The Benefits of Massage Therapy It may only have exploded in recent years but the practice of massage therapy dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. And that is about 4000 years ago. In a clear reference to massaging, Hippocrates wrote in one of his medical notes that physicians must know the practice of 'rubbing.' Now, massage therapy cannot just be called as 'rubbing.' With most of the young Hollywood getting a massage or two every week, it has become the toast of the social set. Its popularity can be seen with the way a lot of massage therapy clinics have opened shops in the last few years with many more planning to in the next couple of months. Currently there are about 100,000 massage therapists in the country and the numbers are increasing two-fold. Massage therapy in the scientific terms is the process of putting pressure on muscular structure and soft tissues in the body for relaxation. Pressure in this instance can mean a lot of things, from holding and pressing to kneading and rocking. Massages are primarily done with the hands although some massage therapists also use other parts of their bodies like the forearms, elbows and the feet. Its popularity is actually not surprising especially with this stressful world. Many people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation and regeneration. And unlike other de-stressors, massage therapy is scientifically based and its advantages are all research proven. Besides its physical benefits, it also known to improve the overall wellbeing of the mind and the spirit. Below are some of the benefits that massage therapy gives us. 1. Relaxation This is the number one reason why people coming back to the clinics. After a week of stress in the office or at home, people especially women, just want to relax. Massages are great for the skin as it stimulates the release of toxins and hormones. In fact, some studies have even shown massages as being able to lower the possibility of wrinkles production. 2. Relieves pain Another benefit of massage therapy is the fact that it can loosen those tight muscles especially if you frequently have cramps on your legs. Going to the clinics can also relieve you of your tired and aching muscles. This is especially useful with people who are into sports or those who live the active lifestyle. 3. Makes you a better athlete People who are into sports can also benefit much from massage therapy. If you feel that your muscles have become tight and rickety, massages can improve on your flexibility and also increase your range of motion. If you get massages all the time, you will notice that you can now do movements that were painful to do before. Massages also improve the body's resistance. It lowers the blood pressure, heart rate and even helps in recoveries from injuries and sprains. It also strengthens the immune system. 4. Improve mental faculties Massages are also great ways to improve your mental performance. It can actually reduce mental stress, allowing you to work better and think clearer. It is also known to relieve headaches. Massage therapy also allows you to concentrate better on the task at hand. After a massage, you will basically have a clean slate in your mind that is equivalent to the restful therapy that sleep gives. What Should You Know About Massage Therapy What should you know about massage therapy? Well apart from it being able to help relieve sore muscles, a few others things like what are the different types, what are the risks, if there are any side effects and whether or not it should substitute conventional medicine. For starters, there are more than 10 types being used to date. Some examples of these include reflexology, shiatsu, back massage, Thai, hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and Swedish. There are only a few serious risks with regards to massage therapy and this can be avoided if you take the proper precautions. The best thing to do will be to consult with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to see a masseuse. Patients who have the following conditions should not undergo massage therapy. These include deep vein thrombosis that happens to be a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs, a bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin, damaged blood vessels and weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture, or cancer. You also should get a massage if you have a fever, have an open injury, been diagnosed with a tumor, have damaged nerves, have an infection or acute inflammation. Certain conditions could also be dangerous if you decide to have a massage. These include pregnancy, cancer, fragile skin, heart problems, dermatomyositis and a history of physical abuse. There are certain side effects associated with massage therapy. These include temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling and sensitivity or allergy to massage oils. Massage therapy should not be used a substitute for regular medical care. If your doctor tells you that you can see a specialist, do some research about the person. You should check on their credentials or licenses, years of experience and training. If you need massage therapy to help cure medical condition, find out beforehand if they have specialized training in this field. It wouldn't hurt to also ask if they use other CAM practices aside from massage therapy to help their patients. Some examples of these include the use of herbs and requiring the patient to go on a special diet. If everything checks out, then this is the time you find out how many treatments will be needed, the cost and if this will be covered by your insurance. In most cases, this will not be honored. Some people may even ask for a free ten minute test to see how well they perform. Part of the criteria should include giving you privacy when you change, he or she covers your body for modesty and warmth, inquires before beginning the session what part of the body you want worked on, asks for feedback as to how they are doing and accommodates requests for less or more intense pressure. The best part about massage therapy is that it can provide relief without the need to ingest pain killing drugs and knowing some facts about it is good so you know what you are getting yourself into once you visit the place. You can read more about this by doing some research which isn't bad even if you just go for a session to relieve some stress or pain and not have to visit because of a medical condition. Massage Therapy Benefits Massage therapy has been used for centuries. In fact, there are so many of them around with the purpose of encouraging healing by promoting blood flow, relieving tension, stimulating nerves as well as stretching and loosening muscles and connective tissue to keep them elastic. Read on further to find out what are the other massage therapy benefits. Massage therapy is beneficial because it reduces waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid that builds up after an activity which causes cramping, discomfort and irritability that can happen after working out at the gym. By working with a therapist, he or she will be able to enhance your immune system and aid in the recovery of the tissues by increasing blood circulation in the affected areas. If you are ill, massage therapy dilates and opens up blood vessels, improves circulation and relieves congestion. It also increases the number of red blood cells for those who are anemic. Massage therapy also acts as a mechanical cleanser pushing along the lymph and hastening the elimination of wastes and toxic debris. It also helps to eliminate edema or dropsy of the extremities. It also increases blood supply and nutrition to the muscles without adding to the load of toxic acid produced by muscle contraction. This helps you overcome harmful fatigue resulting from strenuous exercise or injury. This will also improve muscle tone and prevent or delay muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity. It can also relax muscle spasms and relieve tension. Massage to some extent compensates for lack of exercise or muscular contraction especially for those who are recovering from an injury by returning venous blood to the heart and at the same time eases the strain on this vital organ. Depending on the type of massage therapy given, some people may feel sleepy, stimulated or exhausted. Some forms of massage therapy are able to separate muscle fibers and undo or prevent the formation of adhesions. It also stretches the connective tissue which all helps reduce the danger of fibroids. Believe it or not, massage may burst the fat capsule in the subcutaneous tissue so that the fat exudes and becomes absorbed. Combined with proper nutrition and exercise, this can help the person lose weight. Massage therapy also increases the excretion of fluids via the kidney, nitrogen, inorganic phosphorous and salt in normal individuals. But for those who are injured, it does the exact opposite because these are needed for tissue repair. Studies have shown that massage therapy improves the general circulation and nutrition of joints and hastens the elimination of harmful particles in the synovial fluid. It helps lessen inflammation and swelling of the joints thereby alleviating pain. It also disperses the dema following injury to ligaments and tendons, lessening pain and facilitates movement. Massage therapy improves the general circulation and nutrition of tissues often accompanied by an increase interchange of substances between the blood and tissue cells thus heightening tissue metabolism. This type of therapy also empties the larger ducts and channels of the body thereby decreasing the auto intoxication resulting from re-absorption of toxic materials in these channels due to constipation or inflammation. There are so many benefits with regards to massage therapy which is why almost everyone needs it. If you haven't found a favorite yet, you can try one style this week and then another next week to how different they are from the other. What you need to know to get into massage therapy If you think carving a career in massage therapy is as easy as knowing how to knead and press, you are wrong. Because of the increasing popularity of these clinics, the government has started to regulate the practice. Now, massage therapists need to get some kind of license in order to work. This of course is not true for all states. Laws on the industry are still not being enforced all over the country. This means that each state will have a different take on how the practice should be done. Here are some of the things you may want to consider when starting out a career in massage therapy. 