4 Reasons to Attend a Massage Therapy School

Teacher Helping Student Training To Become Masseuse at Massage Therapy School

Determining the career path you want to take can be a very challenging thing to figure out. However, a career in massage therapy might be something worth taking the time to consider. Massage therapy training gives you a diverse field of professional opportunities to choose from, but it also gives you other advantages that aren’t so obvious.

A Well-Rounded Approach

While you are completing the courses required to become a certified massage therapist, those same classes will simultaneously give you information that can enhance many other areas and aspects of your life. A massage therapy school and training program gives you the skills and techniques needed to make a living, but also to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Professional Benefits

The most common reason for attending a massage therapy school is to seek a career in the massage therapy field. While there are some simply hoping to further their general education, the vast majority are attempting to work in the massage therapy industry in some capacity. Completing a massage therapy training program gives you the knowledge and the licensing necessary to become a certified professional. There are a lot of reasons that massage therapy school would be a smart career investment.

Reason #1 – It Allows You to Pursue A Career in Helping Others

Physically

By practicing and learning the proper ways to manipulate the body’s muscles and soft tissues through various massage techniques you can provide incredible physical benefits to people who would otherwise be in pain or discomfort without you. The techniques and methods of massage therapy you will learn will give you the tools to access and address problem areas of irritation, pain and discomfort. It is an amazing, fulfilling and rewarding experience to be the source of someone’s relief. Massage therapy can also be used to help prevent certain pain and tension in people who may be prone to it. Your knowledge could help people make better choices about their lifestyles.

Emotionally

Life can be stressful, and relaxing is easier said than done. Anxiety, frustration, nervousness and worry are all emotional states we deal with on a daily basis. However, sometimes when it rains it pours. In those times it can be crucial to relax. Giving people the opportunity to unwind and ease their mind through a massage can do wonders for their mood and their mental state. As a trained and certified professional people would feel comfortable with you and have confidence in your training and your massage therapy skills. They can let go of their worries for a little while and trust that they are in good, capable hands.

Reason #2 – It Presents You with A Variety of Professional Opportunities

Flexibility in Entrepreneurship

Massage therapy school gives you the unique option to find clients, set your prices and choose your own schedule. While some massage therapy entrepreneurs prefer to operate out of a designated space, there are many others who have built their success by going mobile. There are even those who choose to operate their business right out of their own homes. It all depends on your preferences and personal goals. Things such as location, space, number of current/projected clients and your own personality are all things to consider when making choices about going into business for yourself. There are a lot of different ways to do it, you would just need to figure out the one that best suits you.

Stability in Spas

If you prefer a more traditional, steady career you can take your massage therapy certification to work in a spa. This is also a good option for those who would like to gain professional experience before branching out on their own. There is also less of an investment with a spa massage therapy job, since the spa is responsible for providing the space and equipment.

Personal Benefits of Attending a Massage Therapy School

The lesser recognized benefits you would get by going to massage therapy school is the personal benefits it can bring to your life. Massage therapy reaches far beyond client services. It gives you the ability to provide personal, and most importantly safe, help and relief to yourself and others through massage.

Reason #3 – It Gives You A Deeper Knowledge of Your Own Body

Basic Anatomical Information

Throughout the course of your massage therapy training, you learn about many aspects of muscle and soft tissue groups, the circulatory system, and skin. While this knowledge is relevant to the practice of massage therapy, it is also beneficial in other areas of your life. You can apply the things you have learned about your body to the personal care of you and your family when it’s appropriate.

Greater Awareness to Change

Having a greater knowledge of and more frequent interaction with your body allows you to become familiar with aspects that you otherwise might not have. This increase in familiarity allows you to become aware of even minor changes to your body. In the same way, if you are providing massage therapy to family members and those close to you, you will also be more aware of and in tune with the norms of their bodies and notice significant changes. Noticing these changes can lead to anything from implementing personal preventative measure to seeking medical attention. No matter the severity, the sooner you know about a problem or a change the better chance you have of fixing it.

Reason #4 – It Provides You with Reliable Knowledge and Informed Techniques

Safely Provide Tension and Relief for Loved Ones

There are many things that we can’t give to the people we love that we deeply want to. Seeing those close to us uncomfortable, stressed out or in pain is difficult. As a licensed massage therapist, you are better able and ready to help with some of those issues. Providing relief to anyone is a fantastic experience but being able to assist in keeping the bodies and minds of your family and friends healthy takes it to a whole new level of satisfaction. Massage therapy lets you give back to the ones who give you so much without worry of injuring them or putting them in danger by being untrained.

Accurately Answer Questions Pertaining to Massage Therapy Training

While there are certain things that people will seek a professional opinion for, there are some questions that seem easier to ask a friend of a family member. While there will always be questions you won’t be able to answer, you can answer questions of those around you about general aches and pains or about certain aspects of their bodies or lifestyle. Fully completing a massage therapy school program will give you the confidence to answer questions pertaining to a number of issues based on solid information you acquired from your massage therapy training. In some cases, you will let family and friends know when they may want to seek out medical or other professional advice, and that it is outside your certification. So even in referral, you are a conduit for information that will keep those close to you healthier and safer.

Starting and switching careers takes a lot of determination. With massage therapy school, the training period and financial investment are reasonable. You have a variety of ways you can utilize your massage therapy license. Not to mention all the non-monetary ways that the information from your education could potentially benefit your life.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about the reasons to attend a massage therapy school interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Holistic Medicine & Massage Therapy: Body Mechanics & Positive Habits

A group of men and women participating in holistic yoga, massage therapy.

It can be difficult to know the right way to keep your body healthy, but the first step is knowing what is available. There are a lot of misconceptions around natural wellness practices such as holistic medicine and massage therapy. Likewise, this kind of misleading information can prevent people from applying healthy, positive habits in your life that could benefit your health. Let’s take a look at what these practices are, and how you should and should not use them to keep yourself healthy and happy.

Massage Therapy

To begin, the strategic manipulation of muscle and soft tissue groups to relieve physical tension and ease stress describes massage therapy. There are various methods and techniques that can make this process more intensive, and there are various ways to approach massage therapy, but a massage therapist uses their hands to work out minor problems in a client’s muscles and soft tissues while helping to gradually increase mobility and range of motion.

