Massage Therapy Education

Massage Therapy Education

You want to be a Massage Therapist. You know it… you feel it. You want to help people in pain, or who are stressed. You want to be the one person that your clients count on to help them stay mobile, and moving!

How do you find a school? A Program that will take you to where you need to be? What’s an Accredited Program?

Educational Requirements & How to Find Accredited Programs

Depending on Province, or State, the Educational Requirements can be anywhere from 0 hours of Education to 3300 Hours.

Even if your region requires 0 hours of education, you should still chase after it.

Why? Credibility is crucial! How can you possibly be of assistance to anyone if you don’t know the basics?

So what’s an Accredited Program and how do you find it? Associations!

Massage Therapists Associations are the key ingredient to finding these programs, and you do want to join them.

CANADA:

USA:

 

Why Belong to an Association?

Simply put, with the investment you’ve made into your Education, investing to belong to an Association, is the next, logical step. You are applying, and adhering to a set of standards. This gives clientele a confidence in you and your practice. (Even for those of you in areas with no education needed to practice, I encourage you to become certified, and join an Association).

 

With these memberships there are other benefits as well.

  • Many offer Medical Benefit Packages
  • Ability to bill third party insurance companies
  • MVA claims (Motor Vehicle Accident)
  • Discounted banking (for some)
  • Continuing Education Options
  • And my personal favorite… the ability to get to know others in the industry, and form lasting friendships and contacts.

 

I became a ‘Student Member’ of the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta in 1993, and a Full Member in 1997.

Why am I telling you this?

I want to share with you what I gained in the last 26+ years of being a Member!

I was fortunate enough to have established a couple of great relationships by 1993 with an Elite Group already within the Membership. Once I joined, I became part of the Association Planning Committee. We were the ones that set up Conventions, Speakers, and the PARTIES that would ensue!

After becoming a Full Member, my focus shifted for a few years, into building my Practice, but I was still involved… just a little less. I switched over to ‘Set Up & Tear Down’ after Conventions, as it took less time away from my clients.

I found, in these years, that something was missing. Going to Conventions wasn’t enough anymore. Somehow, I was talked into becoming part of The Executive!

My personal gain in this?

Mentors:

Without these 4 key people, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. They played such a HUGE roll in my development, and technique, that I’m sure save my body from physical burnout early on. These people also were a big part of my Business Development, and the different stages of growth.

The best advice I can give you, right now, is find a Mentor, or Mentors. Someone that will support you, and teach you as you move forward. If you can, start finding these key people as soon as possible!

Professional Alliances:

Too many times I have heard, “There’s a New Therapist in town. You have competition.”

I embrace competition. Competitors can become your greatest ally, and friend.

You now have someone you can exchange massages with, and share ideas with. (The ideas that my ‘massage buddy’ and I discuss, are things like: Education/ Modalities we have or, want to take, pricing & adjustments… and so on).

Someone you can refer others to. You’re busy, on vacation, or ill. You have the ability to tell your clients where they can go during these times. Or, they offer a technique, or modality that you don’t, and you feel that the client would benefit from this treatment.

Referrals for the Masses:

In getting to know others, from different areas, I was able to compile a list of ‘Preferred Therapists’ for my clients when travelling, moving, or their family members.

Clients will trust you, so when you refer them, or a family member, to someone in another city, they will place value in that, so choose wisely!

 

 

 

 

Association Benefits

 

I was fortunate enough to have established a couple of great relationships by 1993 with an Elite Group already within the Membership. Once I joined, I became part of the Association Planning Committee. We were the ones that set up Conventions, Speakers, and the PARTIES that would ensue!

After becoming a Full Member, my focus shifted for a few years, into building my Practice, but I was still involved… just a little less. I switched over to ‘Set Up & Tear Down’ after Conventions, as it took less time away from my clients.

I found, in these years, that something was missing. Going to Conventions wasn’t enough anymore. Somehow, I was talked into becoming part of The Executive!

