Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist? Wondering what is different about a Thai massage? For those looking for a dynamic and innovative career allowing job flexibility, potential for growth, and the ability to change lives in a meaningful way, they should consider becoming a massage therapist. The field of massage therapy will continue to grow as physicians continue to prescribe massage as part of their patient’s treatment plans and as more people enjoy the benefits of massage. Join the allied health workers that are helping their clients with massage therapy each day.
What Does a Massage Therapist Do?
Massage therapists are trained professionals who utilize the power of touch and purposeful movements to alleviate their client’s symptoms. Massage therapists conduct in-depth interviews with clients to gather information on their health history, and to decide which techniques or treatments will best meet their needs. Massage therapists will also perform a physical evaluation to locate areas on the body which may need attention.
Through purposeful manipulation, a massage therapist conducts their session utilizing one of the different massage techniques proven to be safe and effective. Massage therapists build rapport with their clients and learn how to address their needs as they change and evolve. They provide clients with education to find relief while at home, by showing them how to perform a variety of stretching techniques and exercises, along with guided meditative techniques. Massage therapists keep records of progress and changes in the client’s symptoms to enhance their sessions or try a different approach if necessary. Massage therapists often work in conjunction with physicians, therapists, and other health professionals to best address their client’s individual needs.
What Massage Techniques Do I Learn During a Diploma Program?
One of the many positive benefits of enrolling in a massage diploma program at a vocational school, is that you will gain extensive knowledge, as well as hands-on experience, on a variety of massage therapy techniques. No two clients are ever the same, and each brings their own unique set of heath challenges and issues. Because of this, it is important for you to be knowledgeable in how to perform a variety of techniques, as well as what technique is best utilized for. Following, is a brief description of the most commonly utilized massage techniques learned during a massage therapy diploma program.
Swedish massage is a widely recognized massage therapy technique. Swedish massage therapy is great for clients who need to manage chronic or acute pain, heal from injury, need to destress, or look to increase flexibility. Swedish massage uses slow, long, gliding strokes across a client’s body towards the direction of the heart. Swedish massage uses five specific techniques: effleurage (slow circular motions), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (using hands in a rhythmic “chopping” motion), friction (to break down scar tissue), and vibration (gentle shaking). Swedish massage is incredibly relaxing and is great for clients who benefit from increased blood circulation, as well as stress relief and pain reduction.
Deep Tissue Massage
Many people deal with chronic pain and extreme muscle soreness. These symptoms can be attributed to injury. However, it could also be due to chronic stress. Too much tension and stress can present in the form of muscular aches and pains. Clients who express concern over these symptoms may benefit from deep tissue massage. Deep tissues massage is a deeper form of Swedish massage, as it uses a more forceful technique which utilizes a greater amount of pressure to target tension located deep within the muscles. While some clients may find this type of technique too intense, many others will benefit from it. Deep tissue massage is a good choice for clients recovering from sports related injuries, as well as those with chronic back pain.
While most massage therapy techniques are performed when a client is lying in a face downward position, some clients may be able to sit up during a massage. Chair massage is performed with the client sitting comfortably in a chair facing backward allowing you to access their head, neck, shoulders and back. You use your hands to deliver a series of circular movements and kneading techniques to target tension and tightness built up within the back, shoulders, and arms. Chair massage is great for those who work in positions which require them to sit or stand for extended periods of time. Chair massage is beneficial in workplace settings, as it is portable, and can be performed without undressing, or using oils on the skin.
While pregnancy is a beautiful time in any woman’s life, it can also be inherently stressful and come with its own set of aches and pains. One of the best ways an expecting mother can relieve her stress while addressing her pains is through prenatal massage therapy. During a session, the client will lie on their side as opposed to being face down. Pillows or padding can be added between the client’s knees or thighs to better align their spine. You will use gentle, gliding strokes along the back, and the pressure is not as intense as a deep massage therapy session. However, it is effective in loosening up any trigger points or trapped tension within the client’s back and body. Prenatal massage is often very tailored to the client’s specific needs to achieve relaxation and relief.
Hot Stone Massage
Often used in spa settings, hot stone massage has become one of the most requested massage therapy techniques by clients who are looking to enhance their mental health and ease insomnia. It is also beneficial for those suffering from symptoms related to cancer and certain autoimmune conditions. During a hot stone massage, you will use similar techniques as those found in Swedish massage, as well as incorporate basalt stones into the session. You will immerse the stones in hot water and place them on various areas of the body, including the back, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet. Hot stone massage is a great way for clients to alleviate symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.
An athlete’s most important asset is their body, which is why sports massage is a specialized technique specifically geared towards athletic clients and those who may be quite active in their everyday lives. Sports massage helps active individuals avoid injury and enhance athletic performance. When you enroll in a massage therapy program, you will learn how to perform a sports massage effectively and efficiently to address your client’s specified needs.
A myofascial massage is unique to many other methods of massage therapy, in that it facilitates a series of movements called shearing, stripping, and rolling. During a myofascial massage sustained pressure targets a variety of conditions which may cause muscle pain and restrict movement.
You use sustained pressure to deliver effective pain relief by using your palms to strategically stretch the skin to loosen up the muscles (also known as shearing). You also use a technique known as “stripping,” which is performed by gliding the hands slowly and purposely along the skin, maintaining pressure along the way. The final technique used is “rolling,” and is performed by gently pulling the skin up from the underlying tissues to encourage flexibility and reduce restriction. Myofascial massage is great for those who experience knots and trigger point pain, as well as those who may experience soreness due to exercise or exertion.
What is Different about a Thai Massage?
Future clients may not be familiar with this ancient, yet highly effective, massage therapy technique. Following, is a brief explanation of the Thai massage technique, how it is performed, how it can benefit clients, as well as how it differs from the other massage techniques like Swedish massage.
What is Thai Massage?
Initially created in Thailand, Thai massage is a specific type of massage technique which helps to redirect energy flow throughout the body in a beneficial manner by purposefully manipulating the client’s body into a series of positions. The client is an active participant throughout the session, as they are repositioned during stretches to lengthen the muscles throughout the body. A Thai massage generally lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. While some clients may be initially apprehensive about this technique, it is one of the most beneficial massage techniques in practice today.
What are the Benefits of a Thai Massage?
One of the most beneficial aspects of a Thai massage, is that the technique provides many benefits for many people. Thai massage can improve energy levels, alleviate chronic migraines, and tension headaches, encourages proper blood flow and circulation throughout the body, and improves flexibility.
How is Thai Massage Different from Swedish Massage?
While both massage techniques enhance the health and well-being of clients, these two massage techniques have a few differences. Swedish massage is performed with clients lying face down throughout the session, while with Thai massage, a client is a dynamic participant and interacts with you throughout the session to facilitate positions and stretches. During Swedish massage, you utilize the five classic techniques (effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, vibration, and friction), while during a Thai you will not only use your hands throughout the session, but will also use your feet, legs, or even your knees to deliver the Thai massage technique effectively. Though quite different from Swedish massage, Thai massage is just as beneficial and effective for a variety of clients you may work with.
The art of massage therapy is expansive and continues to grow as popularity and demand increases. So, learn more about the massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, consider applying to a massage therapy program and enjoy a lasting career in improving the quality of lives of others.
Massage Therapy Program
If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.