1. Know the massage that you want to do One of the main considerations that you have to look into before you start your massage therapy career is what massage to specialize in. Like the medical field, massage therapists now have specializations. Each will be identified to a particular field. This is brought on by the kind of training that they will take before they become full-pledged massage therapists. The best way to do this is to research on the different kinds of massages and see what you are most comfortable doing. There are a lot of considerations when making this choice. One of the factors that may affect their decisions is what kind of clinical setting they want to work in. Working in spas and commercial massage clinics will only require you to be adept at massages that seek to relax the muscles. This is of course easier to study and much easier to do compared to massages that are much more technical in nature, which is usually done in the clinical setting. However, the advantage with more technical and scientific massage strokes is higher pay and of course more professionalized. 2. Physical problems Massage therapy involves a lot of physical work. Every day, you will be servicing the clients with a hard or soft massage as well as helping them lie back in the massage table and also in disrobing. It is a very hard job and can be physically taxing. Before you get into a career in massage therapy, make sure that you can take on the job and deal with its physical requirements. 3. Time to study Because of the way the industry has been regulated by the state, becoming a massage therapist will involve first a lot of years of study. Some states in fact require therapists to have at least three years in specialization. If you need to earn money right away and don't have time to study first, thisis not the career for you. You will be better off with jobs that do not really require a training certificate or a diploma. 4. Good with people Another thing to consider when you want to have a career in massage therapy is communication with people. Remember that you will mostly be earning your money from the tips and not actually in the salary that the clinic gives you. For you to get big tips, you also need to be sociable and to communicative with people. Clients love therapists who talk to them and those who listen to their problems. If you are a little bit anti-social, this is not the career for you. How to Become a Massage Therapist If you love to work with your hands, perhaps you should be in a profession that does exactly that such as massage therapy. In fact, the US Department of Labor has shown in their latest report that there is demand for such professionals until the year 2012. If this sounds appealing to you, then you should know how to become a massage therapist. Those who want to become massage therapists should enroll in a program that is accredited by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or NCBTMB. To become a licensed professional, you must complete at least 500 hours of training including subjects such as ethics, anatomy and physiology among others. If you happen to study massage therapy in a school that is not accredited by this body, you will not be allowed to take the national certification exam. This may prevent you from practicing in states that require this prior to employment which is why you should check first if the school you plan to enroll in is in the program. Should you somehow be able to find work without getting a license, you could be penalized with fines and even be banned from every practicing there. The advantage of enrolling in a program under the NCBTMB is that you can apply for federal financial aid if you don't have the funds to pay for your schooling. But the big question is how much do massage therapists earn? One research group has pointed out the median salary is $45,611. The report also says that half of those working earn between $36,930 and $55,920 as this varies with experience. If you are new, you will probably just have one or two clients a day while more experienced individuals will have more than 5. This isn't bad because massage therapy program can go as high as $12,000. If you are serious about pursuing this as a career, ask yourself some questions. Are you patient? Are you customer oriented? Do you really want to help the patient? If your answer to all three questions is yes then the next thing you have to do is check what specific interests do you have. Just like medicine, massage therapy has various specialties and these include sports massage, clinical massage and Swedish massage to name a few. While you will probably learn all of these in school, you should already see which one you want specialize in after graduation. To help you out, it will be a good idea to visit massage parlors and talk to those who are already working. You can also do some research online as there are articles that have been written about the profession. Once you get your degree and the license, you have the option of working for someone or opening up your own establishment. This will be easy if you had the capital since you will need to buy your own massage table, chairs, pillows, sheets and lotions. But if you want to learn first, then go find work, learn the tricks of the trade and then set up shop. Now that you know how to become a massage therapist, the ball is already in your court. The right attitude will get you through school because with that you will be able to understand the techniques in helping a customer. What to expect in a massage therapy job With how stressful life is right now, people are looking at new ways to de-stress and just relax their minds and their bodies. Massage therapy is the answer to many people's need for de-stressing. This is the reason why it is one of the fastest growing industry. A career in massage therapy can be pretty lucrative. Clients, who are mostly well to do or those who have money to burn, are known to give big tips especially if you have given them great service. It is actually through tips that you can earn a lot in this kind if industry. But it can also be harrowing and stressful. In order to survive on the job, you need to have the following set of characteristics. 1. Gift of the hands Hands down, (no pun intended) having the gift of a comforting set of hands is the number one requirement for a career in massage therapy. To win customers over, you need to be skilled not only in massaging but also in relaxing. This may seem the same for most people who are not in the industry but once you are already part of it or is an avid client of massage therapy, you will know the difference. A massage therapist can do all the right strokes to the letter but will not give comfort to the client. Some, on the other hand, may not do the conventional strokes but do relaxes the client. Some people's hands naturally have a strong firm grip but others have a stronger grip that can be hurtful to the muscles. 2. Gift of Gab Another way to charm your clients into giving you really big tips is the gift of talk. Actually, when you think about it the best way to talk to your clients while massaging them is to listen. Let them talk to you. Let them tell you about their problems at work and at home. Most people will have something to complain about in their career. After all, they are there in the massage therapy clinic to de-stress aren't they? This is the main reason why there are a lot of massage therapists who are privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of their clients. You see, when people are in a relaxed setting, they are more prone to speaking about their problems. This is especially true when they are in the company of strangers who would not really know who they are talking about. They feel that massage therapists are not really part of their world. 3. Gift of patience Working in a massage therapy clinic will allow you to meet all kinds of people. This may be good if all of them are interesting and affable. But what if they are not? And I assure you, you will come across people who you would just like to forget because of their attitude and their personalities. In this kind of job, you need to have the patience of a saint especially when you have a client who is obviously so wrong but is still insisting that they are right. And the worst thing is, you can't argue because as they say, the customer is always right. You fight with them, you lose your job. That's the way the game is played. Massage Therapy: More than Just Relaxation Left and right massage therapy clinics are setting up shop in the Metro. Perhaps more and more people are getting into the healthy living trend that has taken over Hollywood. More than just being a stress and pain reliever, massage therapy has a lot more benefits to offer that actually contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Though not known to many, massage therapy lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, facilitates faster recovery from injury and healing and even improves posture. Not only that, it also enhances attentiveness and flexibility in an individual. Certainly, these are things that lie beyond the relaxation it is known for. This is perhaps why massage therapy as an industry has become so big nowadays. Through constant application of pressure, massage therapy relaxes blood vessels and decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure, decreases the level of cortisol