My personal gain in this?

Mentors:

Without these 4 key people, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. They played such a HUGE roll in my development, and technique, that I’m sure save my body from physical burnout early on. These people also were a big part of my Business Development, and the different stages of growth.

Find a Mentor, or Mentors. Someone that will support you, and teach you as you move forward. If you can, start finding these key people as soon as possible!

History of Chair Massage

History of Chair Massage

Massages in chairs or in merely sitting positions have always had their place among most ancient and traditional massage techniques around the world but the contemporary Chair massage as we know it today and as we occasionally refer to as the On-Site or Seated massage is a trend that began as recently as 1982. The Chair massage was the brainchild of David Palmer, the director of the Amma Institute of Traditional Japanese Massage at that time who is considered to be the ‘father’ of Chair massage. At the time, Massage Therapy was not as highly valued in the health field as it is today. Table Massage was expensive and considered to be a ‘questionable’ profession.
Mr. Palmer’s entrepreneurial intuition and insightfulness led him to adopt a few existing old-time techniques and to renovate others to develop a modern massage technique which could be performed anywhere as it required only brief periods of time, no need for the removal of clothing and quite reasonably priced. Consequently, his Chair massages became convenient, affordable, and non-threatening. The first clients to enjoy the newly developed Chair massages were the employees and customers of the Apple Computers outlets, where David Palmer and his graduates set up their makeshift workstations in 1984. That venture lasted only about twelve months and the demand at the time was not huge, but they did give up to 350 Chair massages each week, and it proved to be a step in the right direction and an excellent beginning. By 1986 a specially designed and structured chair to better accommodate Chair massages went into production and today, there are well over 100,000 such chairs in use within the United States as well as in many other nations around the world.

David Palmer realized that Chair massage will be truly successful only with further development of this particular niche, and he opened continuing education seminars for training graduates of other massage schools. During the twelve months of 1986, he taught 24 Chair massage seminars at 24 different locations in the United States as well as in Sweden and Norway. The concept of the Chair massage was embraced with open arms when presented to the American Massage Therapy Association, and as a consequence, by 1990, just about every massage school in the nation was teaching it.

The Chair massage is not officially categorized as a therapy or a treatment but rather as a minimal relaxation technique. Whether that was a deliberate marketing ploy and clever salesmanship or not, it worked to attract people who would otherwise shy away from other kinds of massage therapies and treatments. For the most part, those who took the first step and braved the process of the Chair massage would have become more open-minded about progressing and graduating into the “true” massage therapies.

Nowadays, chair massages are readily available in shopping malls, airport terminals, independent shops, franchises, hotel lounges, hospitals, gyms, spas, bus depots, train stations, supermarkets, community centers, eateries (particularly the new-age cafés), convention centers, beauty salons, barbershops, medical and dental offices, university campuses, corporate workplaces and even at street corners, public parks and city square throughout the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. The Chair massage is estimated to be the fastest-growing and most popular form of skilled touch, as professional massages are performed on the otherwise touch-deprived masses. It is David Palmer’s greatest dream to see young children performing shoulder rubs among family members and friends as part of their regular daily routine; and expressed in his own words, “When we reach that point I will know that we have arrived at our goal of a world where touch is recognized as essential to the development and maintenance of healthy human beings.”

THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

Hot Stone Massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which the massage therapist holds a heated stone and applies various massage strokes. Because they tend to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods, the stones which are used are smooth, basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. These stones then are heated in water to 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Native Americans are also known to have used hot stones for medicinal purposes, but those are heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona, and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.
Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate, and to knead the client’s soft tissues. On occasion, heated stones are laid out at strategic spots along the spine, as well as in the palms of the client’s hands, and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones, but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.
For clients to get the most out of the Hot Stone Massage Therapy, clients are encouraged to: · Indicate any discomfort such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on. Refrain from consuming a heavy meal, and abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session. Arrive in plenty of time to check-in and to relax before the treatment. Take a sauna, a steam bath, or a hot tub before the session as it will relax and soften the muscles for better results from the entire treatment. If the hot tub was treated with chlorine, the clients are asked to take hot showers to rinse off the chemical. Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin. Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins. To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapist’s movements over their bare skins. Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise. Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place. Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment. The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation, and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages, and they are: Muscle aches and pains due to overuse, injury, or stress. Back pain caused by injury, poor posture, or misuse. Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Arthritis. Fibromyalgia. Stress, anxiety, nervousness and depression. Insomnia. Any number of circulatory problems. The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training. It involves more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session is often somewhat longer than usual, and more time is spent cleaning up. As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional and essential Swedish massage. But it is worth it, and you are worthy of it!
Clinical Massage

Clinical Massage

Occasionally referred to as an orthopedic massage, Clinical massage is an entire array of manipulation techniques designed to assess and then to minister to soft tissue injuries, and these may include but are not limited to:


massage therapy
trigger point therapy
myofascial release
muscle-energy techniques
craniosacral therapy
deep tissue massage

Clinical massage therapy is usually based on a physician’s prescription and directives as a series of treatment sessions to be performed over a set period and at a specified frequency as related only to a specific need. In that regard, this therapy is most often performed with a particular and purposeful outcome in mind. First and foremost, objectives are to relieve pain, to increase the range of motion, and to help repair and restore soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments to their normal and healthy functions. The first of the doctor-prescribed set of sessions is predominantly devoted to assessment or diagnostics of the client’s exact condition, and with all the data collected an action plan can be formulated:
By using various levels of palpation or touching of the ailing body part, the massage therapist will pinpoint the exact location as well as determine the levels of pain.
The range of motion and the strength of the muscles are tested through a sequence of movements such as a passive movement which involves the massage therapist moving the relevant muscle groups while the client is inert; and active movements which consist of the client’s own motion of the muscles in questions; and the resisted movement, which involves the clients’ actions against a resisting force.
If clinical data related to previous soft tissue injuries and massage therapy is available, it will be reviewed for comparison to the current situation, and the phase of healing will be determined. The findings are carefully reviewed along with the doctor’s orders, and customized Clinical massage therapy is drawn up.

DYSFUNCTIONS RESPONDING TO CLINICAL MASSAGE

Myofascial Pain
Pain and physiological dysfunctions are known to begin at specific points within muscles and their connective tissues, which is also known as fascia. These are appropriately referred to as trigger points because they tend to set off or trigger reactions at remote locations.

Scientists and researchers have successful recorded comprehensive map systems of myofascial trigger points, and they have been able to identify dozens of dysfunctions relating to them. The most common of these are:

carpal tunnel syndrome
TMJ dysfunction
PMS
headache
diarrhea
dizziness
indigestion
tennis elbow
urinary frequency
sinusitis

Fascial Plane Dysfunction.
Fascia covers nearly the entire body in large endlessly connected sheets, which can be distorted and bound to themselves and nearby tissues when inflicted with injury, misalignment, or a chemical imbalance. To promote optimal health, the fascial sheets and the blood vessels and nerves which follow them must be in good condition.

Neuromuscular Dysfunction.
The simplest and tiniest movements of the body require armies of nerve impulses to be sent to the muscle, which is directly involved, as well as to the adjoining and opposing muscles. And it must all be accomplished with a precision of timing and proportions. When the mechanics of any part of these functions break down, muscle fibers or entire muscles lock.

Tonus System Dysfunction.
Overused muscles become hypertonic or lose their ability to relax. Consequently, they tighten and cause stress on opposing muscles and on the joints they cross.

Dermatomal Dysfunction.
When nerves are pinched anywhere along their path, the pain will be delivered to the area they serve.