How Massage Therapy Should Be Used

To Relieve Muscle Tension and Discomfort

Throughout the course of any given day, your body sustains wear and tear. Even desk jobs create pressure and tension on muscles that can affect your comfort. Regular, professional massages from a certified massage therapist can help to avoid the prolonged effects of active and sedentary lifestyles. A massage therapist will also likely be able to help their clients identify specific trouble spots that are a reoccurring problem. This will help you decide whether you need a more frequent massage therapy schedule. You may also see if there are lifestyle or work changes that you could make to help correct the problem.

To Release Minor Toxins and Stress Chemicals

During a massage therapy session, the massage therapist concentrates on relieving tension and un-knotting problem areas. However, throughout that process there will be toxins and stress chemicals released from your muscles.

The soft tissues and muscles manipulated during an appointment will release chemicals and toxins that will flush through your blood and lymphatic system. Many massage therapists advise that their clients drink plenty of water following their massages to help the efficiency of the post-massage toxin flush.

To Help Ease Stress

Even if there isn’t a clear physical reason for you to “need” a massage, it can still be a good idea to get one periodically. For example, taking an hour or so out of your schedule to relax and get a massage can be a great idea. Regular and even semi-regular massage therapy appointments can help you avoid injury, while also supporting self care. Being relaxed can lead to greater productivity and allow your body to reach its full potential.

How Massage Therapy Should Not Be Used

As Treatment for a Serious Muscular Injury

While working the muscles and soft tissues can do absolute wonders for stress and strain, it is not intended to repair or treat injuries. Turning to massage therapy for medical treatment can be harmful for a number of reasons. Furthermore, massage therapists aren’t equipped or prepared for intense diagnostics. While they can give their clients an idea of how to help with soreness, they are not able to tell their clients the depth of an injury or to predict recovery times.

For Treating Mental Health Issues

Stress release is an important on-going part of self care. Massage therapy is an important part of stress relief. However, it will not help with severe mental issues. Using massage therapy is not intended to help combat serious depression or anxiety disorders. Massage is part of care management, not as the basis of or as a mental health alternative.

As A Remedy for Toxic Habits

It is true that massaging muscle and soft tissue groups can help the build-up of toxins and chemicals, but it cannot fix bad lifestyle habits. You can’t erase a night of heavy drinking and smoking with a massage the next day. Getting massaged by a professional massage therapist is not an excuse to neglect the other areas of your health.

Holistic Medicine

There are a lot of assumptions and opinions about holistic medicine. For example, some people picture Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture, while some think of crystal healing. However, holistic medicine is simply an approach to health that considers the entire person: mine, body and spirit. How holistic medicine looks and what it entails depends on the preferences and comfort level of the person in question.

How Holistic Medicine Should Be Used

For Overall Mood Improvement and General Wellness

Most importantly, holistic approaches are important for balance. A balance of mental health and natural living can help make you more attuned to your body and aware of differences or changes in your mood. Being alerted to changes that are troubling will likely help you catch them earlier than you would have otherwise. Using items, tools and products that you connects to on a personal level will lead to keep your awareness up and your priorities straight.

As Go-To First Response Remedies for Personal Health

Natural based home remedies and holistic healing practices are tremendously effective when used responsibly. For example, making a trip to the pharmacy at the first sign of a cold may seem appealing for symptom relief. However, there is a fine line between needing medicine to help get over an actual illness and leaning on it for every symptom.

Having some muscle aches? Instead of heading straight for the medicine cabinet, you might want to consider a physical solution such as a yoga practice or a massage therapy session. Perhaps if you are going through a stressful period at your job, you could consider acupuncture or aromatherapy.

To Help You Stay Mindful of Your Body

Only caring for yourself when something is wrong, and can result in missing things that could have been caught earlier. Holistic medicine can be seen as a whimsical and irresponsible approach to healthcare by those with a limited exposure to a knowledge about it. However, if a crystal or essential oil is what reminds you to take care of yourself, then it is a useful tool. If holistic medicine and natural tools help you become mindful and present in your body, then holistic medicine is useful. If taking time out for acupuncture or meditation helps to regularly check in on your emotional and mental state, then it is beneficial.

How Holistic Medicine Should Not Be Used

As a Substitute for Professional Medical Help

There are wide sweeping rumors that holistic medicine can treat disease and cure illness. Which, if perpetuated by professionals in the industry, can do serious amounts of harm and long-lasting damage to clients. Holistic medicine can be a very useful preventative tool, and it can be incredibly beneficial in maintaining awareness about the changes, or lack of changes, occurring in the body. Practicing a holistic approach to health and enlisting the help of holistic professionals can help further your awareness. Alternative holistic options can be a valuable partner to traditional medicine, but holistic medicine should not serve as a replacement for it. Medical issues need medical attention and trained medical professionals.

As the Primary Foundation for Your Health Decisions

The all-inclusive approach of holistic health can help inform the decisions you makes for your self-care and general health. However, data and information should be apart any of the major decisions made about your health. Keeping your emotional and mental state in mind when making decisions can be helpful, but how you feel about something in your spirit doesn’t necessarily affect the reality of the situation. Rather than thinking of holistic medicine as a replacement for traditional medicine, it may be a good idea to have a holistic approach to health that uses and includes medical and health information as part of the mindfulness and awareness practices.

Want to learn more?

Did this information about holistic medicine interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

The Definitive Guide to Swedish Massage

Close-up of massage therapist pouring oil in hands during massage at the spa.

Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage found in spas, health clinics and resorts. It is also a popular choice for massage therapists practicing their skills to serve many different clients. Because of its relaxing and therapeutic nature, many people prefer Swedish massage. Not only is it beneficial to the overall wellness of the massage client, but it can help them to relax and feel rejuvenated in a way that they never thought possible.

What is Swedish Massage?

When most people think about a whole-body massage, they are picturing a Swedish massage. Swedish massage is the foundation for many types of massage therapy. Swedish massage movements help warm up the muscle tissue, release tension and break up muscle knots. Swedish massage combines these movements with joint movement to relax and energize the body.

What Makes Swedish Massage Different?

