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!

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

Business of Massage Therapy- Client Incentive Programs- Massage Academics

Business of Massage Therapy- Client Incentive Programs- Massage Academics

As I’ve told you, recently, to not put yourself ‘on sale’, we’re going to change it up a bit. You’re probably asking: How do I get clients? Let’s play with a few ideas!! I took a look at my old Business Plan, and have reshaped it to fit for the Profession to reflect today’s economy. We will be using $60 per hour as our baseline rate.

Client Incentive Programs

This is NOT being ‘on sale’, this is to promote you, and your Business… a standing out above the crowd approach. Some ideas that I will mention here, maybe repeated from previous posts, but that’s because I think they are worthy of consideration.

Prepaid Packages

You have to look at these as a contract with your client. They are prepaying you for services that they are yet to receive. They are taking a risk, and so are you. Before we get into what a Prepaid Package can look like, let’s set up some rules for them. Depending on the size of the Package, I would recommend that they have a ‘stale date’. (Not an expiration date… that’s another entity altogether). Stale Dates, are dates where you can no longer guarantee the price point. If the package isn’t used in its entirety by said date, you cannot guarantee the same rate. Generally I consider this a guideline. So, why do I have a ‘stale date’? You could, quite reasonably, have a package that’s ‘Open’ for 2+ years! If you have raised your rates by that time, a ‘stale date’ gives you the option to charge the difference. So how long should a Package be ‘Open’ before it ‘stale dates’? Depends on the package. As we go through a few ideas, I will give you some guidelines for those dates. (In my examples, I will be using $60 per hour as regular price). These are just examples, play with your pricing, and comfort zones. 1. Purchase a 10 Session Massage Package, and receive the 11 Massage for FREE!! (This package I generally leave open for a year). 2. Purchase a 6 Session Massage Package for $330!! (This one varies from 6 months, to a year, for ‘open’ dates). 3. Add On: For every 60-Minute Massage booked in (Month), receive a FREE 10 Min. Steam!! (Or a gift).

Referral Program

You can advertise this, or make it a quiet Thank You. Client A sends 5 of their friends to you, as a Thank You, you could give them a gift (bath salts, candle, bath bomb), 1/2 off Massage, or even a free Massage. It is best to acknowledge EVERY referral sent to you. A simple thank you goes a long way!

Holiday Specials

One Special we ran at The Spa, was Couple Massages for Valentines Day. Book a 60-Minute Massage for both of you for $110.00! Book a 60-Minute Massage for Your (??? Cupid / Sweety??), and they will get a Steam/ gift!! In some cases, if your treatment Rooms are large enough, it’s great to do the Massages together! (There has to be enough room for both tables, and 2 Therapists). This one went like hotcakes! What are your ideas here? What have you done? Do you need help to plan an Incentive Program? Let me know in the Comments!! Have a Beautiful Day!! Shaunna
Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy

Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy

Why are these important to my business? Who do I approach? How to I develop an Alliance?

Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy – The Why

By building professional alliances, your practice will flourish. Having a network with other Health Care, and Therapy Professionals will increase your market, and theirs.

Who

Assignment One

Your first assignment is to make a list of Health Professionals you already know. Your:

  • Chiropractor
  • Physio Therapist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Doctor
  • Dentist (yep… Dentist)
  • Lawyer
  • Chamber of Commerce Members

Then add to that list of the same Professionals, and others, within your area of work. (This list will expand as you go).

Assignment Two

Do a Bio Letter of Introduction. In this letter, you will want to include:

  • Where you went to school for Massage Therapy
  • Graduation date
  • Association
  • Specialties Certified in
  • Your goals for client treatment and care
  • How massage can benefit their patients or clients
  • Other professional History

Think of it as a Resume, but not a resume. You can add some personal information as to hobbies if you wish, but keep it pertinent to the person you are addressing, or the profession of Massage.

The Approach

There are 3 ways to approach others. Face to face, by phone, or by letter/email, or any combination of these.

The letter you wrote, can act as a ‘script’ to keep you on track with face to face, or phone approach as a bonus.

Because forming an Alliance is so beneficial, you will want to offer them something to get to know you and your work. With your introduction, you can offer them (a limited time) promotion. This isn’t a sale price, it’s a Promotional Offer.

Promotional Offers with a Future Alliance

  • A gift certificate for a free 30-minute massage
  • 20%-50% Off of Regular Price (I hear you now… but that’s a sale price)!!! Yes, and no. Put on the gift certificate that it’s a Professional Offer Only. Non-Transferable (that means they can’t give it to someone else).
  • Free Gift

Why do this? You want to promote yourself, and your talent. You want the Alliance.

Barter System

This is another approach to forming an Alliance. Especially with other Health Care Professionals.

By trading treatments, and services, not only do you get to know their style, and work, they get to know yours. It’s a win for both parties.

