, I want to give some easy, common sense advice that will hopefully help those needing to take either their MBLEx, NCETM, or NCETMB certification test.

First of all, do not think you can just waltz into the testing center without any preparation and think you will pass. Chances are you will not and the odds of that happening are very much against you. Secondly, always prepare before taking any exam, especially your certification exams. Always refresh your memory, go back and review what you learned in massage therapy school. If by some chance you do not do well preparing that way, get a tutor, a friend, someone or something that will help you prepare. Also, many students have been out of school for a while and this is where most graduates make the mistake. They wait to late to take the test while the information is fresh in their brains and then thing they can pass the exam after being out of school for 6 months or longer. That simply will not happen, I guarantee it. You must prepare to pass the exam.

If by some chance you do not know anyone that can help you, I would highly recommend getting a MBLEx study guide, a NCETMB or NCETM study guide. There are many great online study guides that are worth their weight in gold. I would choose an online study guide that comes on a computer program because the certification exams are taken on a computer. If you study on this type of study guide it will give you that test like feel that you will face come test day. In closing, always get a good nights rest before the exam day. Do not over analyze each question. Always go with your first gut instinct and remember to breath. Slowing down your breathing helps calms your brain and body just like massage does. If you do these simple steps, you will save yourself a lot of grief, time and wasted money by not passing the exam. Do these things and you should pass your exam in flying colors.

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Understanding Massage Therapy

It is well known today that most of our diseases are psycho-somatic in nature. What this means is that it is our emotional well-being that leads to a healthy body. Our illnesses are related to the stress that we tend to face in our daily lives.

It is massage therapy that can be a real help here. It can help to decrease anxiety next helping to increase our concentration and rejuvenating us. It improves our quality of sleep and reduces the fatigue that we all tend to experience some time in the day.

Not only this, massage therapy can be quite helpful in easing various medical conditions. Most important, it helps to ease our dependence on medication. The side effects of taking any medication for a long time are well-known. Also, massage is quite effective for easing low back pain. This way, it helps to improve our range of movement.

Expectant mothers can expect a lot of benefits from massage therapy. It eases the labor pains. Beside, it will ensure a shorter duration of stay in the hospital post delivery.

Massaging of any kind helps in tightening and improving any kind of weak muscles in the body. It is a highly effective system for improving the immunity system as the natural defense system of the body gets highly stimulated due to regular massaging.

Massage therapy is recommended for athletes or for people who do strenuous physical activity as it helps their body to recover fast. It has an amazing effect on the skin by improving its look and lustre. It improves upon the flexibility of joints and makes movement smoother and easier. Thus it is recommended in the cases of arthritis. Using massage therapy has an impact on tissue regeneration too. Thus, there is a clear evidence of scar removal and stretch marks reduction.

Renewed energy level post massage is due to pumping of oxygen as well as other nutrients into the tissues and various vital organs of the body. All this leads to improved blood circulation in the body.

Any kind of post surgery swellings or adhesions tend to get healed through massage therapy. People who experience spasms or any kind of cramps on a regular basis benefit a lot through massage therapy. Any kind of injured, overused or even soft muscles tend to get relaxed by massage.

It is the massage therapy that releases endorphins the blood stream of the body. It is these endorphins that are the natural pain killers of the body. This is why people experience a soothing feeling of calmness after getting a massage. People suffering from migraine may also feel better after using this therapy.

There is nothing in this world that tends to age us faster than stress. This stress can be due to many reasons. It affects us physically as well as emotionally. Now we have a therapy that looks after our physical looks as well as emotional health. Various kinds of massage therapy are available and we can pick up one that suits us best.

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Choosing On-Site Massage Companies

These days all companies are really trying to cut down on employee health care costs. One method to achieve this goal is to offer wellness programs that prevent employees from getting sick in the first place. Many massage and therapy professionals, promotes wellness in the workplace through on-site massage therapy. Those are the best massage companies, who are having all of their therapists, are National Board Certified, licensed, and insured. The therapists who are members of the American Massage Therapy Association, the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals, and CAM PPO which sets them apart from other massage companies. They provide convenient, affordable, relief from pain and stress by offering on site massage sessions ranging from 5 to 30 minutes. Employer benefits of corporate massage therapy: Improved employee health, morale, and productivity Employee benefits of onsite massage: Quick, convenient relief from pain and stress during the time it takes to drink a coffee.