or stress hormones and prevents anxiety and depression. These reduce the threat of heart attack and create a clear mind and body making the individual more dynamic and active. Massage also helps relax the muscles itself, allowing people to become more energized. This is the reason why people are so much into massage therapy. It rejuvenates the body from all the stress that we encounter everyday. Since massage decreases one's stress levels, it also lessens the possibility of an individual's vulnerability to pathogens by increasing the body's cytotoxic capacity. When the number of active natural killer cells increases, our body's line of defense becomes stronger and more stable and becomes more effective in shielding us from illnesses. Faster recovery from injury is another benefit of massage therapy because it relaxes the muscles and improves circulation of important body fluids making it easier for the body to deliver nutrients to vital organs and other parts of the body. It also initiates pain management when the injured part is undergoing treatment since it activates the parasympathetic nervous system causing the production of endorphins which are natural pain killers thus speeding up the healing process. Other than these good effects, massage therapy can correct bad posture which causes pain and stress in muscles that can lead to the body's breakdown. It eases the tension in worn out muscles, soothes pressure points and increases the flexibility in joints by stimulating the production of body fluids and lubricants, so as to allow the body to position itself in a painless way. Thus, the individual can move freely and carry out daily tasks without hassle. As shown in electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns, regular massage can also improve a person's mathematical ability due to increased attentiveness because of the elimination of stress. The absence of stress imposes less pressure on an individual resulting to a more concentrated and focused mind, free of worries and distracting thoughts. Massage therapy may be considered as a simple recreational activity however it does more than just restoring one's vitality because it lessens or even eliminates the dangers imposed on a person's health. It also helps an individual loosen up because it releases unwanted energy and leaves the person with a renewed outlook and refreshed senses. Study even shows that HIV patients who have regular massage therapy sessions notice an improvement in their condition. This proves that massage therapy is not a waste of time rather it is an individual's key to having a sound mind and body. Aromatherapy Is a Unique Form of Massage Therapy Aromatherapy is a unique form of massage therapy because of the oils that are used during a session. The therapist may use one from more than 90 oils to provide psychological and physical benefits to the body. Most of the oils used for aromatherapy come from natural ingredients. Examples of these include herbs, milk powders, hydrosols, sea salts, sugars, clays and mud. It is frowned upon when some use synthetic ingredients. It is widely practiced in the US and in Europe and integrated into holistic treatments. Aside from oils, aromatherapy can be using candles and bath salts which allow you to enjoy it in the comforts of your home. Aromatherapy is used to treat various health conditions. These include allergies, bruises, burns, diarrhea, bronchitis, colds, ear ache, energy, flu, headaches, insomnia, menopause, nervousness, scars, sprains, stress, shingles and wounds. For home treatment, you can buy these oils off the shelf and then use it whenever you feel like it. These are easy to spot as they are all packaged in small bottles with the name of the oil and the ingredients that are used. If you are not familiar with the oil, you can open it and smell it to see if it is worth buying. With the oil in your possession, you only have to add 2 to 3 drops like eucalyptus, tea tree or rosemary in hot water. You then hold your head over the bowl and then inhale the fumes. For other problems, you can apply oils to baths and compresses. Aromatherapy per se is not designed to treat any major illness. It can only relieve minor problems so before you try aromatherapy, it is best to first consult with a doctor. If you decide to go for a massage, talk with the practitioner about your medical history and current physical condition. Knowing how you feel is the only way for him or her to determine what oil should be used for the session. Women who are pregnant or nursing should never undergo aromatherapy as the scents from the oils could be harmful to the infant. For those who want to know more about aromatherapy, they can read it in books or in the Internet. There are also classes that can people of all levels can join so they can learn how to mix the oils together. The benefits of aromatherapy as mentioned earlier are psychological and physical because the scent simulates the brain to trigger a reaction and at the same time supply therapeutic relief. A good example is eucalyptus oil which is known to ease congestion. When the oil is applied to the skin, it is absorbed by the bloodstream and aids in certain health, beauty and hygiene conditions. If you want to learn more about aromatherapy, you can take up classes. Here you will learn how to mix the oils together and create your own concoctions. Most programs will cost a little over $500 and with it, the materials to be used during the sessions. Aromatherapy is a unique form of massage therapy because you don't need physical contact all the time to get relief. You can inhale it or bathe in it. It is truly, a holistic form of healthcare that is worth checking out. A Choice between Swedish and Ayurvedic Massage Methods Various influences in massage therapy have cropped up leading to the creation of several methods that differ in techniques but offer the same health benefits. The Swedish and Ayurvedic massage both have different origins and use contrasting styles but contribute a lot to achieve a healthy and relaxed body. With all the kinds of massage therapy programs available today, it has become really difficult for people to choose. The Swedish Massage, which is also known as the classic or traditional massage is the most common massage therapy method and is usually preferred by the majority of people. It is characterized by long and flowing strokes which relax muscles, improve joint flexibility and aid in better circulation. The first stroke is known as effleurage, involves long, gliding strokes from the neck down to the base of the spine or from the shoulder down to the fingertips. It is also done on the limbs with all strokes directed toward the heart to aid blood and lymphatic flow. The therapist uses his whole hand or a thumb pad. This technique is done for familiarization of the person's body Next is petrissage that consists of the gentle lifting of muscles up and away from the bones, then rolling and squeezing them, with a gentle pressure. It generally involves rolling, squeezing, or pressing the muscles to enhance deeper circulation. It increases circulation through eliminating toxins from muscle and nerve tissue. Friction, the third technique and the most forceful one is characterized by deep circular movements using fingertips applied near bony areas and joints and it relaxes the muscle fiber which enhances flexibility in muscles and joints. After friction, another technique called tapotement is done. Tapotement is a series of quick forceful movements made by striking or tapping the muscles with the hand. It can be applied with a closed fist, fingertips and the edge of the hand. It releases tension and relieves muscle cramps. Lastly, the therapist uses vibration or shaking that entails the pressing of hands on the back or limbs and shaking in a rapid motion for a few moments. It improves circulation and muscle contraction and is beneficial to people with low-back pain. On the other hand, Ayurvedic massage originated from India and its aim is to create harmony and balance within the individual and it aids in the removal of toxins and rejuvenation of the body. It was not practiced publicly until Indian practitioners decided to roam around and give muscle, joint and back massages Ayurvedic massage is based on a special system that includes the knowledge of Ayurvedic and Greek systems of medicine which is focused on Ayurvedic doshas and marmas or pressure points. Muslim massage techniques were also adapted in this system. Ayurvedic massage techniques uses specific oils that suit your dosha and depends on your being. One is the Abhyanga-Garshana which comprises of skin brushing followed by an oil massage, Udwarthanam which is a slimming massage that uses herbal powders and the Ayurvedic foot massage which is a deep massage where the therapist uses his feet. Now with enough knowledge on both Swedish and Ayurvedic massage, a person has of course the privilege to choose among the two which best suits his/her style of relaxation. But with both massages having unique techniques, the choosing part can be a little tricky though. The Massage Therapy Known As 'Thai Massage' You have probably tried out massage therapy in the past. Aside from back massages and shiatsu, there is a massage therapy known as Thai massage. Thai massage was developed 2500 years ago by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha. It moved to Thailand soon after where the Ayurvedic techniques and principles gradually became influenced by traditional Chinese medicine and this is how it got the name. What makes Thai massage different is the fact that it is more energizing and rigorous than other forms of massage. In Thai massage, the therapist will use his or her hands, knees, legs and feet to move you into a series of yoga like stretches. Aside from that, there is also muscle compression, joint mobilization and acupressure during the session. When you have a Thai massage, you will be told to lie on a padded mat that is already set on the floor. The therapist does the session using