What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?

massage therapist assisting a client

Massage therapy is one of the most effective ways to deal with a variety of ailments and physical conditions. Curious what body systems are most affected by massage? Annually, millions of people seek physical and emotional relief through the use of a qualified massage therapist. Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most effective ways of addressing issues within all twelve systems of the body. Massage therapy is a critical component of one’s overall health and should be part of a regular health regimen.

Pursuing a career in massage therapy is both gratifying and intrinsically rewarding. There is nothing better than knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives and wellbeing of others.

What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?

Some body systems are more affected by massage than others, however all body systems must work together to keep humans healthy and happy. Each body system has its part to play, and massage can help improve these body system’s performance.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is one of the most important parts of the body. The purpose of circulation is to continuously pump fresh blood throughout the body, as well as its tissues and organs. Sometimes the circulatory system does not adequately pump blood throughout the body. Improper blood flow can lead to long term chronic health conditions, and even permanent disability. Effective and proper massage therapy techniques can increase blood flow and enhance the circulatory system’s ability to provide blood throughout the body.

Muscular System

One of the first areas in which chronic stress and tension tend to appear is through the muscular system. Not only are muscles responsible for all of our daily movements and activities, but they are also incredibly vital to the proper functioning of the rest of the body. Massage decreases the amount of tension and stress that is stored within the muscles and can also improve this system’s overall functionality and efficiency. Massage can increase proper blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen, and is an important part of the proper upkeep and care of a well-functioning muscular system.

Endocrine System

The endocrine system is responsible for producing and distributing all the various hormones within the body. At times, this system can become out of balance, which causes a variety of ailments and conditions, such as anxiety, depression, obesity, insomnia, and even diabetes. Massage can have a significant benefit in this area, and can help restore the proper balance of oxytocin, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine and other important hormones.

Central Nervous System

Most notable for its role in processing and receiving information, the central nervous system is comprised of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord. Massage techniques promote intense relaxation, as well as the production of a variety of “feel good hormones” in the brain. Massage relieves the nervous system, and benefits it by decreasing the body’s heart rate, promoting an enhanced mood, and lowering blood pressure.

Peripheral Nervous System

The peripheral nervous system (or PNS) is comprised of the nerves and nerve cells within our body. These nerves and nerve cells are the roadway for the rest of the organs, muscles, blood vessels, and glands. The PNS is the main way in which every other system sends and receives information throughout the body. Professional massage techniques can help the PNS by increasing blood flow, heightening the senses, promoting efficient digestion, and helping to regulate core body temperature and perspiration.

Skeletal System

The skeletal system is responsible for keeping a person’s vital organs and tissues in place. This system is comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and bone marrow. Some of the most important parts of the skeletal system are the ribs and skull. The ribs protect the heart and lungs, while the skull protects the brain. Massage therapy provides a multitude of benefits for the skeletal system, including improving one’s posture, relieving stiff joints, alleviating symptoms of arthritis, and improving flexibility. Furthermore, massage also helps bones retain the vitamins and minerals necessary to increase the body’s strength and durability. This is an important point, especially with older adults who experience the loss of bone density as they age.

Gastrointestinal (Digestive) System

Many people are surprised to find that massage therapy offers numerous benefits for the digestive system. Digestion plays a critical role when it comes to the proper overall functioning of the body. Digestion is the way the body receives and processes vital nutrients from food and beverages. An efficient digestive system facilitates the distribution of nutrients to the rest of the body, to keep it functioning optimally. There is nothing worse than a sluggish digestive tract. When digestion is compromised, other chronic issues can occur, such as constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Proper massage techniques can relieve these issues and help restore the digestive tract in a therapeutic and noninvasive manner.

Reproductive System

It may seem odd to think that massage therapy can benefit the reproductive system, however, massage therapy can increase one’s chances of successfully conceiving a child. Successful conception is dependent on a variety of factors, including the appropriate regulation of hormones. Massage has a positive impact on the reproductive system, by increasing feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. In turn, this can increase the chances of conceiving a successfully fertilized zygote. It must be noted that some elements of massage are not recommended for pregnant women.

Integumentary System

This system primarily consists of one’s skin, hair, and nails. The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects every single part of our bodies. It is also considered the body’s first line of defense in one’s ability to maintain good health. Because it’s the largest organ in the human body, the rest of our body is often affected whenever the integumentary system is not performing optimally. Massage techniques conducted by a massage therapist can have a positive impact on this important part of the body, including promoting positive stimulation of the skin, improving texture and elasticity, as well as enhancing tissue repair.

Respiratory System

The respiratory system is responsible for the proper delivery of oxygen into the lungs, as well as the disposal of harmful carbon dioxide through the process of exhaling. The respiratory system depends on an adequate supply of blood to perform optimally. Massage therapy can enhance and improve the respiratory system by increasing lung capacity, promoting the function of the pulmonary system, improving the function of the diaphragm, slowing and deepening the breathing pattern, decreasing congestion and promoting overall relaxation.

Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is an extremely vital component of our immune system. This system includes various tissue, nodules, and other components which are used to transport and carry various bodily fluids throughout the body. When an individual becomes sick, it’s often due to an inadequately functioning lymphatic system. Professional massage therapists can enhance and improve the lymphatic system by alleviating any swelling and inflammation that is present. Furthermore, massage can decrease sinus congestion, reduce and soften scar tissue, promote blood circulation and decrease swelling in and around the lymph nodes.

Urinary System

For the human body to perform optimally, it is important to have a healthy, functioning urinary tract system. Waste material and other byproducts that are not necessary for the functioning of the human body are expelled through the process of urination. Urea, which is a byproduct of blood production, must be expelled to prevent blood toxicity. The urinary tract is connected to the kidneys, where the urea must first be filtered out and removed. Massage therapy plays a vital role in a properly functioning urinary tract. Massage can engage the urinary tract and helps increase urinary output. In addition, massage therapy can reduce fluid retention, which is vital in maintaining a healthy heart. Massage also promotes liver and kidney health, and aids muscles in releasing built up toxins and lactic acid.

Immune System

A person’s overall health and wellbeing is heavily dependent upon an adequately functioning and strong immune system. The immune system helps protect individuals from contracting viruses and a variety of other contagious conditions. When a person contracts a virus or other illness, the immune system goes to work and attacks the virus by sending out lymphocytes. These lymphocytes work to attack virus cells, eliminating them until the body is free from illness. If a person has an inadequate immune system, they are left completely vulnerable to contracting a contagious virus and may even be at risk of premature death. Massage therapy enhances the immune system primarily by reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone,” has been known to have a negative impact on the body’s immune system. If a person experiences chronic stress, their chances of getting sick increases significantly. Massage therapy decreases cortisol levels, therefore strengthening the immune system, and enhancing the body’s overall health and wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

A career in massage therapy is both fulfilling and rewarding. Massage therapists play a vital role in decreasing a person’s stress levels, relieving pain and tension, reducing anxiety, and promoting good health. They are in high demand, with the field expected to grow throughout the next ten years. With massage therapy, you can enjoy a flexible schedule, choose to work in a variety of environments and specialties, and enjoy the satisfaction of helping people feel better. Not only can a career in massage therapy increase other people’s quality of life, but it can also increase your own personal happiness and satisfaction knowing that you have made a positive difference in other’s lives.

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 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What are the Benefits of a Part Time Massage Program?

woman learning massage therapy

If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist but are unable to attend classes during their normal schedule, you are in luck. Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers part-time massage classes during the evenings. You will attend classes for 10.5 to 17.5 hours per week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 9:30pm and every other Saturday 9am to 4:30p. You can take up to 55 weeks to complete the massage therapy program.