During a Swedish massage, the massage therapist will lubricate the skin with massage oil and perform various massage strokes. The specific massage strokes include effleurage (gliding) strokes, petrissage (kneading) strokes, friction, tapotement (percussive) strokes, and vibration.

The Basics of a Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage and Essential Oils

Swedish massages should always be done in a calm and relaxing environment so that the client is able to relax. Because long, gliding strokes are often required to perform the massage properly, oil is often used in conjunction with the hand movements. Essential oils have many different beneficial properties on their own and becoming familiar with each is important when becoming a massage therapist.

Some of the most common essential oils used in the practice include lavender, geranium, coriander, patchouli, sweet orange and cedarwood. Each oil has special properties and it is important to listen to your client. It is important to avoid using oils on clients who are sensitive to the fragrance. Always discuss oils with clients and give them the option to choose which one they would like to utilize.

Mixing Essential Oils

Likewise, all essential oils need to be mixed thoroughly with a carrier oil. Most essential oils are too potent to put directly onto the skin and can cause irritation and chemical burns. Some of the most common carrier oils include almond oil, jojoba oil, hemp seed, emu oil, grapeseed oil and olive oil. Carrier oils not only help to dilute the essential oil, but they often contain a myriad of health and skin benefits themselves.

Different Massage Needs

You will be working with a variety of clients with varying needs. One client may come to you because they want relaxing couple’s massages, while another person might come to you because they are experiencing muscle strain and pain. It is up to you to work with clients on an individual basis and to give them what they need. One client may want essential oils, while another wants just a carrier oil. Some clients will be specific in where they need tension relief, while others will give you freedom to use your own technique. By treating each person as an individual, you will find that this improves your ability to work as a massage therapist performing Swedish massages.

Swedish Massage Strokes

There are five primary strokes involved in Swedish massage and used on clients depending on their needs and what they want to have done.

Effleurage Strokes

These long, flowing strokes are part of distributing the oils onto the skin as well as allowing the massage therapist to feel the muscle tone for better precision of the massage.

Petrissage Strokes

This stroke involves kneading the muscle and tissue to help flush out any metabolic waste and toxins found in the area. It’s crucial for eliminating built-up lymphatic fluid.

Friction Strokes

These fast, short movements are specifically done to produce heat on the skin and are crucial for bringing vital blood flow to the area. Friction strokes are also great for loosening sore and strained ligaments.

Tapotement Strokes

This is the quintessential “karate chop” type stroke that most people are familiar with when it comes to receiving a Swedish massage. These strokes, or chops, are most often used to relax tense and sore muscles.

Vibration Strokes

Vibration strokes create movement in the entire body and when done correctly by the massage therapist, they can be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating while improving circulation.

The History Behind Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage was designed and developed by a man named Per Henrik Ling, who hailed from Sweden. He brought the technique into the United States in 1858 and named it the Swedish Movement Cure. By combining techniques from the Chinese, Roman and Greek massage therapies, he developed this unique massage specifically to relax and rejuvenate those who received it. Not only does the massage helps to ease tension and muscle strain, but it also helps to improve circulation as well as help with draining lymphatic fluid.

Benefits of Swedish Massage

When performed properly, this massage technique has many benefits that are helpful to both mind and body. Some of the physical benefits of a Swedish massage include:

  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Improved circulation
  • Ease of muscle tension
  • Increased oxygen levels in the blood
  • Improved flexibility

Mental Benefits of Swedish Massage

Some of the mental benefits of having this technique performed include:

  • Relaxes the client
  • Decreases cortisol levels
  • Helps in reducing anxiety and stress
  • Allows the client to feel rejuvenated

Because of the large number of benefits that come from having this technique performed, it is no wonder that going for a Swedish massage is a common and a wonderful way to both benefit from the physical and mental aspects of each session. For this reason, massage therapists need to be well-versed in this technique so that they can provide their clients with a wonderfully unique experience.

Massage Therapy Training

The great thing about most massage therapy programs is they are relatively quick and teach students all the techniques necessary to begin working in the field of massage therapy. Massage therapy training is crucial for learning how to perform a proper Swedish massage. Because many clients turn to massage therapists when they are dealing with stress, muscle tension, aches and pains, being able to perform the technique properly is important to help these individuals.

Massage Therapy is a Career (not just a job)

Becoming a therapist who specializes in performing massages is critical in developing a career that you can feel proud of. Not only will you be helping a wide range of clients of varying needs, but you are doing something that is highly rewarding and is a skill that you can use for the rest of your life. Massage therapists who perform massages often work with clients, but they can also help family members and friends who need muscle relaxation and the relief of tension and stress.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Massage Therapist

Massage therapist and peers at spa

Massage therapy is a rewarding career that enables you to relax and heal your clients. Clients may come to you because they need to unwind and relax, or they may be experiencing muscle tenderness and soreness. Becoming a massage therapist allows you to help your clients live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Some massage therapists work on their own, running and operating their own businesses. Others work in spas, healthcare clinics, fitness centers and hotels. No matter where you choose to work as a massage therapist, it’s crucial that you receive the proper education.

What a Massage Therapist Actually Does

Most people who enter the field aren’t aware of what a massage therapist does and what is involved during the day-to-day practice. Part of working as a massage therapist involves keeping a clean area that is sanitized for every client coming to you for their appointment. This ensures that clients are not cross-contaminating each other because they are coming into your work area.

Who Do Massage Therapists Help?

The massage therapist works with people of all ages and sizes, so it is important to be aware of different massage points of the client. Depending on the type of work that you choose to do, you may provide massage therapy as a rejuvenating and regenerating procedure. Maybe you will focus on relaxation and muscle tension. Before entering the field, it is a good idea to figure out what type of client you’d like to work with. This can help in determining where you want to work and the type of career that you are going to have.

The Different Places You Might Work

The great thing about massage therapy is that you can work about anywhere. A massage therapist can work in a hotel, spa, fitness center, doctor’s office, hospital or in a specialty wellness clinic. Massage therapy is meant to relax, calm and rejuvenate clients, so it can be beneficial in a wide range of different fields and facilities. The types of clients you will work on will vary from one facility to the next. For example, you will be working on different clients in a doctor’s office than you would at a fitness center.  Regardless of where you work, massage therapists are in high demand.