gently compression and stretching techniques to open the body starting with the legs then working their way up. You don't have to take off your clothes but as much as possible, wear something comfortable. No oil is also used and most sessions may last for 1 to 2 hours long. Unknown to many, Thai massage is a combination of other types of massage therapies. Part of it is reflexology because a lot of attention is paid to the feet and legs as this helps to better connect the person to the earth causing them to be "grounded." Another is blood stopping where pressure is put on a major artery for about a minute. This will cause the heart muscle to slow its contractions and bring the pressure down. Once released, it will help the person relax more deeply. This technique however cannot be used on patients who have heart or circulatory problems and diabetes. Thai massage is known to reduce stress, improve circulation, increase energy and flexibility, improve range of motion and centers the mind and body. You cannot have a Thai massage if you have an infectious skin disease or open wounds, just underwent surgery or chemotherapy and are prone to blood clots. Pregnant women can have a Thai massage only after they get the green light from their doctor. It is best to also have a light meal before going there so there will be no feelings of discomfort during the session. One form of Thai massage involves using herbs and a heated compress. It is often used before and after a session as the ball used here allows the muscle and joints to have greater movement and flexibility. At the same time, the herbs used are then are absorbed by the pores in the body to further release the energy blockages to improve energy imbalances in the body. In fact, some of the herbs are known to draw properties that allow the removal of inflammations and swelling typically found in injuries. There is a massage therapy known as Thai massage and it is here to stay. If you want to try it out, check the neighborhood to see if there is place that offers this to customers. Before you go in, check with your doctor if it is safe for you to try then also make sure that the person doing it is qualified to do the job. Reflexology Is Another Form of Massage Therapy Reflexology is another form of massage therapy. Similar to shiatsu, it is a physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques without the use of lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect the human anatomy on both the feet and hands which in theory have significant effects on the entire body. This form of massage therapy has been around for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence that suggests this was used by the Egyptians in 2330 BC, China in 2704 BC and Japan in 690 BC. The West only knew about reflexology in the 19th century. Although reflexology is usually applied to the feet and hands, there are those who also apply the same thing to the ear. This technique is considered to be a modified from auricular therapy which is an acupuncture technique. In general, reflexology is used to reduce stress because both the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body. If you are able to fix that, then there is balance in the body. It can also help those who are suffering from arthritis, back pain, digestive disorders or problems, hormonal imbalance, insomnia, menstrual disorders, sports injuries and tension headaches. You must never go for reflexology if you are pregnant, have foot ulcers or blood clots. If you are doing this for the first time, you better tell the professional your medical history. Whether reflexology can help certain conditions and diseases is still being determined. But even if other tests need to be made, many experts agree that it is complement to standard medical care. With that said, patients should never use it as a replacement to medical help. The best part about reflexology is that it is not painful. If this happens, you should tell the reflexologist to go down one notch. If there are certain areas in the body that are sore, tell them to focus on it as this will decrease with pressure. Reflexology can be done at anytime and anywhere. If you have the time, you can even do this once a day. In fact, given its popularity most hospitals and HMO's now consider this for insurance reimbursement as it is often used for post-operative or palliative care. In fact, one third of cancer patients undergo reflexology regularly. Most sessions being conducted by practitioners may last from 30 minutes to an hour. It is also a clothed session so the only thing you have to remove is your shoes and socks. You don't even have to lie down on a table because some will perform this while you are seated on a chair. At the end of each session, you should feel relaxed. How long it lasts is a good indicator as to how effective it was. If you will be having another session in the future, you should give feedback to the reflexologist so they know what to do the next time you drop by. Reflexology is another form of massage therapy you can try if you want to relieve tension from the body. If you are interested in trying it, all you have to do is check if there is one within your neighborhood. Things you should know before carving a career in Massage therapy Massage therapy clinics have become the haven where people stay during weekends to get that much-needed relaxation. And with much publicity from celebrities in Hollywood, it has become part of the American lifestyle. With the onslaught of massage therapy clinics in the country, more and more people are considering a career in it. After all, the pay not be as high but people will be raking in a lot in tips for good service. In fact, people who work in these clinics make their living out of these tips. This is especially true if you are working in high end massage therapy clinics in New York and in the Beverly Hills area. But if you think that becoming a massage therapist is as easy as filling up an application form, it's not. In fact, before you start kneading and massaging, you need to be first trained and certified. Because of the popularity of massage therapy clinics in the country, therapists have been regulated by the government. Unlike before when anyone can just work as a massage therapists, now the industry is more discriminating. So if you are thinking of getting yourself a career in massage therapy, know first that it is not easy but not impossible too. Here are some of the things that you should consider when you are determined to carve a name for yourself in this fast-growing industry. No federal regulation for the industry Having just boomed in recent years, massage therapy is still not regulated by federal laws. Only state laws are being used in this industry right now. This means that when you go from one state to another, different laws will apply. In fact, in Canada, only three states have so far regulated the practice -- Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland. The other provinces have yet to formulate their own regulations about the practice. This can get confusing especially when you are looking for a career in massage therapy outside your mother state. For instance in Canada, massage therapists in the three provinces where it is regulated will carry a professional title that will distinguish them from other pseudo practitioners. Some will even have their own specialties similar to medical doctors. These specialties are taken from the kinds of massages that they have expertise in: Acupressure, Hot Stone Massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu, Aromatherapy and a lot more. Some will of course have more than one specialty but each should come with a certification. They should also first have a license before they can be allowed to practice in that particular area. This is attained when they have submitted all the necessary requirements asked of them and have met the standards of the state or the province's regulatory board. These regulating standards often include a specific number of years in total training in any field or specialty. These training courses are not the usual massage lessons that you foresee. Often, these lessons include subjects similar to what medical doctors take: anatomy, pathology, physiology and physical therapy. Because of these regulations, people who already have a license can actually assess and treat health conditions and injuries just like a doctor. So before you apply, make sure that you know first the state regulations. To know about them, you can go to massage therapy associations and organizations in the state. Their websites will surely have the current regulations prevailing in the area.