Referring to Others

NEVER be afraid to tell a client that a problem may be out of your scope of practice! Integrity is key here. A client will admire your honesty, and appreciate a referral to someone that can treat the issue.

Not long ago, I referred a long-time client to a Sports Massage Specialist. I can do ‘Sports Massage’, but this was a sports-related injury, and I’m NOT a Specialist in this modality. I am confident in my abilities, and I know when a client needs a different approach to an issue, so I refer them out. (The client did come back after the injury issue was resolved, complete with a Thank You, and recommendations from the other Therapist).

I have often referred to Chiropractic, or Physio Therapy, to be done instead, or in conjunction with Massage. When referring out, I do explain why. (I use Medical terms, with layman translation). Telling a client of your limitations will be a showing of your integrity, and honesty.

A client is more apt to refer a friend to you by saying,

“He/She helped ABC problem, but referred me to a Chiropractor for D, because of (yada yada). A very honest person, and a great Therapist!”

A quick, easy example of an introductory letter.

Your Name

Address, City, ST ZIP Code | Telephone | Email

Date

(Chiropractor/ Massage Therapist/ Physio Therapist)

Title

Company

Address

City, ST ZIP Code

Dear (Chiropractor/ Massage Therapist/ Physio Therapist):

I would like to take the time to introduce myself, as I am new to the area.

Professionally, I have 25 years of Massage Therapy experience, with specialties in Motor Vehicle Accidents, and soft tissue injuries.

The modalities that I incorporate into my treatments are as follows:

  • Relaxation & Deep Tissue Massage
  • Hot Stone Therapy
  • Cupping
  • Myofascial Release
  • Craniosacral
  • Assisted stretch techniques

I Graduate from X School of Massage in (year), and belong to (Association).

I would like the opportunity to connect with you, and your practice. Please accept this certificate as my way of saying Thank You for your time!

Sincerely,

ME

You don’t have to get fancy with it. Short, and to the point. You can use a template, but keep it simple. Too much clutter takes away from the content. If you have a Logo, do put that in.

How do you, or have you formed Alliances? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the Comments Section!!

Have a GREAT 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

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.”

History of Swedish Massage

History of Swedish Massage

THE SWEDISH MASSAGE

The Swedish Massage, which was conceived by Henri Peter Ling, a Swedish physiologist at the University of Stockholm, was publically introduced in 1812 as a means of improving blood circulation, of relieving muscle stress and pain, of increasing flexibility and of promoting total relaxation of the body and mind. The Swedish Massage was imported into the United States in the 1850s by Charles and George Taylor, two American brothers practicing medicine in New York who opened the first two Swedish clinics in the New World; the first in Boston, Massachusetts and the second in Washington, D. C.

GEORGE TAYLOR

GEORGE H. TAYLOR WAS BORN in Williston, Vermont, on January 4, 1821. Largely self-educated, before he was eighteen he began teaching in the common schools of Williston; and soon he was selected to be the town’s first Superintendent of Schools. Before he had turned twenty-one, though, George Taylor was suffering from various chronic, difficult-to-understand, and evidently impossible-to-treat health problems. So, he began researching the matter for himself. This led to studies at the Medical Department of Harvard and at the New York Medical College, where he graduated in 1852.
Dr. Taylor started his professional career at the New York City Water Cure, 184 12th Street, at the corner of University Place – a hydrotherapy institution. He established his own practice, in or soon after February, 1853; and a few years later, he was joined by his younger brother, Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor.
Early in his career, George H. Taylor encountered a curious belief among people in general, as well as among physicians, that women’s bodies were particularly susceptible to disease. He found no evidence to support this notion; and much of his work was devoted to promoting the health of women, particularly through exercise.
Taylor developed a system of exercise therapy, and later he learned of institutions in Stockholm that used similar methods. This is probably why his brother Charles, very soon after being awarded a degree in medicine in 1856, sailed to England to learn Per Henrik Ling’s system of Swedish movements from Dr. Mathias Roth, the author of the first English book about Swedish massage. In 1858, George traveled to Sweden to observe the Swedish movements firsthand. Once back in New York, he founded the Remedial Hygienic Institute.
Prescribed exercises and massage were at the heart of what became known as the Swedish movement cure. Dr. Taylor invented a mechanical massage device which he introduced in 1864. Later, his clinic at 67 West 38th Street became known as the Improved Movement Cure Institute. We know that, in addition to exercise and massage, it incorporated certain elements of hydrotherapy (water cure). Patients of the Institute were taught about the nature of their illnesses and about their treatment regimen, as well as about the importance of good nutrition.
Dr. Taylor, in addition to his mechanical massage device, invented various types of exercise equipment used to treat specific medical problems.

Since its inception in the early part of the 19th century, the Swedish Massage had become one of the most widely used massage techniques in the Western world and it is the basis for a number of other Western massage therapies which include the Sports Massage, the Deep Tissue Massage and the Aromatherapy. To attain its objectives, the Swedish Massage utilizes seven basic therapeutic movements:

• Effleurage. These are long gliding and soothing strokes which are aimed toward the heart while tracing the natural curves of the body. Massage oils are often used to facilitate smooth movement and to warm the muscles.

