How Do I Start My Own Massage Therapy Business?

Woman provides a chair massage to a client at her massage therapy business.

If you are looking for a new career that you can start and run on your own, consider a massage therapy business. Massage therapy is a great field to begin a new career in because it allows you to begin on your own terms, at your own pace, and in your own way. It is a career that has many interesting opportunities and an array of versatility.  Are you asking yourself, “How do I start my own massage therapy business?”

There are many reasons to consider a change in career path right now. Are you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in order to take control of your own employment situation? In these uncertain times it is important that you try to make informed decisions. Consider things carefully and make sure you are making the right choice. Enact thoughtful plans when deciding on a new career path.

Steps to Start Your Own Massage Therapy Business

There are a few steps that will help you start your own massage therapy business on the right foot. These steps include doing your research, completing training and certification, deciding on a location, starting a marketing strategy, gaining momentum and maintaining success.

Step #1: Do Your Research

Even before you get started taking serious steps to realize your new business goals it is important that you understand what starting a massage therapy business entails. Doing some research before you get started will help you make smarter decisions and feel confident about your plans moving forward.

Understand the Demand for Massage Therapy in Your Area

It is worth knowing what kind of massage therapy is in demand in your business’s area. Is there a high demand for spa therapy experiences? Do you have community sports or athletic teams that might be in need of sports massage therapy? What kind of massage services are available in your area for pregnant women? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the demographics you may want to consider. Understand your services, partner with other businesses, and decide how much advertising it will take to get started. Keep in mind that underserved communities have high demand.

Weigh Your Educational Options

Getting an education is arguably the most import step in beginning your massage therapy business. Certification and licensing are essential to an informed and educated start to your new career. They are also necessary for legal business operation and required by law. Finding the right program is a crucially important part of your research. Explore programs that fit your schedule, get you started quickly and have experienced instructors that offer one-on-one attention.

Step #2: Complete Training and Certification

Once you have decided on the massage therapy program that fits your needs it is time to start learning the valuable skills and information you will carry throughout your massage therapy career. Enrolling in a program is just the beginning. From there you will complete the course requirements, learn the massage techniques and methods you will need to begin your business. Here are a few tips that will help you see your certification goals through to the end.

Tip #1: Select a Program That Fits Your Needs

Make sure that you commit to classes and a schedule that fits with your life demands and current obligations. Whatever your specific needs may be, make sure to decide on an academic option that you are able to dedicate yourself to. Your career aspirations and future success are well worth the effort and commitment to completing a massage therapy program.

Tip #2: Support Yourself in Reaching Your Goals

Starting down a new path can come with many challenges and struggles. Make sure you prioritize your ambitions in your daily schedule by blocking out study/practice time when you need it, so you are familiar with concepts and techniques that have been covered. Take care of your mental health by allowing time to cool down and decompress when things get stressful. Burning out on the starting line is no way to start a business.

Tip #3: Stick with It

Don’t give up on yourself. Your goals are worth pursuing. Be creative when facing problems and don’t be afraid to think outside the box for solutions. If possible, rely on a personal support system of people who can be your cheerleaders during the months you are completing your massage therapy courses.

Step #3: Decide on a Location

You’ve competed your education and acquired the proper certification and licensing. Now it’s time to get started taking concrete steps toward making your personal business plan a reality. Consider a location that fits your needs and offers the most traffic that you can afford. Make sure the decisions you make on location are fully informed and properly researched beforehand.

Traditional Spa Option

Starting your own business out of a massage therapy spa has a lot of advantages. The spa offers advertising and potential clients in exchange for rent. However, you may be competing with others at the spa offering the same services you do. Working in a traditional spa offers both pros and cons that should be carefully considered.

Home-Based Spa Experiences

It is possible in many areas to operate a massage therapy business out of the comfort of your own residence. This allows you to begin your practice quickly without a large upfront real estate investment. Make sure that your home has all the structural requirements and amenities necessary for you to conduct your business comfortably and safely. Also, make sure your massage therapy space is able to pass any health codes that apply. Look into all codes and requirements in your area even before you have completed your education. This will give you time to make any adjustments needed so you can be ready to go as soon as you are certified.

Client Mobile Services

You also have the option of starting a massage therapy business that provides massage services in your clients’ homes. This option does not require you to secure a “business location” because you would likely operate as a mobile support service. There are local and state guidelines for this kind of operation. Most of what you will need is a business license, certification, clients, supplies, the proper equipment, and a means to get from appointment to appointment.

Step #4: Marketing Strategy

After you have made decisions about the look of your new business it is time to build a customer base. Making the public aware of your services will be crucial to generating and maintaining revenue. There are a few different ways to reach your audience. The best choice for you will depend on where you live and what your target demographic is.

Online Advantages

Online marketing is an easy and highly accessible way to advertise your services. It is also very cost effective in most cases. Social media marketing and website scheduling give you the tools to get the word out about your business. Make your online advertising engaging and your scheduling system as simple as possible to help increase client interest and participation.

Customer Review/Word of Mouth

Getting positive customer reviews and increasing word of mouth will be important to the success of your massage therapy business. Overcoming a bad reputation can be incredibly difficult and require a lot of time and monetary investment to correct. On the other hand, building a good reputation makes everything easier. Treat your clients well and take your professional reputation seriously. Word of mouth can help make you, but it can just as easily break you.

Step #5: Gain Momentum and Maintain Success

Starting a massage therapy business on your own takes a lot of strength and commitment. It is important to stay committed if you want lasting, real success in your new career. Thorough preparation and informed planning will make your massage therapy business successful.

Constant Improvements

Making adjustments is not a signal of failure, but rather a sign of wisdom and intelligence. Reacting to new information instead of ignoring it might not always be the easiest option, but it will likely end up being the most profitable in the long run.

Celebrate and Follow Your Successes

It is always a good idea to reassess and reconfigure things that aren’t working, but don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. If you are having success with your clients using a particular technique, then stick with that technique. If your community has a high demand for certain services or information you provide, consider expanding those particular areas of your massage therapy business. You can even highlight those services in your advertising. Give yourself credit when things go well, the same way you take responsibility when they don’t go as planned.

Final Thoughts

Once you have the proper training you will feel confident in beginning your massage therapy business. Starting your own massage therapy business is a risk but it will be a risk worth taking if you enjoy a challenge.

Want to Learn More?

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 massage industry.

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

What is Sports Massage Therapy?

Athlete receiving sports massage therapy.

Are you looking for a job and have a passion for sports? Want to start a career in a growing segment of massage therapy? With the increase in sport activities by both amateur and professional athletes, sports massage therapy has become a way for athletes of all levels to prepare for the rigors of sports, to cool down after competition and to repair the body after sports injuries. Let’s start by looking at “What is Sports Massage Therapy?”

What is Sports Massage Therapy?

Sports massage is manual manipulation of the muscles geared specifically toward helping people who have physically demanding lifestyles and/or hobbies. This kind of therapeutic massage considers the impact of certain activities on specific joints, muscle groups, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue groups. The conscious focus of sports massage therapy maximizes the benefit of certain massage techniques and supports further physical exertion and activity. An initial assessment is used to create a specially informed massage therapy plan that will meet each individual athlete’s specific needs.

What are the Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy?

Why would someone choose this kind of athletic therapy when there are so many other kinds of massages available? Activities such as athletic games, official sports, and intense exercise can be hard on the body. This means choosing the right kind of massage method for an active lifestyle and body. The purpose of a deep tissue massage, for example, is to treat chronic pain and on-going tension. This might be beneficial in a very general sense, but sports massage therapy is specifically designed to support and enhance the performance, recovery, and relaxation of people (typically athletes) who are frequently and/or intensely physically active.

Benefit #1: Relaxation

Relaxation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about sports massage, but it is an exceptionally important part of maintaining the health of an athlete. Sports massage is used as part of a specific recovery or enhancement program and can also be on-going if a body requires it. Athletes in the off-season benefit from sports massage with significantly decreased tension in the muscles that have been stressed or over-extended throughout the season. For those who play and train rigorously year-round it is a way to help the body sustain physical stress without damage, to quickly and fully recover from injury.

Massage therapy is helpful in balancing chemistry and helping to stabilize overall mood. Mood can have an impact on how effective the body is during physical activity. This is especially true for sports and activities that require quick decision making and careful observation. Relieving tension build up and improving emotional state can help prevent accidental injuries and long-lasting damage to the body. It can also help athletes gain an advantage over competitors.

Benefit #2: Recovery

Recovering from a destructive injury or physical strain is different for every athlete. The specific recovery program an athlete, coach, physical therapist, or physician decides on will depend on the athlete’s personal medical history, and what sport they play or physical activity they engage in. For example, the recovery of a baseball injury will likely be different than that of a gymnast. Consequently, their massages are going to be different, as well. Sports massage therapy can be customized based on specific needs, challenges, and if necessary, injuries. The ability to identify and treat specific physical weaknesses can have a positive effect on athletic performance.

Benefit #3: Removal of Toxins

Another part of athletic recovery that is enhanced by sports massage therapy is the release and removal of toxins from the muscles. When the muscles are engaged for long periods of time and the body is challenged, lactic acid can build up and toxins can begin to affect certain tissues. This lactic acid increase can create painful knots and uncomfortable binding throughout the body. A toxic build up can decrease athletic ability quickly and significantly. It can also affect areas of life outside of sport or activity. Lactic acid can be problematic in day-to-day movements and tasks, though it is hardly the only toxin the muscles and tissues store. Sports massage therapy helps work and loosen the muscle fibers of overworked areas to relieve lactic acid, along with all of the other painful toxins in the muscles and tissues, so that the body can remove and discard them quickly and efficiently.

Benefit #4: Better Sleep

Sports massage therapy can help facilitate and deepen sleep. Sleep is an under addressed part of physical rehabilitation that is neglected far too often. Chaotic sleep patterns and poor quality of sleep can seriously impact the body’s ability to function physically, let alone perform at its best. Any sport played or physical activity engaged in will suffer if sleep needs are not met and appropriately prioritized. Getting adequate rest is essential for general health and overall physical performance, but is especially important if the body is physically challenged. Massages that are specifically focused on chosen activities and lifestyle can help relieve discomfort and provide the support that will allow the creation and maintenance of healthy sleep habits.

Benefit #5: Performance Enhancement

Athletes not experiencing any physical damage or difficulty can participate in regularly scheduled maintenance massages to help improve athletic performance. Sports massage therapy gives support to the areas of the body worked by specific sport or exercise activities. This kind of activity conscious treatment and assessment can help heighten an athlete’s abilities and provide them with the physical support necessary to pursue and achieve their goals. Muscle and joint attention through sports massage therapy can greatly assist athletic performance.

When muscles are regularly massaged by a professionally trained sports massage therapist, an athlete decreases their risk of injury. Massage provides the support that the body needs to perform safely and confidently. If an athlete’s muscles are knotted and overly stressed it will be difficult for them to support their body when playing a competitive sport or participating in rigorous exercise. This can lead to further muscle damage, intensified discomfort, and can even cause injury. A body’s joints need the muscles around them to be fully engaged and strong enough to safely and fully support the body’s movements. It is also far easier to strain muscles that are already tight. Regular therapeutic sports massage helps the body from being dependent on bound muscles and weak joints for support when it is time to perform.

Who Could Benefit from a Sports Massage?

Athletic massages are obviously a benefit to people who play professional sports, but these athletes are not the only people who can benefit from sports massage therapy. The emphasis on athletics comes from the high rate of physical strain and damage caused by long term participation in sport activities, as well as the training that often goes with them. However, there are plenty of activities that can have an equal or greater toll on the body’s physical well-being. Let’s take a look at some of the many groups of people who could benefit from a sports massage.

Fitness Newcomers

Someone does not have to be an “athlete” in order to benefit from a sports massage. Anytime the body is pushed physically it is important to properly manage the impact activity is having on the body. Massage can easily be part of both the assessment and the care plan. It is particularly important to pay close attention to the body when beginning or newly intensifying activity.

Amateur Athletes

The average person doesn’t need to be a widely recognized or a well-paid athlete to sustain the same injuries that professionals do. In fact, because amateurs lack the time and resources to practice and train the way that most professionals do, they are arguably at greater risk of accidental injury. Perhaps someone has joined a community sports league. Someone could have the goal of running a marathon, half marathon, or 5k run in the near future. They may prefer to participate in more isolated, solitary physical activities such as acro-yoga or balance training. These are all activities that require an elevated level of physical skill and dedication beyond the novice level, even if those skills are comfortably still amateur. All activities have an impact on the body. Sports massage therapy can help the body make sure that the impact is strictly positive.

Dedicated Athletes

There are those rare, talented, driven people with goals of turning their sport into a profession. They are prime candidates for regularly scheduled sports massage. Getting to the career level in a sport or athletic activity is a serious goal that will need serious planning, real dedication, and professional support. Sport-specific massage can help dedicated athletes avoid injuries and damage that might deter them from their goals or set back their career aspirations. Sports massage therapy will help to ensure that their rise to the top doesn’t ruin their ability to have a long and healthy career once they get there.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a sports massage therapist is a rewarding job, helping both professional and amateur athletes prepare for sporting activity and manage sports injury. It is a flexible career offering for people that want to have the ability to change the lives of athletes, while changing the life of the sports massage therapist in the process.

Want to Learn More?

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 the 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 sports massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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

The Many Benefits of Massage Therapy

Woman massage therapist looking happy with the benefits her job awards.

Did you know that there are many benefits to becoming a massage therapist? These benefits can help you as a massage therapist and your clients. You can help improve your work/life balance at the same time as helping a client relieve stress and improve relaxation. If you are looking for a career that offers the ability to help others while starting a challenging career, this might be the right path for you. Let’s start by looking at the benefits your clients may receive from massage therapy.

What are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?

There are many different benefits of massage therapy. They include relaxation, stress reduction, headache relief, increased flexibility, better posture, increased blood circulation, immunity support, and removal of toxins and scar tissue.

Benefit #1: Relaxation

Massage therapy offers relaxation to those with stress. Working, exercising and daily life can all cause stress and tension in the body. Massage helps relieve the tension and promotes relaxation. Massage therapy can also release endorphins, the feel-good hormone, in the brain during a massage therapy session. Further, the atmosphere plays a role in relaxation during a massage. You can use massage oils, candles and scents to help the client relax during a massage.

Benefit #2: Stress Reduction

Sress is a part of daily life and massage therapy can help. Stress is caused in the body as a reaction to physical, mental and emotional factors. This stress can affect a client’s ability to relax and recover. Massage therapy is a great way to reduce stress in the body.

Stress is also caused by childbirth. Prenatal massage allows the reduction of stress during pregnancy. This helps mothers-to-be relieve the stress put on the body during and after pregnancy.

Benefit #3: Headache Relief

Headaches or migraines can be debilitating, and massage therapy can help relieve those headaches. Massage improves the flow of blood and helps blood move throughout the body. This blood will travel to the brain and offer more oxygen and nutrients to help relieve headaches. Massage therapy is a great way for your clients to reduce the pain caused by headaches.

Benefit #4: Increased Flexibility

For those that sit or stand all day, muscles can lose their range of motion. These muscles can shorten from inflammation. By elongating the muscles with the help of massage therapy, you can help your clients to increase their muscle flexibility and range of motion. Massage also helps lubricate joints, further improving muscle and joint flexibility.

Benefit #5: Better Posture

Many of us have poor posture when we sit or stand. This poor posture can cause tension in the muscles, accelerating pain and discomfort. Massage therapy relieves this pain and discomfort to allow better posture.

Benefit #6: Increased Blood Circulation

Massage helps to increase blood circulation by opening up blood vessels to allow the movement of blood to sore muscles. This increased blood flow helps remove toxins and supply the muscles with oxygenated blood. Increased blood circulation can also help at the beginning of the massage allowing muscles to warm up. The increase in blood flow is also important during prenatal massage, offering a mother-to-be the movement of blood to improve immunity and relaxation in the body.

Benefit #7: Immunity Support

With the increase of blood circulation and the releasing of blood to the body’s muscles and organs, massage can result in a healthier immune system. The reduction in stress and increased relaxation will continue to support the immune system, making massage therapy an aid in immunity support of your client’s body.

Benefit #8: Removal of Toxins and Scar Tissue

Toxins, waste and scar tissue can build up in the muscles, specifically after strenuous exercise. Exercise can trap toxins and scar tissue in the muscles. Through massage therapy, these toxins can be expelled from the muscles, relieving pain and easing tension. The reduction in scar tissue allows muscles to rebuild stronger and healthier during the process of massage.

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Massage Therapist?

There are many benefits to becoming a massage therapist. You have the opportunity to help others by reducing pain, relieving stress and improving their health. Massage therapy can change the lives of your clients and lead them on a path to a healthy and stress-free life. Many mothers-to-be will come to you for prenatal massage, and you will have the opportunity to improve their quality of life during pregnancy.

Becoming a massage therapist also allows you to create a flexible work schedule. Many massage therapists work part-time while attending to family or enjoying hobbies. You can also work full-time at a local spa allowing the spa to find your clientele. You also have the option, once you have gained some valuable experience, to become a self-employed massage therapist. This gives you the flexibility to work for a spa or go out on your own to start a massage business. While self-employed, you decide your schedule, where you work and who you work with. While working for yourself (depending on local city and state licensing laws), you have the ability to go to clients’ homes and offices or work out of your own home or office. Becoming a massage therapist offers the flexibility that you want to make a positive work/life balance.

Growing Career Field

Once you become a massage therapist, you have the opportunity to work in many different places. You can work with other massage therapists at a spa or resort. You can go to conventions, malls, casinos and other locations that bring people together that may need to relax and enjoy a massage. Finally, you can also work for yourself and create your own clientele, meeting them at their homes or offices. Some massage therapists even travel on cruise ships, go to luxury resorts and find new ways to enjoy the benefits of becoming a massage therapist.

Furthermore, massage therapists are in high demand. Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More people are realizing that massage therapy is a great way to relieve the stress of the day-to-day and escape without the need to travel. Massage therapy is becoming more popular for many that want an alternative way to relieve stress, rehab after a sports injury or just enjoy a relaxing day off.

What are the Benefits of Attending a Massage Therapy Program?

While attending a massage therapy program full-time, you have the opportunity to start earning in as little as 5 months. During this program, you will learn about anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. These classes give you the knowledge of the body and the functions that massage therapy effects.

Another benefit of attending a massage therapy program is small class sizes. You will get one-on-one instruction from industry experienced professionals in the art of massage therapy. These small class sizes will also allow you to meet fellow classmates and make life-long friendships.

Some vocational schools have career services that offer graduates and alumni support in finding a job. They help identify opportunities and assist with cover letters, resumes and portfolios. Also included in career services are mock interviews to prepare for a real-world interview. Finally, career services offer the ability to network with instructors, classmates, externship colleagues and industry professionals in an effort to find a job after graduation. Attending a massage therapy program at a vocational school can provide benefits for you and your future clients.

Want to Learn More?

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 massage industry.

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

What is Prenatal Massage: A Massage Therapist’s Guide

Pregnant woman experiencing back pain that could be helped by prenatal massage

Prenatal massage is a kind of massage therapy that is specifically designed for pregnant bodies throughout all of the stages and growth phases of pregnancy. Adding prenatal massage to your client’s prenatal care routine may be just what they need to help them balance the chaos they are feeling both physically and mentally.

Massage therapy is a practice that many people have turned to as a safe and natural way to balance their stress while also helping them maintain various aspects of their physical health. If your client is pregnant, they may be wondering if a massage is still a safe and helpful option for them and their ever-changing body. Prenatal massage specifically helps those that are pregnant and in need of stress relief.

There is no denying that giving birth can be stressful. Finding a way to relieve your stress and maintain your physical health is now more imperative than ever. However, this is often easier said than done, particularly if you are someone who is pregnant. Let’s take a look at what prenatal massage actually is as well as examining the benefits of the practice.

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage is a specific kind of manual manipulation therapy that you, as a massage therapist, should be specially trained in. It is an area of massage therapy dedicated to facilitating the comfort, health, and relaxation of people in various stages of pregnancy while actively considering common conditions and discomforts. It is important that you learn about how the body changes throughout each phase and transition of each trimester. This knowledge is important to help your clients to receive the maximum benefits of the experience, but also so that you know how to avoid accidental injury or creating unnecessary risk to your client’s health or the health of their pregnancy.

How is Prenatal Massage Different from Other Kinds of Massage?

Firstly, you may be wondering why pregnancy requires a different kind of massage therapy technique. Pregnant women are often able to carry on many of their daily activities without much adjustment to their routine. Many mothers-to-be can comfortably continue to perform daily activities such as exercise and work while pregnant without having to significantly alter their activities. What makes massage different?

During any massage there are several different body systems that are engaged. Different manual manipulation techniques can help stimulate the muscular system, joints and bones, the lymphatic system, the skin, deep and surface tissues, as well as stimulating the circulatory system in various areas of the body. Throughout the phases of pregnancy these systems are stressed and stimulated quite differently than they would normally be. Furthermore, these changes require you to make specific and strategic adjustments to help make sure that the massage is comfortable, effective, and safe for your client. Let’s explore a couple of the most important differences between a traditional massage and a prenatal massage.

Areas of Focus: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

The areas of the body that you will focus on during your client’s prenatal therapy appointment will be determined based on how their specific body is experiencing pregnancy. Some women experience significant discomfort in their shoulders and chest as breast tissue swells and glands are activated. Others experience tremendous tension in their hips and lower back from the added weight of belly growth and blood weight during pregnancy. Discussing the way your client’s particular body is affected by the facilitation of fetal development will inform you about trouble areas that may need extra or adjusted attention.

A couple of the areas that have special precautions are the abdomen and the legs. These areas can also experience pain and discomfort in all phases of pregnancy, but the abdomen should be avoided for during the first trimester.  Deep pressure massage should be avoided for both areas during the entire pregnancy.  For the leg area, pressure should be light and the therapist should check for pitting edema first.  Also, the abdomen can be massaged using special techniques during the second and third trimesters, only with the permission of the mother. It is particularly important to make sure you are specifically trained in prenatal techniques, methods, and safety procedures.

Amount and Kind of Pressure Applied: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

Arm yourself with many techniques and tools to help maximize the effects of massage on your client’s pregnant bodies. Every pregnancy is unique, even for those who have experienced pregnancy before. Each pregnancy physically presents differently based on a large number of physical and environmental factors, such as your client’s physical condition prior to pregnancy, their pregnancy hormone levels, the amount of personal and professional pressure in their life, the amount of physical activity they do, general stress, and their physical size.

Open communication about what your client is experiencing both mentally and physically is important for achieving the best results from a prenatal massage appointment. The kind of pain or discomfort they feel will help guide you in providing the maximum amount of relief. The location of pressure, the kinds of pressure, and the techniques used and even the mood they prefer during their massage will likely change from one appointment to the next, as their body grows and changes. They will have new sensitivities that develop while others will fade away fairly quickly. Being trained in pregnancy relief and support techniques will give you the knowledge and tools necessary to provide your client with all they need from a massage to feel comfortable, supported, and happy.

Positioning: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

During a traditional massage appointment, a client will lay either face down or face up, based on what area is being focused on during various portions of the appointment. Lying face down allows you to apply even, downward pressure to various stress points and creates greater accessibility to large portions of the body. Lying face up can give similar advantages to the opposite side of the body. This flattened posture helps to support much of the linear direction and uniform pressure techniques used to manipulate tissues and maneuver knots in the muscle fibers. These ground-parallel positions also enhance your ability to more readily access various pressure points that can provide significant physical stress relief.

As you can imagine, lying face down with a pregnant belly isn’t really an option. Lying flat on one’s back can also cause added stress on the circulatory, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. That additional blood and oxygen stress on a client can lead to dangerous light headedness and dizziness. You will train to work with clients positioned on their sides as well as in various seated positions that allow you to increase your access to the tender and sensitive areas of their growing pregnant body, while also prioritizing their safety. As a prenatal massage therapist, you will train to maintain the proper hand and finger pressures without the aid of gravity that typical flat and prone positioning provides.

What are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

There are many different benefits to prenatal massage. The most common benefits of prenatal massage include stress reduction, physical relief and support. Although there are many more benefits that include clearing out toxins from the body, increasing blood circulation, improvement in flexibility, improved sleep, immunity enhancement and finally, reduction of fatigue.

Stress Reduction

Even if your client isn’t experiencing a great deal of physical pain or discomfort during their pregnancy, taking a bit of time out to focus on their body and how they are feeling can have tremendous mental health benefits for them. As a prenatal massage therapist, certainly focus on relaxation and tension relief to help them avoid unhealthy stress build-up and to manage some of the anxieties they may encounter.

Physical Relief and Support

Firstly, discomfort and pain are the most common reasons for booking a prenatal massage appointment. The changes that the body experiences can be a rapid shock that stresses several different body systems all at once. But there is more to the physical benefits than simply confronting pain. Evaluating and massaging your client’s body throughout their pregnancy can be about general maintenance. It can help them avoid many physical pregnancy pitfalls most mothers-to-be experience by regularly tending to their body as it changes, rather than as problems occur. By paying special attention to different areas of their body and immediately addressing any issues that arise you can help them take care of knots and tension before they even become a significant problem.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career, and it can be even more rewarding helping pregnant women relieve stress, reduce pain and prepare for birth. Prenatal massage is an important part of any pregnancy and taking the time to learn everything you can about prenatal massage will make sure you can offer the best massage experience to every client you work with.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about prenatal massage interest you? 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 massage industry.

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

What are the Benefits of a Chair Massage?

Workings getting a neck massage.

Massage offers scientifically proven relief from stress and chronic pain. Used worldwide as an adjunct treatment for a wide range of health-related needs, millions of Americans receive massages, but so many more could benefit if only it were more accessible. The good news is, for clients who want a massage but can’t get away from home or work for the full table version, massage therapists are taking chair massage on the road, and it’s been a tremendous success.

What is Chair Massage Therapy?

Chair massage is similar to table massage in most ways, except that instead of laying on a table, clients kneel in a specialized chair equipped with a pad and face cradle to support their head and chest. Most chairs come with extendable armrests for enhanced upper bodywork, and they’re fully adjustable for height and comfort.

The origins of chair massage aren’t exactly straightforward, as many techniques and equipment designs were arguably early versions of the practice. However, it was most notably and definitively established in 1968 by David Palmer. The goal of using a chair during massage was to increase the client’s relaxation and allow them to remain somewhat upright and aligned in the seated position. This method also allowed for a more of a public atmosphere during the massage itself. Privacy is required in other forms of massage because items of clothing are typically removed to create accessibility to certain areas of the body. Since chair massage deals primarily with the upper extremities and limbs of the body the client’s clothes always stay on.

How is a Chair Massage Performed?

A professional chair massage is performed with the same care and precautions as the full table version. Massage therapists ask clients about their goals and physical limitations. After a brief discussion, they’re seated face-forward in the chair, and adjustments are made for comfort.

Massaging generally begins with the large muscle groups in the upper back and radiates toward the lower back, shoulders, neck and arms. Because large muscle groups support the smaller muscles that are often the sites of pain, it’s an ideal technique. Massage therapists may recommend different types of massages based on a client’s physical responses, and what they believe would feel best.

While full-body table massages last from 30 minutes to an hour or more, most upper body chair massages require only 10–20 minutes, duration may vary based on need. When the massage is complete, the equipment is sanitized and prepared for the next client.

Where are Chair Massages Performed?

Chair massages can be performed anywhere the equipment fits including:

  • Offices
  • Shopping malls
  • Casinos
  • Conference centers
  • Day spas
  • Colleges
  • Hair salons
  • Libraries
  • Private homes
  • Health clubs

Benefits of Chair Massage

Adverse physical effects such as muscle tension, tissue binding, and muscular knotting can lead to headaches and joint discomfort. The damage, if left untreated, can cause long term effects. Prioritizing comfort and general health are a vital part of maintaining a high quality of life.

The chair massages is limited to the upper body, however the benefits are similar to full-body table versions and include stress reduction, enhanced circulation, increases physical flexibility, a more vibrant immune system, pain relief, deeper sleep, improved athletic performance, a brighter mood, and better chronic disease management.

Benefit #1: Stress Reduction

Research consistently shows that massages relieve stress. Just a single session has been shown to reduce high levels of fight-or-flight hormones while releasing the natural endorphins that improve mood and promote feelings of calm. Periodic massage sessions can help reduce stress on a continued basis. Many offices offer chair massage for this very reason.

Benefit #2: Enhanced Circulation

Massage stimulates the flow of both blood and lymphatic fluid. Massage improves vascular function almost as well as exercise. Because blood carries oxygen and vital nutrients, circulation nourishes the entire body, including the brain. Science shows a direct correlation between circulation and cognition. Early analyses suggest massage could help stave off some forms of cognitive decline. With the increase in the Baby Boomer population chair massage can help older clients reduce cognitive decline.

Benefit #3: Increases Physical Flexibility

The looser muscles and joints are, the easier it will be for someone to move them. Unbinding muscles and tissues through chair massage can help increase range of motion and freedom of movement. The tighter muscles are, the harder they will be to move and articulate.

Benefit #4: A More Vibrant Immune System

Massage improves immune function by boosting the production of the white blood cells responsible for fighting off infection. Although there are no large studies to suggest massage can affect cancer, these “natural killer cells” play a role in immune function and could help immunocompromised patients stay healthier.

Benefit #5: Pain Relief

More doctors are prescribing massage to help manage both chronic and acute pain. It can ease the daily discomfort caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, and it’s also been shown to reduce pain from musculoskeletal injuries from tennis elbow to sprains.

Massage has shown to decrease the symptom severity of conditions such as knee tendinitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In many cases, the effects are as successful as other interventions, including anti-inflammatory medications and surgery. Because it’s low-risk and non-invasive, it also eliminates the worry of complications. Many patients who’ve tried massages for pain relief say they’re mostly effective, and most plan to continue.

Benefit #6: Deeper Sleep

Massages can relieve a broad range of conditions associated with poor sleep, such as anxiety, depression, pregnancy and chronic pain. When scheduled before bedtime, they can induce relaxation, but even day sessions help by improving circulation and increasing levels of serotonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.

Benefit #7: Improved Athletic Performance

In addition to helping athletes recover faster from injury, massage also appears to improve strength in muscles damaged by overuse and reduces the incidence of chronic muscle spasm.

Regular athletes benefit from massage after injuries to speed recovery, while performance athletes use it to gain a competitive edge. While not everyone is training for the Olympics, it could be an easy way for a weekend tennis player to strengthen a weak forehand.

Benefit #8: A Brighter Mood

Massage has a direct impact on the brain chemicals that regulate mood by lowering stress hormones, like cortisol, while boosting feel-good neurotransmitters including, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. The result is a feeling of well-being and sharper mental focus.

Benefit #9: Better Chronic Disease Management

Massage has far-reaching effects shown to benefit those with chronic disease. As a complementary therapy, it can mitigate the symptoms of conditions from diabetes to hypertension. While not a substitute for medication, a single massage can lower blood pressure readings for up to 72 hours.

Offering Chair Massages Versus Table Massages

Massage therapists looking to start or expand their practice should look no further than chair massages. Why? Chair massage requires less space, the equipment is portable, business costs are lower, and revenue possibilities are numerous.

They Requires Less Space

Massage chairs require about 30-percent less space than standard tables, and because massages are done with clients fully clothed, they eliminate the need for privacy and spaces in which to dress and undress. Further, chair massage can happen while someone is sitting in an office chair or at a casino poker table.

Business Costs are Lower

Having a permanent office can help a massage therapist build a more extensive practice, but it also means paying rent and associated costs such as insurance and advertising, something new graduates may struggle to afford.

Most clients receiving table massages also expect a restful, aesthetically pleasant environment and costly spa-like amenities that make it tough for first-time massage therapists to get a start while competing with established businesses.

Many new massage therapists will work at a spa or resort, leaving the cost of the equipment to the business they work for, allowing them to get experience before going off on their own to work with clients directly.

Revenue Possibilities are Numerous

A massage therapist’s income depends on the number of clients they serve, and there’s no better way to maximize potential than by offering chair massage. And because it doesn’t take as much time out of a busy day, clients are more likely to take the time to have chair massages, turning occasional clients into regulars and ensuring a consistent revenue stream. Unlike table massages that need to be scheduled days or weeks in advance, chair massages can be given virtually on demand.

Since 10- to 20-minute massages cost less than hour-long sessions, the service is financially fiscal. Massage therapists are less likely to lose business when there’s a downturn in the economy.

Final Thoughts

Stress is an epidemic, and massage is among the best ways to limit its effects. Once available only through luxury spas, chair massages are bringing this critical therapy to the masses. It’s a boon for 21st century health and an excellent way for massage therapists to do business.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about the benefits of chair massage interest you? 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 massage industry.

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

What Does a Full Body Massage Include?

Massage therapists at full body massage clinic

Life can be busy and stressful. There is always a lot to do and it seems the days just keep getting shorter and shorter. For a lot of us it can be difficult to find healthy ways to handle and cope with all that life stress and still get everything done that needs to be accomplished. Leaving your stress to fester and compound can lead to physical and mental damage and can actually end up making you less productive. Sometimes the damage from that stress can be difficult to manage and repair once it is already done. That’s why it’s important to find a safe, healthy way to release all that tension.

Massage therapy is a great way for you to focus on your mental and physical repairs all at the same time. However, figuring out what kind of massage to get might be a bit of a challenge, particularly if you are new to the massage experience. Getting a full body massage is a great first step on your way to relieving stress and tension. Choosing a full body massage can be a good choice, but it can also intimidate and confuse if you aren’t sure what you’re in for. Ease your mind about your first-time massage experience by exploring what to expect from a full body massage, as well as taking a quick look at some of the benefits it can provide.

What to Expect from a Full Body Massage

Even going to the spa can feel like adding stress and anxiety to your life if you are new to the experience. You probably have a lot of questions about what you can expect from your appointment if you are new to massages and spas. How long will it take? Do they really massage your whole entire body? Do you have to be undressed for the appointment? Let’s explore these questions so that your mind is at ease and ready for total relaxation when you book your massage appointment.

How Long Does an Appointment for a Full Body Massage Last?

The exact answer to this question will be determined by the spa you choose and the massage therapist who is performing the massage. Every establishment has something different to offer. However, generally speaking, you can expect a full body appointment to last about an hour. There are some establishments that advertise shorter appointment options that take closer to 45 minutes, but things can be overlooked if your massage therapist tries to rush through an appointment. It is wise to plan on taking extra time for yourself and plan for the full hour. Your well-being is well worth it.

What Areas of the Body are Going to Be the Focus of the Massage?

There can be a couple of minor but important exceptions to the “full body” focus of the appointment. Usually your arms, hands, feet, legs, neck, back, stomach, and buttock muscles are all areas that receive attention throughout the appointment to varying degrees. You can always ask when booking the appointment if certain areas can be avoided or focused on, depending on how you feel and what you want.

Is Nudity Required for a Full Body Massage?

The idea of being in a room with a stranger is enough to make anyone a little bit uneasy. Add the fact that you aren’t wearing clothes and the situation just became even more stressful. If you are a massage novice, this can be the part that feels the most unusual and can actually be a source of real anxiety for some people.

You might be wondering why people undress for these appointments in the first place. Well, there are a couple of different reasons that removing clothing can be helpful. The first is for direct contact access to the many muscle groups that will need attention. It is also for your comfort during the appointment. Wadded clothing can make it impossible to provide a helpful massage. However, if you have serious reservations about modesty, or would like your massage therapist to stay away from a certain area of your body, you can always make those requests when you book your appointment. Any certified massage professional should be willing to work to make you feel comfortable and help you relax during your appointment. Comfort, after all, is the whole point of your full body massage experience. If the appointment itself makes you uncomfortable then talk over your options before making the appointment. This will help you find a spa and a massage therapist that are right for you. It may be helpful for you to look up customer and business reviews about the spas and services you are considering.

Benefits of Full Body Massage

Now that you have a better idea of what the appointment itself, we can take a look at what you might look forward to after the appointment is over. The positivity doesn’t end with the appointment. Massage therapy has a lot to offer that goes beyond the actual massage itself. We are going to look at some of the many ways that a full body massage can help you take care of yourself physically while also boosting your mood and helping to improve your mental health and well-being.

Physical Health and Wellness Benefits

There are a few positive effects on your body that stem from receiving a full body massage. Relaxed, unknotted muscles is one of the most immediate affects you feel. Loose, relaxed muscles can lead to greater mobility and a significant increase in range of motion. Taking care of your muscles can also help you improve your posture and overall joint comfort throughout the activities of the day. There is also the issue of circulation to consider. The friction and pressure applied on various parts of your body throughout the appointment can help stimulate your circulatory system. This helps the far extremities of your body get the oxygen and nutrients they need. The firm, manual stimulation also helps your muscles and tissues release toxins and stress chemicals that build up from stress and neglect. This toxic build-up can cause damage to your muscles, joints, and soft tissues.

Different Types of Full Body Massage

Choosing a full body massage also has the added benefit of helping you figure out where you carry most of your tension. Once you have fully explored your aches, pains, and discomforts with a fully trained massage professional you can then decide how to best take care of your body based on specific information from the full body massage session. You will also be able to book massages that focus on specific parts of the body, if you locate a problem area. This information can help you make educated lifestyle changes, pay more attention to your physical well-being, and potentially make a more focused plan for your next appointment.

Mental Health and Wellness Benefits

There is more to massage therapy than merely the physical aspects. There is a mental health and wellness aspect to massage that often times is minimized or overlooked entirely. Taking time to focus on yourself might have you feeling selfish, or irresponsible for taking time out of your day. It is important that you make time to take care of yourself, especially if your life is demanding and stressful. Taking some time to unwind and reset can make your life much easier in the long run. Massages allow you to get your mind and body back to a point where you actually feel like you can give one hundred percent to the people around you and the tasks ahead. A couple of hours a week is not a lot to ask of yourself, particularly in comparison to the time and energy you routinely give other people.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about what a full body massage is interest you? 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 massage industry.

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

Where Can a Massage Therapist Work?

Corporate massage therapist provides seated massage

Are you considering a career as a massage therapist? There are many massage practitioners who work at a spa, go to client’s homes, or rent a small office. Regardless of their location, they have one goal: to build up a local clientele and earn their living as independent business owners. Getting a diploma is the first and most crucial step.

However, several dynamic business models are altering the landscape of the profession. Fifty years from now, it’s possible that massage therapists will look back on this era as the golden age of massage therapy. Today is one in which the profession has blossomed and now embodies the full potential of bodywork therapy.

What Do Massage Therapists Do?

First of all, the basic description of what massage professionals do remains the same. It’s the way in which practitioners set up their businesses that is changing the most. The operating definition of massage therapy still includes the manipulation and massage of the body’s soft muscle tissue. Furthermore, massage therapists assist with injury rehabilitation.

How Has Massage Therapy Changed?

In contrast to 20 years ago, today’s massage professional is as likely to work in a casino or on a cruise ship rather than an office. The modern massage therapist might work for a number of health or wellness employers. This includes chiropractors, surgeons, physical therapy clinics, resorts, gyms or many other employers. Freelance massage therapists choose the sole practitioner business model and offer personalized services.

The bottom line for today’s massage therapists is they have choice. Whether they opt to go solo or hire on with an employer, there are plenty of options for anyone with a massage therapist diploma.

Careers for Massage Therapists

As noted above, there are multiple places that massage therapists can work. Because of this variety, never before have there been so many choices for massage therapists. What can licensed massage therapists do with a diploma?

Choose a Specialty

After a few months of learning the business and gaining general experience, many massage therapists choose to specialize their skills. Some areas of massage are more geared towards specific clientele, like elder massage, infant massage, and prenatal massage. Other service include sports therapy massage, chair massage, Eastern techniques, and event services.

Become a General Massage Practitioner

After experimenting with a dozen different types of massage therapy, many massage therapists gravitate to general services. One reason for this is because they offer a full range of massage styles to their clientele. For this reason, the massage therapist’s versatility is an asset. If someone asks for hot stone, an injury rehab, or a deep tissue massage, they are generally able to assist.

Focus on Rehab Therapy

Massage professionals who enjoy helping injured and recovering patients often choose to work as rehabilitation therapists. For this reason, rehabilitation therapists can expect to get most of their referrals from physicians. For this reason, a typical arrangement for rehabilitation therapists may be near a major hospital or long-term care facility.

Teach Massage

Although it may be over looked, teaching massage is also a pathway. In most cases, massage therapists who receive further training in education can find opportunities with local massage therapy or nursing schools. There is also a niche for massage therapists who teach bodywork routines.

Additionally, some massage therapists who teach maintain a private practice on the side. In fact, one of the most effective ways to attract new clients is to become a massage teacher. Instructors are privy to job openings and are viewed as being among the elite of the massage profession.

Work Part-Time

Many new massage therapists start out with part-time schedules. In contrast, some massage therapists choose to work part-time as massage therapists a few days a week to earn extra income. There are many different reasons for this arrangement, but massage can fit around nearly anyone’s schedule.

Cruise Ship Massage Therapist

With experience and your diploma in massage therapy, you may choose to work on cruise ships. Time commitments are typically short-term, ranging from a few days to a few months. For this reason, cruise ship massage therapy jobs can be a great opportunity. This is especially true for those who like to travel, have few at-home obligations and like the idea of working on the open sea.

Work for an On-Call Agency

Additionally, licensed professionals in urban areas often decide that on-call agency work is a good way to build experience. For example, some bigger agencies give massage therapists a certain number of hours each week or month. In contrast, some strictly work on an as-needed basis. Massage therapists can choose to work for more than one agency at a time.

Why Work for an Agency?

It’s common for on-call massage agencies to procure jobs with major corporations and then send a dozen massage therapists to an event. For example, this includes conventions, stakeholder meetings or other company events. Massage professionals who work this way usually need to have their own tables and chairs so they can be ready for any situation.

Furthermore, working with an agency is an effective way for new massage therapists to expand their skills. It’s also ideal for learning how to adapt to different kinds of clients on a day-to-day basis. In today’s new business environment, on-call massage therapists are in demand and are versatile.

Why Get a Massage Therapy Diploma?

A massage therapy diploma opens up a wide choice of career options for those willing to put in the time and effort to attend school and obtain a diploma. Once licensed, massage therapists maintain their credentials by obeying state rules for massage therapists. For example, this includes earning several continuing educational credits.

Job Trends in Massage Therapy

Regardless of what kind of practice a new massage therapist chooses, it’s smart to keep an eye on industry trends by reading massage publications, books, and general news about the profession. Right now, there are several transformations taking place that will have significant effects on the industry.

Casino Massage Therapist

Casinos and gaming complexes are popping up everywhere, particularly in cities and states that have enacted new laws to allow for gaming. Las Vegas used to be the lone player in this market, but other cities are newer entrants to the gaming industry. What does the gaming industry have to do with massage?

Wherever there are casinos, massage therapists can find lots of clients. Year-round professional poker tournaments employ hundreds of freelance massage therapists as well as groups of massage practitioners who work for private companies. It’s a great place for new massage school grads to acquire experience and earn money. For more experienced massage therapists who want something new, working the big Las Vegas poker tournaments brings in seasonal income that can supplement a more traditional practice.

Resort Massage Therapist

The entire set-up of resort massage offerings has been changing for the past decade. Hotel and resort guests used to go to a central location for a massage, the facility’s in-house shop whose massage therapists were hotel employees. That monopoly is slowly giving way to freelance massage practitioners that work the hotels on a regular basis and offer a full menu of services to vacationers.

Chair/Corporate Massage Therapist

Seated massage has been around, and thriving, for over 20 years. Now the clothes-on, no oil modality is really taking off. It’s becoming commonplace to see chair massage kiosks in airports, mega-malls, light-rail stations, hotels, casinos, big-box stores and health food shops. The advantage of chair massage, from the massage therapists’ point of view is ease of set-up, fast turnover, and the ability to go where the crowds are.

Opportunities in Corporate Massage

A few of the more creative places that massage therapists find chair business include marathon races, business conventions, auto shows, music concerts, DMV offices, lobbies of tax preparation firms, baby/wedding showers, wedding receptions and basically anyplace where there are stressed people.

Eastern/Thai Massage Therapist

Among the many Eastern modalities, Thai massage is catching on in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Thai massage is done on a floor mat with the client fully clothed. No oils or lotions are used, and the technique resembles a cross between yoga and assisted stretching.

Freelance Opportunities

Once a side-line for most office-based massage therapists, outcall services are growing rapidly as a stand-alone type of business practice for massage professionals. An outcall provider has little office expenses, no leases, no need to wonder where to set up shop and minimal overhead expenses. More new massage therapists are choosing to travel to their clients’ homes, offices and event locations to perform table and/or chair massage.

There’s some overlap between mobile and outcall massage, but most massage therapists who own mobile businesses tend to work major events rather than cater to individuals. Outcall massage practitioners usually build up a clientele of regular clients and deliver services in private homes and business offices.

Want to Learn More?

Are you interested in learning more about the opportunities for massage therapists? 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 massage industry.

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

Beat the Holiday Stress with Massage

holiday stress

The holidays are a time of friends, family, fun–and holiday stress! Traditions, good food, and time off of work and school make us all appreciate the good things we have been blessed with and wonderful people we are lucky enough to have in our lives. The winter holiday season is full of potential physical and emotional stressors that can leave you feeling exhausted after all is said and done. Massage is a great way to prevent a lot of stress. It can also help you deal with stress and strain as they occur or help you recover quickly from your wonderfully memorable family time.

Plan Ahead for the Holidays With a Massage

Here we are going to take a look at some of the many different holiday stress factors to look out for around the upcoming holidays, some of which you may not have even considered. This will help you make a tentative game plan to keep your body comfortable and safe while also helping you stay calm and relaxed through any holiday turbulence that may arise. Massage can be helpful no matter what kind of holiday stress or anxiety you may be facing. We will also be taking a look at a few different kinds of massage you may want to consider making a part of your holiday traditions.

Holiday Stress #1: Conversational Tension and Emotional Complications

Time with family can be a very complicated affair. So can time spent apart from family around the holidays. You may be feeling anxious or even overwhelmed with excitement. Whether we admit it or not our emotional stressors have a way of manifesting themselves physically. We experience stress emotionally and socially, but we also experience it in our bodies. Particularly through muscle tension and tissue knotting. Getting a massage is a great way to help you prepare for whatever sort of social or emotional difficulties might be in store. Try your best to be aware of where you carry your stress tension so that you can let you massage therapist know where to pay extra attention during your holiday appointment.

Holiday Stress #2: Sleeping in a Different Bed

Celebrating this time of year can be a magical mixture of trips down memory lane and creating new memories. Taking a vacation somewhere new or going back to your childhood home can be just the break you need. Many times, this involves staying somewhere that doesn’t exactly have all the comforts of home. You might be staying on the couch, sleeping on an air mattress, or crashing on the floor. This holiday stress does serious damage to your physical comfort and bodily alignment. Massages are a great way to keep your holiday sleeping arrangements from doing long lasting damage to your mobility.

Holiday Stress #3: Travel Aches & Pains

Traveling around the holidays can be an exciting adventure. However, that exciting adventure can sometimes come at an uncomfortable price. Different modes of transportation present different challenges for you to consider. There are certainly things you can do to mitigate the damage, such as bringing support pillows and practicing various relaxation and stretching techniques throughout your travels.

However, no matter how careful you are, there will almost always be some kind of toll taken on your body physically after traveling. The cramped quarters mixed with general travel troubles can create an uncomfortable situation before you even get where you’re going. Not to mention the discomfort on the return trip. A massage will help you make sure that you are loosened up, relaxed, and ready for the good times you’re headed to. It will also help you shake off any travel pains you might have endured.

Holiday Stress #4: Hosting Events

Going out of town can be stressful, but so can hosting family and friends for the holidays. Even if you are planning to stay home this season there can still be challenges and difficulties that you have to deal with. Especially if you plan on hosting people in your space, there is the stress of caring for everyone. Even more, there is also the entertainment and general care of your guests that you have to consider once they arrive.

The physical and emotional work of hosting for the holidays can be exhausting, but also very rewarding. Most importantly, it is critical to take care of yourself before, during, and after your holiday so you can enjoy your time off.

Holiday Stress #5: Playing with the Kids

Children are often a big part of the holidays. They are adorable, joyful, fun reminders of the happiness the holidays can bring. They can also drain you of all of your energy. Small children in particular can have a serious impact on your muscles and joints because they aren’t exactly considerate of the comfort of the adults around them when they are playing. However, older children present their own unique set of challenges. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they can’t also be a hazard to your body. This is especially true if your family has sports traditions or other annual games or activities that are intensely physical. All of the climbing, running, holding, jumping, and playing with the kids is all so much fun, but all that movement can also damage your body if you aren’t being careful.

Play Can Lead to Strain

Taking precautions before and during child-heavy holiday activities can go a long way, but a trained massage therapist can assess and address the stress and damage that can’t be helped. If you aren’t used to being around children, then playing with them might be more physical stress than you are used to or anticipating. If you are used to being around children, the tension can layer and build into a muscular mobility nightmare. No matter what your kid situation is personally, a massage therapy appointment is a smart idea to keep the kids from bringing the pain this holiday season.

Holiday #6: The Toxic Build Up of Holiday Food and Drinks

Traditional foods and drinks are some of the most nostalgic parts of the winter holiday season. The treats, cocktails, and traditional celebratory meal foods that accompany the holidays are some of our favorite parts of this time of year. They can also go a long way in bringing people together, even if things are a bit on the tense or difficult side. Recipes that have been passed down through generations, modern food traditions, and brand-new culinary experiments are some of the things that connect us to the people we love. However, they aren’t always the most healthy or nutritious options for our bodies.

Flooding your system with toxins, sugars, and fats can have a significant effect on how you feel physically. Certain kinds of massage can be useful for clearing toxins that build up in your tissues and muscles. Indulge in all of your holiday favorites, just make sure that you take care of yourself after your finished with the festive foods.

Holiday Stress #7: Lifting Luggage and Other Holiday Labor Pains

People come with all different kinds of baggage, and I’m not just talking about the emotional kind. I’m talking about the kind that needs stored and pulled out on a regular basis during holiday vacation stays. The kind of luggage that can be heavy, cumbersome and difficult to deal with. It may be that you are going to handle your own luggage fairly regularly. It might also be that you have a guest that needs some assistance handling their luggage. Regardless of who is bringing the bags, chances are you will have to do a bit of semi-heavy lifting over the holidays.

Wear and Tear on Your Body

There are also all kinds of other things beside luggage that need to be moved, carried, and put away during a vacation stay. Some of these lifting factors are things you can control. For example, you can be mindful about how much you pack, what kind of bag straps and handles you use, and your lifting technique. These minor considerations can all help you avoid serious injury. But you can’t control every single aspect of the physical activities you’ll need to do around this time of year. A certified massage therapist will be able to help you make sure your muscles and joints are properly supported throughout your holiday lifting and pulling.

Holiday Stress #8: Weather Conditions

Ice and snow are nothing to play around with. Falls can be dangerous and are often entirely unexpected. There are things that you can do to lessen the risks of harsh weather and keep it from catching you by surprise. Removing ice from your sidewalks, making sure the driveway is shoveled, and ensuring that you are wearing the proper footwear are all ways that you can help protect yourself from the slippery effects of winter weather. This doesn’t mean that you will avoid them altogether, though. Chances are you will be places, such as parking lots and public sidewalks, that you don’t have any control over. You might also be in an area where weather is unpredictable, severe, or uneasy to prepare for. The tension of walking in snow and on ice can damage your muscles and joints even if you never slip or fall. Making regular appointments with your massage therapist during this time of year is important for both stability and mobility.

Holiday Massage Therapy Techniques

Now we are going to take a quick look at some of the massage methods you may want to consider for combatting holiday stress, tension, and physical strain. While these suggestions are a good place to start, you will want to consult a trained professional before making decisions about which technique best suits your needs.

Swedish Massage

This is a widely available method of massage that uses various alternating pressures to relieve tension and create a relaxing, calming effect on your body. This is a good option if you anticipate your holiday stress will be more emotional or social. It can be great as preparation for holiday madness, a self-care maintenance break while you’re in the middle or it, or a great way to recuperate after everything has returned back to normal.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is an intense, sometimes even uncomfortable, method of massage that strongly and strategically manipulates your muscle groups while also working to unbind certain kinds of tissue that stress or injury may have damaged. If you anticipate your seasonal celebrations to have a heavy impact on you physically you may want to seriously think about talking to your massage therapist about this method. You can use it to ensure proper alignment before the wear and tear begins, you can use it to address any serious physical stress as it comes along, or you can use it to help you repair what may have been damaged over the holidays.

Partial/Focused Massage

This option is particularly useful if you don’t have a lot of time and know where you carry your tension. Maybe you don’t need a full body massage to help you get through the holidays. You might only need something like a hand massage, foot massage, or neck massage to keep you from hurting yourself or getting overly stressed out. Spare whatever time you can this year to take care of yourself, even in small ways.

Massage therapy can keep your holiday stress from turning into something ugly and painful in the future. Treat yourself to a holiday massage to keep you from needing a vacation after your vacation. No matter how you spend this season, take care of yourself so that you get the absolute most of it.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about beating the holiday stress with massage therapy interest you? 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 massage industry.

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

The Healing Powers of Massage Therapy

Massage instructor discussing healing benefits of massage

You’ve probably heard about the healing benefits of massage therapy services. In fact, there’s a huge body of medical research that supports the use of massage therapy for healthy mind and body. In addition to the “healing” aspect, people often forget about the myriad of ways bodywork therapy can enhance performance for athletes and others who need to stay in top shape to do their jobs.

This ancient treatment also has the ability to help injured patients recover and get back on track. Finally, one of the most common forms of therapy, Swedish massage, simply aims to deliver a full-body relaxation effect for stressed muscles and minds. As licensed massage therapists, we have the potential to make every client’s life better in many different ways.

List of Styles You Should Know

While everyone seems to know a few of the major benefits of getting a massage, the list of what this ancient bodywork can do is quite long. Below is a summary of the key points, which includes not just well-known forms of massage to assist the human body and mind, but several techniques that you have likely not heard of.

Each method (called a “modality” of treatment by massage therapists) is briefly described. Even if you won’t be offering every form in your practice, it’s important to know a little about each type and what it does for clients.

Acquaint yourself with the list and decide which specific treatment methods might fit in with the kind of practice you hope to build. Remember, most professionals offer three or more kinds of massage therapy, but some specialize in just one type of treatment, like Swedish, sports or chair massage:

Swedish, or Relaxation Massage

By far, this is the most common form of massage offered and asked for in clinics and private offices. Swedish massage is a whole-body technique that kneads muscles, strokes the skin and delivers general relaxation to tired, sore bodies.

Deep Tissue

This modality uses a higher level of pressure than others form of massage. It’s mainly for clients who have chronic soreness, injuries, or even balance problems. Deep tissue is a more intense form of Swedish and includes slower strokes with deeper, fuller finger pressure.

Sports Massage

This method has two basic purposes, depending on the client. It can be used to help injured muscles recover or to make muscles more supple and ready to perform at a higher level of competition. Many “weekend athletes” need sports massage to help heal repetitive injuries from their activity.

Chair, or Seated Massage

Often called “corporate massage,” seated therapy is a fully clothed system for treating everyday tension in the neck, back and arms. It’s really a “disguised” form of Swedish massage done while the client is on a special chair.

Trigger Point

When people have muscle pain and chronic injury-related conditions, trigger point helps activate small areas within the tissue in order to relive soreness in other areas.

Thai Massage

Quite different from all other items on this list, Thai massage is actually a combination of assisted stretching, massage, and yoga techniques. It’s done on a mat rather than a table, and clients are fully clothed. Thai styles of treatment are becoming more popular as people begin to seek out more “active” types of massage therapy.

Prenatal

This is a specialized treatment for pregnant women who want to get relief from typical aches and pains that occur during the months before delivery. Think of it as a gentler version of Swedish, but it does have its own set of protocols and techniques as well.

Healing Benefits of Massage Therapy

Besides knowing about the common forms of massage therapy, it’s also essential to know the healing benefits of massage therapy. All the different styles will help you deliver healing and relaxation to your clients. Every “body” is different, but after you are in practice for several months, you’ll begin to notice a pattern about how people respond to your type of treatment.

Above all, you’ll notice that when you tell people you are a massage therapist, they will typically ask you about the benefits of massage. Be ready to educate them on this key point because they are, in effect, asking you why they should hire you as their masseur/masseuse. Pro tip: if you want to get fancy on your business card and use the traditional form of wording, it’s “masseuse” for a female practitioner and “masseur” for a male massage therapist.

Massage Goes Beyond Physical Healing

The beauty of massage as a form of therapy is that it affects much more than the physical anatomy; it delivers positive benefits to our emotional and mental states as well. How does massage heal, empower, sharpen and strengthen the mind and body? In other words, what are the primary reasons people seek out massage therapists on a regular basis?

Healing With Massage Therapy

Clientele can benefit from massage therapy. Some of the advantages include whole-body pain relief, stress relief, increased circulation, regulation of blood pressure, boosted immunity, improve posture and flexibility, offers physical, emotional and mental relaxation, and speeds up injury recovery.

Whole-Body Pain Relief

This is the most common benefit of massage therapy. Whether the pain is mild or chronic, results from an injury or everyday activity, massage has the power to bring general pain relief to the entire body. Using targeted pressure, the massage therapist helps clients relax and get both short- and long-term pain relief.

Stress Relief

Many clients fall asleep during a full-body massage. That’s how relaxing a typical session can be. But for long-term stress relief, massage delivers the goods. People who receive massage regularly are better able to deal with stress, have less of it and are generally more content. For example, when someone has a massage once per month, the brain learns to release pain-killing endorphins into the bloodstream on a regulated basis, causing a lasting effect that helps eliminate common types of emotional stress.

Increased Circulation and Regulation of Blood Pressure

One of the best-known benefits of massage is better blood circulation. By stimulating the skin and muscles, eliminate waste products from the system and generally enhance the efficiency of blood flow, massage therapy can lower blood pressure and improve many of the body’s key functions.

Boosts Immunity

When the lymph system is in good condition, the human body is able to fight off colds, flu and other sickness more effectively. Massage helps stimulate the flow of fluid within the lymph system and thus boosts the immune system in most people. People who receive regular massage get fewer colds, illnesses and infections of all kinds.

Improves Posture and Flexibility

Both Swedish and sports massage can help improve overall posture and whole-body flexibility. Some people seek out massage for these reasons alone. In conjunction with a regular stretching routine, many adults find that massage helps keep muscles pain-free and allows for a fuller range of motion in all the limbs and torso.

Brings Physical, Emotional and Mental Relaxation

Massage has the ability to activate the body’s parasympathetic nerves. That means the emotions get relief alongside the physical body. This benefit can also be achieved through meditation, yoga, tai chi or deep abdominal breathing. The kneading motions of massage bring physical relief and the combined effect often has the power to soothe the mind by quelling negative thoughts.

Speeds Up Injury Recovery

Because massage can enhance circulation, relax the muscles, improve posture, increase flexibility and boost the immune system, doctors routinely prescribe regular sessions with a massage therapist for injured clients. Massage decreases recovery time for most major forms of injury.

Which Healing Methods Should You Offer?

A full list of the benefits of massage therapy along with a description of the most common forms of treatment used by working professionals today. Many new practitioners experiment with different modalities in an effort to find what is best for the clients they have in their first years of practice.

If, for example, you mainly treat referrals from a doctor who specialized in cancer treatment, you might want to specialize in Swedish massage to bring general pain relief to people undergoing chemotherapy. Or, if your clientele consists of young adults who are active in competitive sports, then sports massage would be a must to have on your “menu” of services. Likewise, if you choose to work in the resort industry or on a cruise ship, you’ll need to be adept at all the main forms of massage because your clients will come in all ages, sizes, shapes and levels of fitness.

The choice is yours. After just a few months as a professional massage therapist, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you want to specialize in and what your most frequent clients need. After that, your new career can go in just about whatever direction you want it to.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about the benefits of massage therapy interest you? 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 massage industry.

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

12 Habits to Succeed in Massage Therapy

Massage therapy services being performed by massage therapist on individual on massage chair.

What does it take to work in massage therapy? In addition to formal training, prospective massage therapists must pass a comprehensive exam and undergo a background check by their state. In addition, they must develop a set of positive habits that spell success in the profession.

A long-term career in massage therapy means a lifelong nurturing of positive habits that contribute to financial success for the therapy worker and help deliver client satisfaction.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

A massage therapist uses touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Of course, there’s a lot more to the job than that, but the core activity for a massage therapist involves applying direct touch in a way that helps bring temporary or long-term relief to clients.

Massage Habits That Spell Success

Successful massage therapists share a basic set of common skills. Most of the skills overlap and reinforce each other. Overall, a massage therapist who is a good communicator, has a good amount of self-discipline and can give a great massage will do well in the field.

Why Do Massage Therapists Need These Habits?

The habits that make a successful massage therapist include a clear style of communication, proper technique for client satisfaction, positive mental attitude, an action-oriented mindset, diligence, basic marketing skills, effective time management skills, the right equipment, an understanding of self-care principles, empathy, self-discipline, and a desire to learn.

Massage Therapy Habit #1: Clear Communication

First of all, a massage therapist needs to communicate with their clients. In fact, listening to each client’s needs is at the very heart of the profession. Everyone has different desires, aches, pains, needs and attitudes. Because of this, a massage therapist who listens to their client understands how to use their skills to help. As a result, listening and expressive communication are essential in massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Habit #2: Proper Technique

The nuts-and-bolts of massage therapy involves performing various styles of massages. Because of this, Swedish, sports, trigger-point massage, and other kinds of services are part of every successful massage therapist’s toolbox. Many of those techniques can be picked up during school training. Additionally, more advanced methods can either be self-taught or learned in continuing education courses.

Massage Therapy Habit #3: Positive Attitude

Having an upbeat mentality helps create a supportive, thriving atmosphere in any massage therapy practice. No client wants services from someone with a negative attitude. And for the most part, a person’s attitude comes through in one-on-one situations that involve touch. As a result, massage therapists who have a positive outlook tend to have more repeat business and happier clients.

Massage Therapy Habit #4: An Action-Oriented Mindset

Additionally, practitioners in the healing professions should learn how to create an action-oriented frame of mind. For example, this means setting both long- and short-term goals. Even more, this means constantly updating their goals, which includes identifying new challenges. As a result of staying organized, a massage therapist can help to stay on top of services and goals for better results with clients.

Massage Therapy Habit #5: Diligence

The first few months of work in a professional setting can be quite a challenge for any massage therapist. It really does take time to “hear” what clients are saying, learn how to make notes that are detailed enough to be helpful, and figure out which techniques work for different clients.

Massage Therapy Habit #6: Basic Marketing Skills

Most importantly for massage therapy professionals who own their practice, it’s essential to learn core marketing techniques. For example, this includes writing advertisements, handing out business cards and networking.

Other Marketing Opportunities for Massage Therapists

This also includes attending massage therapy conferences, understanding their communities, and taking opportunities to promote themselves. Even though there are digital marketing solutions for massage therapists, it is important to invest in face-to-face marketing opportunities.

Massage Therapy Habit #7: Effective Time-Management Skills

A typical massage therapist’s day contains at least seven diverse activities. Good massage therapists need to know how to schedule their time and

The best massage therapists include the following tasks in their schedule:
  • Prep time
  • Communication: This includes making phone calls, e-mails and sending appointment reminders.
  • Self-care
  • Accounting tasks
  • Marketing
  • Practice cleanup
  • Massage

Massage Therapy Habit #8: The Right Equipment

A solo practitioner who works from an office or home needs to have the right equipment to practice massage therapy. This includes having a table, a massage chair, lotion, sheets and a music system. Even more, every “office” needs a quiet room, parking, restroom facilities and a private changing area.

Special Challenges for Traveling Services

On-call or “traveling” massage therapists need less equipment but still must bring along certain items.

Essential equipment for a traveling massage therapist includes:
  • Table and/or chair
  • Linens
  • Lotion
  • Music systems
  • Paperwork
  • Clipboard
  • Alcohol gel

Massage Therapy Habit #9: Practicing Self-Care

In a career that prioritizes others, a massage therapists’s self care often comes last. Fortunately, this occupational hazard can be preventable with proper self-care.

First of all, recovery and injury are just as important to massage therapists as they are their clients. Most importantly, a massage therapist needs to use proper body mechanics when providing services. Pay close attention to your techniques as part of your daily routine. As a result, your correct form helps to prevent injury and physical burnout.

Massage Therapist General Health

Another vital aspect of self-care is general health. Smart massage therapists watch their weight, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, don’t consume too much alcohol, don’t use illicit drugs, attend to any behavioral health concerns that might arise, and receive massage at least once per month.

One massage therapist can offer an objective opinion to another massage therapist about health concerns and injury prevention. Successful massage therapists usually have one or more fellow massage therapists with whom they “trade” massage sessions. This is an effective way to receive and give free massages with other massage therapists for the purpose of self-care.

Massage Therapy Habit #10: Empathy

It’s a fact that many people just weren’t born with the “empathy” gene. A massage therapist needs to practice empathy with others. That means listening to client concerns and delivering services that meets their needs. It’s also important for massage therapists to follow up with every client. This includes asking how they’re doing, as well as checking on their well-being and pain issues.

Massage Therapy Habit #11: Self-Discipline

Massage therapy is, in some ways, like any other business. Practitioners who keep regular hours, constantly work to improve their skills and pay attention to marketing will ultimately have a much easier time succeeding.

One of the core skills for massage therapy success is self-discipline. It entails getting up early enough to work a full schedule, allowing enough time for sleep and recreation, and a devotion to a set number of hours for treating clients.

Massage Therapy Habit #12: A Desire to Learn More

For people who choose massage as their life-long profession, a desire to learn new techniques and acquire advanced knowledge about the profession should be a given. All massage therapists are required to attend a set number of continuing education courses every few years.

What is Unique to This Industry?

Developing positive practices, habits, techniques and attitudes is part of what every successful professional does no matter the field.

But massage therapy differs from most other kinds of business models in many ways:
  • The owner-client relationship is based on physical touch, not selling a product or online service.
  • It’s common to have lifelong, repeat customers.
  • Part of the massage therapy outcome includes improved physical health and mental wellness.
  • A thriving massage therapy practice means the owner has developed multiple positive habits and uses them regularly.
  • There are strictly enforced continuing education requirements.
  •  Broad-based marketing techniques are not effective because “all clients are local.” It’s impossible to give a massage online.
  • Business owners can work alone, set their own hours, attend the continuing education courses of their choosing, hire or not hire office help, work from home or office, choose marketing strategies that fit the desired clientele, and basically call all the shots.
  • A positive attitude is a core requirement, as it is a commitment to self-care and personal health maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Deciding to become a massage therapist is a major step in a person’s career path. Properly approached, the decision can mean a secure financial future, a personally rewarding way of earning a living and an interesting, challenging professional journey.

There are dozens of factors that go into building a massage therapy business, but a large piece of the success puzzle involves the development of positive habits and ways of thinking. When massage therapists make a commitment to create and maintain the right habits, techniques and mental attitudes, there’s no limit to the level of success they can achieve.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about what developing positive habits in massage therapy interest you? 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 massage industry.

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