Things to consider before going to a massage therapy clinic Massage therapy is one way for people in the metro to de-stress. And with the fast-paced environment, de-stressing is one of the must-dos of people in corporate America. This is the reason why in recent years, the number of massage therapy clinics in the metro tripled in number. The demand is growing like crazy as people are turning to this relaxant to save their stressed and tired muscles and spirits. Although every one can certainly go to massage therapy clinics and avail of their services, there will also be times when it is not a good idea to get themselves a massage. Here are some of the reasons why you should first forgo with the massage and just relax the old fashion way at home with hot water and a good book. 1. You don't have the budget It is good to de-stress once in a while but if you don't have the money to spare for one, don't do it. It will be ineffective anyways because you will be stressed over being broke. Having no money is the number one stressor for most people and for sure you are not immune to it. So instead of wasting your money on massage therapy clinics, be contented on just lying on the couch and enjoying a good book. Save your money until you have enough to splurge on one great massage on that hip massage therapy clinic that you have been dying to go to. That is one ultimate stress buster! 2. You just went the other day The body can take so much massage in one week. Be kind to your muscles and flesh by giving them a rest day. A respite from all that kneading and pounding will surely be welcome. Although there really is not recommended number of times that you can go to a massage therapy clinic, it is good to space out the visits to give your flesh a time to breathe and rest. A once or twice a week visit to the clinic is already good for most people. 3. You have a sprain If you sprained yourself in of those softball games or while fixing the roof at home, don't go to the massage therapy clinic for a cure. Go instead to your doctor and have him check your injury. That way, you can be sure that proper medical attention has been given to it. Remember that though people in massage therapy clinics are expert in massages, they are by no means an authority when it comes to sprains and injuries. In fact, they can even exacerbate the situation if they apply too much pressure on the problem area. That is why it is good to ask your doctor first if it is okay to go to a massage therapy clinic before you go. 4. Your last visit resulted to sore muscles Although sometimes a visit to the massage therapy clinic will hurt some of your muscles, sore muscles are entirely different. Sometimes, too strong pounding and too much kneading can hurt the muscles and bones. So be careful with the massage therapy that you avail of. If you are the type of person who easily bruises, opt for the softer or milder ones. If you had sore muscles from your previous visit, then it is safe to say that you need something milder than that. How to set up a massage therapy clinic Massage therapy has become a really big industry in the country. As proof of this, clinics have sprouted like mushrooms at every block and there are a lot of more coming. The booming industry is both a boon and a bane for people who want to set up their own massage therapy clinics. the good news is, you have a lot of clients as massages have become a fad. On the bad side, there are already a lot of massage clinics in the block and you have to compete with them for clients. And being the new kid in the block, this may not be an easy thing. Before you get disheartened by this, remember that when you plan it right, any business can be a potential cash cow. Here are some tips on how to set up a massage therapy clinic that is guaranteed to make money. 1. Location With so many massage clinics in the area, you would want a location that guarantees a lot of foot traffic. As much as possible look for places that are near major public areas like the park, schools, markets and even department stores. Being near public places will help you in terms of publicity. You are already being seen. All you actually need is a set of signboards announcing your services and of course a good display window. Another reason why it is good to place your clinic in a public area is the fact that when people walk by all the time, some of them would think of trying your services. 2. Services Your location is just the design of your product. It is the one that you use to encourage people to get a taste of your massage therapy clinics. But what will make your business thrive and last is the service that you provide to your clients. Once they try your services and find it to their satisfaction, they will be your lifelong customers. One way to do this is to include a unique service that one cannot find in other massage clinics in the area. Research on some ancient massage techniques that no clinic is offering yet. Introduce the massage in the area. For sure, you will be an instant hit. People by nature would want to try something new. Make sure though that you can sustain the new service through training employees and using products that are appropriate to the massage. 3. Employees Another way to build a successful massage therapy franchise is to hire people who can do the job for you. Of course when you are starting, you will not be able to afford people who are already experienced. Because of this, it will be up to you to train your employees. That is why it is also important that if you are setting up a massage clinic that you know a lot about the industry. You must know for yourself how to massage people. Otherwise, you must know someone who knows the massage therapy techniques. That way, he or she can be the one to train your new employees. 4. Ambiance Another important part of the massage therapy business is the ambiance. People go there to relax so you must also create a relaxing and comforting environment, somewhere where your clients can escape to. Ten of the Best Types of Massage Therapy Massage therapy has been around for hundreds of years. If you need to relief from muscle pain or stress, you can choose from one of the ten best types of massage therapy around. 1. First is Swedish massage therapy. This happens to be the most common type to find in the US because it is very gentle and relaxing. Here, the masseuse will use long strokes, kneading and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. 2. Next is aromatherapy and the reason why it is called such is because one or more scented plant oils are used during the session. You will just have to select the oil you want to use. In fact, the most popular one is lavender as it is well suited for stress related conditions together with an emotional component. 3. There is also hot stone massage. Here, heated smooth stones are placed on certain parts of the body to help loosen those tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body. At times, the masseuse may also apply gentle pressure especially for those who have muscle tension. 4. Then there is deep tissue massage. This type is designed to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Here, the masseuse will use slow strokes better known as friction techniques across the grain of the muscle. The distinctive feature of deep tissue massage is that it is used on those that have chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems and recovery from injury. You will often feel sore for the next day or two. 5. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage therapy. Here, the masseuse will use localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for 2 to 8 second designed to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. Those who have tried it say that it is relaxing yet firm. The best part is that there is no soreness afterwards. 6. Thai massage is similar to Shiatsu because it aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points. Part of the session also includes compressions and stretches as you are moved in a variety of postures just like yoga but in this case, you don't do anything except go with the flow. 7. For women that are expecting, they can opt for pregnancy massage. It is designed to relieve stress, decrease swelling, relieve aches and pins as well as reduce anxiety and depression. 8. Reflexology is also known as foot massage because it involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot. Those who practice this believe that the foot corresponds to certain organs and systems so if you are able to work on that, you have also done it in the whole body. 9. Then there is sports massage that is designed for people involved in sports activities. This type is designed not only for professional athletes since it helps prevent and treat physical injuries. 10. Lastly is back massage which usually lasts 30 minutes. Unlike reflexology that focuses on the feet because it represents special points in the body, this one simply relieves tension in the back caused by lifting heavy objects or driving for long periods of time. Of course there are other kinds of massage therapy aside from the top ten most popular ones mentioned. Given that these are the only ones available in spas, perhaps you should just stick with the best sellers. Swedish Massage Therapy What is Swedish massage therapy? It is a technique designed to help the muscles in the body relax by applying pressure and then rubbing it in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Unlike other methods of massage therapy, this was first developed in the 18th century. It is also called the "classic massage" because it represents the Western way of relaxing those muscles. The main purpose of the Swedish massage then and now is still the same. This is to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood so toxins are released from the muscles. These toxins include lactic and uric acid as well as metabolic waste. When this happens, circulation is increased without increasing the heart load. The ligaments and tendons are both stretched keeping them supple and pliable. This also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves at the same time. As a result, stress is reduced. There are various techniques in the Swedish massage. Some examples of these are friction, effleurage, kneading, tapping, long strokes, vibrations and shaking motions. The therapist may use the fingertips, hands or palm to achieve maximum effect and of course, a little bit of bending and stretching. During the session, the person has to undress and lie down on the mattress. He or she is then covered with a blanket and the only time it is opened is when the therapist has to massage that region of the body with oil so this will be absorbed by the body. If you do not feel comfortable about being nude, bring some old loose clothes because the oil may stain fabrics. A Swedish massage usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. Before the session begins, the therapist may check your complexion then choose the type of oil to use based on your skin type. If ever you want to increase or decrease the pressure, just say so and the therapist will adjust accordingly. In the room, you may hear some soothing music playing in the background as this has been known to help people unwind. If you don't like it, just tell them so they can play something else or just turn it off. You might notice that