What You’ll Learn in a Massage Therapy Program

Massage therapy programs prepare students for a career within the field. You will learn how to work with clients, create a calming and rejuvenating environment, start your own business, find gainful employment and most of all, how to perform massage therapy. Many classes allow students to practice their technique, which enables them to have a hands-on experience practicing their skills. Learning massage out of a book is fine and will help with the details of the practice, but you need to perform massage to work with clients and give them the experience that they are looking for. Not every massage therapy program is the same, so it is important to be aware of the program to see what it includes and what to expect before starting a massage therapy program.

Why Vocational School is the Right Choice for Massage Therapy

Vocational school is essential if you want to become a massage therapist. These schools offer convenient programs that are ideal for people who want to start a career for themselves without it affecting their current job scheduling and family life. Vocational schools can provide you with the skills necessary to begin working in the field of massage therapy.

What to Expect After Graduation

Many students assume that they will be able to start working once they graduate from their massage therapy program. First, you need to either choose to work for someone else or begin your own company. Keep in mind that, as with any other skill, you may need a few months of work as a massage therapist before you can hone in on your skills and provide an enjoyable experience for your clients. Many massage therapy programs offer their students help in finding employment after graduation. This helps you to get started working as a massage therapist and providing massage to your clients. After enough experience to improve your skills as a massage therapist, you may want to consider opening your own business.

Why Continuing Education is Important

Just because you have graduated a massage therapy program doesn’t mean that you will never need to go to school again. As with most careers, continuing education is important and often required if you have a certificate or license. In some areas, continuing education credits allow a massage therapist to maintain their license. Even if you do not need to have continuing education, it is important to keep up with changes and different methods within the massage therapy industry. These classes and seminars help you to network with others who are working as massage therapists.

How to Choose Between Employee and Self-Employment

Once you have received some experience in the massage therapy industry, you can choose to start your own massage therapy company. As a massage therapist, you have two options when seeking employment. Working for someone else or working for yourself. If you have just graduated from school, you may want to give yourself a few months working as a massage therapist before you consider opening your own business. This gives you time to focus on building your skills and getting used to working as a massage therapist before you are by yourself running a business.

Running your own business owner and working with a multitude of clients is a rewarding way to jump start your career and can be done even if you are new to the field. Keep in mind that you will need to build your clientele, even when working for a massage spa. This involves working with clients, giving them a good experience and relying on both positive reviews and word-of-mouth to get more clients.

Why You Need Quality Equipment to Work

Whether you’re working for yourself or for a facility, it is crucial that you invest in high-quality massage equipment. You need equipment that is going to last for years before it must be repaired or replaced. You also need equipment that is large enough to accommodate clients of all shapes and sizes. If you make home visits, you need to focus on equipment that is portable and easy to transport so that you’re able to bring the entire massage experience into a client’s home or office. If you are working for someone else, you may be required to have your own equipment. This is something you will need to discuss with the employer before you begin working for their facility.

Conclusion

No matter where you choose to work as a massage therapist, you will find that this set of skills offers you an opportunity to begin a career that you can enjoy for life. Not only are you offering a service to clients, who will benefit fully from what you are able to do for them, but you are able to meet, talk and connect with people of all backgrounds. Because of the wide range of facilities that you can work in as well as having the ability to work from home, your career can take you in places that no other industry is able to do. For these reasons, many people are choosing to begin a massage therapist program.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Have One of These 5 Health Conditions? See a Massage Therapist

Client in spa recieiving massage for health problems

Massages aren’t just for those seeking an escape from the day-to-day demands of life. While the health benefits of bodywork have been known to many for some time, more recently massage therapy has become a respected and relied-upon remedy in the traditional medical community.  Today, it’s not uncommon to see massage therapists working alongside doctors, nurses, and other providers as part of a patient’s treatment plan.

Stress and pain relief may immediately come to mind when thinking of conditions that may benefit from massage therapy. Here is a look at a few others.

Massage Therapy and High Blood Pressure

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) offers a number of resources to its member therapists, including links to research about the health benefits of massage. Among them is improved cardiovascular health. For instance, AMTA cites a study from the International Journal of Preventative Medicine which concluded that getting Swedish massage regularly is a safe, effective way to help decrease blood pressure in women with hypertension. Since high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, managing this condition is crucial to overall health.

Massage Therapy and Dementia

AMTA also reported that massage therapy can aid aging adults in many ways, from easing aches and pains to providing stress relief. But perhaps the greatest benefit of all is human touch. Older adults, especially those with dementia, often feel lonely and isolated. Massage Magazine explains that massage therapy can help improve the quality of life for dementia patients. The magazine suggests five- to ten-minute hand massages as being particularly effective in making patients feel better physically as well as in decreasing anxiety. The calming nature of massage can thus lead to better relations between caregivers and patient during routines.

Massage Therapy and Cancer

Massage Magazine reported that massage therapy is effective for cancer patients experiencing neuropathy—a condition whose symptoms are weakening, numbness, or pain, usually in hands or feet. Research from the National Cancer Institute revealed that many patients stop their cancer treatment due to chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Oncology massage, for this reason, has grown in popularity to help patients cope with the side effects of some cancer treatments, such as fatigue, pain, or nausea.

Massage Therapy and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects a body’s nervous system, causing pain, muscular coordination problems, and sometimes anxiety and depression. Massage therapy, more specifically neuromuscular massage, can increase bloodflow to muscles, which softens tissues and can ease pain. Massage therapist Nancy Porambo told US News and World Report the reduced rigidity after massage gives the sympathetic nervous system a break, “which is rejuvenating and allows the body to heal.”

Massage Therapy and Gastrointestinal Issues

From time to time, people experience constipation due to diet or gastrointestinal conditions. Over-the-counter remedies such as laxatives can provide relief for this condition. However, massage can also aid here. The International Journal of Nursing Studies published research that shows abdominal massage was more effective in relieving constipation—and related pain and discomfort—than laxatives alone.  If someone is prone to backing up, regular massage can help regulate his or her system.