• Petrissage. These are movements which use strokes that lift, roll or knead soft body tissues. This process draws blood into the area and helps relax tense muscles and fascia as well as the rest of the body.

• Pinpoint Pressure. These movements are directed toward points that are knotted or hardened and painful to the touch. Pressure is directed to these points in order to break them down and release the muscle.

• Deep Friction. These are very small circular movements which press slightly below the surface of the skin and onto the muscle beneath it. These strokes relax muscles which contracted and tensed due to overuse or as a result of emotional stress at their deeper levels.

• Skin Rolling. This movement involves pinching a fold of skin and moving it forward in a rolling motion. This process lifts skin off its connective tissues to promote better blood circulation for the improvement of skin tone.

• Tapotement. This movement requires rhythmical tapping with cupped hands or with hands set in the karate-chop position. This practice awakens the body into vitality and the tingling sensation of energy and health.

• Finger Brushing. This movement is usually performed at the closing of the Swedish Massage treatment session as fingertips are lightly brushing against the surface of the skin to relax the stimulated muscles while calming the nervous system.

The most outstanding health benefits of the Swedish massage are in:

• Relaxing of tired, tense or overused muscles.
• Improving blood circulation without overburdening the heart.
• Increasing flexibility and widening the range of motion by stretching the body’s soft tissues: muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints and connective tissues.
• Stimulating the nervous system while simultaneously relaxing the nerve endings.

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

The deep tissue massage is a kind of massage therapy that centers its attention primarily on the ailing, the sore, the painful, and the distressed deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues. The purpose of Deep Tissue Massage is particularly beneficial for chronically tight and constricted areas such as in cases of stiff necks, tightness of lower backs and aching shoulders. The strokes of the Deep Tissue massage are not very different from those of any other types of massage therapies, but they are slower and with more pressure applied to reach deeper while focusing on troubled areas.
The Deep Tissue massage is so important in certain painful contractions and spasms due to stress, strain or injury because that is the only way to get to the root of the problem as it is embedded deep under the surface where adhesions which are the causes of the pain and rigidity in muscles, tendons, and ligaments are located. Adhesions obstruct circulation in the affected areas to limit the blood flow, which leads to the pain, the restricted movement, and, ultimately, to the inflammation. By applying firm pressure and direct friction across the grain and fabric of the muscles, the Deep Tissue massage aims to break down those troublesome adhesions to restore proper blood circulation, reinstate full movement and heal the inflamed tissues. The therapists performing the Deep Tissue massage may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the therapy session and alternate them during the various stages. Clients are frequently asked to take deep breaths as the therapists dig deeply into a particularly tense area.
Because the Deep Tissue massage is somewhat intense, it should not be applied under the following conditions: Infectious skin disease, rashes, bruises, inflamed skin, tumors, or open and unhealed wounds. Immediately, or soon after, surgery or recent fractures. Immediately. or soon after, chemotherapy or radiation treatments, unless approved by the client’s physician. Osteoporosis patients, unless approved by the treating doctor. Clients prone to blood clots. Heart disease patients, unless recommended by their cardiologists. Pregnant women should get their massage treatments from professionals who are certified in pregnancy massage. Abdominal hernia. The good news is that Deep Tissue massage really works, and it usually works very fast. Often, clients will walk into a session with excruciating pain and walk out a couple of hours later with smiles of relief on their faces. The bad news is that, depending on their tolerance level to pain, most clients experience it to one degree or another at a certain point during the session. Also, there is usually some measure of soreness immediately after the treatment, which can last up to an entire day. However, the pain of the Deep Tissue massage therapy and the lingering soreness afterward is nothing compared to the pain before the treatment, and it comes with the knowledge that it will all be over very shortly. The massage therapist may suggest applying an icepack to the sore area, but it is rarely severe enough to warrant it. When most massage therapies are aimed at relaxation of the body and mind and the massage is generally applied to the entire body, the Deep Tissue massage sets its sights on precise problematic areas such as those afflicted with: Chronic or acute pains Diminished mobility or limited range of motion. Healing areas after traumas or injuries caused by falls, sports injuries, whiplashes from car accidents, and so on. Strains from repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Pains due to incorrect posturing of the body. Pains from osteoarthritis. According to a study conducted and reported by the Consumer Reports magazine, over 34,000 people classified Deep Tissue massage therapy as being more effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescribed, or over-the-counter drugs, glucosamine, diets, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments. Fibromyalgia. Statistics have shown that Deep Tissue massage is more successful in easing symptoms of Fibromyalgia than any other available curative remedy. Muscle tension, contractions, or spasms. To flush out metabolic waste from the massaged tissues, clients should drink plenty of water after the Deep Tissue massage.
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!
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