the therapist would like to chat while working on you. Just like the music, if you don't feel like talking, just tell them. Don't worry, they won't be offended. Lastly, some people sleep during Swedish massage therapy. Again, that is perfectly fine because it has been known to happen. Swedish massage therapy is considered to be the foundation of other types of Western massages. This is because the principles behind it are the same as when you try sports massage, seated chair massage, hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage or aromatherapy. If you like the way you were treated, try out the others the next time you drop by. Before going for a session, check with your doctor if it is safe for you to do. You should also avoid eating a heavy meal before going in. Swedish massage therapy is good. Once the session is over, you will feel relaxed and invigorated. Since you will feel thirsty afterwards, you better drink up. Some places offer water while others hand out warm tea. Whenever you are ready, it is time for you to get dressed and head on home. Licensure in Massage therapy Massage therapy as a profession has come a long way. From the first few years where anyone good with their hands can do the kneading and the massaging to now where only the licensed can perform massages. With state laws regulating massage therapy clinics, people can now breathe a sigh of relief. No more problems with massage therapists who don't know how to massage. Now, when you get a massage, you don't have to be afraid that you will end up having sore muscles and aching bones instead of the relaxed feeling that you are aiming for. Nowadays, you can be assured of a superb service that will be worth every penny that you paid for. You will find, however, that different laws govern different states. This is because the laws in massage therapy have not yet reached the federal stage. This is the reason why every state has unique regulations. It seems that the government feels that this is an issue that is best dealt with per state and not federally. And the United States is not alone in this regard. Canada, for instance, only have three provinces that actually enforce massage therapy regulations -- British Columbia, Newfoundland and of course, Ontario. Only these three have registered and licensed therapists working in clinics. The other provinces are still non-regulated. This means that anybody can do the job without having to get some training. Getting regulated is actually advantageous to clients who expect good service. Besides they deserve to put their bodies in the hands of those who know what they are doing. Because of the regulation and additional training, massage therapists do not only act as masseurs but also health advisers and sometimes even doctors. They can assess and sometimes also respond to medical issues especially if it involves physical wellbeing and injuries. Another benefit in the regulation is that massage therapists are also given identified according to a field of expertise be it shiatsu or the more technical aromatherapy and acupressure. This however is bad news to massage therapy practitioners who still don't have the time or the money to avail of the training that is required of them. You see, in order to get a license you need to be able to pass the standards that are set by a group of massage therapy experts. Sometimes, these standards can be very hard to reach. Industry regulating standards often focus on the education and training. In Canada, for instance, one must need about 3000 hours of training in order to get a license. That is equivalent to years of training. And though massage therapists have the skills to get through these training programs, most of them cannot start because of lack of money and time. Some of them need the money to support their families and would rather use their earnings to buy food and other necessities than send themselves to training schools. Some feel that the number of experience in the job should also count for something when getting a license. To answer this problem, many massage therapy organizations have established programs where people who are experienced in the industry can avail of scholarships and free training. Morning and Night classes have also been started to cater to those who have job shifts and have no time to go and study. How to Give a Soothing Massage Massage relieves stress and tension as well as give the person renewed energy. If you want to do this, you have to know how to do it. 1. The first thing you have to do is create the right atmosphere or ambiance. This means finding a cozy, quiet and warm room. You can even use aromatherapy oil or light a scented candle to make the place smell good. It is best to close the curtains so nobody will see that you are giving a massage. 2. You then prepare the massage oil. The best one to use is Jojoba oil but since this is too expensive, you can try almond oil or lavender instead. 3. The best place to give a massage if you don't have the massaging bed is on the floor. So it is not too hard to lie on, you should spread linen and then cover it over with a blanket. 4. When the room is ready, you tell the person to take off their clothes and lie in between the blanket. If the person is shy, it is okay and let them just lie down in their underwear. Make sure to cover them up to keep them warm. 5. The proper way of giving a massage is by working from right to left. So, you should sit on the right side of your partner on the thigh or between the legs. 6. You then use your flat hands to smoothly slide from the foot to the bottom on top of the back of the right leg and slide again down. Knead the right leg from the bottom to the top in 3 parts by working inwards then outward and then start over. When you are done, the same thing will be done to the opposite leg. 7. Once you are done with the legs, it is time to work on the back by placing yourself at the head facing the legs. Again, you use your flat hands to smoothly slide from head to the bottom with each hand close to the spine. Slide over the edge of the bottom to the side and then slide on the sides upwards just underneath the scapulas, you slide back and move the rest back up to the beginning of the shoulders. This should be done 3 times. 8. You then move over to one side and then use your left hand to do a full circle on their back. With your right hand, you do a half circle beginning away from your left going clockwise. This should be done very slowly, smoothly and sensitively starting at the bottom and then moving all the way up to the shoulders and the back again. 9. Now that you have finished working on the back, it is time to work on the front by letting the person lie down on their back. But before you do that, the steps taken to massage the legs should also be done on the left and right arms. 10. Next, you rub your hands and then place these slowly over your partner's eyes. This must be placed inches away from the face for about 1 to 2 minutes before you slide your thumbs from the part between the eyebrows to the point where the hair starts. 11. You place the thumbs a bit higher then move it apart. This should be repeated until you reach the beginning of the ear then you move on to the nose, cheeks, upper and lower lip. The secret of how to give a soothing massage should come from your hands and not your eyes. If the person wants less or more pressure, be ready to respond so they get the best out of what you are giving them. Shiatsu As A Type of Massage Therapy Shiatsu is just one of the many types of massage therapy. In English, the word shiatsu means "finger therapy" and is considered to be a Japanese form of bodywork. Similar to acupuncture, this type of massage therapy is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine because those who practice it believe that a person does not feel well due to imbalances in the life force. To fix it, the massage therapist uses finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways known as meridians to improve the life force. Scientists have a better explanation for this by saying that shiatsu calms the overactive sympathetic nervous system. By doing so, it helps improve blood circulation, relieves stiff muscles and alleviates stress. For shiatsu to be effective, the massage therapist has to apply pressure in a continuous rhythmic sequence. Unlike other types of massage therapy, the pressure feels more localized so certain points feel tender. If at any time you feel pain, you can tell the therapist to adjust the pressure so it is comfortable to you. Treatment fro shiatsu is done on a low massage table or on the floor. Two others things that differentiates this type of massage therapy from the rest is that it does not use any massage oil and this is done while you are fully clothed. Shiatsu is very good for people who suffer from anxiety, arthritis, back pain, constipation, depression, headaches, insomnia, neck and shoulder pain, poor digestion, stress, tiredness and premenstrual syndrome. It is so good that you can even get one just for relaxation. But not everybody can enjoy acupuncture. It is not safe for people who have open wounds, have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy, immediately after surgery, and are prone to blood clots, pregnant as well as immediately after surgery. If you don't have any of these problems, they by all means, you can enjoy shiatsu. When you schedule an appointment, make sure you don't eat a heavy meal before going there. Also, if it is your first time, try to be there at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment since you will have to fill up some forms first. But if you are a regular, just be there 5 minutes before. For shiatsu to be effective, the practitioner must be relaxed so he or she will be able to give comfort to the person lying down on the mattress. Proper positioning is also required and both hands must be used at all times even if one hand is still and the other is active. Though this form of massage therapy is all about applying a little pressure, the key here is perpendicular penetration without any side to side motion so the professional is able to treat an entire meridian and not jot just an individual point. So the person leaves feeling relaxed and ready to go home. Shiatsu as a type of massage therapy has been around for years and there are various styles to choose from. Some focus merely on the acupressure points, others more on the general work of the human body and the meridians while some highlight the diagnostic systems such as the Five Element System. Whichever is used, you can't deny the fact these are all based from traditional Chinese medicine. How to look for the best massage therapy clinics It seems that everybody in America is having some massage therapy nowadays. Popularized by Hollywood celebrities who schedule a massage and a spa twice and even thrice a week, Americans have also started to get into the program. The result? A goodly number of massage therapy clinics that have opened shop in virtually every street corner. With so many clinics to choose from nowadays, it has become really hard to choose a good one. Because some of these so-called massage clinics are only there for the fad, one must be shrewd enough to separate the legitimate ones from those who are just riding the bandwagon but are not really adept with the real techniques of massage therapy. Below are some tips on how to find a good massage clinic in the metro. 