AMTA offers a printable PDF that lists even more health conditions that may benefit from massage therapy, including reducing arthritic pain, improving sleep, and relieving anxiety. As with any treatment, patients or their family should check with a doctor first to make sure this option is safe.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 wellness industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

How to Become a Massage Therapy Entrepreneur

Female massage therapy entrepreneur and massage table

Massage therapy is a rewarding career that can bring joy to both entrepreneur and clients. Knowing how to make someone feel better through massage is not enough to make a career. The massage therapy entrepreneur has to find a way to get clients to try their services and give them a reason to come back. While there are job opportunities available through spas and gyms, there are a number of massage therapists who work as entrepreneurs. Some work out of their own homes or a rented space, others travel to work in their client’s homes. Where ever they set up their business, being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. It requires discipline and serious commitment. The business aspect of massage should be seriously considered and planned for before diving in. Here are some things aspiring massage therapy entrepreneurs should keep in mind when planning for a successful career as a massage therapist.

Spread the Word

The main concern when going into business for entrepreneurs is marketing. Advertising and promotions are how every entrepreneur generates business. The pressure of drumming up business can be difficult and intimidating, but there are things you can remember to help make it easier.

Have An Internet Presence

Social media promotion is standard practice in advertising. It is an easy way to promote services offered and gives the massage therapist wider reach than other traditional advertising methods. Social media marketing also provides massage therapists with the chance to link up with other businesses and entrepreneurs to cross-promote and get endorsements.

Offer a Bargain

Saving money is a strong motivator for a lot of customers. It is helpful to offer customers an incentive to try your massage therapy services. Promoting a sale or deal can be a good way to generate more business during slow times. It is also a good idea for massage therapists who are starting their business.

Simplify Things for Your Clients

Having a website to schedule appointments online and communicate with the massage therapist entrepreneur online can do wonders. It makes them seen as more professional and accessible. Online and technological features of the massage therapist’s business should be simple to navigate. Easy navigation reduces customers frustration. The website should also be visually appealing, so that clients learn more about the massage therapist’s business and the services they provide.

Client Relations are Key

The dynamic between massage therapists and clients is a tricky area, however it is vital to the longevity of their business. Things like word of mouth, social media recommendations and online reviews can either keep business coming in or stop it dead in its tracks.

Always Remain Professional

Some clients that enjoy conversation during their services, others will prefer silence or background music. The massage therapist must remember that they are providing a service to someone, so if someone feels like opening up it’s okay to let them. However, don’t fall into the slippery territory of offering life advice outside of massage therapy or get tangled into heated personal discussions. A massage therapist should do their best to keep conversation topics positive and neutral.

Be Respectful of Your Clients’ Homes

Many massage clients find it more convenient to have their massages done in the privacy of their own homes. When massage therapy entrepreneurs encounters these clients, they should make sure that they are setting up in a space that they have room to work in. The massage therapist should maintain boundaries for the private spaces of the client’s home. Always ask before entering a room. No one likes to feel vulnerable only to feel violated, so the massage therapist should mind their business and stick to business.

Be Smart about Your Budget

Managing money is vital to the success of any business, but even more so for an entrepreneur. Having a business model that makes sound financial sense means carefully planning in all areas of a business.

Assess Your Expenses

Entrepreneurs should know how much money they need to succeed in massage. This lets them know how much they need to earn. It begins with an analysis of everything the entrepreneur will need to get started, as well as everything they will need to maintain their business. Are you going to be renting space? Want to work out of your home? Do you already have a massage table? Can you offer/promote products to your clients? These are some of the many questions the entrepreneur will need to ask to get an idea of what they will need.

Balance Risk and Reward

Risk is involved with any business endeavor. It is important to know when those risks are worth taking and when a less risky option is more favorable. Investment is inevitable when becoming an entrepreneur. Start small to begin with. There is certainly no shame for the entrepreneur once they have found success.

Calculate Market Fluctuations

Even if business is great right now, there is no guarantee for the future. When starting out, it is important not to over-extend the budget once the cash flow starts to increase. If the entrepreneur is thinking of making new purchases or looking at new locations, make sure that it won’t cripple the business if it begins to slow.

Continue Learning

A massage therapist’s skills should evolve and grow throughout their career. Learning how to better serve clients and run a business more efficiently helps the entrepreneur to increase their income while being able to serve a wider range of clientele.

Continued Education and Refreshers

There will be times that the massage therapist may find themselves in a rut. This can cause some of the knowledge the massage therapist has already learned to fade. The massage therapist should make sure that they don’t get rusty. It is important to keep up on new products and innovative techniques. Enhancing the massage therapist’s abilities will enhance their clients’ experiences.

Embrace New Marketing

New ideas and mediums for marketing are popping up all the time. Keeping an eye on how people engage on various Internet platforms is a benefit to an entrepreneur’s business. The massage therapist should look to the community and local events for promotional ideas

Being a massage therapy entrepreneur isn’t always an easy path, but it is an incredibly rewarding career that can offer you opportunities to provide a service to people who need it. Your skills as a massage therapist can be the best in the world, but without any clients those skills go to waste. You deserve a career that is both fulfilling and successful. Be sure that your talents aren’t hidden by planning for the business aspects of your career.

Did learning about massage therapy entrepreneurship interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Massage Therapy Techniques Guide: The Many Types of Massage

Massage Therapist Utilizing Massage Techniques

As a massage therapist, it is crucial to understand all of the different types of massage and how the massage techniques help benefit clients.  During a massage therapy program at your local vocational school, you will learn about different types of massage techniques, including hot stone massage, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, prenatal massage, sports massage, Thai massage, and Shiatsu massage techniques. Laying down a strong foundation of massage therapy education allows you to help clients be happy and healthy.

Hot Stone Massage Techniques

Hot stone massage techniques treat stress, tension and muscle soreness. Additionally, this type of massage improves metabolism and blood circulation. One of the most significant benefits of hot stone massage is that it stimulates muscle relaxation. Stones are heated using water. Once they reach the ideal temperature, they are placed strategically on the body. The direct heat provided by the stones is helpful for relaxing muscles. The stones are also useful to increase circulation, reduce stress, alleviate pain, and boost relaxation.

Swedish Massage Techniques

Swedish massage is one of the most popular types of massage therapies. The techniques used in Swedish massage provides total body relaxation. Massage therapists who provide Swedish massage use long strokes to help flow blood back to the client’s heart.