Spondylogenic Dysfunction.
When joints of the spine are impaired or compressed, the pain will occur in that specific area.

Stated more simply, people suffering from:

muscle or joint pains
tightness, muscle fatigue or tension
shooting or spreading pain
allergies or asthma
anxiety or depression
irregularity of the digestive system
arthritis or circulatory problems
sleep disorders
headaches
immune function disorders
stress

can be helped as their symptoms can be relieved through Clinical Massage.

Injury Prevention for Massage Therapists

Injury Prevention for Massage Therapists

Most Massage Therapists will experience some kind of injury or pain syndrome at some point in their careers.

So how do you protect yourself from injury?

Get in shape: plan on working out at least three times a week, including strengthening, stretching, and aerobics. Maintaining good circulation will help you heal any incipient injuries and keep them from developing into more serious ones. • Develop proper body mechanics: using your body efficiently to produce the most effective movement with the least effort will reduce the strain of your massage work on your body. • Avoid other hand-intensive activities: there is only so much hand-intensive work one body can take. Playing an instrument professionally, or working as a computer typist in addition to your massage work will likely cause injury. • Take care of your hands every day: they are the tools of your trade; treat them well. Avoid opening stuck jars, playing sports with your hands, hammering nails – anything that can cause trauma or stress your hands. • Work with your body characteristics, not against them: if you have hypermobile thumbs, do not use them extensively in your massages. If you have a pre-existing upper extremity, back or neck injury, think about doing types of massage that don’t require strength or pressure. • Vary your massage technique: use different parts of your hand and arms to do massage, to avoid a repetitive motion to any one region. For example, use your elbow sometimes to create pressure rather than always using your thumbs. • Don’t do massage techniques that cause you pain: stop doing any method that causes you pain or discomfort – you have your choice of thousands of techniques that you can do without pain. • Monitor your work habits. Maintain a regular schedule of massages, so you don’t suddenly increase the number of massages you do or decrease the amount of time you have between massages. Experiment with table height until you find what works best for you; better yet, get an electric table that you can adjust as you work. • Take time between massages. If you don’t have enough time between massages to relax, stretch, breathe AND change the sheets, you are putting yourself at risk of injury. • Use other modalities in your massages. Hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, energy balancing, and spa treatments can attract new clients, and add to the value of your massages. This will also cut down on the amount of intensive hands-on work you do in each massage, which will allow your hands to rest. • Develop a realistic attitude towards your work: there are limits to what you can do for your patients. You are only human, with your own strengths and limitations. Respecting your own limits is healthy, and will help you keep your upper extremities healthy. • Treat injuries immediately and effectively. At the first sign of pain or dysfunction, see a physician. If you are in pain, you are probably already injured. Letting it go on will only make it worse. Injury is a complex subject.

Common Injuries Sustained by Massage Therapists

Soft tissue injuries common to massage therapists fall into two categories:
Muscle/tendon injuries and
Nerve impingement injuries.

The primary cause of these disorders is thought to be overuse or using a part of the body beyond the point where it can function normally and remain healthy. These injuries are collectively referred to as repetitive strain or stress injuries (RSIs), cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), or simply overuse syndromes. Left untreated or allowed to become chronic, these injuries can lead to osteoarthritis, and temporary or even permanent disability and the loss of function of the hands and/or arms. The most common muscle/tendon injury among massage therapists is RSI. The most common injury sites are the thumb, the wrist, and the forearm. This chronic injury is characterized by a gradual onset. The appearance of symptoms often occurs with a sudden and/or substantial increase in workload or a sudden decrease in time spent between massages. The primary symptom of overuse syndrome is diffuse achiness, tightness, and, or soreness in one part of the upper extremity rather than a sharp pain in one specific spot.

Other symptoms include loss of function and paraesthesia.

Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis are inflammatory conditions (of the tendon and tendon sheath, respectively) that have a more sudden onset. These injuries are caused by tearing (strain) of tendon fibers or irritation to the tendon sheath.