1. Go for the tried and tested When looking for a good massage therapy clinic, go for the tried and tested. They may be more expensive but you can be sure that what you are getting is a safe and effective massage. You see, if not done correctly, massage therapy can also cause health problems especially problems that involve the bones. A little too much pressure can also bruise the skin and even cause sprains on the bones. You don't have to go for the massage therapy that celebrities frequent. When you say tried and tested, it does not mean that you will go for the upscale ones whose therapy can be ultra expensive. What you can do is ask for referrals from people who are very much into massage therapy. Those who do this on a weekly basis will definitely have one or two recommendations that you will definitely use. 2. Join internet forums The internet is a rich source of information about anything under the sun. One information that you can get from the internet especially from forums are names of massage therapy clinics that give good service. You can either read through the forums or join in on the conversation with the members of the sites. You can also look into blogs and check what they recommend for good massage therapy clinics. These people will frequently have recommendations on the best massage therapy in the country. 3. Try it out If you are the adventurous type and you are not afraid of trying out a service, then try the service of different massage therapy clinics. You will not always get good service and at some point, you will even experience the worst kind of service but at least you have tried the service yourself and have not relied on mere hearsay. Of course, when you say trying it out for yourself, this does not mean that you will just go inside any massage therapy clinic. What you can do to keep safe is to also discriminate among the massage therapy clinics in your neighborhood. Check out the place first and try to learn about the various massages that they do. You can also look into the oils that they use as well as strokes that they employ. Ask about the massage therapists and ask if they have licenses to practice. This way, you can be sure that what you are getting into is completely safe for your body and your mind. Qualities of a good massage therapy clinic Nowadays, massage therapy is recognized by the medical society and is considered by the public because of its health and relaxation purposes. In modern times, a lot of new methods and techniques of massage have emerged and more people are now aware of the value of massage therapy. In fact, a lot of states are already enforcing laws on massage therapy clinics and practices. Massage therapists are even required to get licenses before they can practice in a specific area. Of course, the law will be different from one state to another and until a federal law is passed, this will remain so. But with all the massage therapy clinics that have been cropping up in every street corner in the metro, it has become hard to choose among them. Most of the time, what factors in our decision whether to go in or not is not actually the service but the ambiance or the aura that the store has. This is very unfortunate as we are compromising our safety for a great window display. Below are some of the qualities that a good massage therapy clinic should have. 1. Wide range of massages One quality that a good massage therapy clinic should have is a wide range of choices for their customers. There are many kinds of massage therapy being done and having some of them in your list of services means that you are not just a too-bit business establishment. Also, a wide selection of services also allow people to try out different things. After all, there is a different massage therapy that is appropriate for every person and for every situation. 2. Professional masseurs Another important characteristic of a good massage therapy clinic is having professional masseurs. This means that the massage therapists should have at least a license in the kind of massage they are doing and several years of experience. That way, you can be sure that what they are doing is right and good for your body. You see, when done the wrong way, the massage therapy strokes can cause health problems, sprain someone and even maim in some instances. 3. Quality equipment and oil Another thing that you can look into when determining how great a massage therapy clinic is the equipment and materials that they use for the massage. Remember that what they will be using will determine how good your experience will be during the massage. The oils that they use for instance can help in soothing the muscles and relaxing the body. The more upscale massage therapy clinics will even use oils that have scents. These can be more expensive but at least what you are getting is the real thing. 4. good location Believe it or not, the location of a place also determines whether a massage therapy clinic will become a success or not. A good location with a lot of people can mean constant foot traffic. No matter how great your service is, if people do not know that your business exists, it will come to nothing. You need to be in a place where you can be seen by people. 5. Reasonable price Another important quality of a good massage therapy clinic is of course the price. A reasonably priced service with a good service will definitely be a success hands down. Would you want to get into massage therapy? Becoming a massage therapist is a big decision to make. Because the industry is already being regulated, a career in massage therapy is harder to get into. You need training and sometimes licensure in order to work in a particular clinic. This is especially true if you are aiming for those top of the line clinics that really pay well. One of the decisions that you have to make before getting into the field is what kind of massages will you be specializing in. Like the medical field, massage therapists have specializations. There are various kinds of massages that are being done in clinics. Some are simple enough and only requires a specific set of strokes. Others are more technical and involve pressing certain pressure points in the body and using oils that are not usually used in the practice. Examples of these are acupressure and aromatherapy. Before you get into the massage therapy business, know first what you are comfortable doing. If you study one massage and then realize that you are not for it, you will be wasting money and time on your training. Before you plunge in, know first what you want. Below are some of the things that can help you clarify what you really want to do. 1. Western against Eastern Although there are a lot of different kinds of massages, they are divided into just two big groups -- Eastern and Western. Ask yourself, are you more comfortable doing the more traditional medical model that is often the characteristic of western massages or are you more for the eastern types that makes use of essential oils and pressure points? 2. Medical against Relaxation The various kinds of Massage therapies may also be divided into either massages for relaxation or massage therapy for medical purposes. If you feel that you only want something simple as providing relaxation, then training is easier for this group. All you need to learn are specific strokes that will help your client relax their muscles. However, if you feel that you want to make a career out of it that is similar to a medical doctor, then you are better off training in the medical area of massages. Here you will study subjects such as anatomy, physiology, physical therapy and a lot of other science subjects. 3. Spas against nursing homes The clients that you will be servicing will also help you determine the kind of massage therapy specialty you would like to take. For instance, it you foresee yourself working at a spa or a resort, your clients will primarily be those who just want a bit of relaxation. On the other hand, if you like to work in a nursing home or in a hospital setting, then you may want to get into something that is more medical in nature. Although relaxation may be easier to do, the pay for the other is much more competitive so you may also want to consider that when making your decision. 4. how hard can you do the massage Another consideration in choosing your specialty is whether you can take on the massaging itself. Remember that massages for relaxation is softer and more relaxed compared to those being done for people who have problems with their muscles and their bones. Also, when dealing with medical clients, you also need to be more precise with your massages. How to land a job in a massage therapy clinic Massage therapy clinics are setting up shop all over the metro. They are like mushrooms that have sprouted out of nowhere. But though one would not know where they come from, one certainly has an idea why. Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing industry in the country. This is perhaps because of the fact that people are looking for ways to relax after a hard day's work. This is especially true for people who live in the city where life is more fast-paced. Another reason is the continued publicity coming from celebrities. Massage therapy is becoming a fad. Because of this, many people are looking into the massage therapy industry for jobs. Although the pay is not lucrative enough for most people, the tips can be pretty amazing especially if you already have a steady list of clients. If you are one of those people wanting to have a career in this industry, here are some ways on how to land that job. 1. Get some training Unlike other professionals, you don't need a degree to be able to land a job in a massage therapy clinic. Most clinics do not even require college degrees especially for starting employees. This does not mean however that you won't make an effort to learn the job. One way that you can get a massage therapy job easily is to get some training on massages. Remember that in the job, you will not just knead the shoulder blades and back of your clients in the directions that you want. You will also have to follow certain massage techniques. It is a plus point to know even a little of these techniques before you apply for a job. 2. Visit massage therapy clinics One way to get to know the industry is to observe first hand what goes on inside these clinics. Visit some of them in your spare time. Look at their list of massages and if you can, observe how they do the massages. Check out the directions of their massages and the products that they use on their customers. While there, formulate any questions that you have because for sure you will have. You can use these observations, questions and your experience inside the massage therapy clinics during your job interview. Employers are impressed with potential employees who are interested in the job enough to make such observations. 3. Ask the massage therapists Ask people who are already working in massage therapy clinics about their experiences. That way, you will know what to expect when you are there on the job. Ask about the hours that they put in, the tips that they get every day, their monthly salary. You can even ask for their worst experiences in the job. This will also help you decide if the massage therapy industry is the one that you want to get into. Don't be afraid to ask. Often, they will be more than happy to help you through their insights. You can even ask them if there are any vacancies in their clinics. If you can, leave your number with them so that they can contact you should a vacancy come up. Remember, most of these clinics will not advertise job openings. They would just rely on referrals. How to choose a good massage therapy school Perhaps because of its increasing popularity, states have taken notice of massage therapy clinics and created laws to regulate its practice in the country. Although this is largely advantageous to the millions of Americans who have been availing of their services in the country, it has frustrated a lot of massage therapists in the country. After working in the industry for so many years, suddenly they need to get a training certificate that tells that they can perform the work that they have been doing for a lot of years. Still, state laws are state laws and one cannot do anything about it unless of course they want to go to another state and see if the laws are different there. But most people would like to stay in their states and continue the services that they have already established in the country. In fact, most are going to massage therapy training schools in order to obtain their certificates. After all, schooling will be a breeze considering that they already know what they will be training for. They just need the paper. One problem though that face these people is how to find the right training school that will fit their schedule and their budget. Here are some tips to help them. 1. Location One way to save money and time is to find schools that are near your home or your place of work depending of course in your schedule. For instance, if you are going to school after work it is logical to look for schools that are near the massage therapy clinics you are working for. 2. Tuition fee Another big consideration for people is the tuition fee. This is especially true with people who don't have enough money to send themselves to school. As much as you can, look for programs that have flexible payment terms and If possible, a school that offers a scholarship programs. You can offer to teach part time or to work in the school in exchange for a discount. Some people have more time than money in their hands so this can work. 3. Certification Remember that not all schools are recognized by the governing bodies that issue the certification and the license. It is important that before you enroll, make sure that the school you have chosen are certified by the state regulatory board. Otherwise, all your time and money will go to waste. Actually, as an advice: ask for a list of the schools that they are recognizing before you look for a massage therapy school. That way, you can be sure that whichever you choose is already legitimate. No time is wasted looking for schools that is not accepted in the first place. 4. Specialization Like ordinary schools, there are massage therapy training schools that have more expertise in a particular field. If you want to focus on a particular field then it is logical for you to choose the school that is known for that field. This way, you will be able to benefit from better education as most of the instructors there will probably be specializing in that field of specialization. This is especially true if the field that you want to get into is the more technical one that may require more difficult training and study. The History and Development of Massage The history of massage started during the 3000 BC when the Chinese wrote Cong-Fu of the Tao-Tse, the oldest book written about massage which was later translated to French in the 1700s. In 2760 BC, Nei Ching or the Yellow Emperor's Esoteric Classic discussed therapeutic touch. The Egyptians made their contribution in massage when they created reflexology in 2500 BC. Even the Indians participated in the development of massage when they established Ayurvedic massage. During 500 BC-50 AD, the Greek and Romans used massage on Olympic athletes and to relieve neuralgia and epileptic seizures. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, incorporated massage in medicine. In 130 AD-201 AD, Galen, a Greek physician from the school of gladiators who were rubbed before fighting wrote a book on manual medicine. In 100s AD, schools for massage therapy were created in China. Then in 600s AD the Japanese developed shiatsu, which uses the fingers to apply pressure on acupuncture points to regenerate energy. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), pediatric massage therapy or tuina evolved into a higher form of therapy which is still used today. During 1776-1813, Per Henrik Ling, a fencing master and gymnast cured himself of rheumatism through massage and created Medical Gymnastics and later formed the Royal Gymnastic Central Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Then in 1839-1909, Johann Mezger introduced medical massage to the scientific community and the terms effleurage, petrissage and tapotement became familiar. The effects of massage on anemia were researched by medical doctors and professors in New York City in 1880. Four years later, Professor Charcot, a French physician who taught Sigmund Freud recommended massage therapy in French medicine. The Society of Trained Masseuses was formed in Britain which offered massage education recognized by schools in 1894. A year after, Sigmund Freud used massage therapy to treat hysteria. During the same year, Harvey Kellog wrote The Art of Massage. The 1900's gave birth to different massage therapy methods like Jin shin jyutsu or the art of circulation awakening developed in Japan by Jiro Murai, The Alexander Technique created by F.M. Alexander, an Australian actor, Naprapathy (1907) which originated in Chicago, Bindgewebs massage (1929), created by German Physical therapist, Elizabeth Dicke and Neuromuscular therapy (1930) created by Stanley Leif. In 1937, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, discovered the healing powers of essential oils accidentally during a laboratory experiment where he burned his hand and used lavender oil to soothe it. He coined the word Aromatherapy. Two years after, The Florida State Massage Therapy Association Inc. (FSTMA) was organized. Today, it is one f the oldest massage organizations with 85 charter members. The Massage Registration Act was formulated during 1949, and in 1950 Francis Tappan and Gertrude Beard wrote books and articles concerning massage techniques. Two years later, Hoshino Therapy, which is an official medical therapy in Argentina was developed. Then during the 1960s, John Barnes created Myofascial Release Therapy. In 1977-1978, Aston- Patterning was developed by Judith Aston and Hellerwork was created by Joseph Heller. Both methods are forms of rolfing. During the 1980s, the Association of Bodywork and Massage Practitioners was established. Also, Watsu or water therapy was developed by Harold Dull followed by Stuart Taws creation of Taws Method or Soft Tissue Release. In the 1990s, a protocol for fybromyalgia syndrome was defined by the American College of Rheumatology and the Touch Research Institute, which studies the effects of touch therapy was established.
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