In addition to being a fantastic massage for relaxation, Swedish massage techniques are beneficial to increase oxygenation in the blood, to lessen toxins in the blood, for boosting the circulatory system, and soothing tension.

Deep Tissue Massage Techniques

Similar to Swedish massage, deep tissue massage techniques uses more pressure. Deep tissue massage is great for anyone with chronic muscle tension. This type of massage therapy reaches deep muscle layers and tendons. Deep tissue massage helps to lower blood pressure and stress hormones. Additionally, deep tissue massage is conductive for triggering serotonin and oxytocin, known to be mood-boosting hormones.

Reflexology Massage Techniques

Reflexology massage therapy techniques involves massaging the client’s feet, calves, and upper legs. The massage techniques reflexology relieves pain in the toes, ankles, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis. Additionally, it lessens stress and anxiety throughout the body. As a massage therapist, it is critical for clients to communicate any discomfort during their session. Stretching and rest after the reflexology massage is beneficial. Reflexology massage, when done regularly, offers long-term benefits of feeling better and healthier.

Prenatal Massage Techniques

Prenatal massage is an ideal addition to a pregnant woman’s prenatal regimen. Prenatal massage helps alleviate common discomforts of pregnancy including back and neck pain and stiffness, headaches, leg cramps, and swelling. For expecting moms, prenatal massage is helpful for reducing stress on joints and improving circulation. Other benefits include relieving anxiety or depression caused as a result of hormonal changes in the body.

When performing prenatal massage, extra care is required. Clients should be as comfortable as possible with bolsters, pillows, or cushions with a focus on easing strains in the pelvic area and lower back. As the massage client progresses through their pregnancy, the massage techniques can be adjusted. Prenatal massage also helps to release blood toxins and increase the production of serotonin.

Sports Massage Techniques

Sports massage is ideal for all athletes. Sports massage is used to treat sore, stressed, or overused muscles. In recent years, sports massage has gained popularity as part of training programs.

Use of sports massage techniques is often helpful to prepare for events, as well as recovery. Athletes may benefit from sports massage through increased flexibility, improved endurance, reduction in fatigue, and mental clarity. Sports massage uses a techniques and massage tools to help the client achieve objectives, such as relieving aches and pains, warming up their muscles, or assisting the athlete deal with stress or anxiety before a game or event.

Thai Massage Techniques

Thai Massage differs from other types of massage techniques in the fact that the massage therapist doesn’t use any oils. Thai massage clients wear comfortable, loose clothing and lie on a firm mattress or mat placed on the floor. The client poses in a variety of yoga-like positions throughout the massage. The massage therapist uses rhythmic pressure to relieve stress and soreness. Thai massage may be administered in either a one-on-one setting or in a group setting, where multiple people receive Thai massage therapy at the same time.

Shiatsu Massage Techniques

Shiatsu massage is firmly rooted in Japanese medicine and tradition. This type of massage uses manipulation and uses stretching, acupressure, and Western massage to offer holistic healing to the client. Shiatsu massage therapists apply pressure to correct places on the body to treat a variety of issues. Shiatsu massage is great for improving mental and physical well-being, managing pain, and treating disease.

Holistic massage therapy treats the entire body, instead of focusing on one area. Acupressure taps into pressure points using energy pathways in the body. Instead of using needles like acupuncture, shiatsu massage therapists use their fingers to percuss these points.

Shiatsu massage is useful to treat many ailments. This massage technique improves circulation and promotes a healthier immune system. Shiatsu massage treats symptoms including stress reduction, indigestion, nausea, constipation, chronic pain, depression, migraines, muscle pain and arthritis. As a holistic approach, Shiatsu massage is a comprehensive treatment. It increases vitality, physicality, and lifts the client’s mood and emotional well-being.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 87% of individuals view massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness. The demand for massage therapy and its benefits will continue to grow, as well as the demand for more professional massage therapists. There are many different benefits that a client may notice, including:

  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased relaxation
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved soft tissue function
  • Decreased muscle stiffness and fatigue
  • Improved blood circulation

There are also many disorders that massage therapy can help relieve including:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be caused by repetitive motion.

Fibromyalgia – a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and tenderness.

Lower Back Pain – caused by injury to a muscle or ligament in the back.

Migraines – a recurrent throbbing headache, often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision.

Osteoarthritis – degeneration of cartilage and the underlying bone. Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the hip, knee, and thumb joints.

Sciatica – pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs down the legs from the lower back.

Tennis Elbow – inflammation of the tendons of the elbow caused by overuse of the muscles of the forearm.

Where a Massage Therapist Can Practice These Massage Techniques

A massage therapist has many opportunities to help clients with massage therapy. These locations include clinics, spas, resorts, cruise ships, physical therapy centers,  or medical facilities to support healing. With the help of franchised clinics and spas, massage therapy has become mainstream. Access to affordable massage therapy has spawned an increase in clients looking for massage therapy.

Self-employment gives massage therapists the freedom to work on their schedule and travel to clients. Many massage therapists work on-site at offices or in client’s homes. They have the ability to work on their own schedule and build a business.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 wellness industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Massage Therapy: Tools of the Trade

Massage therapy tools and tablesAs a massage therapist, having access to tools of the trade are essential for performing massage services at the highest level. Regardless of whether you are planning on working independently or for a local spa or massage franchise, here are some of the massage therapy tools you can expect to use on a daily basis.

Massage Tables

First of all, the most important massage therapy tool is the massage surface. Massage tables are key to performing services. There are two basic types of massage tables, stationary and portable. Both work excellent for full body, relaxation, or deep tissue massage.

Stationary Massage Tables

Spas, rehabilitation centers, and franchise settings often use stationary massage tables to accommodate their clients. Since the client comes to have massage services performed, these tables do not have to move regularly. Typically, stationary massage tables have a higher weight limit than portable massage tables.

When choosing a massage table, consider the table width and height. Client should lay comfortably during the massage therapy session. The table height should also complement the massage therapist to improve ergonomics and precvent stress injuries. For taller clients, the table can include attachments like leg rests, face cradles and side extensions. Stationary massage tables are made out of wood, while portable massage tables are aluminum for easier transport. The massage table’s padding should be dense, thick and comfortable for durability.