The clear presence of inflammation distinguishes these injuries from RSI. Among massage therapists, tendinitis and tenosynovitis are less frequent complaints than overuse syndrome.

The main symptom is localized pain. The affected area is often swollen and hot. With proper treatment and careful avoidance of reinjury, tendinitis and tenosynovitis tend to heal in a shorter period than overuse syndrome.

Muscle/tendon injury as a result of doing massage is more common among massage therapists than nerve impingement injury. The two most common nerve impingement injuries sustained by massage practitioners are carpal tunnel syndrome.

TOS refers to the impingement of nerves C8-T1 at the area of the base
of the neck, where the brachial plexus descends through the space between the first rib and the clavicle.

Massaging in unnatural postures or with unaligned joints is often the cause of CTS or TOS. Like repetitive strain (RSI), these injuries tend to develop slowly and can be triggered by a sudden increase in workload or decrease in time between massages.

The Zen Massage

The Zen Massage

There are very many massage techniques in existence today, some of them stemming from the far Eastern World of antiquity while others originated in the more recent years of the Western world. Although they were born out of very different philosophical and cultural persuasions, each of these obtainable massage techniques provides some aspects of relaxation. Still, none does it as thoroughly as one that was born in Austin, Texas, and christened as the Zen Massage. Zen, by the way, is an ancient Chinese discipline, which means “meditation,” and it focuses on the meditative portion of the dharma practice and the experiential wisdom which is also called the zazen or the path of enlightenment. It, therefore, steers away from theoretical knowledge and theology. Zen Massage induces utter calm, peace, and a relaxed state of being feels.
By combining an assortment of highly sophisticated and time tested and proven techniques, the Zen Massage affords its subjects a spontaneous soothing and a balanced energy experience of picture-perfect enormity. The various features which are part and parcel of the entire therapeutic Zen Massage treatment are as follows:

The Heated Stones. This is a curative procedure that makes use of hot stones which are moved along the subject’s muscles in smooth gliding motions and well-calculated pressure.

The Hot Towel Pore Cleanse. This purifying treatment involves the use of freshly steamed towels applied to the entire body. The heat of the towels opens the pores to cleanse and revitalize the outer skin (epidermis) while also reaching into the lower layers, the dermis, and the hypodermis.

The Bio-Mat. The Bio-Mat calms down and relaxes tight and sore muscles while it quiets and soothes irritated nerves. The Bio-Mat transports the subject into the realm of a complete state of wellbeing on the physical as well as on the psychological levels.

The Aromatherapy. Pure essential oils are used for this aromatherapy treatment to help the subject relax as stress is melted away, and complete balance and wellness overcome the client.

The Peppermint Bliss Foot Massage. The peppermint bliss foot massage smoothes and softens tired and aching feet for a feeling of harmony and peace, which radiate from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head.

The Zen Massage therapy is a noninvasive and natural massage treatment which has been clinically proven to be completely safe while being highly effective in relieving stress, which has also been shown to be the leading cause of countless physiological and mental health problems. Some of the most significant benefits that have been attributed to the effectiveness of Zen Massage therapy are: · The lowering of high blood pressure, which in medical terms is referred to as hypertension and has been often spoken about as the “silent killer.” The improvement of the REM sleep. The REM stands for rapid eye movement, and it is characterized by, you guessed it, rapid eye movements. It also includes rapid low voltage EEG, which is commonly spoken of as brain waves. On average, a healthy adult spends approximately 20 to 25 percent of a whole night’s sleep in the REM phase, and it is essential to good health. The decrease of fatigue of the body and the mind which naturally leads to enhanced concentration and improved motor skills. In conclusion, Zen Massage therapy helps its subjects to release their worries, unwind their bodies, relax their tensions, quiet their minds, and ease their senses.
You cannot copy content of this page
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join Me!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest