Western and Eastern Massage Modalities

Western and Eastern Massage Modalities

WESTERN

Western forms of massage therapy are both traditional and modern. While Sports Massage, Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, and Trigger Point Massage are popular forms, they are not the only types of Western Massage available. Indeed there are many different variations of Western Massage. Some are straightforward adaptations of the essential Swedish Massage.

Others combine the traditional with a more modern approach. Some unite Eastern and Western elements to create a new entity. Among the many types of Western Massage Therapy are the following:

• Rolfing
• Myofascial Release
• Kurashova Method
• Esalen Massage
• Medical Massage and
• Reflexology.

Western Massage therapists have one major thing in common. They focus on the body. They frequently rely on a completely Western concept of medical knowledge. In most instances, it is all about the physical repair and maintenance of the body. This is certainly true of Rolfing.

Ida Rolf

ROLFING

Rolfing is the product of the work of Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979). The technique is officially the Rolfing Method of Structural Integration. It believes the body becomes worn down and shifts within the myofascial system (connective tissue). Using elbows, fingers, and knuckles, a practitioner helps to align the misaligned body tissue and joints. This is accomplished after ten sessions.

Once considered a painful experience, the methods have shifted and become gentler in their approach. Ida Rolf practiced at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, before establishing her process and school- the Rolf Institute. Esalen Massage, like Rolfing, is based on Swedish Massage. Its techniques are similar.

Esalen Massage Therapy features the long strokes of Swedish Massage, combining them with rocking movements and deep tissue massage. Esalen does so in what they refer to as a caring or nurturing environment.
The environmental factor owes much to the sensory awareness approach of Charlotte Selver. Nevertheless, the focus is on physical wellness. Rolfing is also related to Myofascial Release Massage Therapy.

The Myofascial Release approach owes much to the work of John Barnes, a physical therapist. The focus here, like in Rolfing, is on the fascia. The fascia are the connective tissues found everywhere around the muscles and joints; surrounding the organs and bones to release tension and restore balance to the physical body, the practitioner massages the affected areas. Fingers, palms, forearms, and elbows are brought into play.

The therapist uses long, gliding, and smooth strokes to stretch and mobilize the fascia. Like Rolfing, Myofascial Release Massage Therapy may be incorporated into other types of Massage Therapy.

MEDICAL MASSAGE

Medical Massage is another adaptation of Swedish Massage. Medical Massage addresses only the issues of healing the physical body. Its approach and techniques tend to vary according to the needs of the patient and the directions/prescriptions of the physician.

Medical Massage practitioners work together with other health professionals to restore health by treating injuries and addressing other illnesses. The most common types of massage address deformities, tennis elbow, sciatica, knee pain, sprained ankles, and repetitive stress disorders. The technique is illness-specific.

The Kurashova Method of massage therapy has its origins in Russia. It is a known form of medical massage introduced to the United States by Zhenya Kurashova Wine. The practice consists of more than 100 strokes. Depending upon the condition requiring treatment, the practitioner uses deep or gentle strokes. In essence, this method of massage combines Medical and Sports Massage elements. It intends to treat physical dysfunctions and enhance athletic performances. It can also help a client relax or re-energize their body. It is genuinely Western in both its medical and philosophical approach.

REFLEXOLOGY

REFLEXOLOGY

Reflexology is often considered an Eastern form of Massage Therapy. It claims to have predecessors in the wall paintings of Egypt and Chinese Acupuncture. Yet, its founders are both Americans. In the 19th century, Dr. William Fitzgerald developed a theory on the interconnection between specific points on the feet, pressure, and the impact on the body organs. He referred to 10 zones on the feet that would influence health if pressed upon properly. This is very similar to the Chinese concepts of meridians or channels and acupressure.

Mrs. Eunice D. Ingham, an American masseuse, adopted Fitzgerald’s ideas in the 1930s. She wrote a book, The Stories the Feet Can Tell, published in 1938. This spawned the massage now known as Reflexology. The intent is to restore physical health by pressing the points of the foot.

Each foot (or hand) has specific ties to an organ or other significant part of the body. Direct pressure releases the pain and helps the healing process. Reflexology naturally finds itself in combination with other forms of Western and Eastern Massage Therapy. Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Sports Massage, Chinese Massage Therapy, and Yoga other practices may include Reflexology as a technique. In some ways, Reflexology provides the ideal example of West meeting East.

amma

EASTERN MASSAGE THERAPY

The standard form of Eastern Massage Therapy is Chinese or Asian Massage Therapy.

The most standard is acupressure. Its approach is strictly based on the philosophical and medical concepts from the East. It perceives the healing of a body to be realized only with the involvement of the life force. This is the Chi or Qi in Chinese and the Ki in Japanese.

In Traditional Chinese or Japanese Massage Therapy, the practitioner works with the energy or life force to heal the body. It is all about balancing the energy within the body. It is also about creating and maintaining a physical, mental, and emotional balance.

In the traditional form of Asian massage therapy, the therapist strives to restore a balance among all aspects of the body. Moreover, he or she accomplishes this using a system based on a concept of meridians or pathways. A blockage of any of the 12 meridians or 8 channels, according to Acupressure theory, will cause many adverse effects such as disease and emotional trauma. By placing pressure on specific points, the practitioner clears the channels. This allows free flow of energy, balance is restored, and health improves.

Other traditional versions of Western or Asian massage therapy include

• Amma (Japan)
• Tuina or Tui Na (China) and
• Thai Massage.

All these forms of Asian massage rely on the philosophical and medical approaches of the East. Tuina, for example, works with specific acupressure points to stimulate the joints and muscles. Techniques are traditional Chinese brushing, kneading, rolling, and pressing.

Business Mastery

Business Mastery

As you work to make your career dreams a reality, Section 1 of Business Mastery explores how to set a strong foundation. It prepares you to decide your career based on a clear sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish.

 

Chapter 1 looks at ways to increase your self-awareness and make self-knowledge a powerful ally for the work ahead of you. This chapter mainly consists of activities to help you assess your current state, identify your strengths and challenges, and clarify your values. The chapter finishes with an exploration of your ideal future.

 

Chapter 2 helps you transform the insights you gained from Chapter 1 into the activities of goal setting, strategic planning, and follow-through. These three key activities form the common denominator among successful people in all fields. This chapter assists you in developing a mission statement and goals—and translating them into actions vital to your business’s daily, weekly, and monthly growth. We then look at how savvy business people use strategic planning to create a roadmap to success.

 

Chapter 3 helps you define what success means to you and supports you in a fearless examination of roadblocks that may stand in your way. You’ll also find tips on how successful people manage their time, track results, and handle risks wisely.

 

Chapter 4 looks at how to ensure that your career lasts for the long term and grows as you do. It identifies time-tested ways to enhance career longevity and avoid burnout. The chapter also explores ways to develop a strong support system to help you stay on track and true to your vision.

In Section 2 of Business Mastery, the theme of intentional excellence takes center stage. Intentional excellence requires unflinching honesty and courage, and it results from making your integrity central to whatever you do. It’s the result of the consistent and conscious effort made visible in the behaviors, interactions, and relationships you establish within your practice.

 

Chapter 5 focuses on measures of excellence that are different from markers of success like client numbers and bank balances. We start with a look at professional ethics, which exist not to catch people in wrongdoing but to guide practitioners toward greatness and present guidelines for recognizing ethical dilemmas and resolving them. This discussion flows naturally into the key role that a professional image plays in building a successful practice. The last two topics of the chapter consider how goodwill and social responsibility bring excellence into

your practice—as you share your talents, time, and resources to support the causes closest to your heart.

 

Chapter 6 discusses why good communication skills are essential in business and highlights ways to fine-tune key skills, such as active listening and reflective feedback. It looks at the power of first impressions and rapport building, as well as several common barriers to effective communication. It includes useful tips on how to handle the inevitable conflicts and difficult situations that are part of professional life. This chapter also offers practical insights into how to conduct effective client interviews. Excellent recordkeeping is another aspect of good communication, so we discuss SOAP and Wellness formats for documenting client sessions and charting progress. You will also find a wealth of practical tips and resources to develop excellent communication skills and use technology appropriately.

Section 3 of Business Mastery provides an insider’s look into career opportunities in the wellness field. This section provides an overview of wellness career trends and information to help you determine if working as an employee or being self-employed is the best option for you. You’ll also gain valuable insights into different work environments so that you can approach your career choices with credibility and confidence.

 

Chapter 7 starts with a statistical review of complementary and alternative healthcare usage and then follows up with an overview of the trends in wellness careers. It discusses why career focus is essential and the steps involved in clarifying that focus. The topics of employment, self-employment, and independent contractor status are explored, including the pros and cons of each choice. The chapter wraps up with an activity to assist you in defining your ideal career.

 

Chapter 8 provides you with insights into working in spas and salons, whether you are an employee or an independent contractor. It highlights what you can expect to find in these environments, such as the corporate culture, training requirements, scheduling concerns, and seniority issues. It also includes success tips for each of the most common types of spas.

Primary healthcare settings offer a variety of CAM services on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. This translates into a growing number of career placement opportunities.

 

Chapter 9 focuses on what to expect when working in primary healthcare settings and provides suggestions to enhance your experience in this environment.

 

Chapter 10 explores the advantages and disadvantages of group practices. It examines the key aspects of this option and includes overall tips for success in group practice. The chapter then identifies specific concerns and success strategies for working in a wellness center or a specialty center.

 

The majority of practitioners work at least part-time as sole proprietors. Chapter 11 takes an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities with private practice options, such as working in a home office, commercial office space, primary care provider’s office, fitness center, or on an outcall basis.

Section 4 of Business Mastery provides information on how to find and keep a job. Even if you plan on being an independent practitioner, you never know when you might want to work as an employee, even if it’s just on a temporary or part-time basis.

 

Chapter 12 covers the fundamental aspects of employment. The chapter begins with a section on career success secrets and then describes how to find potential employers, research companies and hone your interviewing skills.

 

Successful job seekers assemble an employment kit with all of the items needed to help procure an interview and get hired. Chapter 13 reviews the key items to put in that kit and focuses on how to write a top-notch résumé and accompanying cover letter.

 

Chapter 14 reviews how to effectively navigate employment contracts and, when the time is right, renegotiate terms (e.g., a raise, booking seniority, benefits, advancement). The chapter concludes by covering ways to excel in a performance review.

 

Studies show that most business failures are due to improper management or undercapitalization, not because the owners were underskilled in the performance of their job duties.

Section 5 of Business Mastery provides the necessary groundwork for a business to grow and prosper. It encourages you to take the time to master the basic business fundamentals so you can maximize your chance of success and owners.

 

Chapter 15 looks at the critical elements involved in a business start-up. It covers how to assess the feasibility of your business idea, find start-up financing, determine the laws and regulations you must follow, choose a business name, and determine client fee structures. The chapter closes with exploring the option of buying a practice.

 

Choosing an appropriate business location can dramatically impact your success. Chapter 16 covers the essential elements to consider when looking for a location, negotiating a fair lease, and navigating zoning, insurance, and licensing regulations. It also explores how to design the interior office space. For practitioners on the move, the chapter closes by discussing how to manage the relocation of your practice, near or far.

Avoid common pitfalls that plague many small businesses.

 

Finally, Chapter 17 provides detailed instructions for creating your business plan—an indispensable tool for mastering both short- and long-term success. The chapter details the significant components of a business plan, including creating a financial forecast to realistically assess the finances required to launch and maintain your business. We also include a guide of additional tips and valuable resources to help you create a solid business plan.

Section 6 of Business Mastery focuses on the nuts and bolts of business operations, including tips and information to help you run your business smoothly and efficiently and how to transition it. While much of the information in this section is geared toward self-employed practitioners, some of the topics are key to all practitioners.

 

Even if you plan to be an employee, this information helps you understand what’s involved in establishing a business and the costs of running it, thus giving you a better appreciation of what an employer offers. This knowledge is also crucial if you plan on moving into management.

 

Chapter 18 focuses on office management. We start with policies. Although not many people thrill at the thought of developing policies and procedures, this chapter shows how they’re like the frame of a house—a necessary part of building a house that lasts and a business that thrives. You’ll find tips on how to write policies and procedures, organize your office, and make smart technology choices.

 

Chapter 19 examines the aspects of actually managing a practice, including complying with HIPAA regulations and handling insurance reimbursement. Also included are valuable insights into contract basics, effective negotiation, and conflict resolution.

 

Chapter 20 presents the essentials of financial management. It provides concrete information to help you keep the books, prepare financial reports, and understand tax laws. You’ll also learn how to use barter to exchange goods and services with others. Finally, the chapter covers the basics of retirement planning and offers several helpful resources to assist you in planning for your future financial stability.

 

Product sales are an excellent diversification method, and the profits boost your bottom line while serving your clients. Additionally, many employees are required to sell products. Chapter 21 explores how to sell products ethically. It covers how to choose appropriate products, provides ideas on selling and marketing products, and closes with tips on effective displays.

 

 

For growing practices, Chapter 22 provides insights into when and how to hire support or professional staff. It also explores the characteristics of a good employer, examines the regulations regarding employees and independent contractors, and guides you on managing your team successfully.

 

Chapter 23 guides you in consideration of transitioning your practice. It starts by highlighting major decision-making pinnacles and discusses exploration and evaluation techniques. The first option covers the variety of ways you can transfer or sell your practice and provides a step-by-step process to achieve the best outcome possible. The chapter concludes with a checklist for closing your practice, including steps to take before closing and after the official closing.

Section 7 of Business Mastery explores how to master the marketing tasks that are essential to your success. Successful practitioners know who they want to work with, understand how to find those potential clients through appropriate marketing techniques, and attract the desired clients by clearly and engagingly describing what they do.

Practitioners maintain a thriving practice by being client-centered:

  • Having an inviting treatment space
  • Using high-quality equipment
  • Conducting thorough treatment plans
  • Following up, and, most importantly
  • Listening and responding to each client’s unique needs

What’s the best way to begin? Like building a house, it’s wise to start with a foundation and build from there.

 

Chapter 24 provides that foundation by detailing how to identify your target markets, develop a marketing plan, and take action steps to attract new clients and build a thriving practice. The chapter also introduces a virtual toolbox of marketing concepts, such as positioning, branding, and differential advantage, along with valuable insights into how you can put them to work to grow your business.

 

The majority of marketing endeavors that practitioners utilize fall under the categories of promotions and community relations. Chapter 25 provides the framework for a solid house by giving a primer of low- and no-cost marketing techniques focusing on promotions and community relations.

 

Chapter 26 is analogous to the furniture in the house. This chapter highlights the primary marketing materials you need, along with tips on how to design and incorporate them.

 

Maintaining an effective online presence is like providing the power to run your house. Chapter 27 explores the critical elements of designing an effective website and engaging with your community through social media and other online activities. Think about advertising techniques as a sign on your front yard inviting people in.

 

Chapter 28 highlights the significant print and broadcast media advertising venues. It also includes tips on content and design of display ads, with before-and-after examples.

 

Chapter 29 helps you to navigate the media and get them to knock on your door. It covers how to develop media relations, the steps involved in getting interviewed, how to write a press release, and the key elements in media kits.

 

Chapter 30 rounds out the house design by focusing on creative ways to retain clients. It explores how exceptional customer service and incentive programs foster long-term client relationships and how you can put customer service action plans to work to enhance your business success.

Massage Academics
Business Mastery Price List

Business Mastery Price List

Self Study Program

$119.00 Canadian

Group Coaching Program

7 Sessions / Max 20 Students

$399.00 Canadian

Individual Coaching Program

7 Sessions / Personal & Business Coaching

$644.00 Canadian

Group Coaching Payment Plans 3 Month $146.30 6 Month $79.80
Individual Coaching Payment Plans 3 Month $236.13 6 Month $128.80
Rates are in Canadian Dollars, but all are WELCOME! Just beware of the exchange rate!

My Personal & Business Caoching rates are $95-$110 per session.

For Business Mastery Coaching, I have reduced my coaching rates in the hopes that you get the biggest bang in the Evolution of Your Practice!

For those starting out, or for those wanting to shift, change, or grow, Business Mastery is for you!

 

Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

This is the most common question I receive. What is the average Massage Therapist Income? There are many factors that involve the answer to this question. The basic answer I have found, for Canada and the US, is:

$12,000- $20,000+ per year part-time and

$30,000-$90,000+ per year full time.

So what determines the Salaries?

You and Your Education

The starting point to every profession. What has been the financial investment into your education? Time investment?

What modalities to you have training in?

You can charge different rates for different specialties. For example, I charge more for Hot Stone Therapy than I do Relaxation Massage. For each modality, and specific training, you can have a variety of rates.

How long have you been in the profession?

If you have just Graduated a Massage Program, chances are you will be making slightly less than someone who has been in practice for 10 years.

Demographic Region

Cost of living dictates rates all life factors. You have to make your pricing reasonable to your market. If you over price yourself, clients won’t be able to afford your services.

Salary Canada by Province

Salary US by State

Fee Strategy

  • Competitive pricing. What are other Therapists charging?
  • What is your market? Can you afford to charge $55 instead of $60 per hour? This is NOT a SALE price!
  • What do you offer? Ex: Do you offer third party billing?
  • What do you do different? Ex: Indian Head Massage, Hot Stone, or another specialty.

Remember the NEVER put yourself on Sale? Now here’s the ‘skirt around’ that issue.

Go that little extra mile: Go 5 mins more on the Massage. Add in a touch extra face, or head massage. That goes a long way with a client.

Pre-Paid Packages: Pay for X# of One Hour Massages, and receive the last one for free. This is not a sale price, this falls under ‘what do you offer’. I did these for a number of years, and the payoff was fantastic. (I still offer them, but only to my VIP clients now).

Do you have any ‘Specialty Equipment’ available to you? Like a Steamer or Sauna? If you do, offering a ‘Combo Package’ is a great way to add to the client experience. ( I added these links because, when I had a Full Service Spa, we had a Personal Steamer, and the clients LOVED it. InfraRed was still a fairly new, and expensive venture, and when I found these, I was super stoked! What a great add on!!

Canadian Link to InfraRed Sauna

USA Link to InfraRed Sauna

InfraRed Sauna For your Massage Clinic or Spa.  Great for Personal Use as well!!

 

SereneLife Portable InfraRed Sauna

Hours of Operation

What hours are you working? I’ve been fortunate, for many years, to be able to book according to my clients needs, and my schedule balance. Remember, when starting out, you shouldn’t be too choosy. Working evenings, and Saturdays can be quite beneficial to your income. Even after being in business for as long as I have been, I still work evenings, and some Saturdays. (Over the years, I have become picky about Saturdays. I reserve those spaces for my VIP clients only).

What are do you charge, and what region are you in? Let me Know! I’m Curious as to how accurate these charts are!

Have an AWESOME DAY

Shaunna

7 Years- Average Career Lifespan in Massage Therapy

7 Years- Average Career Lifespan in Massage Therapy

7 Years… the average career lifespan in the Massage Therapy Profession. Doesn’t seem that long does it? So why only 7? How did I manage to get 25+ years in?

Longevity Secrets

Balance. One would think that this is self-explanatory, and yet many of us struggle with it. I, personally, am guilty of the ‘gotta make hay while the sunshines’ regime. This attitude put me into ‘burnout’. The biggest curse of the Massage Therapist!

What is Burnout?

Massage Burnout

Massage Burnout

Burnout as defined in the dictionary is ‘the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress’ or ‘fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity’. Not only is Massage a physically demanding profession, it can be mentally, and energetically grueling as well. We are physically using our body to release muscle tissue in another being. Hands, arms, legs, back… our whole body is involved, and if improperly cared for, physical breakdown/ injury can occur. Mentally and Energetically, we can become attached to our clients. While we do try to remain somewhat detached, it’s not always possible. This one person is our sole focus for 30-90(+) minutes! Even with boundaries in place this can, and will happen.

Avoiding Burnout

So what are the best ways to avoid this? In no particular order, here are a few key essentials: Self-Care. Get a massage, go to the Chiropractor, go to Physio. Do yoga, meditation. RELAX! Take time away from the treatment room. Eat Well. Eat healthy and often. Our bodies need food to survive, and the more we put out, the more we have to take in. Take the time to eat, or snack, and remember, protein is the bodies fuel!
Eat Healthy

Eat Healthy

Rest. Seems simple, but often we forget to rest. I’ve been known to even have a nap on certain days. To rejuvenate, the body need quiet time. A time of recovery, and the only way to do that is to rest. Get your Zzz’s in. Sleep!!
Rest and Recover

Rest and Recover

Keep up to Date. Keeping you Soap Notes, billing, and finances in order and up to date, will be a relief in the end. If your not, there’s a sense of panic when these items go out-of-date. We never see Burnout coming. It sneaks up, and catches us off guard, so best to circumvent it BEFORE it happens!

After Burnout

Can you recover from Burnout? Yes you can! I did, and I’ve seen others bounce back as well. How did we do it? I took 5 weeks off one summer. 2 weeks one month, back to work for 2-3 weeks, then 3 weeks off (I would’ve taken it all in one chunk, but I had other commitments as well). My clients completely understood. A colleague of mine, took 2 months off, and her clients were more than happy for her to go, recover, and come back. Neither one of us lost a single client over it. Many professionals take holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, and sabbaticals, so can you! Just use this wisely.
Vacation

VACATION!!!

What to tell Clients

Should you need to do something like this, you can tell them you are going on a Retreat, Course, or just taking some time away. Most will ask you if your OK, and in keeping within professional boundaries, the answer should be, “I’m great! Just time to get away for a bit”. (Or something along those lines). You don’t want your clients to know that your in ‘burnout mode’, this can lead people to making their own determination about your health, and stability professionally.

Giving Up

Many new Therapists give up too soon. Getting you name out can take time, and if your not working, your not earning. So many in our field leave it just as they’re about to ‘break through’ that first building block. Be prepared, even when going into an established clinic/spa. You will increase your clientele faster, and I personally, think it’s the best way to start, it will still take time though.
Pace and Plan

Pace and Plan

Pace Yourself

Work your way up. Make a plan. My original plan, way back, was: 1 Massage a day, then 2, and so on. And it worked! It took me a couple of years, but soon enough I was doing 3 a day, then 5 a day. (Marketing was very different, so this growth was amazing for the time). Decide how many a day/ week you want to do, and can do, avoiding Burnout. 3-4 per day 4 days a week is a pretty good income!   Here’s to a Long and Fulfilling Career!! Have an Awesome Day, Shaunna
Massage Therapy as an Alternative Medicine

Massage Therapy as an Alternative Medicine

MASSAGE THERAPY AS AN ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Massage therapy is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of procedures, and methods, of pressing, kneading and manipulating muscles, and other soft body tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, skin, and connective tissues. The main objective of massage therapy is to relax the soft tissues while promoting an increased delivery of blood and oxygen to the areas being massages and, therefore, to decrease tightness and pain. Massage therapy is accomplished by utilizing the massage therapist’s fingers, hands, arms, elbows, hands/or feet. Occasionally, however, mechanical and electronic devices may also be used.

There are more than eighty official types of massage therapy treatments, but some of the most widely known are the following:

The Deep Tissue Massage. This technique uses a combination of strokes, and deep finger pressure applied way down under the skin and into the muscles at the painful sites to break up knots and loosen tightness.

The Trigger Point Massage. This procedure is also known as the Pressure Point Massage, and it is more focused on specific myofascial trigger points with a stronger force than the Deep Tissue Massage. The goal here is to dissolve the painful knots that were formed in the muscles as well as to relieve additional symptoms in more remote areas of the body.

The Swedish Massage. This system utilizes oblong, smooth strokes, kneading, and friction of the muscles as well as joint movement to increase their range of motion and flexibility.

The Shiatsu Massage. Using altering rhythmic pressure, tapping, squeezing and rubbing along the meridian and on various other parts of the body, the main objective of this Eastern massage therapy is to enhance the flow of fundamentally important energy called gi. And this energy, in the ancient Chinese medicine, is believed to be the life force that regulates a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness that is easily affected when subjected to the rival forces of yin and yang.

Massage and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Treatment:
– For the most part, chiropractic focuses on the hard tissues such as the spine and other joints for adjusting and realignment. Chiropractors have some training in massage techniques, but that is never their first and foremost priority.
– Chiropractors are authorized to make a medical diagnosis, order x-rays or blood works.
– Chiropractors cannot prescribe conventional medications, but they can sell supplements or homeopathic remedies.
– Chiropractors do not need medical referrals to perform their work.

Massage Therapy:
– Massage therapists perform wonderful work on the soft body tissues such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments but, are not trained, nor are they licensed to, adjust the spine or any other joints.
– Massage therapists may not legally make a medical diagnosis, order x-rays, or any blood work.
– Massage therapists are not permitted to dispense medications of Western medicine, but they can and do provide or recommend alternative herbal remedies.
– Massage Therapists do not require referrals from anyone to conduct their massage sessions.

A recent study, in which more than 34,000 participants in the United States, were asked to rate which alternative treatments worked best for their two biggest health problems for the past two years. The overwhelming majority voted for deep tissue massage therapy and chiropractic therapy in equal measures for such conditions as back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, insomnia and prostate problems.

Whether the four most often practiced massage therapies I mentioned above are used as complementary alternative medicine (also known as CAM) or any one of the other recognized eighty which are available to a lesser or greater extent, there are important points to be considered:

• No massage therapy should ever be used in place of regular or ongoing medical care.

• Massage therapy should not be the cause or the excuse to postpone visiting a medical professional for existing medical issues.

• The massage therapist’s schooling and credentials must be verified, as well as his or her experience with specific health and medical conditions.
• Any additional complementary alternative medicine (CAM) such as herbs, supplements, special diets, or other treatments which are suggested by the massage therapist must first be reviewed with a medical professional.

• Although the subject of massage therapy (how it works and why) has been studied for many years and continues to study, much of it remains within the realm of a mystery.

• If and when massage therapy is performed by a well training and experienced professional, few risks are involved, and the worst of them may be temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling or an allergic reaction to the massage oils. The small number of serious injuries which have been reported were triggered by untrained hands that were not aware that certain medical conditions should not be massaged. It is, therefore, essential to consult a medical professional before undergoing massage therapy, particularly under the following circumstances:

 Deep vein thrombosis
 A bleeding disorder or when taking blood thinners
 Damaged blood vessels
 Weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture or cancer
 The presence of high body temperature
 Open or healing wounds, tumors, damaged nerves, an infection, severe inflammation or fragile skin
 Pregnancy
 Heart problems
 Dermatomyositis or any other skin disease

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