Portable Massage Tables

Folding massage tables are preferred by independent therapists or those who make house calls to perform their massage services. These folding massage tables are compact, relatively lightweight and easily transported. Many portable massage tables are also adjustable, so massage therapists can modify the height of the table.

Massage Table Tools and Accessories

Headrests, leg rest, arm shelves, and side extensions make massage tables more comfortable for clients. A face cradle helps the client stay straight on the massage table. Other accessories such as fleece pads, massage table warmers, support pillows, and massage table sheets help provide a more enjoyable experience.

Massage Chairs

Massage chairs are another option for performing massages. Many massage chairs are portable, allowing for quick setup in nearly any size space. These chairs also come with massage therapy tools and attachments including armrests, chest pads and head support. Padded seats provide maximum comfort throughout the massage therapy session.

Massage chairs are convenient in places with limited space or for performing more localized massage therapy on areas such as the back, shoulder, or neck.

Massage Oils

As a massage therapist, your goal is to provide a pleasant and relaxing experience. The use of massage oil aids in creating smoother skin, allowing the massage therapists’ hands to glide easier across the client’s skin. The application of massage oils prevents friction, which can get uncomfortable for both the client and massage therapist. Also, specially formulated massage oils can be used to help with relaxation or to treat soreness. Massage oils include essential oils such as lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and others that soothe and relieve.

Massage oils are used in athletic, sports, deep tissue, hot stone, Swedish, aromatherapy, and relaxation massages. When using massage oils, it is vital to know their advantages and disadvantages. Not all types of oils are ideal for use as massage oils. Some oils can be too sticky or greasy for regular use in massage.

To assure the safety and satisfaction of the client, massage therapists should have a variety of massage oils available for use. To avoid adverse reactions, massage therapists should always ask clients if they have allergies, to avoid using products that could cause a negative physical response such as an allergic reaction.

Electric or Manual Massage Tools

In some situations, it’s nice to have a few massage tools available. Electric and manual massage tools complement and extend massage service offerings.

Electrical massage tools such as percussive and infrared massage tools are excellent options. These tools apply constant vibration and heat to sore spots. Variable speed massagers apply consistent pressure on client’s problem areas.

Manual massage tools augment massage therapists’ capabilities. Simple, but practical manual massage tools include balls, rollers, thumb tools, handheld massage tools, hot stone massage tools, head and neck massage tinglers and massaging sticks.

Clients and therapists both benefit when the massage tools are used in combination with techniques. The client receives a more thorough and comprehensive massage to treat pain and stiffness. The massage therapist benefits by using tools designed to provide a better user experience, while alleviating some of the repetitiveness of regular massage.

Carrying Cases

For independent massage therapists, mobility and portability is key. Carrying cases make transporting items such as portable massage chairs and tables much more effortless. Additionally, having a travel bag to carry massage oils and tools streamlines the travel process for massage therapists.

Create A Great Ambiance

A comfortable setting is an essential part of getting a therapeutic massage. Items that help promote a relaxed environment include Himalayan salt lamps, live plants, lights with dimming capabilities, and a calm color scheme.  Items like towels and bathrobes are always great for clients to use during their massage therapy session.

The massage room should be well organized, offering the massage therapist easy access to any items they need. This could include extra bolsters, pillows, massage oils, and massage tools. The room should also be quiet, so the client isn’t distracted by loud noises that take away from the massage experience.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Questions to Prepare for a Massage Therapist Interview

As a recent graduate in Massage Therapy, you have a wealth of opportunities to land an entry-level position as a massage therapist at a local spa or franchise. Skilled massage therapists are in high demand, so don’t be surprised when you start getting calls for interviews!

Prepare for Common Questions at Your Interview

Here are a few common questions you may be asked at an entry-level massage therapist interview. Keep in mind that the interview process varies from employer to employer, so this is not a definitive list.

Question #1: What Massage School Did You Attend?

Massage therapy franchises and spas require therapists to be trained and licensed to perform massage services. Other related questions interviewers might ask about your training include your graduation date or any notable recognitions in school.

Question #2: Why Do You Want This Specific Job?

A common question for employers in all industries. Answer this question honestly. A simple answer is helping clients to feel better. Other reasons could include gaining experience working with a reputable company, advancement opportunities or flexible scheduling.

Question #3: What Is Your Availability?

You are expected to have an open availability when applying for entry-level massage therapy jobs. This may include evenings, split shifts, weekends, overtime, or on an ‘on call’ basis. To optimize your chances of getting hired, you should offer flexible availability to cover whatever shifts are needed. If you have limited availability, be clear with your interviewer to avoid complications later.

Question #4: What Massage Techniques Are You Most Proficient?

Spas and massage franchises offer a range of massage services to cater to a variety of clients. Tell your interviewer what type of massages you feel you are best at providing. Depending on the employer, there could be increased demand for specific skills.

For instance, if you are interviewing at a rehabilitation center, deep tissue massage skills could be more valuable than relaxation massage therapies. If you are interviewing for a holistic or day spa, the employer might prefer experience with hot stone or Swedish massage. In some cases, your interviewer may ask you to demonstrate your massage skills to evaluate your skills.

Question #5: What Ideas Do You Have to Improve the Business?

Regardless of where you are interviewing, companies search for candidates willing to provide outstanding services, as well as grow their business. Perhaps you can drive more business using your personal or professional network. Alternatively, you might have advertising or marketing ideas that may attract more customers.

Question #6: How Would You Handle an Inappropriate Client?

As a massage therapist, there is a chance that clients could make inappropriate suggestions or behave unprofessionally during their session. If asked this question during your interview, tell the interviewer that you will use your better judgment. You should handle the situation as outlined by the company’s employee handbook.

Employers want to know that employees will follow the rules, especially as it relates to improper behavior. Failure to do so can result in damage to the company, in addition to other financial or legal liabilities.

Question #7: How Many Massages Can You Do Consecutively?

At busier franchises and spas, having massage therapists who can perform multiple sessions during their shift is critical. Don’t get caught off guard if your interviewer asks how many massages you can complete in a row comfortably.

By asking this question, the potential employer is gathering helpful information for scheduling. Spa owners and managers want to assure that new and existing employees can handle their appointment schedules without compromising the service. By understanding the physical limitations of therapists they can schedule work appropriately.

Question #8: Do You Interact with Clients During Services?

Depending on the employer and type of services, interviewers may ask how you interact with clients while providing massage services. Undoubtedly, you want to be friendly, so you can build a relationship and rapport with your new clients. However, you want to be careful not to overstep, depending on the type of massage therapy you are to perform.

If an employer provides group massage sessions, such as rehabilitative or sports massage, chatting with clients is usually fine. Communicating with clients during sessions is critical to providing relief. In high-end relaxation spas, massage clients may prefer to keep small talk to a minimum, so they can close their eyes and relax.

High End Massage Clients and Communication

Generally, it is okay to ask high-end clients questions for feedback. Asking them too many questions about their personal life could be distracting and unwelcome. To get a better feel for what the client wants to treat, ask these questions before the massage. Some spas may have clients fill out a questionnaire beforehand.

The more you understand the massage therapist interview process, the more prepared you are to land the job.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Prenatal & Postpartum Massage: Massage for the Mind, Body & Spirit

In 2016, there were almost 4 million babies born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With so many children being born, there is a growing need for massage therapists that have prenatal and postpartum massage training.

Prenatal massage is a technique involving deep bodywork to improve circulation, take strain off muscles and joints, and help during prenatal and postpartum pregnancy phases. Massage therapy can help minimize the discomforts of pregnancy. Prenatal and postnatal massage can help by relieving back strain, headaches and ease postpartum stress. There are prenatal massage guidelines that a massage therapist should abide by to ensure safe sessions. Prenatal massage has many benefits such as hormone regulation, reducing swelling, improvement of nerve pain. This type of massage can also aid the circulatory and lymphatic systems, improve mood and lower stress levels. Postpartum massage helps mothers after delivery to restore their body and ease postpartum depression.

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage helps pregnant women relieve stress and discomfort in pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience discomfort in the back, neck, and legs. Prenatal massage helps relieve headaches and swelling from increased blood flow. Prenatal massage is especially beneficial later in the pregnancy, as the baby grows and causes strains and discomfort for their mother.

What is Postpartum Massage?

Postpartum massage helps pregnant women relieve stress, stretch marks and improve moods after birth. Having a baby can cause stress and paired with hormones, some new moms may experience intense mood swings. The usual “Baby Blues” can start a few days after delivery and can last a few weeks. In more severe cases, it is considered postpartum depression. With the assistance of medical treatment and therapies (including massage), new moms may be able to ease their depression.

Discomforts of Pregnancy

In order to help expecting mothers, massage therapists should understand the cause of discomfort. Pregnant women may have anemia, backaches, breast tenderness, edema, elimination problems, headaches, leg cramps, nausea, and/or respiratory conditions.

Anemia – During pregnancy, women increase their blood volume. The body reacts by creating less red blood cells that can dilute the blood, causing anemia. This may lead to fatigue and exhaustion.

Backaches – As the baby grows, pregnant women lean back to compensate for the additional weight. This can put stress on the joints, lumbar spine and abdominal muscles.

Breast Tenderness – As the breasts begin to produce milk in anticipation of the child’s birth, they may also become increasingly tender to the touch.

Edema – There is an increase in fluid volumes later in pregnancy, which leads to excessive swelling.

Elimination Problems – Pregnant women may experience frequent urination due to the reduced size of the bladder, compensating for the enlarged uterus. The pregnant women may also suffer from constipation as the organs in her body are moved for the growing fetus. Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy as the pregnant women may exert pressure due to constipation.

Headaches – Many things can contribute to a headache including congestion, stress, dehydration and increased muscle tension.

Leg Cramps – The extra weight of the fetus can press on the blood vessels and cause leg cramps during pregnancy.

Nausea – Many pregnant woman have morning sickness early in their pregnancy.

Discomforts of the Postpartum Phase

Understanding the causes of the discomforts of pregnancy is important for the massage therapist to learn about to better help a pregnant woman after delivery. The postpartum phase can cause “Baby Blues”, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, stretch marks and vascular problems.

Baby Blues – Can start a few days after delivery and usually only lasts a few weeks. New moms may suffer from mood swings, anxiety, sadness, limited appetite and sleeping issues.

Postpartum Depression – Postpartum depression is a more severe depression and includes mood swings, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of appetite and difficulty bonding with the baby.

Postpartum Psychosis – A rare condition that develops within the first week of delivery. The signs and symptoms include confusion, obsessive thoughts about the baby, hallucinations, excessive agitation, and paranoia.

Stretch Marks – With the increase weight gain in pregnancy, women may experience stretch marks on the body.

Vascular Problems – Pregnant women may experience varicose veins from an increase in pressure in leg veins.

Prenatal Massage Guidelines

Prenatal massages should last around 10 to 30 minutes. The massage table should be lowered so that pregnant women can easily get on and off the table. Pregnant women may also be sensitive to strong odors from scented lotions and aromatherapy. The massage therapist must be careful when massaging the medial thigh, as blood clots may be produced. These blood clots can be loosened with massage and become lodged in the heart or lungs. It is recommended that only gentle pressure be used in the medial thigh region.

Prenatal Massage Benefits

Massage therapy during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains. Prenatal massage is especially beneficial later in the pregnancy, when extra weight causes back strain. Many of the benefits of prenatal massage include:

Hormone Regulation – Hormone levels, along with relaxation and stress may be improved when massage therapy is part of a woman’s prenatal and postpartum care.

Reduction of Swelling – Massage therapy stimulates soft tissues and reduces the collection of fluids in swollen joints.

Improvement of Nerve Pain – Massage therapy relieves inflammation of nerves and helps to release tension on the muscles.

Aid the Circulatory and Lymphatic Systems – Prenatal massage improves blood flow to both the mother and the baby.

Improve Mood and Lower Stress Level – Prenatal massage can help reduce headaches and strains on the body.

Postpartum Massage

Postpartum massage can help reduce tension and soreness. It can help restore the body, realign the body and tone the over-stretched skin on the belly. Postpartum massage will also help relieve pressure on varicose veins.

Since many new moms will suffer from “Baby Blues,” postpartum massage helps relieve stress, headaches, fatigue and promotes better sleep. Endorphins released through postpartum massage may also help to relieve these feelings, in conjunction with care from their physician.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.