Services from massage companies during the workday reduces the number of employee sick days, health care costs, and workers compensation costs from repetitive strain injuries. During an on-site massage session massage therapists use techniques fitted for clothed massages that relieve stress from tension headaches, neck strain, back pain, etc. Services from massage companies have been known to improve employee alertness, speed, and accuracy. An on-site massage routine can reduce depression and improve the body's immunity. Massage companies can provide services that are great for employee wellness programs, employee recognition and reward, corporate events, and trade show booths. A certified company ensures that their professional team of on-site massage therapists is 100% licensed and insured. Not all massage companies offer top of the line services from highly trained professionals. Like every companies, massage companies also do have their sites. These sites explain the benefits of on-site massage and give a variety of worker wellness tips. Not only do they refer to the helpful work of massage companies, but the site also offers tips to prevent neck or back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Even if an individual is not sufficient enough to have on-site massage services at work, they can still benefit from the stretching, exercise and weight management tips on these websites. Here one can also get some innovative tools to keep track of their health status. Individuals should consult the physician before going for any exercise moves. All exercises and stretches should be done with required precaution to avoid any injury or over exertion.

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How to Feel Better Through Massage Therapy

Clinical Massage is the manipulation of the bodies soft tissue to relieve specific complaints of pain and dysfunction. A good massage therapist has an extensive knowledge of what muscle is being worked on, where it is attached and what problems it can cause. This allows tratment that deals directly with your problem.

Clinical Massage uses a wide variety of massage techniques such as effleurage, pettrisage, compression, cross fiber friction, trigger point therapy, tapotement and stretching. Effleurage and pettrisage is used to warm the muscles to prepare for deeper work. Compression works on the circulatory system. Cross fiber friction and trigger point therapy work on specific muscles to allow the muscle to return to their original resting length, which is where it will work optimally. Tapotement and stretching encourages the muscle to maintain this resting length. Matching the physiology of the pain and dysfunction with the physiological effects of the treatment techniques offers the most effective treatment.

The Principles of Clinical Massage Therapy

  • The individual is a whole organism: everything is connected and related . Therefore the part must be seen in context of the whole. For example, a person with a sprained ankle will favor the injured leg, causing muscles in the hip and lower back to tighten (shorten). The resulting imbalance in the back can affect the neck muscles, causing a headache. Treating the neck muscles alone will not solve the problem.
  • Shortened muscle tissue can not work optimally – All movements, even the most basic are complex as they require a perfect orchestration of groups of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves. This orchestration is called a kinetic chain. Kinetic means movement. Every part of that kinetic chain has to work properly so you can coordinate the movement. To do this you must have the strength and accuracy to complete the movement. If there is a weak link (a shortened muscle) somewhere on this chain, a trigger point will arise at that point on the kinetic chain. This weak link often inhibits the kinetic chain's ability to work in the correct sequence which is why aches and pains, other than the injury, occurrence. Utilizing trigger point therapy, cross fiber friction, tapotement and stretching, the muscle returns to its resting length and is then able to play its important role in the kinetic chain. This significantly reduces the risk of further injury to the whole length of the kinetic chain.
  • Soft Tissue responses to touch – The earliest known writings on massage date back to the Chinese, around 3000BC. History also shows the Ancient Romans and Greeks used massage, along with exercise to promote health, around 1000BC. It was very common for war heroes to be rubbed and anointed to allow them to rest, refresh and to aid in recovery. It has been proven through scientific research that massage:
    1. Increase circulation
    2. Reduce swelling
    3. Ease pain
    4. Reduce stressful feelings such as anxiety
    5. Improve flexibility
    6. Alter reflex activity in the nervous system

Massage can positively influence your wellbeing physically, physiologically and psychologically.

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Do I Tip My Massage Therapist and Other Important Questions

Have you been feeling tired and run down quite? Do you have aching muscles, a stiff neck, or back pain? Have you thought about getting a massage to tie these conditions? If so, there are many important questions to consider, the last of which is: do you tip your masseuse?

To begin it is important to remember that massages, while directly relaxing your muscles, can also have a positive impact on other problems like stress, sleeplessness, low energy, depression and more. It is equally important to know that massages can also bring up repressed physical and / or emotional trauma that may be held in your body, also known as body memories, and it can help to unblock energy chakras. It is helpful to make a list of the symptoms you are suffering from, to help determine if massage is the right treatment.

Prepared with this list you can begin your search for an appropriate masseuse. There are many avenues one can find a masseuse. A referral from a trusted friend or health care professional is the best place to start. Health clubs and salons may be a great option for general relaxation and stress reduction, but if you're suffering from a sports injury or depression, for example, you may want to pursue a professional in the health care industry.

Find out if the practitioner offers a free initial consultation. Be sure to ask if they are certified and / or licensed. Find out what type of massage they specialize in. A Swedish massage is great for muscle aches and pains while a deep tissue massage such as Rolfing can help to release repressed trauma and retrain your muscles. This is a very intense type of body work and can bring up buried traumas and memories. Other types of body work like Cranial Sacral therapy directly works on releasing blocks in the seven energy chakras of the body. Some of these more intense types of massages and body work can be life changing, so be sure you are prepared for such an experience.

Once you find a practitioner you trust, do not forget to ask if they accept your health insurance. Many health conditions can benefit from massages and in some cases are covered by insurance. After you address these many important questions you can finally answer whether to tip your masseuse. If you received your massage at a salon or health club, and if you felt you received a good quality massage you may want to tip your masseuse. A typical tip is between 15% – 20% of the cost. But, if you received your treatment from a licensed health care professional, tips are generally not expected.

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How To Find The Best Massage Schools

Finding the best massage school can take a lot of time and energy. It involves spending effort that guarantees no positive results when it comes to searching for the best school. Foolproof your search efforts by following the suggestions below:

– Get information from other people. Go to the nearest spas or wellness centers in your area and ask about massage schools that they prefer to hire from. Doing so gives you an idea about schools that employers prefer and have a good name.

– Check out massage schools yourself. Be specific about the location as to where you actually want to gain employment and look for schools in that area. States have varying licensing requirements and awareness of these prerequisites will help you find the top schools in the area.

– Call and visit the schools . Contact the school's admissions department and ask questions about requirements, tuition fee, scholarships, program set of courses, schedules, and other questions that you might have. They may even send you brochures containing detailed information about the different programs and curriculums they offer specifically on health-related courses. Some schools even offer program orientations relating to their courses, so, it would be a good opportunity for you to have a more in-depth view about massage therapy as a course and as a possible career.

If you can, it is also highly advisable that you make an ocular of the school in order for you to get a feel of the environment. Talk to the guidance counselors, registrars, and admissions clerks, too.

Do not be driven by salary claims. A school is still a business, so, to attract more students, some would claim that their salaries earn as much as $ 50,000 (or more) after graduating. This is an outright lie because new graduates make around $ 20,000- $ 30,000 per year. As you build your reputation and gain more experiences, you build your clientele as well as your bank account – only then can you charge a higher rate. Therefore, do your own research.

– Learn more about being a massage therapist. Do you want to be in the business of helping others get well and feel better? Are you aware about the pros and cons of being a massage therapist? Whatever is your answer to the questions, ensure that you have done your research and have asked around. Talk to massage therapists yourself or business owners to get information about their starting salies, what makes them stay in the massage industry, anything that they do not like about the business, and tips on how to become successful as a massage therapist.

– Get in touch with the school's graduates. If you know some people who graduated from the school, call and ask them about their experiences while attending that school. Were the teachers helpful towards their students? Did they get guidance support when they needed it? Did they offer job placement assistance? Likewise, ask the graduates about their experiences, realizations while job-hunting, and where they are now in their careers as a massage therapist. This will likely give you an idea if massage therapy is indeed for you.

Becoming a massage therapist is indeed a lucrative job. It may be a seasonal thing, but with people experiencing stress at work and in life in general, more and more are realizing the benefits of having good massages to de-stress themselves, and that is where the opportunity to work as a therapist comes in .

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Massage Therapist – Should Gender Matter?

When one goes to a spa, health facility, or gym, one of the first things that the receptionist asks is, “Do you want a male therapist or a female therapist?”. Although massage therapy is not a gender-specific career, still, the quantity of female therapists outnumbers the male population. In addition, there may be clients who are not concerned about the gender of the therapist, but there are still those who prefer female over the male therapists.

Common Reasons Why More Clients Prefer Women Therapists

– Female clients are more self-conscious about their bodies

– Some women tend to think that male massage therapists will take advantage

– Male clients who are homophobic Do not want another male to touch their bodies

– Male clients find a woman's touch more sensual and pleasant

However, regardless of the gender, all massage therapists are trained about work ethics and the use of draping methods, so, it should not be a big issue. In addition, some spa-goers are already familiar with the routine and understand that the massage therapist's skill is more important than gender.

How Gender Affects a Career in Massage Therapy

While there are clients who do not bother about the gender of the massage therapist, for would-be massage therapists, knowing how gender affects a career in this field is very important.

Gender Issues

In the US, the massage therapy industry is basically female dominated. Actually, according to studies, more than 80% of them are women. Although the number of male therapists has steadily increased in the last couple of years, still, more women are employed as therapists. For one, massage therapy is commonly perceived as a nurturing healing method and women have always been associated with the role of “nurturer”. Likewise, because women's touch is softer and more sensitive in nature, many clients find it easier to relax when left in the “hands” of women.

Patient's Perception on the Therapist's Gender

It is true that some clients do not mind about the gender of the therapist, but there are still a big number of those who are uncomfortable when male massage therapists handle their bodies. Even male clients feel the same way. Because massage therapy involves skin to skin contact, people consider it as a very personal matter. Thus, when clients feel pressured or uncomfortable, their muscles tend to contract even more and they do not reap the full benefits of the massage.

This low level of comfort when it comes to being handled by male practitioners affects the number of clients that they are able to handle, which translates to fewer options for them.

Problems and Issues that Therapists Encounter

Sexual harassment is a huge issue when it comes to this industry. There have been reports where female therapists were taken advantage of by male clients – touched inappropriately or questioned to in a lewd manner. In the same breath, some male therapists get reported by female customers who say they (customers) were sexually harassed and handled improperly by their therapists.

Job prospecting is another problem that male massage therapists deal with. Because of issues such as sexual harassment, male massage therapists find it more difficult to find employment than most women.

Gender Benefits

Not everything about the massage therapy industry for males is negative. Even though males have fewer job options in this industry, there are still some good things about being a massage therapist in a female-dominated industry.

Because men, in general, are stronger than women are, some characteristics can easily be carried out by male massage therapists than women. One instance is working in a sports massage center or hospital, where patients are generally male and would need stronger pressure when it comes to the massages.

Another example is work that massage therapists find in hospitals such as the rehabilitation section and physical therapy section, where patients are more comfortable when being treated by male therapists.

Indeed, gender plays a major role when choosing massage therapists to perform their job on you. Patients must feel safe with a therapist and not stressed out or pressured about selecting the practitioner.

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Top Reasons Why Massage Therapy Is Becoming A Popular Career Choice

Most Americans are now seeing the value of having a good massage in order to alleviate body pains and stress. This is large due due to doctors' recommendations of using various modalities of massage in order to treat certain illnesses and pains. What other reasons are behind this new-found sense of wellness?

Reasons Why The Massage Therapy Career Is Booming

Although initially pain relief was the only reason why Americans bought the assistance of therapists, they are now finding more reasons to keep their wellness appointments with medical practitioners.

Aids in Preserving Healthy Bodies

A healthy body also equates to almost painless conditions. Many have been going to massage therapists primarily to seek relief from their injuries as well as for pain management purposes. According to interviews, with continued massage sessions, people suffering from chronic back pains, fatigue caused by other illnesses, post-operative soreness, and bone problems benefited much from regular massages. Aside from pain relief, most of the patients felt stronger, breathed easier, had become more positive in their disposition, and had a healthier and improved sense of self after several massage sessions.

Therapy Is Recommended by Doctors

Starting mid-2006, more and more doctors have been advocating massage therapy as cure alongside other medical treatments doctors are performing on patients. Based on analyzes conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), more than 60% of massage therapists obtain referrals from doctors such as orthopedists and cardiologists.

Health and Wellness Centers Now Have Massage Therapy Programs

Because more doctors are now espousing the use of massages as part of a patient's treatment, health centers, including clinics and hospitals, established education programs to respond to the growing demand in massage therapy. Primarily, these programs are designed for the treatment of the following conditions: high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, infant massage, pregnancy-related massage, rehabilitation, and general wellness massages.

Profession Is Now Covered by Insurance Companies

From the beginning, insurance companies have been covering treatment for illnesses and diseases only. However, due to the increasing number of doctors who consider massages to treat patients, as well as requests from patients themselves to include massage therapy in their health benefit cards, insurance companies have started responding positively to the demand. Thus, massage therapy is now made available to more patients requiring special massage treatments.

Career Has Positive Growth Potential

Again, in response to the population's growing awareness about the health benefits of massage therapy in treating various diseases and pains, including hospitals 'and health centers' need for more massage therapists, the industry is projected to grow by about 20% until 2018. Then , more employment opportunities are open for those who want to be in the health professionals industry.

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Manual Lymph Drainage After Breast Cancer Treatment

Some treatments for breast cancer can be damaging to the lymph nodes under the armpit. Whether nodes are removed during surgery or receive radiation, lymph node reduction is a typical result of breast cancer treatment. Some people may develop lymphedema because of this and experience swelling in the arm, hand, or on the chest. It's not clear what will certainly trigger lymphedema, and some people can have many lymph nodes removed without having lymphedema, some can have just a few removed and have problems. Lymphedema can develop shortly after treatment or many years later.

Treatment for lymphedema includes manual lymph drainage (lymph drainage massage or MLD), compression bandaging, skin care and gentle exercise. MLD by a certified therapist can work to reroute the fluid away from the missing or damaged lymph nodes to the nearest site with healthy nodes.

Traditional massage increases the process of fluid moving out of the blood vessels and into the tissue. For someone whose lymph system is already having a difficult time processing the fluid in the tissue, traditional deep massage of that area may not be appropriate.

The manual lymph drainage sequence to help reduce arm swelling starts with getting the healthy lymph nodes ready to take the extra fluid. Depending on the situation, fluid may be moved from one armpit across the chest and the back to the other armpit, from one armpit down the chest and stomach to the groin on the same side, or from one side of the neck to the other.

When you go to receive lymph drainage massage, you should be prepared to remove your clothing in the treatment room the same as you would for a traditional massage. Most of the work will be on your upper body, but fluid may be directed to your groin as well. It will be helpful, if you are comfortable, for you to remove your shirt and pants before getting onto the massage table underneath the top sheet. If you would be comfortable taking off your bra that is also helpful, some people prefer to leave it on which is OK too. Once you are undressed and on the massage table under the top sheet, your therapist will knock on the door to come back into the room.

The session takes about an hour. You will be laying on your back under the top sheet, and for the last 10 or 15 minutes you will likely be laying on the unaffected side. That way fluid can be directed across your back to your unaffected armpit.

If you are experiencing significant swapping, bandaging may be included at the end of your session. Your arm would be wrapped tightly to keep the swelling from increasing after the treatment. Even if you are not receiving bandaging, if you have a compression sleeve you may want to bring it to wear after your session.

People choose to receive manual lymph drainage in a variety of frequencies. For the most effective work to bring down swing, sessions should happen very close together, several times a week. Someone who is experiencing very mild swelling that is mostly maintained at home, or someone who just wants to include lymph drainage massage as preventive maintenance, a once a month session is not unusual.

Manual lymph drainage can also be performed after traditional massage techniques. A session could be scheduled where 30 minutes are spent with relaxation massage to the head, neck and shoulders, and then an hour of the MLD sequence.

Lymph drain massage feels very light compared to traditional massage. Many people find it to be relaxing, but it is always surprising to feel the difference in the first session. Make sure to ask your therapist any questions that you think of, and find a way to fit manual lymph drainage into your healthcare routine if you are experiencing any swelling.

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Is Swedish Massage Standardizied?

Per definition massage could be defined as manipulation of soft tissue which includes musculature and connective tissue. Another more detailed definition of massage is stroking, pressure and stretching of the skin and skeletal muscles.

First, one has to remember that there is an overlap between different massage methods. Some of techniques are more or less the same independently of the name of the therapist educational background or of the main philosophy of a particular school.

The Swedish massage I have my training in is systematically focused on working on the soft tissue and specifically on the skeletal muscles. But it must be emphasized that there is a difference between schools in Sweden how the Swedish massage is performed. This is by no means unusual in the case of manual therapy in general. For instance chiropractic and physiotherapy colleges can differ quite much in curriculum between each other. In Sweden every school has its own curriculum and will teach their students massage according to the schools on literature. In Sweden predominately the schools that have Swedish massage on the curriculum are private. Although some state-owned university programs like physiotherapy have a few hours of massage in their curriculum it is not any complete massage course compared to many of the private massage school. Before the 1970's physiotherapists in Sweden were well trained in massage but when physiotherapy became a more academic subject and programs were integrated within medical or health faculties there were a stronger demand that everything should be scientific based or evidence based. So the paradox today is that many of the private schools with no affiliation to university have the comprehensive programs in hands on massage training. But university programs in health and medicine are generally more extensive in science, medicine and human biology. Many of the private massage schools are under state supervision but this is more a bureaucratic formality and the authority really has no knowledge in manual therapy in general or massages therapy specifically. In Sweden the quality assurance of a massage curriculum is done internally by the school itself. But there are about ten schools today that formed the Swedish Massage Advisory Council.

The main aim of the Swedish Massage Advisory Council is to uphold the professional skills of a masseur or masseuse and the credibility of the business. The council quality assures schools. This is achieved by all students who are enrolled in a member schools can undergo a national test and receive certification as masseur. When council was formed 1998 there were an agreement that the title masseur or masseuse was the most commonly known title among the clients. This was the reason for that the title certified masseur or masseuse (in Swedish the word is the same for both gender) was established and marketed. Although today massage therapist is perhaps has higher reliability as a title. Massage therapy diploma is a title that every school or course provider can give without any reservation. The Swedish Massage Advisory Council has through it years established guidelines and minimum level of what massage therapist needs to know and how many hours of tuition is required in human biology, medicine, and massage and stretching. There are also requirements of clinical practice both supervised and done independently. All together there should a minimum of 390 hours of tuition and clinical practice. This is then examined when the students of the member school have passed a national theoretical certification exam. This exam is a multiple choice quiz with most questions is regarding the students' proficiency in anatomy. There is also a national practical exam on the students' skills in surface anatomy, massage and manual stretching. However we in the Swedish Massage Advisory Council has agreed on which muscles and their insertion and functions a massage therapist need to know there is really no consensus on the practical massage. There is also an agreement on which muscles a massage therapist should be able to passively stretch a patient but exactly how this is done regarding the position of the patient and therapist is something each school will decide. When it comes to the practical massage the guidelines is more indistinct.

According to the Swedish Massage Advisory Council a certified masseur or masseuse should have a good working and theoretical knowledge of the massage techniques effleurage, petrissage, frictions (circulatory drives with the tip of the fingers), vibration and tapotement. The therapist should be able to apply these techniques on an individual basis regarding the patients or clients request, health, physical constitution and any contraindications that might exist. But how the therapist adapts the massage techniques regarding depth and rhythm each member school will decide. Even the length of treatment session and the sequence of the techniques differe.

The purpose is that certified masseur or masseuse can give massage for pure relaxation as in a whole body treatment but the therapist should also be able to treat minor musculoskeletal disorders or rather muscle dysfunctions with more localized massage in combination with manual stretching techniques and advise in basic exercise and stretching. The predicament is that the definition of the classical massage techniques is not universal. For example petrissage could have one technique with circular movement with the contact of the palm but petrissage is also mentioned as an overall technique that includes variations of kneading or compressions. Another dilemma is that many schools have included other soft tissue or myofascial release techniques in the massage routine. And to make even more diverse every school make their own routine and there is no consensus on which massage techniques should be done on what body region. One example is that some schools teach their students tapotement could be performed on the lower body but other teach that tapotement can be done on the upper body as well.

All of the member schools of Swedish Massage Advisory Council have their own profile and specialization and most schools also graduate their students on a higher level than what is required. But unfortunately there are a lot of schools that are not members of the Swedish Massage Advisory Council. Some of these schools are still professional but others give away diploma after few days' courses without any examination. It is of course one thing to have shorter course for non professional use however it is not very serious if it is meant as course for professional use.

I have some experience of examination massage therapist who has been enrolled in other schools in Sweden than where I work and I have also had examinations of a few therapists from other countries. The therapist will be very good in the specific technique but it always looked more like an unspecific whole body treatment and the routine less rational with alternating from different regions. It is a vast difference in how the Swedish massage is performed. Neverheless a legitimate question is what the difference between what the schools teachers and what the individual therapists do. When I watch learning videos on Swedish massage I see the same thing the massage techniques is seldom systematically performed on specific muscles. It looks more like an unspecific whole body treatment. I am not saying this is wrong or bad. All touch therapy will generate physiological responses of the client or patient.

In conclusion Swedish massage is not as standardized as one could expect. This is also the fascination with massage since that it from a scientific perspective is a disadvantage.

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