Even though you will be attending part-time, you will still gain invaluable training in everything that you learn during a full-time schedule like massage techniques, rehabilitation and introduction to spa techniques. Further, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology and medical terminology to better prepare your massage plans, better understanding how body mechanics work together. You will learn about business practices if you want to work at a franchise massage business or start your own massage service offering. The best part about the part-time massage therapy program is the extended time putting theory and classroom lecture to work during clinical labs. Practice makes perfect, and you get a lot of practice during this part-time massage therapy program.

Benefit #1: A More flexible Schedule

Some of us still need to work during the day to pay the bills while we work toward our new career. The ability to attend a massage therapy program part-time will allow you to stay employed while you achieve your career aspirations.

Also, if you have other responsibilities during the day like taking care of family members, the part-time massage program can still help you transition to the growing industry of massage while attending part-time. Take the time to complete a massage therapy program and start a secure and growing career field for you and your family.

Benefit #2: Learn Relevant Skills

Even if it takes a little longer to graduate from a part-time massage program, you will still learn everything you need to be a successful massage therapist. These skills include physical stamina, dexterity, communication, time management, as well as problem-solving skills.

Physical Stamina – a full massage can take 60 to 90 minutes to administer, and a massage therapist is on their feet for most of the time. During a massage therapy program, you will learn the proper stance (like the Warrior Stance) to manage this time on your feet. Another way you will learn to mitigate the strain of standing for extended periods of time is with stretching and aerobic exercise.

Dexterity – during a massage therapy session, you will use your fingers, hands and elbows to help put pressure on trigger points and manipulate soft tissue. These techniques take dexterity in your fingers and hands. You will learn different ways to improve dexterity including hand stretching exercises that will help keep you from cramping up during a massage session.

Communication – much of what you will be doing is working with clients, offering them massage. You will be communicating with both clients and colleagues. You will also be writing up reports and taking notes about client’s performance. Communication is a key component in being a successful massage therapist.

Not only will you need to hear what a client is saying to you but also understand the client’s body language. Are they wincing due to pain? Are you applying too much pressure? Part of good communication is active listening and monitoring body language. Listen to your client and they will tell you volumes of information.

Time Management – the only way to make a good income from massage is to work with multiple clients. However, it is important to keep appointments, not to be late or stack appointments one on top of another. Clients do not like to be kept waiting. This is the biggest complaint of most clients, and this can cause a client to go to another massage therapist.

You also may only have as little as 15 minutes to perform a chair massage. Making sure you massage all the important parts of the client’s body is important, especially if you are offering a short session. Longer sessions offer a better opportunity to manage time and focus on trigger points and knots that the client may have, without missing out on the other parts of the client’s body.

Problem Solving Skills – do you have a client that is late for an appointment? Ran out of clean towels? There are always going to be problems that arise, it is how you solve those problems that will let your clients know you are a good problem solver. The best scenario is that the client doesn’t even know you have a problem, because you fixed it before they even noticed.

Massage Techniques You Learn During a Part-Time Program

During a part-time massage therapy program, you still learn all the massage techniques you will need to succeed. From Swedish and deep tissue to chair, Thai, hot stone, sports, prenatal and reflexology. Each technique has a different use case, and the right combination can help you help your clients with pain, stress, poor circulation and other bodily issues.

Swedish Massage – the most common and most requested massage techniques. It is the foundation for many other techniques like deep tissue, chair massage and sports massage. The massage technique uses smooth, gliding strokes (effleurage), squeezing, rolling and kneading (petrissage), deep, circular movements (friction) and short, alternating taps (tapotement).

Deep Tissue Massage – uses slow strokes to focus pressure on muscles, tendons and deep tissues under the skin.

Chair Massage – a mobile way for you to offer a Swedish massage to the upper body. You will massage the client’s neck, shoulders, back, hands, and arms to reduce tension and improve blood circulation.

Thai Massage – an active version of massage, where the client participates in stretching and yoga like possess in tandem with you, the massage therapist.

Hot Stone Massage – massage that uses hot stones placed on specific points of the client’s body to enhance massage and relax muscles. Using the stones while offering massage allows you to apply deeper pressure without causing discomfort.

Sports Massage – a form of Swedish massage that focuses on one area of the body. Whether overexerted from excessive movement or injury, sports massage can help overused and stressed muscles relax and rejuvenate. Sports massage can also be good for athletes during warm up and cool down sessions.

Prenatal/Post-Natal Massage – massage can help mothers-to-be during prenatal and post-natal periods of childbirth. This massage can help a woman that is pregnant or just given birth manage the stress, pain and discomfort that comes with excessive weight in the stomach and on the back.

Reflexology – uses your hands, thumbs, and fingers to stimulate the client’s hands and feet. The theory of reflexology is that there are pressure points on the hands and feet that correspond to different parts of the body. Pressure on these points can help promote relaxation, increase circulation and support the functions of the entire body.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to become a massage therapist? Taking a part-time massage program is a great way to keep your daily responsibilities in check and continue your journey to a new career as a massage therapist. If you are ready to work in a growing industry and help others at the same time, then becoming a massage therapist may be the best career path for you.

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 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Do You Become a Medical Massage Therapist?

medical massage therapist helping a client

Massage therapy is embraced by mainstream medicine as an effective, drug-free way to reduce stiffness, ease pain and heal injuries. It’s a benefit for patients and an exciting career opportunity for people with a passion for health. But there’s a difference between medical massage and the typical bodywork practiced in the community. Both are wellness-driven, but medical massage is a doctor-ordered intervention designed to complement an existing treatment plan for a health condition, it requires additional skills. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a medical massage therapist.

What’s the Difference Between a Massage Therapist and Medical Massage Therapist?

Massage therapists work in a wide range of settings using bodywork to relieve stress. The techniques are similar and given that stress contributes to many health conditions, regular massage can improve a patient’s general well-being, but it’s not geared to treat a specific ailment.

Medical massage therapists partner with doctors, hospitals, and clinics to provide medically focused massage. Designed to improve function by relieving pain, healing injuries, and enhancing circulation, it complements other therapies from meditation to surgery and, in most cases, is covered by the patient’s insurer.

What Does a Medical Massage Therapist Do?

Medical massage therapists are trained, licensed massage therapists who treat physician-diagnosed conditions. Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating discomfort and associated symptoms related to other health conditions. Massage therapy, like physical therapy, is just one more treatment option a doctor can offer.

Combining traditional and complementary medicine is long overdue. This so-called integrative approach is more holistic, and it works. More doctors are emphasizing alternative treatments, like medical massage, and insurers are covering the costs. As a medical massage therapist, you’ll help patients heal by:

Improving Circulation

Good circulation is essential for healing, and massage enhances it in several ways, depending on the problem and the treatment goal. Kneading techniques, for example, can push nutrient-dense blood to injured tissue, providing it with the vitamins, minerals, and oxygen it needs.

But it can also reduce persistent fluid buildup caused by injury. When soft tissue is damaged, the localized inflammatory reaction is beneficial in the early stages of healing, but if it lasts too long, it causes pain and impairs further recovery. Pushing fluid away from an injury site can alleviate discomfort and restore normal range of motion, so patients can then exercise and regain their usual function. People with lymphatic drainage disorders also benefit from improved circulation. Excessive lymph fluid in limbs causes pain, immobility and skin ulcers that can lead to infections.

Since movement is the natural way to keep blood and lymph circulating freely, any treatment that eases discomfort and encourages exercise helps restore physical function. Many fibromyalgia patients who get massages report significant relief of muscle pain and better exercise tolerance.

Preventing Compensatory Injury

People with injuries often compensate for them by changing the way they move. A patient who’s had a hip replacement, for example, may develop pain in the lower back and opposite hip as they use those muscles more to avoid pain on the healing side. In combination with physical therapy, massage can ease discomfort in both hips. By intervening with massage soon after a procedure, patients are less likely to overuse, or under-use affected muscles in a way that impairs their range of motion or puts stress on other parts of their bodies. Quick management speeds the healing process.

Breaking Up Scar Tissue

Scar tissue at an injury site can cause pain by impinging on surrounding nerves and muscles. Collagen fibers form thick bundles, creating lumps that can be felt just beneath the skin’s surface. Medical massage can break up those fibers, relieving discomfort. Performed soon after surgery, it may minimize the formation of scar tissue.

Relieving Muscle Tension

Muscle tension can be debilitating for office workers. Sitting for long hours, their shoulders tend to hunch over, resulting in neck and shoulder pain. Medical massage not only relieves the discomfort, but it also makes relearning proper posture easier by loosening up the muscles used to sit up straight.

A medical massage therapist can use the same principles to treat performance athletes referred by sport’s doctors. A minor injury or overexercise can set a training schedule back for months, ruining the athlete’s ability to compete.

Managing Trigger Points

Trigger points are tiny tears in soft tissue caused by muscle injuries or repetitive stress. If they don’t heal in a timely manner, the muscle fibers form knots, known as trigger points, can impair circulation and cause pain. Muscles don’t relax as they should, impairing recovery from exercise. Painful trigger points may also compromise the delicate balance between opposing muscle groups, causing compensatory injuries and joint disorders.

Reducing Inflammation

How well we heal is partially genetic. Whether it’s after exercise or post-surgery, genes help control how quickly we recover. Massage may trigger an improvement in the genetic response, reducing inflammation and promoting healing at the cellular level. It’s proof-positive that as a complementary therapy, medical massage is effective.

Fighting Pain with the Brain

Our bodies manage pain naturally with endorphins, narcotic-like chemicals produced in the brain in response to physical and emotional stress. Medical massage has a similar effect, increasing endorphin production. Other hormones associated with pain, such as serotonin and dopamine, rise more during a massage. These substances not only affect how we perceive pain, but they also help muscles relax.

How Do You Become a Medical Massage Therapist?

With dedication and experience, any licensed massage therapist can enter the medical massage field by following these simple steps:

Step #1: Graduate from an Accredited Massage Therapy Program

The first step is to complete a vocational school massage therapy program. You can aim for a degree, but a certificate or diploma program will get you out of the classroom and into the field faster with the same qualifications. The diploma program will qualify you to take the MBLEx exam, used by almost all states for licensing applicants.

Step #2: Pass the MBLEx Exam

Most states require a license to practice massage therapy. It wasn’t always that way, but it’s a responsible way to protect the public. In response to complaints about unreliable operators with no qualifications, dozens of states met with leaders in the field to find ways to assess massage therapists’ skills. In 2005, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards was formed and the MBLEx, the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, was created.

Vocational school programs prepare students for the MBLEx. Once you’ve satisfied the education requirements, you’ll apply to take the test, so you can get your license. The exam covers seven key areas:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution and Special Populations
  • Patient Assessment, Reassessment and Treatment Planning
  • Benefits and Physiological Effects of Soft Tissue Manipulation Techniques
  • Ethic, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice

It assesses your understanding of what you learned in school, while no demonstration is required. Although the test doesn’t certify you as a “medical” massage therapist, it evaluates what you know about anatomy, pathology and other health concerns that will ultimately impact your future practice.

Step #3: Gain Experience

Most states don’t make a distinction between regular and medical massage therapists, the skills are the same, only their application differs. With a background in healthcare, even a new graduate could get into the field without much experience. But practically speaking, doctors expect a certain level of knowledge and skill before they’ll refer patients, something that’s proven only through experience.

Graduates with an interest in medical massage should look for jobs that provide a wide range of experiences and build soft skills. Medical massage therapists need to be as people oriented as nurses.

Not all experience has to be compensated. Connect with massage therapists in the field and ask about job shadow opportunities or volunteer to work with an interested physician, hospices always welcome help. Gaining a single patient can secure your future. Until you do, the most effective way to grow your career is to seek new experiences and never stop learning.

Step 4: Continue Your Education

Graduating from a vocational school is just the first step toward beginning a medical massage career. You’ll need to learn more about the conditions you want to help doctors treat. If you’re interested in sports medicine, enroll in seminars that teach those skills.

Each class contributes your general knowledge base and gives you a closer look at specialties you may be interested in. They also support you in the final step toward becoming a medical massage therapist, becoming certified.

Step #5: Become Certified by the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA)

The American Medical Massage Association offers a first-of-its-kind certification exam for medical massage therapy. Passing it demonstrates you have the knowledge to practice safely in a medical environment. It’s the culmination of all the hard work you’ve done to hone your skills. It’s the pat on the back you deserve and just what your resume needs to get your first job in the field.

Final Thoughts

The majority of visits to the doctor’s office in the US are for pain. Medical massage is an important complementary treatment that alleviates discomfort and promotes healing. It’s a growing industry that doctors and insurers are lining up to support because it works. It’s a ground-floor opportunity for wellness enthusiasts to train for a rewarding career.

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 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Fastest Way to Become a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist providing services for their client

Interested in quickly becoming a massage therapist? This profession offers flexibility, low stress and job satisfaction. Massage therapists can also choose their workplace, with options at resorts, massage franchises, salons, from home and at office buildings. If you are interested in this fast-growing profession, the first and fastest step to becoming a massage therapist is getting a formal education at a vocational school.

Although there are many different specialties, most massage therapists specialize in one area. With full-time attendance, the massage therapy program can be completed in just 12 months. You will be able to decide your specialization after learning the different massage techniques in a vocational program.

What Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist must have a high school diploma in addition to a certificate from a vocational school. A licensure examination is administered twice per year. There are often city requirements to legally conduct business as a massage therapist and some municipalities work under licenses. To receive a license, certification must be taken to Officials or the City Clerk for certification verification.

A background check is required for licensing, and the applicant must pay a fee. Once this process is complete, the applicant is licensed to perform massages in that city. Once licensed, specific obligations, professional accountability, disciplinary actions, investigations and client bills of rights must be reported. It is important to find a school that offers curriculum that meets the standards of the National Standard for Massage Therapy. This ensures that you are eligible to take a national exam called the MBLEX.

MBLEx is an appreciation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. This is a standard exam created to test the critical knowledge required to practice massage. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers this test and has received recognition as a United States professional organization.

The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions. Each student has two hours to complete the exam at an authorized testing center. The sections included on the exam are:

  • Special Populations, Areas of Caution, Contraindications and Pathology
  • Treatment Planning, Reassessment and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice
  • Physiological Effects and Benefits of Techniques Manipulating Soft Tissue
  • Kinesiology
  • Regulations, Laws, Boundaries and Ethics

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

The courses taught at a vocational school study the human body, how the mechanics of the body work and the location of tissues, muscles and organs. Typical courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Labs
  • Business Practices
  • Medical terminology
  • Body mechanics
  • Massage ethics

A massage therapist also learns multiple techniques including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Sport therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Hot stone massages

All of this knowledge is necessary to succeed in a career as a massage therapist and manage the pain and stress of others. In addition to the essentials required to work as a massage therapist, courses including business management and ethics are just as important. Not only does a massage therapist need to understand the basics to help clients, but they also need to establish good relationships. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client must be professional and consist of both commitment and trust.

Hands-on Training

Vocational school teaches you the best way to build relationships, the value of ethics, how to run a business and dealing with clients on an intimate basis. Hands-on training is the backbone of massage therapy education. Every student receives hands-on training. You will learn how to perform massage on real people, classmates and at student run massage clinics. In the end, you learn what is necessary to become a successful and happy massage therapist. Ensuring the comfort of clients, proper hygiene and the importance of kindness.

Proper Hygiene

Vocational schools teach the importance of hygiene for all materials used including tables and hands. This is when you develop good bedside manners for clients and classmates. Learning how to listen and communicate is an extremely important skill for a massage therapist because it promotes a feeling of relaxation resulting in fluid and calming sessions for clients. To become a successful massage therapist, certain skills must be mastered. The good news is you will enjoy learning and practicing theses skills while mastering them in a massage therapy program.

Communication and Camaraderie

One of the most delightful yet unexpected things you will learn while attending school is camaraderie. As the months pass, strong bonds, close relationships and amazing friendships will form with other students. You will learn and grow together. You simply know you are never alone, there is always a connection and students in your massage classes often start to feel like family.

Proper Massage Technique

Once you become a massage therapist, the self-care techniques taught become standard practice and invaluable. When you are massaging a client, your body mechanics, movement and breath must be consistent. Remaining hydrated and consuming a healthy diet will help. Many massage therapists remain calm, connected and in a mindful state when working with clients by practicing quiet meditation. When you are not working with a client, try physical exercise, receiving regular massages and meditation to help preserve your focus and enthusiasm.

How Do You Find a Job After Graduation?

There are numerous ways to find a good job once your graduate. The vocational school offers career services and there are job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn that offer networking. It is also important to talk to spa managers within the community. Employers in different environments hire massage therapists including hospitals and retirement facilities. You can work for someone else or establish a small business. Attracting a steady client base is dependent on professionalism and friendliness.

The best part of becoming a massage therapist is the ability to make clients feel better while earning a living. The demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase 21 percent between 2019 and 2029. Once you decide whether to open a practice, work for a business or work alone, your career will begin in this growing industry.

Start a Small Massage Business?

Running a small business offers benefits including flexibility and freedom. You decide the type of space to work in, which hours and days you will be available and determine your own scheduling and fees. All of the revenue earned is yours. If you enjoy working alone, you perform every job and decide whether an assistant or any employees are necessary.

Running a small business is expensive and involves handling all costs associated with the business such as licenses, rent, equipment and advertising. A sole practitioner does not receive the same benefits as a massage therapist working for an employer. Working for an employer means a specific schedule must be maintained including availability, hours and treatments.

Work for a Franchisee Massage Employer?

Certain employers will require you to perform additional administrative duties in addition to massage. The benefit of working for a franchise massage employer is a career offering a wide variety of choices and responsibilities. One of the most important considerations is equipment. Establishing a business as a massage therapist includes purchasing all of the necessary equipment as opposed to having everything provided by an employer.

Some employers pay for continuing education and training. Whether you decide to work for yourself or as part of a team, becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career. Prior to deciding which course is right for your individual needs, consider your personality, preferences, the option best suited to your temperament and how to provide clients with the best possible experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to open a business by yourself, with a team or work for someone else is an important decision. However, the first step you need to take is deciding whether a career as a massage therapist is right for your needs. Once you enroll in vocational school, you’re on the fastest path to your dream career.

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 12 months. 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.

What is the Difference Between a Swedish Massage and a Regular Massage?

Massage therapist helping a client

Did you know that you can become a massage therapist in as little as 12 months, attending full-time? Interested in learning the difference between Swedish massage and regular massages? There are many different types of massage that you will learn during a massage therapy program at a vocational school, from Swedish massage to Himalayan hot stone and everything in between. Many massages derive their technique from Swedish massage, but each has a different technique and use. No one type of massage is better than another, but their goals vary. As a massage therapist, you should choose the type of massage that best suits the clients’ unique needs. Whether it is deep tissue massage that offers more pressure or chair massage that uses Swedish massage on the upper body, it is important to learn about the different types of massage so you can create a unique massage plan for your clients.

Swedish Massage History

Swedish massage was invented by Pehr Henrik Ling, in the 19th century. Injured himself, Pehr created a unique massage technique based on an early form of massage using percussion strokes. The massage technique originated in Sweden was brought back to the US in the mid-19th century. The traditional version of Swedish massage included five massage strokes: vibration, petrissage, friction, effleurage and tapotement.

Vibration – as a massage therapist, you will use the palm of your hand to massage in a back-and-forth motion to loosen muscles with vigorous vibration.

Petrissage – a deeper stroke to knead muscles. Using the knuckles and thumbs, you dig deep to prepare the muscles for further massage.

Friction – you use a rubbing action with your hands to produce heat and then place the heat on the muscles to warm them.

Effleurage – use of long gliding strokes to reduce tension in the muscles.

Tapotement – a fast tapping or patting of the muscles with a hand, soft fist and fingertips.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapy?

During your massage therapy program, you will learn about Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, and Himalayan hot stone. It is important to learn many different types of massage in order to tailor a unique plan for each individual client. They will have unique ailments and pain thresholds that will require different types of massage. The main massage type and one that many massage techniques derive from is Swedish massage.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage, also known Western Massage is the basis of most massage therapy performed in America today. It is the most common form of massage found in spas, health clubs, and private practices. Swedish massage techniques aid in the circulation of blood and lymph, relaxing muscles, improving joint mobility, and inducing general relaxation. Some Swedish techniques include; effleurage: sliding or gliding over the skin with a smooth continues motion, Petrissage: lifting wringing or squeezing soft tissues in a kneading motion, Friction: rubbing one surface over another repeatedly to create heat and stimulate the skin, Tapotement: a series of brisk rhythmic percussive movements that have a stimulating effect, Vibration: oscillating, quivering, or trembling motion used to stimulate digestion or bring greater circulation to a muscle to help it relax. Each massage technique produces a different effect that aids in the decrease of muscle tension and increase relaxation. 

Deep Tissue Massage

The massage techniques used in deep tissue massage mirror that of Swedish massage. However, deep tissue massage also involves the use of deeper pressure and trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy involves the identification and deactivation of painful fibrous nodules in muscles and connective tissue called trigger points. Trigger points can be felt as taut bands of tissue that elicit pain if pressed and that refer pain to other areas of the body. The deactivation of trigger points allows muscle tension to decrease and allows more blood flow to the muscle. Deep tissue therapy, although more intense than Swedish massage, can be extremely beneficial to a person’s overall health and well-being.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is the application of massage and related techniques to maintain the health of an athlete to enhance athletic performance. Sports massage is based on traditional western massage techniques. Most of the principals of sports massage are applicable to anyone engaged in physical fitness activities. Sports massage helps care for the wear and tear and minor injuries sustained in the performance of any strenuous physical activity. Some techniques are used more than others, depending on the situation and desired results. Techniques are applied very specifically to certain muscles and tendons; therefore, sports massage specialists have well developed palpation skills and knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy.  

Chair Massage

Derived from Swedish massage, chair massage focuses on the upper part of the body. The client sits in a chair designed for massage. As a massage therapist, you massage the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands to relieve stress and tension. Many offices will bring in a massage therapist to perform chair massage on employees that sit for extended periods of the day and need relief from stiffness and repetitive motions. Chair massages are also common in malls, casinos, and other open environments for clients that are on their feet or sitting for extended periods of time.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a form of Swedish massage that is performed on mothers-to-be when they are pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around a baby for up to nine months. The main purpose of prenatal massage is to relieve back and neck pain. While a client may lie face down during a Swedish massage, a prenatal massage has the client lay with special cushioning to help them lie down properly without putting pression on blood vessels that can disrupt blood flow to the baby. It is important for you to have your client get permission from their doctor before engaging in prenatal massage as the doctor will know about the contraindicators of massage for that specific client. Prenatal massage has been considered safe after the first trimester and also can be used for post-partum depression after the baby is born.

Prenatal massage is used to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension, according to the American Pregnancy Organization. Prenatal massage can also be used to decrease the symptoms of depression, improve labor outcomes as well as improve newborn health.

Himalayan Hot Stone

A hot stone massage uses hot or cold stones to induce relaxation and relieve pain. The most common type of stone used today is basalt, smooth, flat volcanic rocks that retain heat and are thought to channel healing energies. Himalayan hot stone massage uses hot stones with minerals to exfoliate the skin, softening the client’s skin. Himalayan hot stones give off negative ions to balance out the positive ions that cause inflammation in the body. Himalayan hot stone massage helps reduce stress, offering a calm and warm atmosphere.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do Day-to-Day?

A massage therapist’s job is to relieve the stress and tension of a client’s body by manipulating muscles and soft tissue with different types of massage therapy techniques. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a massage therapist will communicate with clients to understand their symptoms, medical histories and massage goals. They will evaluate the client’s body to better understand which massage technique will help relieved muscle pain and restore range of motion. The massage therapist will help educate clients in between appointments to stretch, strengthen and relax their bodies and improve posture. They will also document the client’s condition and record the progress of the massage therapy treatment.

A massage therapist may work in a spa or resort, open up their own business location or travel to client’s residence and commercial buildings to offer massage to their clients. After graduating from an accredited vocational school that offers a massage therapy program, the massage therapist will work to pass the licensing exam. Once the massage therapist is licensed, they may start seeing clients for massage therapy sessions.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between Swedish massage and regular massage, are you interested in learning more about massage therapy? Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career and allows you to help others that are experiencing acute or chronic pain. You work with all types of clients, from office workers to pregnant mothers-to-be. If you are interested in starting a satisfying career, then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for massage therapist is expected to grow 21 percent in the coming decade. In the face of technology and outsourcing, a massage therapist will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

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 12 months. 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.

How Many Massages Can a Massage Therapist Do in a Day?

Massage therapists training for their career.

Interested in becoming a massage therapist but not sure if you have the stamina to work a long day, standing and giving massages? Don’t worry, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare yourself and train your body to handle a long day of work giving massages. So, how many massages can you give in a single day?

How Many Massages Can a Massage Therapist Do in a Day?

As a massage therapist, that is up to you. Some massage therapist will work full-time working with multiple clients a day and others will work part-time with only a handful. If you want to work more as a massage therapist, there are some important things you can do to prepare yourself for extended time using your hands and standing throughout the day. You will need to work on your dexterity and stamina, it is important to stretch in between massages, you will want to use proper technique to keep a balanced body stance, proper breathing helps, some aerobic exercise and strength training will build your stamina, while a positive attitude and good hygiene will keep your body from getting sick during those long hours.

What Does a Massage Therapist Need to Do More Massages in a Day?

There are many things you can do to help yourself stay fit, improve stamina and prepare for a long day of massage. From good eating habits and exercise to proper hygiene and a positive attitude, everything you do during the day and while you relax at night will impact your ability to give massages. Whether you need to take breaks and stretch between clients or get a proper amount of sleep, there are ways to prepare your body and mind for multiple massage clients each day.

Dexterity

Dexterity in massage involves the use of your hands and fingers. As a massage therapist, you must use acute, slight motions to help you identify muscles that are tense, sore, or painful. This allows you to apply the proper amount of pressure to relieve the stress and tension.

As a massage therapist, you will apply pressure to a client’s soft tissue and muscles. Depending on the technique the pressure may be intense, for example with deep tissue massage. Techniques require pushing, pulling and kneading with the arms, hands, fingers and shoulders, but movements must be precise to have the proper effect. It’s a skill that requires upper body strength, flexibility and coordination. And also, a skill that requires good dexterity in the fingers and hands. Hands tend to cramp up when multiple massages are performed in the same day. Stretching the body and hands in between massages will help you stay limber and flexible to keep your body warm and stop it from getting injured.

Stamina

Stamina is the ability for you to withstand prolonged mental and physical activity. As a massage therapist, you must possess strength and energy to perform multiple massages in the same day. Massage treatments require you to stay on your feet, stand in place, reach, bend, and perform massage treatments for as long as an hour and a half. It is important to build stamina over time.

As a massage therapist, you will spend most of your day on your feet. A full body massage can last 60 to 90 minutes. You may stand, bend and kneel during the massage. Even portable chair massages require you to move equipment and travel from place to place. Massage therapy isn’t a physically grueling job, but strength and endurance are a must.

Proper Massage Technique

When it comes to proper massage technique, your feet are the foundation for all movement during the massage session. Using the lower portion of your body during the massage is more powerful. This provides you with more stability than moving the upper part of your body. Standing and applying an equal amount of weight to each foot and shifting a substantial amount of pressure to the lower portion of the body reduces your risk of injury.

The way your feet are placed provides a stable base and influences the direction of your massage strokes. This also has a significant effect on the alignment of your body. The two standard foot stances used while giving a massage that provide stability and balance include bow stance and warrior stance.

Bow Stance – used when you are standing at the head or the foot of the massage table and are applying strokes that proceed from one point of the body to the next. Position your feet at a 30 to 45-degree angle. Your lead foot will point forward with the other foot pointing off to the side. Keep your knees flexed, and the weight will shift from one foot to the other as you massage the client.

Using the Bow Stance allows you to maintain contact with the client while maintaining a consistent flow of touch. It’s important to bend at the hips rather than the waist when using this stance to avoid any back injury. Try not to twist as you bend. Bending at the hips aids in keeping your balance.

Warrior Stance – used when performing short strokes that cause friction on the body, this helps you reach to the far side of the client while maintaining balance. Using the warrior stance allows you to face the opposite side of the massage table while keeping your feet approximately hips distance apart. During this stance, your toes will be pointed straight ahead, and your back will stay straight. Your hips will point toward the table to reduce the risk of injury to your body.

Proper Breathing

Using the proper breathing technique helps you better pace yourself and your massage movements. It is important to send oxygen to your muscles. Increased oxygen helps reduce fatigue and help you stay relaxed and focused. Proper breathing technique also enhances your physical and mental health.

Aerobic Exercise & Stretching

It is important that you have the stamina and dexterity to alleviate the stress and pain of a client’s muscles, so it’s crucial for you to keep yourself healthy. Staying fit is essential to physical and mental health. Being healthy makes it easier for you to face a long day of massage. What can you do to increase your stamina and dexterity?

  • Exercise is a good way to stay physically fit. Try 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise to build stamina for increased massage output.
  • Take regular breaks during the day to stretch your muscles and get your blood flowing. Standing up and stretching a few times a day can help you avoid lower back pain.

Strength Training

Strength training can help you avoid fatigue. Massages require physical ability and strength training builds muscles, making it easier for you to manipulate the client’s muscles and soft tissue. Resistance and weight training can help you build your muscles offering you additional stamina and dexterity. However, try not to overdue the strength training so you are fresh for a long day of massage.

A Positive Attitude

When you’re healthy physically and mentally, your outlook is more positive. A positive attitude will help your immune system fight off colds, flus and other germs you may come in contact with while massaging clients. It is also good to stay hydrated. You should drink plenty of water. Maintaining hydration levels is essential for your optimum health.

Good Hygiene

Some germs are transmissible through skin contact, so as a massage therapist, you need good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of disease. Your vocational school training programs will cover health basics, including environmental cleanliness and equipment sanitation. It’s an integral part of practicing safely, and it’s mandatory in states that inspect and license massage therapy practices.

Final Thoughts

So, are you ready to offer multiple massages in a given day and make the most of your massage therapy training? It may be time to learn more about the proper techniques to allow you to work with as many clients as possible each day. Take the first step in your journey and learn about a massage therapy program today.

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 12 months. 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.

What Is Myofascial Massage?

Massage therapist providing a client with myofascial massage

Praised as a great way to relieve soreness and tightness, myofascial massage is quickly becoming a highly sought-after wellness treatment. The myofascial massage is a manual therapy technique that requires the expertise of a trained massage therapist. It is considered by many experts to be the best treatment for myofascial pain. By relieving pressure, this specialized massage therapy enables clients to enjoy pain reduction, better mobility and overall increases in physical wellness. So, what is myofascial pain and how can myofascial massage help?

What Is Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial pain is simply a term that’s used to describe muscle pain. The definition actually extends to both pain and accompanying inflammation within soft tissue. For many clients with musculoskeletal pain, the pain felt is technically radiating from a connective tissue called “fascia” that covers the muscles.

Myofascial pain often occurs when muscles or muscle groups are exposed to prolonged, repetitive movements. For many clients, this occurs as a result of sports, workouts, movements performed at work or improper posture. Even stress and anxiety can trigger myofascial pain due to strain and tension held within the body. While myofascial pain can impact the entire musculoskeletal system, it is most commonly experienced in the neck and shoulders. However, it is also seen frequently in the hips, lower back, jaw, calves, quads and feet. Here’s a glance at some common symptoms of myofascial pain:

  • Muscle aches and pain that feels deep within the muscle.
  • Muscle pain that gets worse over time.
  • Knotted feelings in the muscles.
  • Tension and headaches.
  • Extreme pain that makes it difficult to work, exercise or sleep.

Fortunately, clients who are suffering from extreme muscle pain have a very natural, noninvasive option in myofascial massage. This highly specialized technique involves massage and stretching with light manual pressure to help restore function to the fascia. A desire to resolve muscle pain from the source without surgery or medications is causing many people to seek out massage therapists who are capable of offering myofascial massage.

What are Myofascial Massage Techniques?

For future myofascial massage therapists, there’s quite a bit to learn about how specific manipulations can help to bring healing and relief to clients suffering from intense muscle pain. First, the phrase “myo” refers to the muscular tissue that is affected. The term “fascia” refers to what medical experts call a three-dimensional web of connective tissue. This web of tissue actually extends from the superficial layers of muscular tissue all the way to the deepest layers of tissue that touch the bone. This provides an indication of just how deep and intense a myofascial massage really is. In fact, myofascial tissue can be thought of as the framework of our bodies because it provides the mechanisms that we use to move our muscles.

When the fascia is compromised, we see a reduction in range of motion. In addition, restrictions within the fascia can reduce the flow of nutrition to our joints. This can lead to pain, extreme mobility reductions and inflammation. If left untreated, it’s common for compromised fascia to cause heightened pain sensitivity and premature tissue degeneration. Some clients also experience a narrowing of the spinal cord called stenosis that ultimately leads to muscle weakness.

How Is Myofascial Massage Performed?

First, massage therapists train in massage therapy programs to actually identify fascia problems. When fascia is healthy and functioning normally, it feels very pliable and elastic. Massage therapists begin by gently massaging the area to look for signs of stiffness and tightness.

Next, the therapist massages and stretches the area using some light manual pressure. The massage therapist then applies special manual techniques for releasing pressure and tightness using a series of repetitive motions on a client’s trigger points. A trigger point is a spot within the skeletal muscle that is the “source” of pain. The massage therapist works on a single trigger point until a release can be felt. This is where the pressure “evaporates” to relieve the tension and stress that are causing pain.

Practitioners will often focus on locating multiple trigger points to create comprehensive pain relief. This usually means working on the broader network of muscles associated with the type of pain that a client is experiencing. For the client, it may seem like the massage therapist is working on a series of “unrelated muscles” even though they are targeting associated muscle groups. However, both the immediate relief and long-term benefits make the results very clear.

Massage therapists use a number of different movements and techniques when administering myofascial massage. The massage is most commonly conducted using the hands and elbows. However, a number of massage tools that range from foam rollers to soft balls can also be employed.

What Are the Benefits of Myofascial Massage?

The most immediate and obvious benefit of myofascial massage is pain relief. Many patients experience immediate relief following a release. However, several visits are typically needed to provide muscles with the prolonged, focused healing they need to eliminate pain, strain and inflammation. There are also many secondary benefits to myofascial massage that simply contribute to a healthier body.

One of the big benefits of myofascial massage is the alleviation of knots throughout the impacted area. This helps to relieve tension that was causing reduced mobility. Even areas that were not experiencing acute “pain” can now feel freer and more relaxed. Many clients find that they are able to enjoy better range of motion and flexibility. This is important for clients who are seeking sports massage because the massage therapist is able to utilize myofascial massage to boost recovery and enhance performance. Next, massage is great for improving blood circulation. The stimulation provided during the massage experience is enough to “wake up” the blood vessels in the affected area to restore blood flow. What’s more, removing the tension caused by knots can also open up the pathways for blood flow that had been blocked by the knots. As a result, the muscles in the area are now receiving more oxygen.

Even people who are not seeking myofascial massages for acute pain can benefit from an overall reduction in muscle soreness. Many active clients seek out this form of massage to keep their muscles at peak performance. Additionally, massage is a great stress-reduction tool for both muscle groups and the full body.

What Are the Skills a Massage Therapist Needs to Be Successful?

 It’s easy to see why professionals would gravitate toward a career that allows their clients to tap into the regenerative benefits of myofascial massage. Being successful at myofascial massage requires some specific skills and interpersonal qualities.

Dexterity

A massage therapist must have a degree of flexibility to access various muscles and muscle groups on a client’s body. They must be able to reach over the massage table to vigorously apply pressure to muscles. In many cases, this means holding the pressure in place until they are able to sense the release of the trigger point. The different maneuvers needed for myofascial massage also require a good degree of dexterity. Massage is a “whole-body” application that requires a combination of fast and carefully paced movements. While the entire body is used, it’s especially important to have hand and wrist dexterity for the ultra-detailed, fine-point work that needs to be done during a massage session.

Stamina

Stamina is also important for massage therapists. A myofascial massage can last for up to 90 minutes. Due to the demand for this therapy, it’s not uncommon to book multiple massage sessions throughout the course of a single day. Ultimately, the stamina to give every message session “your all” is very needed in this field.

Communication Skills

A myofascial massage therapist needs to have strong communication skills. Clients often have many questions about how this type of massage therapy works. As a massage therapist, it’s important to share information that puts clients at ease during what can feel like a very vulnerable experience. Massage therapists must have the skills to gauge client comfort levels, make accommodations to help clients feel more comfortable and “check in” with clients regarding how they’re feeling. During an initial meeting, a massage therapist often provides a quick “briefing” on the techniques and benefits behind a specific form of massage. The communication skills of the massage therapist set the tone for the entire experience. While myofascial massage is a highly technical treatment that requires a great deal of technical skill, this is something that is ideal for a “people person” who enjoys one-on-one communication.

Final Thoughts

People are increasingly turning to myofascial massage for pain relief, muscle health and overall wellness. This form of massage can be incredibly effective for boosting range of motion and flexibility. For massage therapists, this treatment specialty opens up doors to have a steady, loyal roster of clients. Is it time to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and offering myofascial massage? You will be happy you did.

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 12 months. 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.

How to be a Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Self-employed massage therapist waling through a clients home with a massage table

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Have an interest in massage therapy and want to make it your career? Starting a massage therapy business can be exciting, but it is important to prepare. That is why Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers a massage therapy program to help you start a massage therapist business. Take the first step and get ready to graduate from a massage therapy program.

Step #1: Graduate from a Massage Therapy Program

The first step toward becoming self-employed as a massage therapist is to complete an accredited massage therapy program at a vocational school. Although massage is an unlicensed profession in Minnesota, part of the requirements of becoming a licensed massage therapist is first completing a specific number of hours in a diploma program to prepare you for the licensing exam.

During the massage therapy program, you learn the many techniques of massage including Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, prenatal, Thai and many other techniques. Knowing these massage techniques allows you to create a unique session for your clients with the right combination of massage for their needs. You will learn about anatomy, physiology and kinesiology as it has to do with massage. You also learn about becoming self-employed as a massage therapist or running a massage business as a manager. We help you understand light bookkeeping, how to file for different business licenses, managing costs and the other business practices that you must master to run your own massage business. The best part about attending a massage therapy program is all the lab work that you will receive to get practical experience while massaging real clients.

Step #2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Although massage is an unlicensed professional in Minnesota, you may need to become licensed at the city or county level to offer massage services. Either way, passing the MBLEx licensing exam proves to your clients that you are serious about massage and they will have more confidence in you as a licensed massage therapist. This can set you apart from your competitors.

Step #3 File for Proper Business License as Self-Employed

When you start your own business, there are many different licenses and permits you will need to get started. First, you will need to apply for a business license at your local city governmental department. Most self-employed individuals will need to apply for a special self-employed business license that comes with some restrictions. You will need to pay city business tax each year based on your gross receipts. This is in addition to state and federal income tax and any sales tax that you collect.

Step #4: Do Some Competitive Research

Once you graduate from the massage therapist program, get a license and file for the proper permits, it is time to do some competitive research. It is important to take a look at your local city and figure out how many other massage therapists are offering massage services. Is the market saturated? Can you differentiate yourself by offering aromatherapy, prenatal or sports massage? Are you going to rent a space? These are all questions that you must answer before you invest the time and money into your business.

Step #5: Purchase the Necessary Massage Supplies

Now is the time to invest in massage supplies that you can take with you to client’s homes. Do you want a portable table or chair? Do you need towels, pillows, essential oils, or any other massage supplies to give the client a unique massage experience? You may need some PPE to keep yourself and your client safe from viruses and bacteria. You are also going to need a way to charge your clients for your massage services. A great way to do this is using Square or Apple Pay on your smartphone.

Step #6: Build a Clientele

Most successful businesses have a website that offers basic information about their services, contact information and credentials. Once you have a website up and running, take the time to submit your information to local directories like Yelp. Many of your potential clients will look to Yelp for reviews and information about your business. Social media is also important to capture new clients and create loyal customers out of your current clientele.

Don’t’ forget a leave behind. Whether it is a brochure or business card, make sure that you leave something for your clients, so they know where to call you for another massage service. You can also ask them to follow you on social media so you can keep them up-to-date on any specials or new services that you may offer in the future. Social media will also allow you to reach your clients contacts and build out your clientele.

Final Thoughts

Now that you are ready for your new adventure as a self-employed massage therapist, it is time to take the first step and start a massage therapy program. Though becoming a business owner can be daunting, Minnesota School of Cosmetology is there to help. We not only teach you the techniques you need to service clients, but we have a curriculum that will help you start a massage business. If you choose to get licensed, we prepare you for the MBLEx exam. Every journey starts with a single step. Ready to start moving?

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 12 months. 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.

What is the Importance of Knowing the Contraindications to Massage?

Massage is a non-invasive way for clients to relax and reduce pain. Though massage is safe for most people, there are situations when massage should not be used on a client because of a pre-existing condition or during the use of specific medications.

Massage therapist helping a client with contraindications

What are Contraindications?

A contraindication is when a symptom or condition can cause a negative outcome because of a specific medication, surgery or procedure. There are two types of contraindications, relative and absolute.

Relative contraindications give practitioners caution when either two medications can conflict or a procedure like massage can exacerbate a condition that a client is currently taking medication for or underwent surgery for. They may interfere in some way, but it is not life-threatening.

Absolute contraindications are those situations that are life-threatening, like massage in specific parts of the body that just underwent a surgical procedure, must be avoided. An example of this is when women are pregnant, they can suffer from blood clots in their legs. It is an absolute contraindication for a massage therapist to not massage the legs so that any blood clots are not dislodged and end up in a vital organ.

What are Contraindications for Massage?

It is important for a massage therapist to inquire about a client’s health condition during the initial assessment and at the beginning of each session. Although massage therapy is safe, it can exacerbate some conditions. Don’t book an appointment for a client if they have a fever, contagious disease, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, had a recent operation, or are suffering from a skin disease. A client should always consult a physician before beginning any massage therapy or if the client has any new conditions that could be contraindications for massage.

Fever – if the client has an abnormal temperature, massage may increase it. Whether it is from a vaccination or flu, a raised temperature will indicate the body is saying that something is wrong, and the massage therapist shouldn’t exacerbate the situation.

Contagious Disease – we are all living with the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are acutely aware of the dangers of a contagious disease. It is important to take precautions before a massage treatment to make sure everyone is safe and that no one will catch a contagious disease.

Drug or Alcohol – someone under the influence may not experience the massage the same, their body may react differently, the pain threshold may be diminished, and they may make poor decisions. It is important to make sure that the client is not inebriated in anyway, as they must give consent to participate in a massage treatment.

Recent Surgery – if a client has recently undergone treatment or surgery, massage can exacerbate the injury or location that is trying to heal. Massage can tear stitches or aggravate a part of the body has undergone surgery. Always have the client consult their doctor before engaging in massage.

Skin Diseases – when you perform massage on a client and they have a skin disease, it can inflame the skin, cause abrasions or bruise areas of the skin. Many people that have skin disorders will also use some sort of ointment and this can be a contraindicator for massage, especially if you use essential oils.

There are specific areas of the body that may also suffer from conditions that can be contraindications for massage. If a client has varicose veins, lumps, excessive bruising, has cuts or abrasions, is sunburned, has undiagnosed pain or has any inflammation from conditions like arthritis. In addition, a massage therapist should not use specific massage techniques on women that are pregnant. You will learn prenatal massage techniques that are suitable for mothers-to-be during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. Again, it is important for anyone that is suffering from any condition to consult a physician before engaging in massage therapy.

There are also some medical contraindications that a massage therapist should have a client get a physician’s approval before attempting massage. Important medical contraindications include cardio-vascular conditions, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and pinched nerves, to name a few.

What is the Importance of Knowing the Contraindications to Massage?

All massage therapists will need to know the contraindications to massage to create a safe environment for their clients. This is not only tested on the licensing exam, but it is important to know as much as possible about a client’s health and any conditions they may have that can cause them distress or even be life-threatening. Take the time to fully understand what the client’s health history looks like and ask all the important questions before you create a massage treatment plan for them.

How Do You Identify Contraindications to Massage?

The best time to inquire about a client’s health is during an initial assessment and before each session for any updates to their health regimen, medications or surgical procedures they may have undergone since the last session.

Initial Assessment

During an initial massage therapy assessment, it is good to get a full health history from your client, any medications that may be contraindications and the client’s chief concern. You will also want to know where a client is experiencing pain and any place on their body they don’t want you to massage.

This is also the time to explain the risks, side effects and other information to give the client expectations for what they are getting into. During the risks and side effects, it is a good time to talk about situations that may cause complications and have them explain any health history that might suggest a specific massage technique. Each massage technique is unique and the information from the initial assessment will allow you to come up with a treatment plan with the right mix of techniques. Does the client need deep tissue massage to really work out tension in the muscles or something lighter that doesn’t cause too much pain? Do they have any allergies to latex or any other substances? Learn as much as you can during the initial assessment so you can create a best possible plan for the client.

Pre-Session Questionnaire

At the beginning of every new massage session, it is important for you to see if anything has changed with the client. Did they start any new medications, have any procedures or new aches and pains they need to focus on this session? Create a questionnaire that they fill out and include authorization forms that they need to sign. Make sure to be through about your pre-session questionnaire because the client may know something that they just forgot to share or don’t think it is relevant in this situation. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Confidentiality and Discretion

It is important for you to keep all the information a client tells you confidential and to show discretion about personal topics. The client may tell you very confidential and personal information about themselves and their medical history, that they wouldn’t want you to tell anyone else. A medical professional is bound by HIPAA guidelines to keep all medical information confidential. It is a good guideline for massage therapist to adhere to as well.

You also want to show discretion with a client. They may confide in you about a condition that they have, so don’t ask them questions that you may think are too personal. Also, don’t make comments or off the cuff remarks about something that the client may feel sensitive about. This is an easy way to lose a client. They trust you with very personal information and they expect you to show discretion.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a massage therapist is a great way to help people with a non-invasive and natural therapy. Being a massage therapist is very rewarding, especially when you see your patients experience less stress and pain. It is important to complete a massage therapy program so that you know all the benefits and contraindications that can affect a client during a massage treatment. Keep your clients safe and you will create a loyal following.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about helping keep clients safe from contraindications in 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 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.

Why Does Someone Choose a Career in Massage?

Student training for a career in massage

Why should you choose a career in massage therapy? Massage is a research-proven therapy used worldwide to treat tension, injury and pain. Recommended by doctors, trainers and other wellness professionals as a drug-free way to soothe sore muscles and melt away stress, it’s soaring in popularity. Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and thousands more are scheduling now. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job opportunities for massage therapists will rise 21-percent in the next ten years. If you have what it takes, there’s never been a better time to get into the field.

Why Does Someone Choose a Career in Massage?

People with a passion for wellness have many career choices, so why choose massage therapy? You’ll enjoy massage therapy if:

You’re a People Person

Massage therapy is a service industry. You’ll spend most of your working hours relating to customers, albeit in a relaxed atmosphere. While some clients are a pleasure to serve, others will be more challenging. You will have to connect with colleagues, supervisors and others to develop your practice. Successful massage therapists like getting to know people and are willing to work hard to cultivate rewarding, long-term professional relationships.

You Like to Be Physically Active

Massage therapists manipulate soft tissue to rehabilitate injuries, ease discomfort and reduce the symptoms of stress. They’re active most of the day, working with their shoulders, arms and hands. You’ll never be chained to a desk.

You Want to Help People be Healthy

Stress-related disorders are an epidemic, some of our habits have become toxic. Massage therapy offers a new approach to wellness that complements conventional treatment while addressing the lifestyle factors that contribute to illness. If you want to help people be healthier but a career in mainstream medicine isn’t for you, becoming a massage therapist is a holistic alternative.

Skills for Success as a Massage Therapist

Anyone can learn massage therapy, but being a successful therapist requires specific skills including confidence, a positive attitude, physical stamina, manual dexterity, and empathy, to name a few. Having this skill set will help build your career in massage.

Skill #1: A Positive Attitude

Working with people can be demanding. As a professional massage therapist, it’s up to you to set a positive tone for the visit. You’ll work one-on-one with clients to develop individualized treatment plans, so you need their cooperation for the best results. A friendly posture and an enthusiastic attitude engages customers, creating a welcoming atmosphere and inspiring confidence in your services.

Skill #2: Physical Stamina

Massage therapists work on their feet, standing and bending to optimize upper body ergonomics. A full-body massage can last up to ninety minutes, and you may do six or more a day. Being in good physical condition helps you avoid physical stress and prevent injury.

Skill #3: Manual Dexterity

Massage therapists use their fingers to relieve tense muscles, applying pressure to trigger points to help stiff fibers relax. Techniques must be performed precisely to have the necessary effects. As you work, you’ll watch clients’ reactions for the tell-tale signs of relief and adjust your movements accordingly. It’s a skill that requires focus, dexterity and coordination.

Skill #4: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see things from a client’s point of view, to put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their needs. It’s a skill that helps you predict what clients want and identify potential barriers to massage.

While massage therapists are used to having close physical contact with clients, being touched by a stranger is uncomfortable for some. Others may have body image issues that make them feel self-conscious and wary of undressing. Clients from other cultures may have different expectations for a massage than Americans. Foreseeing clients’ concerns helps you ask the right questions, adapt your services to their needs and turn inquirers into customers.

Skill #5: Communication Skill

Communication is the foundation of massage. You’ll need to evaluate clients to understand their needs, reviewing their health history and past experiences with bodywork. The ability to articulate ideas is essential for explaining the therapeutic benefits of your services. Clear communication upfront clarifies expectations, prevents misunderstandings and builds the rapport necessary to turn first-time customers into regular clients.

Skill #6: Active Listening

Active listening is a therapeutic technique, a medical professional learns to make communication more effective. The goal is to better understand what clients say by reading between the lines, evaluating the verbal cues and body language that reveal what they’re thinking.

It requires eliminating distractions, so you can focus on the conversation, and offer feedback that encourages them to continue to share their thoughts. Active listening ensures you and your client are on the same page.

Skill #7: Good Personal Care Habits

Massage therapists touch their clients’ skin, so personal cleanliness is a must. Germs that can cause infection spread easily through contact. Like doctors and nurses, a massage therapist needs sound hygiene habits.

Vocational school training programs cover infection control practices from hand washing to equipment sanitation. It’s a critical part of safe practice and imperative in states that inspect and license massage therapy practices.

Skill #8: Problem Solving Skills

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Clients have different needs and the more you can troubleshoot what keeps callers from scheduling appointments, the more satisfied clients you’ll have. Some barriers that could keep potential clients from booking include:

  • Price
  • Schedule
  • Handicapped accessibility
  • Too few massage therapists
  • Limited types of massage offered
  • Medical considerations

A massage therapist that can solve these problems by offering discounts, amending their hours or learning new techniques will have more clients and higher revenue.

Skill #9: A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Like medicine, bodywork evolves. Of the many states that license massage therapists, most require proof of continuing education because techniques and equipment improve over time. The most successful massage therapists keep their skills current through continuing education. Every skill learned is another service you can offer.

Skill #10: Time Management Skills

Time is money. Whether you work for an established practice or are self-employed, generating revenue is the top concern. The more massages you do in a week, the more you make, it’s a simple formula for financial success.

But, in addition to giving massages, there are other tasks to do from answering the phone and ordering supplies to sanitizing equipment and bookkeeping. The key to keeping up is to make the most of downtime between appointments so you don’t have to say no to customers or spend your off time tying up loose ends at the office. Time management is not only a good business skill, but also a self-care skill.

Skill #11: Financial Management Skills

Many new startups fail in the first twelve months because of poor financial management, and many go out of business in just two years. A self-employed massage therapist needs money skills to survive.

Accountants can help with complex issues, such as taxes, but massage therapists are responsible for budgeting, tracking income and expenses and making informed spending decisions. It’s similar to managing a household budget and balancing a checkbook. However, too many mistakes can compromise cash flow, and you’ll run out of money before being able to pay your bills.

Skill #12: Marketing Skills

Marketing is more than advertising, it’s the art of selling yourself. Customers want more than products and services, they want trusting relationships with businesses, especially those providing personal services.

It’s no longer enough to advertise, you need to build an online community of regular clients who share their positive experiences with others. Word of mouth generates leads. Most people shop online for services like hair care and massage therapy, so knowing how to reach out to clients on social media is a critical skill.

Skill #13: Customer Service Skills

Good customer service is the one skill massage therapists can’t be successful without. Losing one customer out of ten due to a bad experience lowers revenue significantly. Why? Satisfied, long-term clients spend more and are likely to refer you to family and friends, while a single dissatisfied client can ruin your reputation. The rule is the customer is always right.

What does quality service consist of? Clients rank individualized service highest on their wish list, they want to feel like they matter. Timely communication, convenient hours and choice of payment options are appreciated. Consumers’ biggest pet peeves are inaccurate advertising and surprise charges. The best way to build a lucrative client base is to provide a superb start to finish experience, built on trust and mutual respect.

Final Thoughts

Massage is an ancient holistic therapy recommended by doctors and practiced worldwide. It’s a multi-million-dollar industry – and growing. For students with the right skills, it’s an exceptional career opportunity and a chance to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

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 12 months. 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.